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Interbike: ''A world class demo makes all the difference for brands'' - BikeBiz

Interbike: ''A world class demo makes all the difference for brands''

BikeBiz speaks to show director Pat Hus about the show's growing international audience, 2015 and more.
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Despite flight delays, this year's Outdoor Demo proved popular – what feedback have you had from brands on their time at Bootleg?

Overall feedback has been positive. Monday’s attendance was lighter than usual due to weather in the surrounding area, but Tuesday was incredibly busy leaving empty racks in our bike exhibitor’s tents, and happy riders on the trails and roads.

How important do you consider the Bootleg demo to be to Interbike from both a retailer's and exhibitor's perspective? Is hands on test time valued by both?

OutDoor Demo (ODD) is certainly an important aspect of Interbike for both exhibitors and retailers. Bootleg Canyon offers retailers the opportunity to not only ride the latest products from their brands, it allows them to chat (face-to-face) with company executives and truly understand the story behind each product they choose to ride. For retail sales staff, ODD is the perfect platform to truly understand the products they will be selling in the upcoming year (and be able to speak from experience when questioned by consumers back at the store later on) and the competitive landscape as well.

It’s the same story for exhibitors – you can talk about the benefits and features of a product anywhere, but a true product demo on world-class terrain reinforces what the products/brands are about, ultimately translating to a better educated salesperson when retailers return to their shops.

How did 2014's visitor figures stack up against last year's?

It’s no secret that the North American bicycle market has had a tough run since 2013. Sales have been flat or down, and retailers and exhibitors are exercising caution in their spending. We’ve seen some exhibitors scale back as a result, and retailers are sending fewer people from their stores.

With that said, the quality of the show experience at Interbike was one of the best we’ve had in years. We received great feedback from both retailers and exhibitors that their goals were met – from business transactions being commenced, to introducing new product, to having quality face-to-face conversations and building relationships. While our overall attendance was down slightly over 2013, the buzz on the show floor and level of optimism for the coming year at the event was very high.

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As well as being North America's largest trade show for cycling, Interbike has a growing global visitor list – what's the split between domestic and foreign attendees and exhibitors?

I don’t have any specific numbers quite yet, but I can tell you that Interbike is absolutely a global show. A large percentage of our international base comes from Central and South America, Canada and the UK. In fact, one of our exhibitors mentioned to me at the end of the show that she “spoke more Spanish at Interbike this year than English.”

So that's year two at the Mandalay wrapped up – is the venue still working for exhibitors? It looked quite full – is there room to expand if needed?

Correct, year two is in the books and feedback on the venue is overall positive. Last year was difficult for everyone – from learning the new show floor plan, to the F&B challenges. This year I’ve heard that people have figured out (for the most part) how to navigate the show floor, and the new Food Court was really well received. Room to expand? – Yes, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center recently announced a 350,000-square-foot addition.

There was a busy seminar schedule at Interbike – what added value can retailers get from mixing time on the show floor with these events?

There’s a ton of added value that retailers get from mixing time on the show floor with the seminars at Interbike. We work closely with the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) to bring relevant content from top-level presenters with only one ultimate goal – to help retailers grow their businesses.

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Have you any new ideas or feedback to consider ahead of the 2015 instalment?

There’s nothing new to report at this time, but we will certainly be working on enhancing some of the great new events that took place this year, and will undoubtedly create some new ones as well.

How can brands get in touch about exhibiting in 2015?

Brands interested in exhibiting in 2015 can contact Andria Klinger, sales director, at 949-226-5745, or via email at Andria.Klinger@emeraldexpo.com.

 BikeBiz's gallery from the Outdoor Demo and show floor can be found here.

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