Monday, October 30, 2006

Eurobike in Portland, Oregon?

One of the first things I saw this morning was a story on Bike Europe's website titled, "Eurobike Gets Sister Bike Tradeshow in US". Excuse me? As far as I know this isn't an April Fool's Day joke because later in the day Bicycle Retailer & Industry News broke even more of the story, "Eurobike Makes Move to U.S. Market To Challenge Interbike."

So, this show is to shake up the trade show scene a little bit and compete with Interbike, right? I'm all for healthy competition. However, they are saying the show will be in a to-be-determined set of dates in September. Seriously? Potential exhibitors have at least three shows that month already. Eurobike (largest bike tradeshow in Europe), Cycle Expo (Canada), and Interbike. I know that the point may be to shut down Interbike, but let's be realistic, it isn't going to happen in a year or two or even five. What happens in the mean time?

Manufacturers/exhibitors
Do you do four shows? That's a strain on personnel, not to mention finances. C'mon, we all have budgets. It's more travel costs. Hotel costs. Food costs. Shipping costs. Booth space costs. Schwag costs. Time out of the office. More marketing dollars (graphics, catalogs). More booth building costs (space configurations may be different in each location). And the personnel - you can only be in so many places at once and only be away from home so long before you get miserable and aren't that good at your job. Even our fabulous Masiguy would get a little tired of all the arm flailing if he had to do 4 major shows in a month, right?

Dealers
Will dealers go to both? Because, let's face it, unless there is some killer incentive, dealers need to go to Interbike to see the manufacturers. Not all will go to Portland in the first year or two or maybe ever. Dealers are, for the most part, small operations. Will US dealers be able to be short staffed twice in the month? Will they be able to afford it? I don't see that happening. So they will have to choose. Could it be that they'd have to choose between seeing some manufacturers over others as some prefer EuroPortland* and some prefer Interbike? Who is that benefitting?
*EuroPortland is my made-up name for the show until it has one of its own.

Location #1
Portland, Oregon. Been there once and remember it to be a fantastic, lovely city that I'd enjoy going back to anytime. Great alternative city, lifestyle-wise, to Vegas for the bicycle industry. However, as much as some of us complain about it (ok, I do....I don't enjoy being dehydrated from the second I step off the plane...and all the smoke in the casinos -gasp!), really...how many of us spend much time outside? Would we spend time outside in Portland? It's a trade show....most of the time is inside (except dirt demo) on the show floow and then at restaurants or events.

Can Portland handle an event the size of Interbike? Because that is the goal, right (get as big as Interbike)? At least that is my assumption, which could be wrong. Portland is a small city. Can we all get dinner reservations? Strange thing to think about, but I'm a very food focused person and when you have customers that you'd like to take out, it's kind of nice to be able to feed them before midnight. Vegas - sure you run into some snags, but for the most part you can find great places to eat on the spot. My personal favorite is the Grand Lux. Why? Location. Location. And warm cookies to go(need I say more?). But, I digress....

Location #2
Why the western part of the country, again? Why not more eastern this time to be different? You'd think Eurobike would try to lure European companies to this show with the same management and all. Yet, they put it on the West Coast - as far away as you can be from Europe and be in the US(ok, Hawaii would be further and Alaska...but you get my point). Besides, didn't Interbike originally have an East Coast version in Philly? If you want to gain some kudos with the US crowd go East Coast. Interbike is already way over there in the West. I've heard many people over the years lament that they miss the Philly show. They might be more than willing to go to an East Coast show, too.

These are, clearly, just my ramblings and first thoughts about the EuroPortland. As I said, I'm all for healthy competition, but I think they are going to have an uphill battle. Then again, it will make the rewards all the more sweet, right?

I am interested to hear more about this event as details are released. I'll bet Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland will be all over this story (he's already started). It seems as if the organizers haven't been in touch with him yet, but if they are smart they will be before long! He'd be a huge asset to anything they are putting in place.

I'd like to hear from some manufacturers and some dealers out there. What do you think? Would you go to both? Would you only go to one? How would you decide which one you'd go to?

Just my ramblings after way too long....thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Donna Tocci at 4:08 PM

8 Comments

  1. Anonymous Chris Lesser posted at 12:43 PM  
    Hey Donna, great post. I’m no fan of Vegas and Portland seems to have a lot going for it.


    I don’t really have anything to add but more questions: Will Eurobike offer discounts for exhibitors attending both shows? Is it such a bad thing if show attendees (gasp) go outside during a weeklong event? Hell, are indoor/outdoor booths a possibility? According to Bike Biz Eurobike is sponsoring Sea Otter, could that mean they’re aiming for public attendance in Portland for at least a day as at Eurobike proper? Is that such a bad thing? Looks like the show likely will be held at the Portland Convention Center which sports 250,000 square feet of exhibition space. Will that be enough? And can Portland get its warm cookie operation online in time to serve the cycling industry?
  2. Anonymous Tim Grahl posted at 5:47 PM  
    My knee jerk reaction to this is that it's bad for the bike industry in general. Interbike is the one place everyone comes together in the US. Why try to fragment that?

