Interbike to open its doors to consumers for 2013

After previewing its plans for consumer access last week, Interbike has now released details on how cycling enthusiasts from outside the industry will be able to attend the 2013 show. While many have long called for a consumer element to North America's largest cycling trade show, we expect the news will more than a little bit contentious.

Dubbed 'Interbike by Invitation', the new program will allow registered retailers to invite a limited number of its "most loyal enthusiast customers" to attend the show on Friday, September 20 only. That day's show hours will be extended to 6pm but invited customers will be free to take in the show when the doors open at 9am.

"The mystique of Interbike from a consumer perspective has been, and still is, very strong," said Pat Hus, managing director for Interbike, via press release. "We believe we've found the proper way to include the consumer, by showcasing the industry through retailers who attend Interbike.

"Interbike by Invitation is not designed to open the floodgates to consumers seeking stickers and swag – but rather as an opportunity for retailers to invite their best consumers with the goal of leaving the show with the invitee feeling closer to both the retailer and the brands they love. If we're successful with the model we've outlined we will have created a bonding exercise for retailers and suppliers like our industry has never seen before. Ultimately it will be measurable as demand for 2014 product is driven into the retailers."

According to a press release by Interbike, invited attendees will, "be treated as special guests of that shop and will be afforded preferential treatment at the show." Certain exhibitors, such as SRAM, also plan on holding invited attendee-only events as a means of welcoming consumers into the Interbike doors as well as providing a forum for more direct communication with its retail base.

Invited attendees will also have to pay a US$50 entry fee.

Notably, Friday will not be a consumer-only day – rather it will be open to both regular show attendees and invited retail guests. Interbike insists that the show will still be a place to do business, however, with measures put in place to help keep the show from being a consumer free-for-all. Consumers will not be permitted to purchase product directly from exhibitors, for example, and OutDoor Demo will remain an industry-only event.

Some pushback is certain to be expected from long-time industry insiders who are accustomed to having the show floor for themselves. However, with Interbike being increasingly overshadowed by Eurobike in terms of global importance as a trade show, it isn't surprising that the perpetual calls for a consumer element were finally answered as a way of injecting new life into the event, which was first held in 1982.

What are your thoughts on Interbike by Invitation – good idea or bad?

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