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Sweat, the boutique fitness industry’s premier gathering, has kicked off ukactive’s 2020 calendar with a sell-out crowd in East London.

More than 300 people were in attendance to hear keynote speeches from Emma Barry, a founding member of Les Mills International, Richard Buchanan, Managing Director and Founder of The Clearing, and Richard Earney, Programme Director at Midtown Athletic.

The event, supported by headline partner Technogym, offered insights to fitness operators and suppliers in what they need to do in order to succeed with their boutique offering.

The Old Truman Brewery was bathed in neon pink light as ukactive CEO Huw Edwards opened the day by announcing two new reports from ukactive as part of its Business Intelligence service.

‘Moving Communities’ will offer quarterly analysis of the sector which builds on the success of the annual Moving Communities report. Launching in April, the reports will look in greater detail at leisure trends and will be available exclusively to ukactive members.

The second new report will address one of the most controversial subjects in the sector – the role of booking intermediaries, or aggregators. Funded by Sport England, ukactive’s Research Institute will lead the first major independent assessment of the impact of aggregators in the fitness and leisure market.

Sweat favourite Barry provided delegates with a fascinating insight into how to build a badass boutique – the subject of her new book, which was launched over the event.

In the second keynote of the day, Buchanan spoke about the importance and the power of a clear defendable territory to give a brand the edge in attracting and retaining customers.

And in the final keynote, Earney told the audience that programmes, not classes, are the future of the boutique fitness sector. He explained that programmes can create experiences by the music and lighting used as well as the high-fives customers get from their instructors.

The presentations were complemented by a series of thought-provoking panels and masterclasses which focused on expansion, branding investment, creating a space, learning from mistakes, new audiences, technology and aggregators.

For the first time, every delegate of Sweat 2020 has been provided with exclusive access to the Sweat Community within ukactive’s new digital Communities of Learning platform, where they will be able to access content from the day and continue the conversation.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “Sweat has once again showed that the appetite for knowledge in our sector is still growing, with hundreds of operators, suppliers and independent businesses hungry to learn the secrets to boutique success.

“This year’s focus on growth and expansion tied perfectly with our announcement of two major new reports we are launching for members to better inform the crucial business decisions made every day across the UK.

“And through our Communities of Learning, we hope the conversations and lessons from this year’s Sweat will continue to improve the sector. and drive future agendas.”

June will see the return of Sweat’s sister event, Sweat North, which takes place as part of Active Uprising at Manchester Central on 4 June. To secure your tickets now, click here.