    I agree that it's just gonna cause problems of people having to choose. I'd love for everyone to ignore the "EuroPortland" and stick with Interbike.

    I say they need to add something new. Try to pick a niche of the industry or, as Donna says, do something on the east coast. Don't just show up and say "us to!".

    If they are straight trying to compete with Interbike and do the same exact thing, I think it's ridiculous. What do you offer besides "not Vegas"?

    For now I say, stick with Interbike.
  3. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 7:09 PM  
    rumours have abounded for a while now that interbike would pull out from vegas after its contract with the sands is up in a year or two. poertland was the #1 choice for next location.

    regardless of whether inter or euro are in portland, thank god for the change. vegas is a pit.
  4. Blogger Donna Tocci posted at 6:57 AM  
    Hey Chris - good to hear from you! I think that Portland can easily handle the first and second year of this new show with the space they have, but what happens if it does get bigger? Or, maybe their plan isn't to be huge....we haven't heard their full plan yet. I'm still in a 'wait and see' mode here. Lots of questions to be answered.

    Tim - I've been wondering (and it's been kicked around a few other places) if they will add a consumer day, like Eurobike has on the last day. However, that brings the show to 4 or 5 days and that's just a long time for a show. Ok, I know, I know, I can be a whiner....:)

    Anon- I hear ya...I'm not a big Vegas fan myself. But, it does have a lot of space, both in the Expo area and the hotels/restaurants, which is what Interbike needs.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments everyone!
  5. Anonymous Dave Roth posted at 12:05 PM  
    I've been following the coverage of the Eurobike/Portland show on this site and others. As a retailer, I'm excited by the news, especially since my store is located in Portland. A lot of people are talking about the issue of whether the industry can handle two shows so close together. People have asked some very good questions about whether distributors/manufacturers can afford two shows or if they will choose to attend only one. As a retailer, we will have to make similar decisions about attending both shows. For us, it is a bit easier since one show will be local, so we don't have to pay for travel/hotel/food. So we probably will attend both.

    What I'm not seeing mentioned in all this coverage is that a similar situation exists in Europe. There are three major shows in Europe, all within a month of each other. Eurobike was in Germany on Aug 31 to Sep 3, IFMA was also in Germany on Sept 14-17, and then EICMA was in Italy on Sept 15-18. Two of these shows overlap dates, and many of the vendors at those shows also come to Interbike, which was a few days later.

    I haven't attended any of the European shows, but based on the media coverage, these are all large shows with many manufacturers/distributors attending all of them. I'm assuming that many of those companies are similar to companies here in the US, with similar numbers of employees and profits and all that sort of thing. How do they afford to attend all these shows, yet US companies can't attend more than one show in a year? I'd love to hear from some of the industry people who have attended these shows to get their input.
  6. Anonymous mark posted at 12:38 PM  
    Portland has loads of restaurants and the convention center is quite big, I think the location should be fine.
  7. Blogger T-Guy J posted at 1:09 PM  
    Hey Donna,

    Love the post. As a fan, I will say that I love seeing all the news from the shows, and look forward to September every year for that one fact.

    But seriously, what knew will be shown at Eurobike USA than will at regular old Eurobike or at Interbike or in Canada. It will absolutely kill the companies that display...there are a lot of people in the industry who HATE going to just one show a year (in fact, Serotta doesn't even go every year and they are a big company).

    However, I would love to see Eurobike Boston...that would be a lot of fun for me...and it is convenient enough for a lot of companies.

    Bike On,

    T-Shirt Guy J
  8. Blogger Donna Tocci posted at 5:26 PM  
    Dave - lucky you that the new show will be in your home town! Nice!

    Good point about the European shows. I can say that, as far as I know the other two shows are much more in-country shows or regional shows. Many companies will go to more than one, but with the overlap do have to choose between the smaller ones. Eurobike is the 'big daddy', if you will, and everyone brings out the big guns for that.

    Mark - restaurants are good...yummm...and I know there is a brewpub or two...again...yummm...

    T-shirt Guy J - I'll vote Boston with you! As for what companies would show where...well, we basically show the same things at Eurobike, Cycle Expo and Interbike. The only difference is maybe a few products in the line will be for a European audience only because needs are a little different there. But there aren't new products for every show. Our product guys would implode! :)

    All great comments, opinions, questions and ideas! Thanks to everyone for stopping by. Keep 'em coming!

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