After the demise of Ausbike in Melbourne and the Sydney Bike and Lifestyle show (as well as bike shows and non-starters before that), an event organiser has to have a very good reason to believe that Australia still wants a big bike show. Everyone, from cyclists to dealers, brands and distributers, would love to see a successful show but there are a lot of factors that influence the success; timing, attracting exhibitors, attracting visitors, show management as well as the legacy of past shows to name a few.
In 2015, Sydney will host a new show, the Australian Triathlon, Endurance & Cycling Expo which is booked for July 4 -5 at The Dome in the Sydney Showground. This the same location as recent bike shows in Sydney. The new expo extends its reach to encompass triathletes as well as swimming, running and endurance audiences in addition to cyclists. This opens up new potential although for pure cyclists, it also dilutes the mix.
The event organiser is Informa who are active globally and organise 275 ‘large scale’ events each year. I invited the exhibition director of ATEC, Vanessa Maniatis, to discuss how this new expo can address and improve upon problems of past shows and add more value for both visitors and exhibitors.
BNA: Ausbike in Melbourne and the Sydney Bike and Lifestyle show have failed, does Australia need a bike show?
Vanessa Maniatis: We believe so based on the outcomes of our research. Myself, along with the team at Informa, conducted a few months of solid research with recreational cyclists, triathletes, endurance athletes and the overwhelming response was that there is no standalone event where the community can gather outside of a competitive event. Whilst the bike zone is a large part of the expo and momentum is growing as bike related brands look to sign up, the show will also more widely attract those who have an interest in triathlon and multisport.
BNA: What makes the Australian Triathlon, Endurance and Cycling Expo different?
Vanessa Maniatis: This is the first event of its kind geared towards the recreational triathlete, cyclist and multisport enthusiast. The exhibitors are highly targeted to ensure that they attract the desired audience. Feedback from our market research suggests that this audience needs an event, outside of a competitive one, where visitors can attend, free from the mental pressure of competition, to engage with suppliers, test products and learn from professional triathletes and practitioners.
The expo will be supported by a FREE seminar program which will see professional triathletes and practitioners deliver talks on various topics including nutrition, training tips, injury prevention and more. Expo ambassadors and professional triathletes, Courtney Atkinson and Rebekah Keat, are confirmed to attend and deliver seminar sessions.
Minimal event marketing meant that the 2013 Sydney Bike and Lifestyle Show visitor numbers were low
BNA: How will the ATEC improve upon bike shows in the past?
Vanessa Maniatis: It is difficult to comment on where others went wrong but from Informa’s perspective we are investing heavily in marketing and promotion to ensure we reach the desired audience and can meet the expectations of our exhibitors. We are also working to ensure that the Bike Zone (which is one of 7 zones on the expo floor) is sold fairly and that exhibitors of various means have the opportunity to take part.
BNA: Many brands / distributers / wholesales run dealer events and road shows and argue that a bike show requires extra time and cost without the return on investment. Can you show that exhibiting is worthwhile?
Vanessa Maniatis: This is the only show that appeals directly to this consumer market that is not associated with a competitive event. This is a direct channel to consumers in an arena that they have requested. The idea to launch the show came off the back of conversations with the consumer market suggesting that there is currently no forum where they can engage directly with the manufacturers/distributors/brands outside of a competitive environment. Currently there is no other bike show in the country of this nature, let alone a consumer exhibition that attracts a wider of audience of triathletes and multisport enthusiasts.
Exhibiting at a Bike Show creates addition pressure on Big name brands such as Cervélo (Derby Cycles Australia) who already run dealer shows.
BNA: A criticism of previous shows was that popular brands demanded free exhibition space while others paid, are you able to make the show attractive for big name brands while keeping is fair for other exhibitors?
Vanessa Maniatis: We fundamentally disagree with offering free space to the big brands as a lure to attract an audience. As previously mentioned we are investing heavily in the show to ensure that this is successful show that will build up over a period of time. We appreciate in order for that to happen we need to set good foundations in place in the launch year that we can then build upon. We have not offered any of the large brands free floorspace and do not intend to. We want to ensure that the event is fair and transparent.
Outdoor e-bike testing in front of The Dome in Sydney
BNA: Exhibiting can be expensive for small business, are there incentives for small business?
Vanessa Maniatis: We appreciate that it can be costly to exhibit and have offered all organisations an early bird discounted pricing structure as an incentive those who sign on in 2014. The pricing structure is valid until the end of the year. We are happy to work with all of our exhibitors to provide extra value through dedicated promotion across our social channels, e-newsletter and contracted PR company (Good Fit PR)
BNA: Do you have an idea of the visitor pricing and will discounted entry be available, such as through a Bicycle NSW membership?
Vanessa Maniatis: Yes, tickets will be priced at $20 for adults and less for children. Members of any of our supporting associations, including Bicycle NSW, Mountain Bike Australia, Triathlon Australia, Triathlon NSW, will be entitled to discounted tickets. This discount will be promoted by Informa’s channels as well as the communication channels of our supporting association.
BNA: Do you have a projection of expected visitor numbers?
Vanessa Maniatis: Yes, we are expecting a visitor audience of approximately 7000. This is based on the total membership numbers across our supporting associations, publications as well as our facebook following which is currently at 3000 followers.
For more information about the event, visit: atecexpo.com.au