Coinciding with the Tour de France… and also some of the heaviest rain to hit Sydney, we take a look at the three day Bike and Lifestyle Show in Sydney. It makes sense to highlight the winners and loosers of the show, lets first look at what the show had to offer.
The show was initiated by Cycling Australia in cooperation with SBS and is essentially one of a number of activities in the new strategy of Cycling Australia to generate more funds to pump back into cycling. After announcing the show the Cycling Australia (grassroots) team could immediately count upon participation from bike sports organisations such as MTBA, BMX Australia and Cycling NSW however the real challenge was attracting trade exhibitors – consumers want to see bikes and equipment.
Trade visitors however were not easy to come by, even in the Melbourne bicycle show, Ausbike, the first year was a testing ground and only in the second year, after prooving themself, were they able to count upon a healthy representation from trade. In fact Ausbike (August 20 – 22) has now changed from mainly being a trade show to being a public expo.
Shimano was the biggest brand at the Bike and Lifestyle Show and the nearby bike shop Velosophy gave top brands such as BMC and Focus great placement. Look, Mavic and Thule were also visible and some younger distributers were onboard presenting brands such as Gazelle, Nutcase helmets and Torq nutrition.
Shimano with one of the busiest stands at the Sydney Bike Show
For visitors, one highlight was the live Tour de France telecast on the Friday night Alpe d’Huez stage which attracted 500 people. The show also presented a small section with historical bicycles as well a Cycle Polo, BMX ramp and freestyle demonstrations.
Upon enquiring on attendance figures, while the rain certainly had an impact, the organisers were satisfied. I queried the $25 entrance cost which I personally felt was too high. The organisers felt that from their research that this was a realistic price point. The entrance fee in fact impacted upon visitor satisfaction where the entertainment and overall offering did not bring the value for money that the average punter was expecting for $25. For example, while there were demonstations, these would have needed to be essentially non-stop to provide constant periphery activity.
In an exhibition the exhibitors are essentially selling their wares or ideas to the visitors, visitors who have paid – so there needs to be enough exhibitors (and bling bling) as well as activities for a visitor to feel they are getting added-value in their entrance fee. From feedback during and after the show, many visitor expected more for their money. While there are certainly visitors who got value (including myself), many were not satisfied from the price point alone. The exception being the public viewing of the live Tour de France stage.
Velosophy Bike Shop offering the bike check and recommendations.
The winners on the other hand are the exhibitors who did value from a fair attendance, the ones who could best reach out to visitors will be able to convert the show into real value. Shimano for example was particularly popular as was the Velosophy run BMC stand which profited from the success of Cadel Evans from Team BMC in the Tour de France. That being said, anyone who has ever visited an expo will know how to spot a poor stand, the ones that are unmanned or have disinterested staff or are thoughlessly presented. Just like any expo, this show also had a few of these as well.
Cycling Australia is probably winner after this show. Once you completed your first show, the second show is easier as you have a foundation and can gain more exhibitors and improve. Participating organisations such as the City of Sydney presenting the Sydney Cycleways, Cycle Sports bodies and BUGs are also winners, being able to touch base with existing members and promoting to potential members.
The peripheral activities need to be expanded upon
On the location, while Darling Habour may offer easier connections than Moore Park, the Moore Park location is still relatively central and suited the show well. A side-note is that the show was not a lifestyle show so the name can really be simplified to become The Bike Show.
There is certainly room for improvement if we want to see the bike show appear again next year – it needs to get bigger, it needs to provide more ongoing extra activities, it needs to revise the entrance price and importantly, it needs to reassure past visitors that they will get real value for money. Sydney does need a bike show and there are plenty of people who would be interested in attending and trade who can profit from a show – in this respect it is best to view the 2011 show as a stepping stone from which both trade and public interest can grow.
A smaller edition of the Bike and Lifestyle Show will run together with the Asia Pacific Cycle Congress in Brisbane in late September 2011.