INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - If you've been to Dealer Expo in previous years, expect this 2010 version to be slightly different.
First, the show is slightly smaller. In fact, all of the exhibits AND attendee and exhibitor registration areas fit within the Indiana Convention Center. No more hiking it over to the Lucas Oil Stadium, or to the Marriott or Westin Hotels to find the elusive new product.
(Of course, the compact nature of this year's Dealer Expo won't protect your feet from the 2011 show, when the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center will finally allow exhibitors to let the air out of their seams and breathe more easily in 100,000 square feet of additional space. So count your blessings for this year and start that workout program now for 2011.)
Due to the logistics within the convention center this year, some exhibits will be open Friday-Sunday, and others Saturday-Monday. Check your Pocket Guide for schedules.
Second, the educational program has expanded quite a bit. From roundtable discussions hosted by Dealernews columnists to formal seminars organized by industry experts, there will be sessions to attend, and a lot to take in. Bring your notepad and be prepared to learn how to improve your business.
Third, we separated the February issue of Dealernews from the Official Directory this year. The February issue became the Show Preview. We have produced a wire-bound Pocket Guide (aka the Official Directory) which you can secure once you get to the show. It's pretty handy; let us know what you think about it.
Fourth, the Dealernews booth in the Main Lobby will also showcase our sister property, the new Dealer Traffic Driver Plus marketing solution for retailers. If you're interested in learning how your store can market to a portion or all of the hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts who attend the big Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows, then stop by and get some info.
The Top 100 Gallery, previously only at the Dealernews booth, will be found in multiple locations throughout the convention center.
Fifth, the Top 100 Awards Ceremony has moved to the Indiana Convention Center in the Serpentine Lobby near Registration -- not at the Indiana Roof Ballroom as in previous years. (This is an invitation-only event, by the way. But given the location we're sure to have people listening in from the hallways!) We'll announce the Dealer of the Year and other award winners in the Saturday Show Dailies.
Sixth, and speaking of Show Dailies, get yours at the show on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings. We've also built a Shop Talk social media group called Dealer Expo Live that allows everyone (attendees, exhibitors, interested colleagues and assorted folk back home) to blog, comment, send messages and post images and even videos in real-time. The Dealernews editors will be "LIVE"; so please join us in the cloud-o-sphere and build your profile (it's free!) now at www.dealernews.com/dealerexpolive.
Despite the fact that Dealer Expo is a smaller show to reflect the downsizing (some would say "right-sizing") of the industry, it looks to be a good, solid, event. We're seeing lots of new product releases and more press conferences, and attendees and exhibitors ready to do business. See you this weekend.