Thursday, 24 September 2015

What does LIW stand for?

Having worked in the banking industry where exhibitions and conferences were very professional but also very overindulgent (all inclusive party on an aircraft carrier in San Fransisco bay anyone?), Leisure Industry Week has always felt more understated.

I understand from the rose tinted industry veterans that it used to be better in the old days when it was connected with Flame awards, but LIW is still a key date in the GGFit calendar for 3 reasons... it's a great opportunity to meet up with clients past, present and future; we get to catch-up and network with partner companies; and it's good to keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations, both through the conference sessions and on the show floor.

OK, this year, the exhibition itself was a lot smaller, but this is no bad thing in the current economic climate. Those exhibiting will clearly have to work a lot harder to achieve any ROI, but it's still a great platform to get your brand out there, meet customers/prospects, and get feedback on your product. Suppliers without stands don't have the outlay cost, but need to work a lot harder to get meetings to happen. Thankfully there was a plethora of VIP lounges, along with networking events to try to bring people together, and this is possibly where the future lies in terms of keeping delegates coming to the event. I question the "VIP-ness" of some of the lounges... I sat in one lounge chatting to a chief exec (who was the client of the lounge sponsor) for around 45 minutes, and we didn't get offered any coffee or drink! Conversely, the Workout UK Lounge always had a Lucozade or water on offer for any of my guests, so a big thanks to Tony Barry and team. ukactive's drinks on Tuesday evening were also excellent, and well attended as usual.

The conference itself was well balanced, with some great speakers and content, but some of the most interesting and educational sessions were poorly attended. Was this down to the acoustics? (The keynote theatre had another stage with a PA pointing straight at the keynote crowd, and just a curtain between the two). It was slightly annoying for the audience, but clearly very off-putting for the speakers.
Not sure what Lucozade achieved with cards... 
no data capture, just free lucozade,
which is standard at @LIW

Attendance numbers seemed to be typical - over half of the contacts we wanted to meet were there, which is normal... not everyone is going to go every year. For those complaining that attendance was down on previous years, you need to plan (find out who's going), prepare (set a time and place to meet) and perform... and then the most important part, follow-up!

Don't put your feet up after LIW, the hard work starts now!

Finally, in my experience, LIW has never been a 'week'. I like the new focused 2 day format, as this makes more meetings happen. But do we need a new name? Leisure Industry Two Days doesn't really work...
Leisure Industry What?

Delegates, Speakers, Journalists polled at the show and on twitter came up with... Leisure Industry...

Workshops, Warriors, Weekend, aWards...

what would you suggest?
Comments below please...

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