You like Indy, but …

You like Indy, but …

If the latest survey results are to be taken anywhere seriously, then a majority of dealers like the fact that a) Dealer Expo is held in February and b) it’s held in the albeit cramped quarters of Indianapolis.

BUT … a sizeable percentage are willing to consider moving Dealer Expo to another city if it means a) it won’t cost them any more to attend (or much more); b) it won’t force them to spend more time away from the store; and c) better weather.

Readers will recall that Dealer Expo show management initiated a survey on the Dealernews website to determine how dealers (aka show attendees) felt about keeping the Expo in Indy or moving it to larger quarters. Although the Dealer Expo is the biggest show in a state capitol willing to open its doors and hearts to powersports dealers across the country, it has suffered from its own success in that it simply has outgrown the Indiana Convention Center.

The unscientific results are in:

You like February. Given 12 months from which to choose, 50 percent of responding dealers want the show to continue to be held in February, a traditional slow month for retail sales. The second most popular month was January; however, only 10 percent of you opted for an earlier date.

You like the weekend. We asked you to “pick the perfect weekend” for the Dealer Expo, and 38.5 percent of you said to keep it on the same weekend or otherwise in mid-February. However, 18 percent said to have the show away from Valentine’s Day (and it is for the next two years).

You consider several factors when deciding to attend Dealer Expo, and the top four weigh pretty evenly. Your biggest concern is cost (28.4 percent), followed by the timing of the show (25.7 percent), the amount of time you’ll have to spend away from your stores (24.3 percent) and distance to travel (21.6 percent).

In the survey we invited you to submit your opinions on moving Dealer Expo to larger cities with larger convention space: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas. Interestingly, nearly 70 percent of respondents said keeping the show in Indianapolis would be a good idea, mainly due to cost and driving considerations. Many of you said you may reduce the number of staff attending Dealer Expo if the show were moved farther away.

Atlanta was the most popular alternative but only slightly; it received a favorable rating from 64 percent of respondents, who cited better weather, proximity, larger facilities, more hotels and a larger downtown area as incentives.

Las Vegas was the second most popular destination, receiving favorable responses from 59 percent of the crowd. Dealers liked the better winter weather, attractions and the ability to possibly segment the show in a larger convention hall. Notably, those who voted “no” on Vegas cited too many distractions and a resulting inability to keep dealer staff’s heads on the business at hand. “I would not be able to get my wife out of the casinos,” added one respondent.

Dallas came in third with a fairly even split: 53 percent voting in favor and 47 percent saying no. Again, Dallas’ winter weather was a major enticement, as was its proximity to many dealerships. Detractors said it lacked a central downtown area or that it was too far from their stores.

Chicago was the only city among the options that received a dishonorable result, with 51 percent of respondents advising that The Windy City would not be an advisable move. Cold winter weather was the major contention, even though Indy is just a four hours’ drive south. Perception, we guess, is everything.

For now, Indy’s the place to be. The 2005 Dealer Expo will be held February 19-21 (not Valentine’s Day weekend) in Indianapolis. If you haven’t yet registered, do so soon at

COPYRIGHT 2004 Advanstar Communications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group