Managing director of organiser Lyme Media & Events Jerry Ramsdale talks to BikeBiz about the Cycle Trade Expo’s location, pricing and date controversy…
What is the organisation’s background? Is it new to events? New to the cycle market?
I have over 15 years experience in the events industry, having recently sold a portfolio of international trade manufacturing exhibitions allowing me to focus on a new direction with Lyme Media & Events Ltd, setting up new events in new markets. My background is in fasteners and fixings so I’m new to the cycle market but believe that this fresh insight will invigorate the industry with new ideas, and can only benefit the marketplace.
Are you surprised that the bicycle trade doesn’t currently have a trade-only event of this nature? Do you see the show as filling a gap in the sector?
My team and I really do see the event as filling a gap in the marketplace. It’s a trade only exhibition for cycle retailers to take stock of their business as a whole, and meet with the industry in a single place to do much more than stock their shelves. It’s a chance for retailers who may not have the budget to visit numerous in-house shows to meet with many key suppliers in one day.
It will also offer those with and without in-house shows a cost effective opportunity to meet face-to-face with even more of the market.
Is that the key differentiator from other cycle events?
This is what makes us different from all other exhibitions in the marketplace. The trade-only format means we can bring together all sorts of suppliers to the trade that wouldn’t necessarily work within a consumer exhibition, the nuts and bolts behind the businesses so to speak.
It also provides a convenient and productive business forum for visitors to meet with new and existing suppliers in one single place. This makes the Cycle Trade Expo more cost and time effective for smaller retailers and IBDs to attend and from the discussion we have had within the industry, before and after the launch, it can offer an alternative to visiting numerous in-house events.
Why that date? And have you been surprised by the critical reaction to the timing of the Trade Expo?
There were a number of factors impacting upon our decision to hold the event in June, one being the effect that the Olympics has had on venue availability, as exhibitions tend to move for three year slots. Our commitment to 2011 has put us in a greater position to negotiate for a more appropriate date in 2012. Before launch we were expecting some companies within the market to react negatively to the date. Having said that we’ve been surprised at how well the industry has embraced the event and have been receiving lots of positive feedback from potential exhibitors. The timing issue tends to be raised in relation to ordering stock, but the exhibition is about so much more than that. We feel it’s the right mix for the trade and retailers will attend the event to step back and look at their businesses as a whole.
Why the Ricoh Arena?
We chose Ricoh to ensure the event was located in as central a location as possible to make it accessible to as much of the trade from the UK as possible. The venue has great facilities, parking that doesn’t require a bus to get to the halls and is at the heart of the motorway network, just half a mile from junction three of the M6. There are also cost benefits to exhibiting at a smaller venue than, say, the NEC. This means we can pass on some of these savings and really drive down the cost to exhibit.
Can you fill in any details about what the event is going to include?
The event will feature a number of exhibitors all offering something of tangible value to the UK retail and IBD market.
For visitors we’ll also be running a seminar programme dealing with a number of key issues facing the retail market as a whole, and the cycle trade in particular. We’re also hoping to make meeting rooms available to all exhibitors so that business can be closed off-stand but within the exhibition itself, offering immediate return on investment for exhibitors. These will be shared meeting rooms with timeslots available on request.
You’ve previously said that pricing is set to be a key draw too? Can you give us some more detail on that?
The price for a basic 3m x 2m shell scheme stand at the exhibition is £1,450+VAT; included in the price are two spotlights, a 500W power socket, carpet, signage and entry into both the printed and electronic exhibitor listing. We also have larger stand size options available, up to 20m²; all complete with the features of the basic stand package.
In order to create a level playing field for all exhibitors and to encourage visitors to engage with the products held within the stand spaces, we only offer shell scheme stand options. We believe this will create an exhibition focused around visitors doing business and will overcome the common theme of trade days at consumer events where exhibitors are unsure whether they’re speaking to an end user or retailer.
Is there a long-term plan for the show?
The long-term plan is to keep it at the Ricoh as there is space for growth and to keep it shell scheme to ensure we provide as level a playing field as possible for all exhibitors regardless of budget – which will in turn focus the event around the products and services and doing business. We’ve got the opportunity now we’re in the venue to look at overcoming the date issue so we’re speaking with as many people, from a wide a cross-section of the cycle market, to get the best date possible. We want to improve and evolve the event year-on-year and this is where trade involvement comes in. I’m always open to suggestions on how we can improve and develop the show for the benefit of the trade.
We’ve had great interest and have had a number of commitments to exhibit, but until contracts are signed I’m not in a position to drop any names as of yet.
So you can’t reveal who has signed up yet? That is still all hush-hush?
We’re in contact with manufacturers in a number of countries including EMEA, APAC and the Americas, all looking for representation within the UK. What we’re trying to achieve is a balanced representation of quality products from right across the globe, all available to the UK market.
We’re also looking for ways to feature UK manufacturers and showcase the Best of British. With exports to APAC of UK manufactured products set to increase and new trade link-ups between the UK and the region, there will also be opportunities for cross-trading between exhibitors and the potential to create channels to a wider global audience at a UK based event.
Have you got any final thoughts on Cycle Expo for the cycle industry?
We’re hoping to bring our experience in events to offer something of tangible value to the UK cycle market.
Although we are new to the bicycle industry we feel that our fresh perspective at Lyme Media and Events will help to develop an event for the trade to come together as many other industries do; to take stock of the past, improve and adapt in the present and be in a position to tackle the future head on with new ideas and ensure that the cycle industry continues to grow.
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