BikeBiz: What sparked the move to Mandalay bay and how has it been received? Has the show found its new home?
Pat Hus, Interbike: The move was due to the fact that our contract was up at the Sands Convention Center, and we felt a venue change would offer a fresh, new experience at a fantastic facility. Initial feedback from exhibitors and attendees has been very positive. We have a three-year contract with the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and plan to improve the experience at Interbike for each of the next two years that we’ll be at that facility.
What other feedback have you had on the 2013 expo? What have exhibitors praised/asked for 2014?
Traffic on the show floor was very good out of the gates and exhibitors praised the friendliness of the Mandalay Bay/GES staff during move-in and move-out. The pre/post show events, including Cross Vegas, The USA Crits Finals, the Industry Breakfast and the Industry Party were all well received. Media attendance was strong, and the filming of Universal Sports Network’s Interbike 2013 TV show was a new and exciting addition.
We have some refinements to make in The Paddock to improve that area in the future, and while the re-opening of the convention center food court will make the meals experience a better one, we plan to work with the Mandalay Bay to increase the availability of grab-and-go food – especially in the mornings.
The Outdoor Demo seems to be well attended – how important is this to the show?
OutDoor Demo was very well attended indeed, and is an important aspect of our show. Interbike is an ideal environment for retailers to have conversations with exhibitors, see product up close, etc. But no other two-day event allows the retailer to truly experience the benefits and features of the latest products than testing them in the conditions they were designed for. Bootleg Canyon offer many miles of off-road terrain, though road and triathlon bikes are also tested on the bike trail and paved roads in and around the venue.
What are the greatest challenges you face putting on a show like Interbike?
Well I think 2013 created some of the biggest challenges we’ve seen in years. Moving a show like ours to a new venue was not easy, and while our sales team did a fantastic job with our new floor plan – it was still a difficult task. Moving forward we need to keep our educational content and industry breakfast fresh, keep coming up with new ideas to keep the retailers engaged, refine our new Paddock area while finding more ways to drive traffic there, and continue to seek new avenues to allow consumers to access the show on the final day of the event.
To those who say “I’ve done Eurobike, why should I do Interbike” – what do you say?
Well first of all, the folks at Eurobike do a very nice job with their event. Our OutDoor Demo is the largest two-day demo event in the world, and as you pointed out earlier – it’s an incredibly well-attended event. The OutDoor Demo is a trade-only event that lets the retailer test product – and then interact with exhibitors and share their experience immediately after a ride. Being able to translate a ride experience to a consumer after returning to their business is incredibly valuable, and can truly set a retailer apart from their competition. At Interbike, a good majority of the attendees stay very close to the show hall – which we believe creates a different sense of community than Eurobike.
You draw quite a crowd domestically, but do you envisage Interbike growing its global attendance in future?
Certainly. In 2012, approximately 15 per cent of our retail attendees came from outside of the United States, and while we don’t have the final 2013 statistics quite yet, I anticipate that number increasing this year – and moving forward.
Of all the post-show entertainment, racing, industry breakfasts and barbeques, which would you say was the greatest success this year? Any new ideas for next year?
I think the pre/post show events and entertainment went off very well this year. We had great attendance at the races and the industry party with George Thorogood was a success. If I had to pick one particular event, I’m most proud of the industry breakfast. Last year was our first industry breakfast – and we had approximately 500 attendees. We anticipated some growth – but we counted more than 750 people this year. People were even sitting in the bleacher area of the Event Center to watch the speakers. That showed us that with the right message and content, this event can continue to be successful and grow.
What are the perks of attending the seminars and industry breakfasts for visitors to the show?
Education is something we believe strongly in. For the seminars, we’ve partnered with the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) to provide content that will help dealers grow their businesses. The topics range from profitablility, to service, to tech clinics, to merchandising and more. Retailers that attend the seminars and/or the breakfast will walk away with some new ideas to implement when they return to their stores – ultimately helping them grow their business.
How can brands sign up for 2014?
Brands that wish to sign up for Interbike 2014 can start the process by visiting our website at interbike.com/registration.htm
For a comprehensive round up of the product shown by exhibitors at Interbike, see here.