Competition is fierce, whether your career in athletics, fitness or recreation takes you on the field or not. You need to stay sharp to stay ahead, and there's no better place to hone your gameplan than at AB Show 2017, Nov. 8-11, in Orlando, Fla. Wherever you are on your professional path, AB Show has something to offer. Here's a sneak peek at what to expect from this year's event:
AB Show features industry thought leaders who present tools and solutions you can take away and apply immediately. You'll find ideas to help jumpstart your facility, your programming and your staff.
Sessions cover a broad range of topics — everything from the nitty gritty of facility management, programming, operations and security to broader lessons on leadership. Any industry professional can find a beneficial session, whether your job involves dealing with customers, training clients or managing a pool. New this year are two Recreation Programming Roundtables, where public and collegiate recreation professionals will discuss new ideas and the challenges they face while building programs within their departments.
In addition, AB Show partners with the Medical Fitness Association and the National Alliance for Youth Sports, and a full-conference registration includes access to MFA and NAYS seminars, allowing attendees the opportunity to explore these industry niches.
An expo with everything for your facilities and programs
The 160,000-square-foot expo floor at AB Show has more than 250 exhibitors showcasing everything you need to make sure your facilities and programs remain relevant. Jam-packed with the latest products and solutions, you can outfit your facility from floor to ceiling — or build a new one from the ground up.
If simply seeing the equipment isn't enough, attendees are invited to try it out for themselves during Friday's Early Morning Workout, one of the Show's annual highlights. Between the workout, the free-throw court and Friday afternoon's Happy Hour, the show floor is sure to be buzzing with activity throughout the event.
For exhibitors, the expo floor represents an opportunity to interact with — and introduce products to — qualified industry professionals. Showcasing at AB Show helps exhibitors get in front of potential customers, many of whom have real buying power. "We've gotten account after account after account after attending this show," Greg Strong of Book King Software says. "It seems like everybody is here."
But the expo floor isn't just about the products. Back for a second year is the Innovation Station, which offers 30-minute educational sessions. This year, attendees can learn how to incorporate technology into fitness and recreation centers, get tips for leasing fitness equipment, and hear advice for opening a fitness studio.
New opportunities to learn and network
Attendees are encouraged to bring their A game to AB Show's new Power Lunch events. During these 45-minute facilitated conversations, attendees act as their own faculty, discussing a targeted aspect of their organization. This year's Power Lunch sessions include customer service best practices, conducting effective interviews, dealing with difficult staff and solving social media issues.
Other new additions to AB Show this year include two new seminar tracks. Studio Management sessions clue in owners and prospective owners to the trends driving one of the fastest growing segments in the fitness industry. Adult Fitness & Recreation offers sessions on building programming centered specifically on the adult population, with a particular focus on the active 55-and-older age group. The growth of the boomer generation also fueled the addition of the Functional Aging Specialist Certification course, available as a pre-conference workshop and new to the show program this year. With this interactive workshop, attendees will learn to implement functional training for their aging clients.
Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Duhigg will be on hand as the 2017 AB Show keynote speaker, discussing what he's learned about the science of habit formation while researching his book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Duhigg's talk promises to offer valuable insights to anyone looking to build better habits.
Those who head to Orlando early will find even more networking and education opportunities at AB Show's preconference events. These workshops offer in-depth, hands-on education on topics such as customer service and ensuring that your employees are your competitive advantage. A popular interactive workshop titled "Designing Your Ultimate Facility" returns for those with a building or renovation project in their future.
Facility tours offer attendees a chance to visit and get inspired by the design and programming in some of central Florida's best athletics, fitness and recreational spaces. Attendees can choose between two tours — the first will visit the Highland Recreation Center in Largo and the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa, while the second stops at Orlando's RDV Sportsplex and the USTA National Campus, the expansive new home of the United States Tennis Association.
Building a strong network
Following the workshops and tours, first-time attendees are invited to attend the First-Timers' Reception, a good opportunity to ask questions and network with AB Show staff and other industry professionals.
Thursday night's Welcome Reception at Lafayette's in Pointe Orlando is an ideal event to collaborate and celebrate with professionals from AB Show, MFA and NAYS, as well as staff and exhibitors. Inspiration continues at Friday's Facilities of Merit® Reception, where the architects, owners and consultants responsible for this year's 10 award winners are honored for their outstanding projects.
Simply put, AB Show is your springboard to the next level in your professional life. The top trend-setters and innovators in the industry will be there. Will you? There's still time to register for AB Show 2017. Visit abshow.com to learn more and register today.
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Athletic Business with the title "How AB Show can help you stay sharp and get ahead" Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.