Interbike announces “Interbike By Invitation,” a new program in which valued bike shop customers can receive an invitation to attend Interbike 2013 in Vegas (Baby!)
Interbike says their limited-access initiative will help drive retail activity specifically through dealers that attend the show and to increase the value equation for exhibiting companies. Interbike by Invitation allows registered retailers to invite their best and most loyal customers to attend. These special invitees will be treated as special guests of that shop and will be afforded preferential treatment at the show.
This program seems to be an attempt to regulate what is already de-facto industry practice. Many bike shops will register customers as bike shop employees to allow them access to what Interbike managing director Pat Hus calls “the strong mystique of Interbike from the consumer perspective.”
Many in the bike industry have resisted turning Interbike into a consumer show. An unscientific Internet poll at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News shows opinions roughly split between those who hate the idea of inviting consumers and those who support it or don’t care either way. Although large bike vendors such as Specialized and Trek now hold their own shows where dealers can sample new products and write orders, America’s largest bicycle trade show remains a place to do business.
Interbike is mitigating the impact of this consumer experiment by limiting it to the final day of the show, when dealers are already flying out and vendors are typically packing up their booths. The show will now be extended to 6:00 pm on Friday instead of the previous 4:00 pm.
“Interbike by Invitation is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and SWAG,” explains Hus, “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. If we’re successful with the model we’ve outlined we will have created a bonding exercise for retailers and suppliers like our industry has never seen before. Ultimately it will be measurable as demand for 2014 product is driven into the retailers.”
Retailers that register for Interbike will be allotted a limited number of consumer access invitations based on their geography. Consumers invited by retailers will be able to register on the Interbike website beginning in April 2013. There will be a $50 entry fee for all invitees, which will include special access and a host of other benefits planned for the event.
Interbike 2013 takes place at the Mandalay Bay convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, September 18-20. Consumers who want access to Interbike will need to ask for the “Interbike By Invitation” passes from your local bike shop. Since this was just announced, your LBS will have no idea what your’e talking about, so point them to this information here.
Richard, I called Nielsen/Interbike today to see when bike shops can begin to register for the 2013 show and the phone staff could not give me a date. Since bike consumers can only request an invitation AFTER their local shop has registered to attend the upcoming show, it could be some time before consumer invites are available. Regardless, this is long overdue and a step in the right direction.