Cycle Show’s NEC debut last year was always going to throw up challenges for organisers catering for a hard- to-please trade audience. Ahead of the return to the Midlands venue, Mark Sutton talks to head of marketing Lucinda Hyde-McCready about how the exhibitors themselves are shaping the 2012 show…
Bikebiz: How does it feel to see so many big name brands committing to space in 2012?
Hyde-McCready: Specialized and Trek clearly have a large consumer following and they’re both being very proactive in promoting the show with ticket offers and incentives, which we can see is helping to drive tickets already. Having their 2013 test fleets on the MTB track is also a big draw for mountain bikers. The ability to properly test bikes on an outdoor facility was a major reason for moving to the NEC and the only issue last year was a shortage of bikes to meet demand, which won’t be a problem this time.
Raleigh were the third most asked for brand at the show last year, behind Specialized and Trek, despite the fact they had a stand at the show. In fairness, it was only a small space for electric bikes previously, but no-one will be able to miss them this year, with over 250m2 of stand space and a special Raleigh 125 entrance.
What incentives are there for the trade to attend this year’s exhibition?
The theatre will have some really interesting trade content this year. Dave Clutterbuck from Future Publishing will be presenting the findings of their proprietary BikeTrack research into the shopping habits of cycling enthusiasts. Future’s head of search and social media, James Morell, will be showing you how to get your shop’s website listed higher in search engine results.
Something that should be fun for the trade is the new BMX Shop Battle on Thursday that we’re running with Ride UK magazine. It’ll be a chance for local flow riders from each shop to ride on the street course against each other with the winning shop getting GoPros as prizes and free online advertising with Ride for a year.
Also on Saturday after the show closes, the exhibitor party will be happening alongside the crit racing just outside the show. Sweetspot are doing a brilliant job of bringing together all the elite men’s teams like Rapha Condor, Team UK Youth, Raleigh-GAC, Node4, plus the elite UK women and the top youth girls and boys.
From last year’s NEC debut, did you see a greater geographical spread in attendees?
The move to the NEC certainly delivered a new and much broader audience than before. It had always been a very South East-centric show (79 per cent of visitors), but last year saw a big shift to other parts of the UK. On the trade day, exhibitors were really pleased to see a lot of new IBDs – 40 per cent of trade visitors had never been to a Cycle Show before. We know some companies were concerned that there’d be a drop-off in quality of consumer visitor, but that proved not to be the case at all. The ABC1 percentage was 80.1 per cent compared to 81 per cent the year before and the number of people spending £1k, or more, per annum on bike products actually went up.
What feedback did you receive on last year and how has this helped shape 2012?
Getting some of the big brands back ticks a lot of the boxes right off the bat, as that was the major point raised. We’ve also looked at all the feature content and added new features to address gaps. Some exhibitors said parts of the venue had less atmosphere than other areas, so to help fix this we’ve moved the theatre.
We also wanted to up the ante on the mountain bike front, so are adding a pump track sponsored by DMR. The pro contests are just plain good fun to watch, and the masterclass sessions tick another box for us to keep providing interactive content.
The electric bike companies came to us after last year’s show with a lot of feedback. We listened to them and committed to making the changes they wanted and the response has been great with nearly 20 e-bike exhibitors signed up.
Any seminars scheduled for the trade day?
The ACT are hosting several Cytech sessions and one on retail finance. Raleigh will also have its e-bike guru, Lloyd Clarkson, at the show hosting a talk on this sector of the market.
Who’s opening the show this year?
Jo Rowsell will be opening the show on the first public day. We have someone very, very special lined up for the trade day, which BikeBiz will report first.
How can firms get a bike on the test track?
Just by contacting anyone on the show team. We have expanded the registration and ‘pit’ area for the MTB track so we can accommodate pop-up tents too.
Who are the sales contacts for the show?
Cheryl Carroll 0207 288 6621, or Bansi Patel 0207 288 6099
New Show highlights
This year organisers have launched various new features including a Tour Ride Sportive that will generate upwards of 1,000 riders for the show plus their supporters. A Super Crit on Saturday night with Pro team, Women’s and Junior races right outside the show, plus catering and places to entertain clients also features. You’ll also find a brand new pump track and Electric Bike Village.
Registering for the event
Your entry to the show as a member of the trade is free with proof of identity and only takes a couple of minutes. Simply visit Cycleshow.co.uk/BB for your free trade pass. Trade entry is £12 on the day.
The full exhibitor list is on the show website, but to name a few, you’ll see Specialized Concept Stores, Trek, Raleigh, Madison, Condor, DiamondBack, Garmin, Mavic, Yellow, Upgrade, Hope, Moore Large, Campagnolo, Windwave and Chicken Cyclekit at the show.