Sunday, September 24, 2017

Looking Back At I-Bike: Epilogue

Impressive, but faked culture. Another bad part about Las Vegas.
As I wrote the series about my Interbike escapades, the coming to, and the going away from Vegas, I couldn't help but be reminded of how irrelevant not only Interbike had become, but how trade shows in general had become less of a force for the cycling business.

The Internet, and to be more specific, smart phones and tablets, have made it so that trade shows are no longer seen as necessary by the end users. The experience of the trade show wasn't enough to carry the day either. In fact, there were so many facets of the experience that were soul-sucking, non-cycling related things, that you could hardly say the experience of attending Interbike was a benefit at all. So, without any real news, new things to show, or without the big brands, Interbike had nothing else to offer the attendees. Business? Please, no one was writing any significant business at Interbike. That was all done at dealer only shows or by brand reps visiting dealers, and more increasingly, online. Why travel to Sin City to do what you could do in the confines of your own office?

Interbike made two fatal mistakes, and moving the show to Reno won't fix this. One- Interbike needed to reinvent itself as a "Sea Otter" type event, only in the Fall. To do this, it needed to be moved to a venue where cycling could be done and where vendors would go willingly to showcase products to dealers and consumers. Much like Sea Otter has done for years. However; Interbike couldn't figure it out, and they stayed married to being in Vegas for about five years too long.

Secondly, Interbike was located far too long in a place that didn't cater to the cycling lifestyle. It didn't offer interesting, wholesome alternatives to the cycling lifestyle either. Vegas is great if you suffer from addictions like sex, gambling, or drunkenness. Singles, college students, and divorcees flock to this place. There is a reason it is called "Sin City", after all. Why on Earth would something like Interbike think it could flourish there, I have no idea.

In my estimation, the industry, the cycling industry, that is, is undergoing a radical change. The entire scene will be quite different looking going forward. It is my opinion that anything resembling a traditional trade show is not going to work anymore. Reno, Denver, or wherever else that you might move this event will not fix what ails it. Interbike needs to radically reinvent itself, or it will remain irrelevant going forward.

1 comment:

Robert Ellis said...

Really enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for that series!