BY JOHN CRENSHAW
LAS VEGAS, NV—Interbike ’07 set records on the key fronts of total attendance, buyer numbers and exhibit space, said Lance Camisasca, the show’s director for the past decade.
“Pre-registration numbers were really strong and I expected that we might break all kinds of records,” Camisasca said.
“The thing you can’t ever guess on, though, is the energy and enthusiasm, which were also exceptional. This was a very special Interbike, my favorite one, personally,” he said.
It was also his last, at least as show director.
Camisasca will leave Interbike and its parent company, Nielsen Business Media, Jan. 1 to form his own company, Lifeboat Solutions. He’ll advise companies on sales, marketing and event management—and stay closely involved with Interbike.
“Interbike is my first client,” he said. “It’ll give me a chance to keep working on ways to make the show even more effective for the industry.”
Despite mutterings about Interbike’s Las Vegas location, or that it should open a couple of weeks earlier or later, the show remains a core component of the industry.
“We had total, verified attendance of 22,974; of those, 11,368 were buyers. We’d never broken 11,000 before, so that’s very satisfying,” Camisasca said. The attendees represented 3,826 unique retail businesses, compared with 3,239 last year.
Close to 750 exhibitors set up on 3,120 booth spaces—more than seven acres.
“That’s net sold and occupied space, a record,” Camisasca said. It doesn’t include aisles, food courts, space donated to advocacy groups or the few no-show exhibitors. The 2006 show set the previous record of 3,050 net booths sold.
Another record—486 journalists accredited for this year’s show, compared with 426 last year. “The event’s changing, it’s dynamic; and the growing number of non-endemic media covering the new products is hugely important,” Camisasca said.
Outdoor Demo drew a total of 4,738 attendees, including 3,493 buyers.
The demo’s new location on a newly developed area at Bootleg Canyon, and the two bike races during the show, drew a lot of positive feedback.
“Outdoor Demo was the best it’s ever been; the new format was great,” said Scott Montgomery, president of Scott USA.
“Interbike is actually getting stronger. There are so many good competitors on the market, and with the Outdoor Demo being so significant, I think there are even more reasons to exhibit today than there were five years ago,” Montgomery said.
Bicycle Technologies International (BTI) has showed at Interbike numerous times, but this was the company’s first shot at Outdoor Demo, where it demo’ed its Commencal and Cinelli bike lines.
BTI president Andrew Wright said dealers’ feedback and interest in the products was very gratifying, and rated his first demo experience as “Excellent. Very successful. We could have used triple the number of bikes we brought.”
BTI vice president Preston Martin noticed that “the quality of the conversations with dealers was different than at the indoor show. We talked a lot more about the bikes and the quality of the ride, rather than business.”
Stephen Newhall, manager of Rob and Charlie’s bike shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, estimated he’s been to 15 Interbikes and previous renditions of Outdoor Demo.
“The new facility was very nice, a big improvement, and the trail system is very cool,” he said. He didn’t see a lot of mind-blowing product, but that didn’t bother him.
“A $5,000 frame is great, but what I’m really looking for is stuff that will actually sell, and I find it,” Newhall said.
Camisasca said organizers will improve signage at the demo next year, but the major change will be to add more shuttle buses.
Another change he’ll facilitate, in his new consulting role, will be to help Interbike infuse a bit more cycling culture into Las Vegas. The Excel Sports CrossVegas cyclocross race and WCSN World Crit Championships, along with the ongoing Tour of Lake Mead, were a start.
“But we’re going to work very hard to have a ride down the Strip next year—a rolling closure full of bicycles representing the utility sector. I have this vision involving the presidents of leading companies, cycling athletes and celebrities, showing the non-endemic press the possibilities—think of Matt Lauer and Charlie Gibson riding with Kozo Shimano and Mike Sinyard,” he said.
In keeping with that, Camisasca would like to create something akin to Outdoor Demo in downtown Vegas for the commuter, folder, city and trekking bikes now populating the show floors.
“I’m hoping we can blend in, for maybe one evening in an adjacent parking lot, a place not just for the bikes but also the bags, the trailers, the lighting systems—all those things. The show needs to do everything it can to draw attention to the fact that bikes are so much fun, so reliable, so easy to use,” Camisasca said.
Next year’s Outdoor Demo is scheduled for Sept. 22-23, and Interbike for Sept. 24-26, again at Bootleg Canyon and Sands Expo in Las Vegas.