[dropcap]H[/dropcap]eading into its fourth year, the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) is ramping up for what looks like will be the best event so far in the tradeshow’s short history. The early successes have been a good sign, but there’s still a lot more to be done. One of the biggest goals for this year is to increase dealer participation. While the number of dealers attending trade days has increased steadily from the show’s inception in 2013, it’s a smaller percentage compared to consumer attendee growth.
Why is dealer participation important? For one, many of the exhibitors are eager to talk to and conduct business with dealers. It’s a chance to meet face-to-face and have discussions about dealership needs. These days it’s fairly easy to conduct business over email or phone, but is that really enough? Tradeshows such as AIMExpo offer a chance for networking with other industry professionals as well as the face-to-face with manufacturers and aftermarket reps, which many dealers reported in 2015 as one of the top reasons to attend.
“Dealers have told us that getting a look at new product and acquiring knowledge are the most important reasons they attend AIMExpo. Networking with their peers and industry representatives are high on the list too,” said Mike Webster, SVP of MIC Events, producer of the tradeshow.
With more than 300 exhibitors already signed on, including nine OEMs, the list of manufacturers and aftermarket companies continues to grow at a steady pace. And if that’s not enough reason to attend, the dealer seminars are undergoing a revamp that will include more tracks than ever – even more reason to get your ticket early! The education program will include five tracks of seminars packed with information dealers can use to improve business. From social media and marketing, to advanced dealership inventory procedures and more, there is a session for anyone who wants to enhance their business. The seminar schedule will be released in early July to help dealers plan their AIMExpo experience.
The nine manufacturers that have already reserved exhibit space at AIMExpo 2016 are BMW, Can-Am/BRP, HiSUN, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO, SSR/Benelli, Suzuki and Yamaha. Founding OEM exhibitors KYMCO, Suzuki and Yamaha have continually invested in AIMExpo since the inaugural event in 2013, with Suzuki returning for the second of a two-year commitment that was announced prior to the 2015 show.
“To already have over 300 new and returning exhibitors affirming their investment and commitment to the industry-unifying platform that serves dealers, consumers and media is gratifying and a positive sign for the powersports industry,” said Larry Little, vice president and general manager, MIC Events. “With nine OEM’s already signed up, AIMExpo 2016 is sure to include the highest volume of new product introductions ever and a clear indicator of the many synergies as an integral part of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC).”
One of the most noticeable changes for this year will be the move to the North Hall. This means that the outdoor street and off-road demos and other events will be located adjacent to the exhibition hall so attendees will have easy access to the displays and test riding opportunities outside. No longer will attendees have to take a shuttle bus to the outdoor area and be without air-conditioning for hours.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Dealer registration is open, and consumer registration also recently opened. Dealers should not feel discouraged if you can’t attend the two trade days during the week, consumer days offer an excellent opportunity as well to see, touch and talk to the exhibitors. For the consumer days, regular priced adult admission is $15 for a single day pass, and tickets bought in advance online are discounted to $13. Additionally, adults can purchase a two-day pass to enjoy both consumer days of AIMExpo for $20.
Qualified dealers will find registration simplified for 2016. Previously registered dealers will be recognized by the new registration system and be able to bypass the trade qualification steps, completing the process in only a few clicks. Registration can be found by visiting the AIMExpo website (www.aimexpousa.com) and clicking the yellow dealer registration button on the homepage
The inaugural Championship of Americas bike builder’s competition was a resounding success last year and will once again be a major draw in 2016. As a qualifying round for the AMD World Championships at INTERMOT in Germany, it is the destination event of choice for any competitive builder. The 2016 competition will consist of four classes – Performance Custom, Street Custom, Retro Custom, and Freestyle Custom – from which the winner will join Team America at the 2018 AMD World Championship.
“The Custom Culture movement is one of the most progressive segments in the powersports industry today and is being driven by a younger demographic who are often new riders, and is a segment we want to welcome and embrace,” says Little. “Custom Culture at AIMExpo recognizes the increasing influence of Generation Y millennial riders and is an important element of AIMExpo’s evolution to engage with and generate enthusiasm among these new riders.“
While it has been business as usual for the folks who run AIMExpo, their home base was recently relocated up the road to the Motorcycle Industry Council headquarters. The coming together of AIMExpo and MIC just made sense to both parties and the industry will reap the rewards of their combined efforts in Orlando this October.