Mike Webster brings decades of powersports industry experience to his role as president of the Trade Show Division at Marketplace Events.
And with the company’s launch of the inaugural American International Motorcycle Expo, set for Oct. 16-20, 2013, Webster says the show’s progress is growing every week as more dealers, aftermarket companies and OEMs continue to learn about it. AIMExpo plans to emulate the longstanding Italian trade show EICMA in terms of bring together dealers, aftermarket companies and OEMs under one roof at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
In fact, AIMExpo had contracted and registered more than 70 companies through mid-December. Add in another 30 that have the same status with AIMExpo’s sales partner in Italy, the Italian Trade Commission, and the numbers exceed triple digits.
“It’s going very well,” Webster said. “The industry has been looking for an alternative for a while. Before the alterative, they were hoping the current product would make the changes they felt they needed for their businesses, but they didn’t do it, so that’s why they started looking for an alternative. That’s why we’re getting a good reaction — they view what we have as being forward thinking and different.”
Webster, whose industry accomplishments include being part of the 1982 launch of the International Motorcycle Shows and managing Dealer Expo, also said the company is talking to virtually all OEMs, and is encouraged by their response to the show.
“We’ve had good dialogue with them,” Webster said. “They all love the concept, and agree that it’s what we need to do now for their business. It’s just a reinforcement of what we learned when we were doing our due diligence.”
The first two and a half days will be limited to attendance from dealers, press and industry members. From Friday afternoon through Sunday, the exhibit floor will also be open to consumers. From product launches by aftermarket companies to new unit unveilings by OEMs, Webster anticipates a momentous event for the motorcycle industry.
The partnership with Italian Trade Commission has also proven beneficial.
“There’s a high level of trust with us,” Webster said. “They want to work with someone that’s engaged in the market, that understands the business and can make a commitment to deliver on their needs.”
Among the attractions for OEMs are the media opportunities and demo ride availability to both dealers and consumers.
“They want the consumers to be able to ride. Demo rides sell motorcycles,” Webster said.
A heavy emphasis on dealer education also will be part of the lineup.
“We want to provide the educational training that people can sink their teeth into, and go back home and put into place at their dealership to grow their business.”
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