The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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Entries in IHRSA 15th Annual European Congress (2)


Come Fly With Me!

One year ago, I was excitedly preparing for the first-ever IHRSA/Mercado event, and, now, I’m about to pack my bags again, this time for an industry gathering in France. International insights, enlightenment, and opportunities await!

Never before has the “I” in IHRSA, for “International,” in IHRSA been more meaningful, more exact a description of the industry that ours has truly become. The events scheduled over the coming months endorse that proposition, and suggest how much—how very much—there is to be gained.

Last year, the IHRSA/Mercado Fitness Mexico City Conference and Trade Show was fabulous, and this year’s installment, being held October 19–21, will surpass it both in size and substance. According to the IHRSA Global Report 2015, Mexico is the 4th-largest market in the world, with 7,826 clubs, 2.74 million members, and $1.48 billion in annual revenues. Just think of the concepts, ideas, and untapped possibilities that lie waiting to be discovered there.

“Espero que disfruten ustedes!”

This month, though, I’ll be heading to the 15th Annual IHRSA European Congress, on October 19-22, in the exquisitely intimate and elegant setting of the Palais du Pharo, in the heart of beautiful Marseille, France. This established meeting provides a unique, and unequalled, opportunity to meet with and learn from leading European club operators, among the most accomplished anywhere.

And then, as with every IHRSA gathering, there’s the tourist side of things. In 2013, Marseille was named the European Capital of Culture, and I can’t wait to experience this lovely, historic city.

“Vais-je vous y voir?”

November 10–13 offers the 5th Annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum—yet another example of IHRSA’s global presence and proof of the vital role it plays in keeping our international industry tightly connected. I recently spoke with John Holsinger, IHRSA’s director of the Asia Pacific region, and he assures me that ChinaFit will deliver, big-time, in terms of educational and networking opportunities.

“Zhù nǐ jiànkāng!”

And it goes without saying that industry participants, worldwide, are already anticipating IHRSA’s 35th Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which will take place just five months from now, on March 21–24, in Orlando, Florida. Talk about the perfect combination of professional and personal possibilities: IHRSA 2016 and Disney World, and Epcot, and ….

“Success by association” has never been easier, more fun, or more rewarding!


15th Annual IHRSA European Congress

As the IHRSA European Congress marks its 15th year on October19-22, it remains firmly established as Europe’s premier educational and networking event for health club

 According to the planners, the Congress’ educational sessions will be more thought-provoking, the networking opportunities more numerous, and the venue more magnificent than ever before.

Attendees will meet at the majestic Palais du Pharo, originally a royal palace built for Emperor Napoleon III (Napoleon I’s nephew), who wanted “a home with its feet in the water.” The three-story, former imperial residence sits on the waterfront, offering breathtaking views of the city’s Old Port area.

Marseille, itself, is equally enchanting and teems with opportunities and activities to engage any visitor. The largest port city on the Mediterranean Sea, it was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2013. Congress attendees will be able to go for a cruise, take a cooking class in the vibrant local fish market, or savor a croissant at one of the many charming sidewalk cafés.

Core keynoters

Between the bouillabaisse and the pastries, Congress attendees can sample industry-specific intellectual fare that’s equally nourishing. A full menu of appealing seminars will explore creative strategies for obtaining new members, developing and managing a productive staff and in As the IHRSA European Congress marks its 15th creasing member retention.

Sourcing expertise from outside the industry, the Congress will present two keynote speakers who’ll share valuable insights about what makes consumers, and clients, tick.

Ken Hughes, a “consumer and shopper behaviorist,” and the CEO of Glacier Consulting, based in Dublin, will discuss the dramatic impact that technology is having on purchasing patterns. His firm works with many major multinational corporations, including IKEA, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Heineken. His presentation, “The Digital Native Advance: A New DNA for Shoppers,” is generously sponsored by Technogym.

Bryan Williams, the second keynote speaker, is an acknowledged expert on customer service excellence. An author, trainer, and consultant, he so inspired attendees at IHRSA’s 34th Annual International Convention and Trade Show in Los Angeles that he was immediately asked to appear in Marseille as well. Williams stresses the critical role that a company’s executive staff plays in cultivating a topnotch customer service culture, focusing on the difference between merely managing and truly leading a service team.

His presentation, “Creating a Culture of Ownership and Empowerment,” is certain to be a show-stopper.

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