I just got back in from the Florida State Massage Therapy Association Annual Convention in Orlando. Not only did I see all my old and dear friends, but I am DELIGHTED to say I made MANY, MANY new ones!
While this does not seem to be extraordinary in and of itself, it does show me a definite trend in conferencing I am in high hopes will continue to grow and develop.
At the last two Conference / Conventions I have attended, < The AMC and FSMTA> I have seen an influx of new people coming out who have never experienced a trade show before. These are practicing therapists who have never had exposure to a conference or tradeshow floor before. This is a VERY good thing for the industry, because it means that people who had not been active in the community are now branching out and learning how involvement can benefit us all.
My litmus test for this new trend is quite simply, our orders. Our company would have
I am especially encouraged as I am seeing a rise in spending by therapists at shows. The last two years have been hard on many economically, and with an increase < albeit slight> in spending at trade shows, I am hopeful this is heralding in a stronger industry trend upward. While I am not saying we are back to the levels we saw in 2007-08, I am saying I am becoming ever more hopeful with the positive signs I am seeing in the marketplace.
I am also excited to see the level of participation from STUDENTS! This is a virtually untapped market of folks eager and hungry for information. As evidenced at the last two student events I have attended, the attendance is rising and we are doing a better job overall of bringing these new peers into the community. The FSMTA has SUCCESSFUL START, and this is really a powerhouse event! The American Massage Conference has the SMART FROM THE START, event, and it was also a huge success. Finding and informing students about events such as this is a challenge, so growth in this tier is truly exciting.
Forward momentum and a unified community will help us reach our industry goals. Being part of the massage community for me is a blessing. I have met and had the pleasure to work with so many gifted and amazing people. If you have never been to a conference, I encourage you to go! It is an experience not to be missed as the opportunity for education and savings on product and equipment is substantial. Completely worth the price of admission!