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Topic: Why should we pay to attend motorcycle shows?  (Read 15513 times)

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caasland
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« on: January 19, 2015, 10:46:23 am »

Am I nuts for thinking that we shouldn't have to pay to see what the manufacturers want to sell us?

EDIT: Can't seem to figure how to add a poll ...
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 11:28:00 am »

We can see the products at dealerships but at the shows we can see all brands at once.  We also get all the added attractions, celebrities, seminars, etc.  The venues for those huge shows are very expensive.  

I agree that we shouldn't have to pay to see what they are trying to sell us, but those shows wouldn't exist without entry fees.  It's the same with boats, campers, guns....
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 11:46:42 am »

Not to mention the costs to the promoters to rent the facilities, set up security, promote through advertising, solicite the dealers, manufactorers, and other businesses to attend.  Try setting up just a small local event and see how much time it takes just to round up some door prizes for the attendees.  The people that put these shows together work at it year round, putting in a lot of time and effort.  They deserve to make some money for their efforts, don't they?  

But the real reason we pay is because, we want to.  People that don't want to pay, don't go.  You can spend lots of time and money visiting dealers and shops, and still not see everything you can see at the shows, all in one place.
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 01:04:54 pm »


They deserve to make some money for their efforts, don't they?  



I was astounded at how much money per square foot that the VENDORS are charged just to have floor space to show you their stuff.  EEK!

So consider that the vendors pay just to be there, then WE pay to be there, and the vendors aren't getting any money from the ticket prices... I honestly wonder where the money is going.
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 03:22:46 pm »


I honestly wonder where the money is going.




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Like was posted above, it's everything in one place and it's a good excuse to get together with your riding friends.
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 06:38:25 pm »

It costs the promoter, Advanstar, a LOT of money to rent the event centers which each event is held.  It also costs them money to advertise the event.  Advanstar makes up for it by charging participants a nominal fee and vendors for being participating.  In addition, Advanstar works to obtain sponsors as another source of revenue.  I'm sure they make a profit at the end of the day.  They're not a non-for-profit / charity company.  

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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 07:19:04 pm »

Econ 101, if there is a demand, somebody is going to fill it.  It gives us a destination usually when the weather sucks.    Because we want to look at bikes, drink beer and BS about bikes.  

Just an opinion.  IIRC been to shows in Cleveland, Philly, DC, Atlanta, Greenville, and Charlotte.  Several times for Cleveland and Atlanta.  IMO, each year they are getting worse.  Less bikes and even less farkles.
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2015, 12:17:48 pm »

There's no question there's a lot of demand, our show in Minneapolis is usually packed. No question that vendors pay a pile of money to display their wares. No question that vendors should make a profit (capitalism is generally a good thing, IMHO). I get that it costs money to sell stuff, but those expenses are usually built into the price of the thing being sold. When I go buy a bike from a dealer I don't have the bike's price + floor cleaning fee + building rental fee + lightbulb changing fee + salesman 401k fee etc. exposed ... it's just one price (don't get me started about "fuel surcharges" or the "minimum wage fee").

In years past we've purchased stuff at the shows and received a show discount ... 10% of gerbings liners or that RF1100 makes up for that admissions fee. As others have suggested, we've made it a day to hang with our cycle friends and lament our long winters. But the past three or four years have been a bit disappointing. There are less vendors selling quality boots, gloves, etc. For instance, both Lee Parks and Roadgear have been absent. Even MN"s own Aerostich is never here, despite being a three hour drive north. Most of the accessory/clothing vendors are selling chaps, fringe and fingerless gloves, when we want to try on race suits and full face helmets. In other words ... the value of what is at the shows is going down too. I share sprint_st's sentiment that the shows are getting worse. I'm hard pressed to recall any farkle-type vendors from last year, unless you count trike conversions.

This year we might just pile into a van and drive to the two or three main MC shops in the metro. We get to see most of the same bikes, there's a better selection of gear to try on, and that $46 is a good start to a nice pair of gloves or boots.

