The 2017 American International Motorcycle Expo debuted September 21 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio, filling up all the exhibit halls as the show marked its fifth year.
Kicking off with ‘The Future Starts Here’, opening ceremonies highlighted an important industry challenge – cultivating the next generations of riders – and the critical need for all of the industry to come together to develop our future customers. Headlining the morning and playing to a packed room were keynotes from Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris and Matt Levatich, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.
The show floor had 490 exhibitors inside (vs. 451 in 2016) and a record nine OEMs offering demo rides at AIMExpo Outdoors! With the show floor essentially sold out of exhibit space, available seats for demo rides outside ended up sold out for nearly all manufacturers as well during consumer days.
A busy first day of dealers on the show floor showed promise for the event’s move to a geographically central location. The second day did not follow on from the first, and dealer traffic was much lighter than anticipated. Overall, 2,090 dealer attendees from 1,034 dealerships attended over the show’s four days, a decrease from the 2,459 dealer visitors representing 1,116 dealerships in 2016. While hurricanes played a factor from pre-registered attendees from TX, FL and GA, the number is frustrating given the overall increased trade marketing and location of the show.
Saturday’s doors opened to consumers, and attendance was quite strong, and included a ride-in of nearly 300 motorcycles from Iron Pony Motorsports. Local partner, A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson was also promoting to consumers all week during their 105th anniversary celebration. Sunday’s attendance, while steady, did not meet organizer’s expectations, with a two-day combined consumer total of 11,897 attendees (not counting exhibitors).