The annual Interbike industry trade show has been the exclusive domain of bicycle suppliers, distributors, retailers and the cycling press for as long as I can remember.
Show organizers democratized the proceedings a few years ago by allowing members of the blogosphere to attend. But consumers have been left out of the proceedings — until now.
The show’s owners announced that a “select” group of consumers — probably about 5,000 to 7,000 — will be able to attend the last day of the show next year, which runs Sept. 18-20, 2013, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Called Interbike by Invitation, the program allows invited retailers to invite their best and most loyal customers to attend. In addition to the invitation from a retailer, the consumers will be charged $50 for some special events and access to the show floor on Friday (Sept. 20) only.
They won’t be able to buy, just look.
According to Interbike managing director Pat Hus:
“Interbike by Invitation is not designed to open the flood gates to consumers seeking stickers and SWAG – 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.”
The consumer registration will be available in April, and retailers will be allotted a limited number of consumer tickets based on geography. The final day of the show will be extended two hours, until 6 p.m., to help accommodate the new visitors.
Bicycle Retailer reports that some bicycle retailers are worried about the program because they’re afraid consumers will see new products before they’re available or products that retailer doesn’t sell. The suppliers, however, have been pressing for the change.