I'm honestly surprised that there is a demand for this at $16/ticket. In my opinion, $46 is beyond nomimal for my wife and I go ($10 for parking, never mind $30 if we eat there and $20 for a wheelchair rental if my sciatica is painful).

From the responses I'm seeing in this thread, most think the cost is justified and are happy to pay it. I guess that answers my question: I am nuts.
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2015, 12:56:21 pm »

To be honest it's been almost 10 years since I last went to the show in the SF Bay Area when it was at the Santa Clara fairgrounds.  Went with about a dozen Region 1ers with breakfast beforehand.  A good day with lots of stuff to see. In years previous to that the show was held at the San Mateo fairgrounds and before that at the Cow Palace where they'd set up a SX or flat track course in the big auditorium and hold AMA local races. Now those were good shows.

I gather it's not like that anymore. Pity.
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2015, 01:53:48 pm »



IMO, each year they are getting worse.  Less bikes and even less farkles.


That's why I haven't attended the last 3-4 years even though I went to IMS Philly and DC for years.  
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 11:00:45 am »

If I lived right next to one, I would probably go.  However, the closest one is in Minneapolis, 5 hours away.
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2021, 12:19:48 pm »




I was astounded at how much money per square foot that the VENDORS are charged just to have floor space to show you their stuff.  EEK!

So consider that the vendors pay just to be there, then WE pay to be there, and the vendors aren't getting any money from the ticket prices... I honestly wonder where the money is going.


A previous employer used to rent a booth at the Calgary oil show which happens every year. We would set-up an approximate 10'x20' booth for the 3 day event and everything included with the exception of salaries to man the booth, the final bill was in the 100K range. (This varies with location of the booth etc). The return on our investment was brutal. The last time I manned the booth, we had 3 small inquiries which resulted in zero income. I suggested to our manager that our marketing dollars could go much farther with other venues such as on site lunch & learns. Big service companies at this show spend millions on rented space here. We were a small player.

So knowing this, you can imagine what it is costing the motorcycle manufacturers to rent our our entire conference center for 4 days, along with the logistics of shipping their booths, displays & staff around North America  for the pre-riding season. Not to mention the salaries which are paid to their employees. The other thing I should mention is that the manufacturers do share the rental costs of the building with the small related businesses, but at motorcycle shows, the manufacturers are paying the brunt of the bill to host the show.  I seriously doubt that income for these shows, cover the whole cost of things. The people holding displays I am sure never even break even on the motorcycle show circuit each year, unless you of course tally up the sales that the event may have generated for the manufacturers in total.

This would be pretty hard to quantify, and actually covid-19 may confirm in theory how successful these shows are. The show is not going to happen here this year, so it will be interesting to see how it affects sales in our area. I do know a couple dealer employees that have told me that the motorcycle show once again revives interest and brings people back to the dealerships. Our show is normally held in the January doldrums, so the smell of freshly minted motorcycles gathered in one place does hint to us that spring is just 6 months away. (I liver near Santa's house where sadly our average daytime temperature is below zero for at least 93 days a year)  Crazy (it's a wonderful place to buy used low mileage motorcycles though)
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2021, 03:39:37 pm »


A previous employer used to rent a booth at the Calgary oil show which happens every year. We would set-up an approximate 10'x20' booth for the 3 day event and everything included with the exception of salaries to man the booth, the final bill was in the 100K range. (This varies with location of the booth etc). The return on our investment was brutal. The last time I manned the booth, we had 3 small inquiries which resulted in zero income. I suggested to our manager that our marketing dollars could go much farther with other venues such as on site lunch & learns. Big service companies at this show spend millions on rented space here. We were a small player.



