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From China to the UK – Escape Fitness makes a big impact
Escape Fitness attended FIBO in Shanghai and LIW in Birmingham, UK, this September, on a mission to promote some new products and fitness programmes. At both shows we launched our new HTS solution and our MOVE IT training package, but our agendas were different for two very different shows. So we asked Tommy Matthews (Escape’s Head of Education and Programming) and Matt Morton (Escape’s Head of Strategy) to give us their thoughts on both events…
Pushing education in Asia
With an exhibition space of 21,000 square metres, an estimated 15,000 visitors and 200 major participating brands, FIBO, China is now one of the biggest events in the fitness calendar. So Escape Fitness took the opportunity to launch some of their biggest new products and programmes into the Asian marketplace.
We knew we’d be presenting to a crowd that was hungry for exciting new products and training solutions. Tommy Matthews said, “FIBO China was a fantastic opportunity for Escape to launch the MOVE IT programme to the Chinese market, and it went down a storm. With some fast-paced demos at our stand, and some more intense one-hour workshops for trainers, the customers were amazed by just how easy it can be to engage with functional training tools when there’s a good programme to support them.
It’s an exciting time for us in Asia, and China is really pushing ahead with education, programming and the complete Escape solution, so it is nice to see clubs over there with some awesome functional training areas.
We’re now looking forward to our first MOVE IT programme install in China, coming soon...”
Different shows, different agendas
Not every show is the same. So we have to modify our approach to fit. So at LIW we took a different approach. As Matt Morton explained, we were getting back in touch with a lot of people. “We’ve been away since 2013, so it was time to go back to LIW – to remind everyone that we’re the UK market leaders.”
We’re seeing a lot of changes in the UK marketplace. The boutiques are on the rise. We’ve been doing a lot of work with 1Rebel, Best’s Bootcamp, David Lloyd and others and we’ve seen that what we offer and where the market was going were converging. So it was important that escape was there, front and centre, showing the UK market exactly where the industry is going next.
Quality not quantity
By contrast, LIW is a smaller event, but no less significant on the fitness calendar. From its heyday in the mid 2000s, the scale of LIW has changed; as Matt Morton explained: “A lot of European suppliers have had to choose between attending FIBO, Germany and attending LIW, so attendance has dropped at LIW over the last few years. We’ve been away since 2013 too. But we felt it was time to go back to LIW – to remind everyone that we’re the UK market leaders. It’s good to reinforce your brand presence at events like this.”
The reduced attendance isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. “It’s as much about quality as quantity. Of course, it’s hard to say how successful any event is until three or four months down the line, when the orders are all processed, but in terms of making an impression, we had a good show.
Big impact products
People were very interested in our expanded frames range; our new training programmes: MOVE IT and Battle Fit drew a lot of interest. And there was a lot of love for FunXtion. FunXtion is a really innovative virtual training solution with a touchscreen, app and website that can change the way people train with and without personal trainers. Fitness technology is always a big draw and we had Ernst de Neef and Mendel Witzenhausen, in attendance – the creators and owners of FunXtion – to talk people through the system.”
“One of the benefits of the show is that people get to see products in the flesh, so to speak. It’s a completely different experience to seeing things online or in the catalogue. A lot of people were seeing the new STEP for the first time, and we had the new PROACTIVE range. PROACTIVE meets the need for a basics range. It serves clubs and gyms that want absolutely reliable product, without necessarily needing the sort of innovation and design that Escape Fitness is known for.
“If nothing else, you get to see an awful lot of people all under one roof over a short space of time. That sort of activity would normally take several months to meet everyone individually. We came away with a big list of very warm leads, including some major independents and a lot of interest from local authorities. The local authorities are operating in a squeezed market, in between the aspirational, premium providers and the low-cost offerings. They can’t compete on price, so they need to try and compete on quality of product and service – two areas where we can really help.”
It’s good to show our pedigree at events like LIW – and keep the Escape Fitness name out there. I was really pleased to see that people still sought us out to talk and get our advice. We met some people who hadn’t heard of us before – and that’s another good reminder why being seen at these events really is so very important.”
If you were at LIW or FIBO, China and you want to find out more about any of the products or training programmes you saw, let us know. But even if you didn’t see us, we’re always happy to talk. Just give us a call on one of these numbers or email us at: [email protected]
UK: +44 (0)1733 313 535
USA: +1 (614)-706-4462
Germany: +49 (0)2921 590 10 70