This article in Bike Europe about Interbike 2007 has some interesting tidbits about the show and the future of Interbike:
Attendance: 22,515 unique badge-holders, of whom 11,054 were buyers. This is up from 21,682 and 10,378 respectively in 2006. 3,787 unique businesses (retailers) represented at the show, up from last year's 3,239.
Vegas sucks? On a possible change of location after 2008, the Interbike team will gather research and feedback in the coming months and put forward proposals to the industry at the Bicycle Leadership Conference in January.
Public days: Officially a trade-only event, Interbike is clearly infiltrated every year by many enthusiasts, begging the question of instituting public days. "We're moving towards a majority that wants this," said show director Lance Camisasca, "but retailers are still resistant to the idea."
Tim Grahl addresses the question of Vegas in his Crooked Cog blog, in which he notes that "just like the women, Las Vegas is cheap and easy. The major airport is five miles from the event and the hotels/flights are to expensive. The city is built around large events and large amounts of people." Interbike uses 600,000 square feet of floor space and draws over 20,000 attendees.
While several people want to move Interbike to Colorado, the Colorado Convention Center in Denver has a 500,000 square foot exhibition area and can only provide about 10,000 hotel rooms in the immediate area around downtown Denver. Other contenders might be Interbike's previous home in Anaheim, or Chicago, which boasts the largest convention center in the world. The Morial Convention Center in New Orleans might be worth consideration with its million square feet of exhibit space.
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I wish cleveland could have it. We have a 1 million square foot International Exihibit Center. However Cleveland is not even close to the west coast heavy bicycling industry, so there is virtually no chance of that ever happening.
Chicago! Mayor Daley is very pro-cycling, we have the space and hotel rooms and just a short distance away (by beautiful lakefront bike...er...multiuse path) is Jackson Park, where there is an annual cyclocross race.
We have to go to Vegas every year for the world's largest digital media event NAB2008. Vegas is fine if you need to house 130,000 people, so they have no choice.
As a diversified company, going to Vegas AGAIN for InterBike would leave me cold. In fact, I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.
Apart from that, leaving other potential registrants out of a trade show is madness. Call them public - but really they are enthusiasts, semi-professionals, sports people, bike shop owners, aspirants.
The idea that the bike industry is somehow a closed shop is old-world and elite-ist. As a distributer, I want as much foot-traffic as possible - otherwise it is not worth the effort or cost to set up a stand anywhere.
Time to move into the new world. Charge these 'public' visitors $10 to enter and you build a marketing list the size and value of which you cannot compare. Letting the public in at some point drives demand for products. This is the MOST IMPORTANT and best thing InterBike can do for its industry, cause, bike manufacturers and members, and distributors worldwide.
Early adopters go to these shows, not ma and pa. Early adopters get products out to the market place and are evangelists - FOR NOTHING! You grow, the industry grows. Take a look at NAB - they've got the revenue model for events like this sorted.
Hold it somewhere interesting please. We're not all interested in scaling Mt Everest on a bike no matter how we love it. I like Portland - at least its a progressive bike city.