Never done a motorcycle show -- but have done the Annapolis Boat show a couple of times.  I guarantee almost no-one there is actually shopping or buying... we use it as entertainment, a good way to waste a day gawking at the latest $2million catamarans, and learning a little bit about what's new in the industry. You might even get to sail a bit, and pick up some freebies and a couple tastes of champagne.  I suppose SOME people actually look at 25ft runabouts they can afford...    
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2021, 05:20:47 pm »

Never been to one. I know that I won't be buying new bikes or expensive gear so there is little interest for me. I often go to the local/regional bike and car shows where we locals can show off our personal stuff.
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2021, 11:40:31 am »




Never done a motorcycle show -- but have done the Annapolis Boat show a couple of times.  I guarantee almost no-one there is actually shopping or buying... we use it as entertainment, a good way to waste a day gawking at the latest $2million catamarans, and learning a little bit about what's new in the industry. You might even get to sail a bit, and pick up some freebies and a couple tastes of champagne.  I suppose SOME people actually look at 25ft runabouts they can afford...    


I have been in industrial sales for over 40 years and have worked a few trade shows. I always found them a huge waste of time if you are trying to make money selling things.

I have  a good practical joke you can play at these things. My brother in law once gave my name & number out to a financial services salesman was relentless for 3 years trying to get my business. (He could not meet my criteria of his personal portfolio earning more than mine) Anyway, I got even with dear brother in law at a home show, where I entered his name in every contest at the home show, which had relentless vinyl siding salesmen hounding him for years! Bigok
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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2021, 12:00:58 pm »



I have  a good practical joke you can play at these things. My brother in law once gave my name & number out to a financial services salesman was relentless for 3 years trying to get my business. (He could not meet my criteria of his personal portfolio earning more than mine) Anyway, I got even with deal brother in law at a home show, where I entered his name in every contest at the home show, which had relentless vinyl siding salesmen hounding him for years! Bigok


Ha. I'll often give a fake name to solicitors (usually Ben Dover) and the phone number of the county Sheriff's office.
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2021, 04:40:02 pm »




Ha. I'll often give a fake name to solicitors (usually Ben Dover) and the phone number of the county Sheriff's office.



Winner! Lol
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2021, 07:44:39 am »

Paying to go to a motorcycle sales show is utterly ridiculous
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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2021, 08:26:17 am »

The reason there is an admission charge is because there is a 3rd party organizing and promoting the event. They rent the facility from the owners of the facility, and then charge for people to rent the spaces AND charge consumers to attend the shows. But it’s not like the promoters don’t have other expenses besides the rent.  They are generally charged for security and medical, insurance, labor (a lot of which is controlled by union contracts), advertising, printing of tickets and passes, management and payroll, etc.

The participating dealers and other businesses do NOT share in the gate!  They pay the promotion for the floor space.  The shows are becoming less and less about the opportunity to sell direct to the consumer because they can already do that through the internet. Fewer and fewer retailers and small businesses are attending these shows because they don’t need them.  Few and fewer consumers are attending because they don’t need them.

AIM went  to a virtual event, held this past Thursday-Friday, that was dealer specific and was a virtual webinar.  I was able to “attend”  from my basement.  It was set up where I could watch live panel discussions and/or listen to presentations on dealer financing, promotion, and organization.  I sat in on a segment they called “Gas Tank”, which was like the show Shark Tank.  5 small or emerging companies made a presentation to a 3 person panel in hopes of winning a $2000 grant for their business. It was FREE for me to sit in and watch.  There was also a link from their website to the show “floor”.  There I could link to all of the various businesses that had set up virtual booths.  I could set up individual virtual meetings, view their websites, or take advantage of show specials. NONE of the OEM Motorcycle companies had booths.  BUT, the head of Indian, NA and Triumph, NA both were members of a 5 member panel that opened the event with a question and answer panel discussion.  Very interesting stuff there.

AiM plans to go back to an in-person format next year, but to continue to make it an industry trade show
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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2021, 09:21:43 am »

Great explanation K

But I’m still not seeing it as good for me the consumer.  I can just go to a dealer or turn on the internet.  
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2021, 09:44:24 am »


Great explanation K

But I’m still not seeing it as good for me the consumer.  I can just go to a dealer or turn on the internet.  


Which is exactly the basic reason these shows are dying.  Consumers don’t need them to shop for bikes or gear, and the retailers don’t need them either, they can reach out to consumers more easily through the internet.

