A fusion of leisure attractions

Leisure Industry WeekLeisure Industry Week 2010 was hailed a success by visitors, exhibitors and organisers alike when it took place from 21-23 September 2010 at the Birmingham NEC. The atmosphere was electric with a host of interactive features, a wealth of educational content and numerous networking opportunities – LIW clearly reinforced its position as the UK’s key commercial leisure event.

With over 350 exhibitors, the event was divided into seven different leisure sectors – Health & Fitness, Play & Attractions, Sport, Licensed Business, Eat & Drink, Leisure Facilities and Pool & Spa.

Providing excellent news for the market, the event reported a significant increase in the number of key decision makers and budget holders attending compared to previous years with over 20 per cent of visitors having purchasing authority in excess of £250k, and over 35 per cent with a budget of over £50k. With over 40 per cent of exhibitors confirming their participation for 2011 before the show closed, LIW continued to deliver a qualified audience from sectors that have the confidence to invest.

Kevin Yates, head of commercial development at Leisure Connection, said: “I’ve been visiting the show for 15 years which demonstrates how important it is to me and my role at Leisure Connection. Overall I think this year has been a really successful show. I’ve been more aware of the smaller suppliers due to the dedicated areas. The show gives me the opportunity to network and meet with key people and this year I had pre-arranged meetings throughout my visit. It’s great to see that the industry is still demonstrating new and innovative ideas in the current climate.”

Innovative play and attractions
Play & Attractions at LIW attracted a large number of exhibitors from across the industry. The main theme of the sector was innovation, with a specific area dedicated to the most innovative play equipment on the market and an award for the most innovative product at the Aspire Awards.  

Jane Conroy, play centre manager at Horizon Leisure Trust said: “This is the first LIW I’ve ever visited and I’ve really enjoyed my experience. The show has inspired many new ideas for me to use. I’ve met numerous relevant suppliers and will be following up with exhibitors after the show to discuss future business investment. I will be back next year to see what’s new within the industry.”

The Play Innovation Zone, in association with the Play Providers Association (PPA), was a great success, with 12 of the most innovative products in the industry being demonstrated. Sound Leisure Ltd won the Aspiration4Innovation Award at the PPA Aspire Awards for its innovative ‘Sound Stage’ product with Mini Melts taking Silver and Smart Dragon the Bronze.

Exhibitors included Entre-Prises UK Ltd who demonstrated its Clip n Climb challenges for adults and children, PartyCentreSoftware.com who showed its online party booking and management service for the leisure industry, and Little Tikes, which has a wealth of products like slides, climbers, rockers and ride-ons that are popular in indoor play settings. Also exhibiting were Instyle Fitness with its fusion of gaming and fitness equipment, and Villa Drinks, who manufactures a wide range of still and carbonated drinks including Wild Waters & Wild Juices.

New developments
The Attractions Ideas Village was also a positive addition to the Play & Attractions sector. It allowed visitors to meet architects, consultants, marketers, designers, and themeing companies to discuss new design plans and developments.

The Play & Attractions sector at LIW also provided the first ever area dedicated to manufacturers and distributors of coin-operated amusements, The Coin-op showcase, in association with InterGame.   

The Coin-op showcase included the latest range of machines from Harry Levy Amusements with its pusher, redemption and novelty machines. Electrocoin exhibited its range of products which are targeted at the family entertainment centre market as well as pubs, clubs and the leisure sector. The company manufactures and distributes amusement, gaming and ticket redemption machines. SAM Leisure exhibited its family friendly pool, air hockey and table football products.

Chris Brown, event manager at LIW, said: “This has been another great show with many new areas and exhibitors demonstrating and displaying some really interesting products. The Coin-op showcase was probably one of the biggest surprises to visitors as it was a late entry into our plans. The showcase worked really well and we will definitely be dedicating an area next year to the Coin-op sector.”     

RLMS Sales Ltd had a selection of products on display in the Coin-op showcase including B3, B4, Cat C, Cat D, Jukebox equipment and the latest multi entertainment terminals, catering for the needs of single site, bingo and both family and adult gaming centres. Simworx were also exhibiting and demonstrated their 3D/4D effect theatres, motion theatres, simulation attractions and the provision of 2D/3D film content.

LaserSniper, an electronic shooting simulator for the leisure industry joined the other exhibitors in the Coin-op showcase. As did Laserforce International, whose advisors on its stand offered visitors an insight into how Laserforce can be a profitable investment for a family entertainment business or theme park.

Life fitness
It wasn’t just the Play & Attractions sector that had a successful event. Lawra Angell, marketing manager of Life Fitness, an exhibitor within Health & Fitness at LIW, said: “Life Fitness has a long standing relationship with LIW and has been exhibiting at the show for over ten years. We had a very successful show, exceeding our set objectives. It was a great team effort. It’s important to support the industry, help it evolve and best understand the needs of our customers.”

Sean Thornton, sales director of X-Force, also an exhibitor within Health & Fitness said: “This has been a really successful show for X-Force; I feel we’ve introduced and raised awareness of the product and educated people into a new type of exercise equipment. LIW is the only show, in the UK for companies to launch a new product to an informed audience. We’ll definitely be back next year.”

For the energy conscious

LIW hosted a new EnviroZone in the Leisure Facilities sector, which held a number of presentations by energy saving companies. Exhibitors included PowaSava, Therma Pool, Pulse Commercial Utilities and Riva Global.

Mike Ford, director of PowaSava, said: “Good leads were generated and we saw many visitors who had an interest in managing their energy emissions more effectively.”

Other exhibitors included MHA Lighting with its new LED technology, which shines light sideways to avoid direct contact with the eye and creates a more safe and efficient light output, and Calorex who exhibited the Pro-Pac commercial hot water heat pump and the Heat Recovery Dehumidification units.

A number of products that could transform small, unused areas of the gym were on display in the PTontheNET Functional Training Zone. The zone provided the perfect area for personal trainers to experience the most innovative products and programmes the industry has to offer. Exhibitors included Leisure Lines, Jordan Fitness, Escape Fitness, Keiser, FitPro, Fight Fit, Thump Boxing, Padbox, Premier Training and Nordic Walking.

Meanwhile Britain’s Got Talent finalists Strike demonstrated their martial art prowess in the Group Fitness Arena. They were at the show to demonstrate their new martial arts programme for children and young adults, which they have created with ZigZag. The programme includes martial arts, dance and gymnastics choreographed to music.

In and around the show
The Interactive Showcase saw VEQTOR, CyberCoach, ZigZag, Pulse, Trixter and Fitnessgaming demonstrating their latest innovations. Equipment on display included the Dance Machine from Pulse, the Z³ from ZigZag and the Xdream and XBike Interactive from Trixter.

Exhibiting for the first time in the UK, Wavesurfer within the Pool & Spa sector of LIW encouraged hundreds of visitors to don their wetsuits and have a go at surfing. Several professional demonstrations took place, showing visitors a number of techniques that can be used whilst on the wave. The nine metre portable installation is perfect for leisure centres, visitor attractions, retail sites, water parks and corporate events.  

Recognising his mammoth achievement, Mike Buss completed his 100th marathon in the same number of days on the last day of LIW and visitors gathered round him to support and celebrate. Sponsored by Star Trac, Jeep, Brooks, Timex, Juice Performance and Gatorade, the challenge raised money for Help for Heroes.

LIW returns to the Birmingham NEC 20-22 September 2011.  

For more information:
Web: www.liw.co.uk