Pre-Dealer Expo task just got simpler – January 22, 2007

In the powersports industry, the turning of the calendar year means it’s time to get ready for show season, specifically the biggest event of the year — Dealer Expo.
The 2007 version of the mega-aftermarket event, scheduled Feb. 17-19 in Indianapolis, could be easier to prepare for thanks to online software that event organizer Advanstar is using for the first time this year.
The free online offering, called Showconnect, is meant to ease the preparation for Indy by offering a way to connect with exhibitors or attendees before the annual huge gathering begins. The software offers a chat room area plus a built-in request service, meaning attendees can request meetings with specific clients. If such a meeting is approved, it will then be placed on a calendar that the software provides. That calendar then can be printed out for use at the show.
“It really lets you do a lot of preshow networking with people,” said Trevor Trumbo, the show manager for Dealer Expo.
Advanstar used Showconnect at Big Twin West, its V-twin industry show, in December.
“The feedback from the exhibitors who used it was overwhelmingly positive,” Trumbo said. “In fact, one exhibitor told me he set up 45 meetings through Showconnect before the show even started.”
Attendees also use Showconnect to inquire about what they’ll see at the show, quizzing exhibitors through the software’s e-mail about new products and show specials. Trumbo said all of the interacting is done on Showconnect rather than through a person’s regular e-mail system.
The software was created by Showcare, the vendor Advanstar often works with to conduct their events’ registration process.
Attendees won’t have to stop using Showconnect once the three-day show begins. This year, the RCA Dome will have an Internet café, sponsored by Motorcycleindustryjobs.com, that will have six computers set up with free broadband access. The convention center also has an area for paid wireless access to the Internet.
Either way, show participants can stay connected with Showconnect, which already has about 6,000 registered users. Users are automatically set up for the software once they register for Dealer Expo. An e-mail is then sent to the newly registered party, providing a name and password.
The user then goes online and completes a profile that tells other showgoers what they are shopping for, if they are an attendee, or what they are selling, if they are an exhibitor. There is also room on the profile for brief information on the user’s business.

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