However....the demo rides ARE a valuable part of the dealer-consumer relationship.  They give consumers real world opportunities to try out bikes.  And since they are put on by the OEM’s, it takes only the promise to supply some of the show labor on the part of the local dealers.   The CW shows are moving to this format this summer.  I haven’t heard if there is going to be a door charge for those shows, and have no idea what kind of other retailers are going to be involved.
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2021, 10:25:31 am »

KYZREX summed it up well and is spot on.

I have worked in the industry for 15 years on the OEM side and watched consumer habits change drastically over this time.  

The way we consume stuff has been altered in this new digital (and Mobile) age.   Back in the day if you wanted to learn about a bike and see it up close you would have to goto a dealer or a trade show.  Magazines were good, dealer brochures were limited and having everything in one place was a huge draw.

In the digital age you can do 95% of your research sitting in your underwear at home. The draw of the bike shows have lost their demand.  The death spiral started when the vendors figured out they can get a better ROI with a well designed website and some decent Search Engine Marketing.  That left the eyeglass cleaner, do-rag & cheap leather flea market vendors that drove people away.

Add Covid on top of that and the promoters need to move on and fired out what’s next. The outdoor show will be interesting to see how they run it.  Hopefully they just don’t take the indoor show and put it in a big parking lot. They do have an opportunity to provide the one thing we can’t get online now...a chance to lay our hand on he product.  That is still a big part of the purchase decision and figuring out how to best so this is toning to be key.  
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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2021, 01:34:38 pm »


KYZREX summed it up well and is spot on.


 Thumbsup  Yep


In the digital age you can do 95% of your research sitting in your underwear at home. The draw of the bike shows have lost their demand.  The death spiral started when the vendors figured out they can get a better ROI with a well designed website and some decent Search Engine Marketing.  That left the eyeglass cleaner, do-rag & cheap leather flea market vendors that drove people away.


I used to man a booth at the Seattle IMS. It was a lot of fun back then (late 90s, early 2000's). Many people wandering around the booths that had real products and interesting displays. The big manufacturers always had their best new models on hand to sit on and get the specs on. Private people brought in their bikes for a showcase, presentations were made in some cases. All-in-all, it was  great, well-rounded experience.

When I moved east and attended the NYC IMS show, I was disappointed with the high-level of "American Iron" and crappy home designs, the vendors who were selling basically crap, and a few tour operators. The crowds had become overwhelming and I felt that the entire experience had really lost its original niche. I can't imagine that I'll attend another one anytime soon, regardless of Covid.
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2021, 02:21:22 pm »

I have always enjoyed the opportunity to look at all the manufacturers items under one roof, and my buddies and I have always turned it into a social event, so it has always been like the boys getting together in a bar. I have never enjoyed spending the 15 bucks admittance & 18 dollar parking charge however. (Not counting the meal and bar tab after the show).

A while ago I met this great old Serbian guy who has been selling Ford cars since immigrating here 10 years or so ago. He told me jokingly that about 90% of the people who walk in the dealership door now know way more about the vehicles he sells than he does thanks to the internet. I sure this is true with Motorcycles.

As a marketing guy for many years I always look around at the crowds of these trade shows and one thing I couldn't help to notice was the older demographic of the public at bike shows. The last one I was at, you really had to struggle to see anyone under 40, and the average age was probably closer to 60. I said to myself how many of these folks are here looking at the possible last bike they will buy? The home & garden shows, the RV shows have a much greater age spread in the crowd.

I like to think of myself as a pretty spry 60 something however slowly some of my friends are or will be retiring their rides in the next few years just due to health reasons. You know, those mall scooter people should be setting up shop at bike shows to divert some client base.  Lol



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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2021, 04:07:01 pm »


You know, those mall scooter people should be setting up shop at bike shows to divert some client base.  Lol


I think H-D is already working on that.   
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« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2021, 05:47:24 pm »

But the real nonsense is dealers trying to add 2000$ on top of the price of a motorcycle.   New DRZ400 sm for 6000 msrp and the thief’s give you an out the door price of $8000

I basically just tell them  Twofinger

And why I have not bought a new bike in a while
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