Club Industry’s annual trade show kicked off today at the McCormick Place in Chicago. The show lasts Oct. 13-16 and features lectures and seminars, new products and the second annual Lifetime Achievement Award.

The keynote session of the event will be held tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. with speaker Lisa Ford, an authority on customer service and loyalty. Ford’s speech, “Shaping the Customer Experience: How Do You Keep Them Coming Back When They Don’t Have to Be There At All?” will focus on retaining members and providing the best in customer service at a club.

Directly after the keynote presentation, Fitness Business Pro magazine will posthumously award its second Lifetime Achievement Award to health club visionary and founder of Gold’s Gym, Joe Gold, who passed away in early July. Mike Uretz, Gold’s colleague and close associate, will accept the award for Gold and will reflect on the impact that Gold made to the industry.

After the award presentation, participants have the opportunity to check out the trade show floor, which features the newest fitness products on the market. The show floor will feature more than 200 exhibitors with products ranging from strength training and aerobic equipment to nutritional supplements, customer database software and spa equipment.

Also on Thursday, a free special seminar will be offered from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Human Resource Store and ComedySportz will host, “Dealing With Difficult People.” Back by popular demand, this seminar is an interactive workshop that uses improvisational skits to look at how to deal with even the most trying of customers.

On Friday, the free Fitness Summit, “Fattest to Fittest: How Communities Are Becoming Proactive About Exercise and Nutrition,” will feature speakers who are trying to change the exercise and diet habits of the people in their communities. The summit will focus on how to create outreach programs to improve civic health and fitness.

Later that day, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Melinda Minton, president of the Spa Association, will also host a free seminar, Spotlight on Spas. This seminar will look at the latest information from a new industry study on where spas are going and what current numbers look like.

Participants can also look forward to early morning workouts, free continental breakfast and Club Studio, an interactive demonstration area featuring 45-minute presentations scheduled throughout the show. Presentations range from Pilates to martial arts to dance workouts. Club Studio will also feature the first-ever Fitness Fashion Show on Friday, at 2 p.m.

For more information on this show and future shows, check out: national.clubindustryshow.com.