Dealer Expo Wrap-Up: Show Expands for 2011


Dealer Expo participants next year will enjoy a show floor that is easier to shop and navigate, and one that’s designed to keep traffic flowing from one end of the newly expanded Indiana Convention Center to the other.

For the first time in more than two decades, all Dealer Expo vendors will be located entirely within ICC exhibit space — no more searching for booths in various nooks, crannies, meeting rooms and public walkways.

One of the biggest changes, however, will be the way exhibitors are organized, says Tracy Harris, Dealer Expo’s VP and GM.

Next year, sellers will be grouped according to lifestyle, product and general segments.

“We wanted to create a segmented floor plan to make it easier on the buyer,” Harris explains. “The show is so big, it just makes sense to make it as easy as possible for buyers to navigate the show floor.”

The segments include product-driven categories such as tires, helmets, apparel and gear, and racing and performance, as well as lifestyle categories centered around the Big Twin, scooter, sportbike, and off-road markets. Distributors — large and small — are considered their own category in and of themselves. The new setup is a continuation of the pavilion concept launched a few years ago, but on a much grander scale.

“What people will find in 2011 when they come to the show, for the most part, is that if they go into a [pavilion] they’ll find everybody they’re looking for in that category,” Harris says.

Certain exhibitors are choosing not to be located within their product category, however. “They felt they needed to be adjacent to their major distributors or they wanted to stay more in proximity to where they’ve been in the past,” she notes.

An expanded seminar and dealer education program will fill the meeting rooms that served as additional exhibit areas this year.

The new floorplan also includes wide thoroughfares — mapped out in a sort of grid pattern — that will allow dealers to navigate the show more easily. At the ends and in the middle of these thoroughfares will be open areas that will act as meeting places, and provide space for product demos and fashion shows.

The wide lanes and meeting spots are structured to drive traffic through the exhibits and keep people moving so that all areas of the show remain busy throughout Dealer Expo weekend, Harris adds.

In addition to the expansion of the convention center, look for one more hotel complex to be connected to it via an enclosed skywalk: the new J.W. Marriott complex of four hotels, scheduled to open in time for Dealer Expo 2011.

— Dennis Johnson