Expect next year's show to be slightly different, logistically. Dealer Expo show management is planning a new layout for the RCA Dome exhibits that will organize exhibitors into thematic clusters to simplify the Expo experience for exhibitors and visitors.
Companies offering similar product lines will be grouped in the convention center.
"It just doesn't make sense to force dealers to walk the entire show looking for one type of product," says Tracy Harris, vice president of show organizer Advanstar Communications.
Although the product groupings for 2008 haven't yet been completely defined, it's expected to include, for example, apparel manufacturers. "We can't completely rearrange things in one year," says Harris, "but we'll get started [next year] so that we are ready to start with a clean sheet of paper when the new convention center is ready in 2011," says Harris.
Dealer Expo will provide several special services for high-volume and Top 100 dealers. The Full Throttle hospitality program, developed last year for dealers reporting more than $10 million in annual revenues, will be expanded. A new program called the Buyer's Suite is in the works for dealers posting revenues between $5 million and $10 million. Finally, a new VIP package for owner-operators and key dealer decisionmakers will include advance registration assistance, consignor services and special lounge facilities.
Additional programs under consideration for the 2008 show include:
A plan to bring together distributors and suppliers in a private meeting area;
- A "buyer's book" that includes all new products and services;
- And a seminar program for international exhibitors that could disseminate information on EPA and CARB regulations, intellectual property issues and sales and marketing training.
"For the last couple of years, we've been thinking about ways we can make the buyer's experience a better one," says Harris. "Attendee flow is very important, and we feel that these changes can help make the Expo experience more valuable."
It's expected that in 2009, once the new sports dome is built, the RCA Dome will be demolished to make way for a long-needed expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The 2009 and 2010 Dealer Expos will take place in the convention center and the new dome facility, but the 2011 show will enjoy the expanded exhibit space inside the new convention center — all under one roof.
— Joe Delmont and Mary Slepicka