Dealer Expo 2003

Visitors will find it easier to navigate at Dealer Expo 2003
Serving as the largest, most comprehensive tradeshow in the industry, the 35th annual International Powersports Dealer Expo is scheduled to roar into the Indianapolis Convention Center and RCA Dome on Feb. 15.
Attracting more than 800 exhibitors, the three-day event — owned and operated by Advanstar Communications’ Motorsports Group — underwent some changes during the past year that were designed to make it easier to navigate for the 16,000-plus visitors scheduled to attend.
A record 855 companies exhibited in 2002. Tracy Harris, general manager of Advanstar’s Motorsports Group, says she expects between 880 and 900 for the 2003 Expo. “We had 870 exhibitors signed up by Jan. 7,” she said, “but we do have a bit more space available.”
Advance registrations by attendees were running about 6% ahead of last year as of Jan. 7, and one of the main goals for the Expo staff is to assist attendees in planning a strategy to see all that is being offered.
“We’re using a lot of tactics to make it easier for folks to determine where they are or where they could go,” Harris told Powersports Business. “We made some changes to the layout, we shifted the registration area a little bit, and we’re doing some different things with directional signage and identifying specific areas.”
Show management held three focus groups with dealers during last year’s event, and Harris says organizers learned that dealers plan their time in direct relation to how the event is laid out.
“We suspected and they confirmed that they very much use the floor stickers — which we introduced in 2001, but didn’t use to a great extent last year,” she said. “We didn’t think they were very useful, but the dealers told us they were, so we plan to offer a lot more of them with a lot more available information.”
In addition to the signage on the floor, attendees can try to use the electronic Product Locators introduced in 2001 and again spread throughout the facility. The Product Locators create personalized maps of exhibitors whom dealers want to visit. Of course, manned information counters will also be set up.
What’s Back, What’s Not
Professional exhibit training will not be offered prior to this year’s show, and Harris says the Custom Showcase and exhibitor-sponsored Technical Seminars also have been dropped.
“Response to the Showcase was good in 2001, but weak in 2002,” she said. “We had to really pull some teeth in order to get people to participate and show their bikes. I think it was perceived as a novelty the first year, and last year was seen as just another thing for the exhibitor to do.
“As for the seminars, those we are not doing because the exhibitors weren’t interested anymore, I guess. Some of the seminars went really well, while others didn’t get the turnout they may have wanted and were a bit disappointed.”
Formerly well-received, the ATV Adventure area was not set-up in 2002, and will not return for 2003. The area displayed quads decked out in accessories to fit various roles — hunting, fishing, recreation, agriculture, etc.
What will be returning, however, is a bigger and better American-made area, revamped New Product Studios at all four entrances, the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Business Center/Exhibitor Lounge for those wishing to make copies or send faxes, and the Model Store.
Exhibitors wishing to be in the American-made area must do 50% or more of their business in the American-made V-twin segment.
“Last year we had a bigger response to the American-made area than we had expected,” Harris said. “In fact, it was such an overwhelming response, we had to do some shifting to create more space. And we still weren’t able to accommodate everyone who wanted to be included.
“So, this year, we made the area bigger, and I’d say we’ve been 95% successful in accommodating the requests to be positioned there.”
The sponsor for the Sunday night party this year is Tucker Rocky, and the theme is “Powersports Goes to the Movies.” Expect to see clips from a number of films involving motorcycles and other powersports vehicles.
As for food, Harris says there will be plenty of options.
“The coffee lines may always be long in the mornings, but that’s only due to the sheer number of people going for something at once,” she said. “Other than that, I do believe we have enough food service options. There is the big restaurant connected to the dome, the Jukebox Diner that is over near the entrance to the Hyatt, and the whole new fast food area that opened in 2002 and is closest to the Mariott.”
Words of Advice
So, does Harris have any tips for those wishing to attend the Expo?
“For attendees, take the time to go through the advance materials,” she said. “That will allow you to plan your time and get a lot more out of the show. You’ll be able to do things in a logical order instead of running from one end of the building to the other. Often times, although an exhibitor may want to talk to a visitor to their booth, they are so busy that they can’t get to everyone. So, if you can, try to get an appointment with an exhibitor and give yourself some time.”
To exhibitors, Harris says: “Don’t assume the attendees will come to you. The attendees either have to have a compelling reason to stop, or they had to have received something to make them want to stop.”
To register for the International Powersports Dealer Expo, call 800/556-3369 or 218/723-9130, or go to www.teampowersports.com.
Editors and other representatives from Ehlert Publishing Group magazines will be manning an exhibit at the 35th annual International Powersports Dealer Expo, Booth #535. Stop and visit.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button