We all have a lot more to do these days — with less time and fewer resources. Our market and our industry is going through a whole lot of change, and all of us are spending a lot of our time thinking about how we can do things differently. I'm not complaining (well, maybe a little), because it's during times of big changes that some of the best things happen. We're forced to review everything we do and, as a result, we see things much more clearly.
Dealer Expo is undergoing a big transformation in 2009. More changes will occur in 2010, and by 2011 we will roll out an entirely new show.
You've read about the changes to the show format — four days and two buildings. You've read about the segmentation and the pavilions, and you know we've moved Dealer Registration from the Westin Hotel to the new Lucas Oil Stadium. You're prepared to catch a shuttle from your host hotel to Lucas Oil Stadium, and back and forth between the buildings (but you're still bringing good walking shoes). You "planners" out there have taken note that www.mydealerexpo.com and www.mapyourshow.com are up and running on www.dealerexpo.com. And anyone who was paying attention to my column last month knows Dealer Registration is open (and it's free!). So check, check — and check.
We haven't talked about the new features. There are so many that I'm going to take them a few at a time each month. If you can't stand it and you want to know everything right now, you can always find the most up-to-date information at www.dealerexpo.com.
Does your store need a facelift or a complete makeover? New in '09 are two Model Stores. The first one, housed at Lucas Oil Stadium, will be representative of a multiline dealership; Jim Rasmus with Retail Design Associates will be on hand to answer any questions you have about how to get started on your own "Model" store. The second Model Store will be in the Scooter Pavilion in the convention center, and will give you great ideas on how to create a scooter/transportation space in your showroom.
Some of the best minds in powersports retailing will be meeting on Thursday, Feb. 12, when Dealer Expo will host the National Council of Motorcycle Dealer Associations' 2009 annual meeting. This meeting will bring together our state dealer associations in a forum that will enable them to discuss and debate dealer business concerns. A big topic to be covered during this meeting will be the issue of inventory management, particularly new vehicle inventory. If you're a franchised dealer, you don't want to miss the NCMDA annual meeting. Keep your eyes open for an invitation — all dealers are welcome.
Eveyone loves music and dancing girls, right? Admittedly I don't know whether the girls will dance, but nevertheless you'll want to make it a point to stop by the Fashion Stage in Lucas Oil Stadium to see the hottest new apparel lines and listen to some lively music. The Fashion Stage will be between the Gear and Sportbike Pavilions, with shows running Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It's September, which means the holidays are coming. And before we realize it we'll be packing our mittens and heading off to Indianapolis. Make sure you get registered early, and stay tuned for more news as we continue to develop and improve the 2009 Dealer Expo.
Tracy Harris ( email@example.com ) is vice president of the Advanstar Powersports Group, parent of Dealer Expo and Dealernews.