Dealer Expo gets new days, new digs

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It’s confirmed: The 2011 Dealer Expo will be the very first show held in the newly expanded Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.

For the first time since the show relocated to Indy from space-constrained Cincinnati in 1998, Dealer Expo will be centralized in one (albeit massive) building. That’s right: no boarding buses to Lucas Oil Stadium, no hunts to find exhibits in adjacent hotels, no hopping across Maryland Street to find a new exhibitor. Everything’s under one roof next year.

It’s something of a novelty to be the first “event” coming in after a major facility expansion. There will be new meeting rooms, new halls, new fixtures, new paint, new food courts and new bathrooms. (You may applaud now.)

But wait; there’s more. As previously reported, Dealer Expo is moving to a Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule, giving everyone time to fully take in the three-day event -- which is expected to include nearly 1,000 exhibitors, dozens of seminars and special events -- before heading home on Monday, President’s Day.

And Dealer Expo is going to help you organize your time more effectively by segmenting the exhibit floor by product and lifestyle. “The expansion gives us the opportunity to fully develop our Marketplace concepts – allowing attendees to find exhibitors and browse specific product categories much more efficiently,” said Tracy Harris, vice president and general manager of Advanstar Communications’ Powersports Group (parent of Dealernews).

No more running from one corner of the convention center to the other to compare similar products. Want to find a new helmet line? Look in the Helmet marketplace. Are you a service manager? Then head to the Tools & Equipment marketplace. Need an off-road accessory line? Walk over to the big ATV/Off-Road marketplace. There are more than a dozen marketplaces throughout Dealer Expo, and don’t even need to put on your coat to get to them because THE SHOW’S UNDER ONE ROOF.

Bolstering the marketplaces will be what show management calls “lifestyle hubs” spaced throughout the Indiana Convention Center. These hubs will feature live product demos, and offer Internet cafes and lounge areas where dealers can take a break or meet up with colleagues. Because even though you won’t need your coat to get from one area to the other, you’re still going to need your sneakers.

Check back as more news becomes available; in the meantime, you can register now at www.dealerexpo.com.