As the dust settles on another LIW (Leisure Industry Week), the thousands of delegates who passed through the doors at the NEC can reflect on a packed two days of world class education, networking and an extensive exhibition.
LIW was purchased in mid-2015 by the organisation responsible for producing BodyPower, one of the largest consumer shows in Europe. Despite a short lead time year one saw an increase in visitor numbers and positive feedback from both delegates and exhibitors.
It stands to reason, therefore, that given a full year of marketing and positioning the show, year two was hotly anticipated. Pre-show strategy for LIW was to position the show as a hub for workforce development with education taking priority. Distinct education streams were established in Spa & Wet Leisure, Sport, Play, Facilities Management, Fitness (including Practical Coaching and a Fitness Business School) and Health.
Whereas 2015 was underpinned by a sprinkling of star dust (where the Keynote Theatre hosted the likes of Stuart Pearce, Ben Cohen, Kellie Maloney and Sally Gunnell), 2016 was far more about business. The draped Operators and Keynote Conference hosted CEO of Think Digital First, Warren Knight, former Head of Digital at Microsoft, Allister Frost, and former Head of the John Lewis Intelligence Team Andrew McMillan alongside a host of top names.
As Show Director Steve Orton explains: “Given the additional time and resource we had to prepare for LIW this year we’ve taken into account the viewpoint of some extremely influential people within the industry to implement a show that reflects the state of leisure and delivers in areas that need improvement.
Skillset is a word on the tip of every operator’s tongue, and we’ve taken a stellar line-up of successful businesspeople from both inside and outside of the sector to deliver workforce development opportunities that cater for that demand.”
On education, LIW certainly delivered. Lift the Bar founder Chris Burgess commented that LIW was the “best show I’ve been to”; Emporium Gym Owner Warren Dyson said “I'm old enough to remember LIW in its former glory and I can say it's starting to return to that former glory and more”; and Shredded by Science Founder Luke Johnson noted that the show was full of “highly motivated trainers looking to improve their knowledge.”
All that education was complimented by a packed show floor that saw over 150 exhibitors get some excellent sales leads with some engaging visual displays.
Steve Orton commented: “We were confident that LIW would be a superior event to 2015 with a full run-up of event promotion and that opinion has only been reinforced during a two packed days. Our tailored educational programmes, excellent features, exciting interactive areas, ground breaking product launches and hundreds of exceptional brands made the show a clear success. We’re already planning next year’s event and we’ll have some fantastic new additions to make LIW 2017 even bigger and better. We’ve seen growth both in the number of visitors and exhibitors and the show will keep being nurtured by our team. I’m proud of the event and I hope it was as enjoyable for everyone who attended as it was for us as organisers.”
Leisure Industry Week will return to Birmingham’s NEC 12-13 September 2017. To find out more, register your interest in exhibiting or register as a visitor visit www.liw.co.uk.