Next September cycling enthusiasts will, for the first time, have long-awaited access to the vast hall of the Interbike cycling trade show, held in Las Vegas.
An initiative show managers call ‘Interbike by Invitation’ offers public access through bicycle retailers who can now invite their most valued customers to attend under their auspices, on payment of a $50 fee for a one-day pass.
That day will be Friday, September 20, 2013. To accommodate the expected public interest, Interbike’s closing time on Friday has been pushed back from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in line with the industry-only days Wednesday and Thursday.
“Interbike by invitation is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and (free or discount product), but rather as an opportunity for retailers to invite their best consumers with the goal of leaving the show with the invitee feeling closer to both the retailer and the brands they love,” said Interbike’s managing director, Pat Hus.
Retailers that register for Interbike will be allotted a limited number of consumer access invitations based on region. Consumers invited by retailers will be able to register on the Interbike website as of April, 2013.
In an effort to address potential theft issues that might come with public admission, no sales transactions will be permitted on the show floor on Friday and added security controls will prevent customers from exiting the expo hall with any product.
According to Interbike, the initiative has the support of the National Bicycle Dealer’s Association, and a round of phone calls to local dealers in San Francisco drew a generally favorable response.
“I think this could be a good move on the part of the Interbike board to adapt the trade show,” said Gabe Ehlert, co-owner of Box Dog Bikes in the Mission District.”The public has always wanted to get in to see the new bike stuff, and in some cases dealers have just invited their friends and told Interbike they’re shop staff.”
Mr. Ehlert added, “It’s a good thing to get the public into the show hall. A lot of retailers already know what’s going to be there, so it’s more of an eye-opener to the public than to us in the industry. Allowing shops to officially invite customers is a good move. It is a nice way for shops to actually build stronger relationships with valued customers. It also allows the customers to put a human face to the dealer whose products they like and use.”
Manufacturers welcome the news too. “SRAM is very excited about the addition of a consumer component for Interbike,” said David Zimberoff, global marketing director at the bicycle components maker SRAM. “We’ll be developing consumer specific promotions to welcome and engage them that do not compete with any retailer activity. We’ll be focused on pushing consumers to retail, so it should be a win-win for everyone,” he added.
In recent years Interbike has been reforming itself to be more competitive with Germany’s Eurobike trade show, this is the latest and by far the most significant of those changes.
More information: interbike.com