Event director Chris Holman talks Cycle Show past, present and future

Hayley E. Ferguson chats with the event’s portfolio director, Chris Holman, about everything the industry’s been wondering over this past year

There’s limited space at the show – how do you vet the companies that want to exhibit? Are you careful picking them, or can anyone have a stand?
The show has been very close to a sell-out each year since 2013, so we’ve been able to avoid the kind of late deals that can lead to car crash stands. We do have to police the way that
some companies exhibit at the show – there are some lovely stand builds and the expectations are rightly high, so we do have to have difficult conversations with some companies about the following year’s show if the standard of presentation isn’t good enough.

What do you think the most exciting new brand exhibiting
this year is?
No surprises that it’s from the e-bike sector. We’re very proud to already have two of the biggest names in electric bikes at the show with Shimano Steps and Bosch, but ContiTech now join them for the first time with the UK launch of their new 48-volt electric drive with automatic transmission for e-bikes. The industry rumour mill about the product has been circulating for some time and Continental will have three demo bikes available for trade and consumers to try the product first-hand.

We’re very proud to already have two of the biggest names in electric bikes at the show

Do you expect Eurobike’s new dates will affect how you run the show in 2018?
I think it’s a wait and see year in 2018, but we are already looking to move a few weeks earlier in 2019 because of the Worlds in Yorkshire and it will be interesting to see if there is any effect from Germany which could influence if Cycle sticks at those new dates. Shows in the summer holidays rarely work well so that does dictate the available options. It’s also increasingly apparent that brands are all working to their own launch cycles now with products seen at so many different times of the year, so it will need to be seen whether Eurobike’s date change will be a galvanising factor, but obviously it’s possible.

It’s been said that some people are moving away from large shows into smaller house shows; what place will Cycle Show have in the future?
That seems to have been one of the factors behind Eurobike’s recent date changes, but that show is a very different proposition to ones like Cycle Show, CosmoBike and Unibike and the scale of investment is very different too. Smaller, country-specific shows with a public element continue to be very successful while the mega trade shows have seemingly suffered in recent years. Obviously house shows in the UK have been around for a long time so it’s not a new phenomenon either. They clearly can work if done well, but we all know that IBDs are time poor so one national show where they can come and finish off orders still ticks a lot of boxes. The consumer attendance is also very much on an upward trajectory and the Cycle Show model is working well on that front.

What do you recommend brands do to attract people to their stands, and make their exhibits more interactive?

The big distributors like Madison and ZyroFisher do an excellent job of making the best use of their space and critically the stand designs not only demark the brands really well, but are open and welcoming. We all know that people can be intimidated by going into shops, so creating an enclosed space or dead ends on a stand is rarely a good idea. Open stands give visitors a chance to spend time really looking at product without being hassled, then when they’re ready to speak to staff they do. On the interactivity front, Dillglove does a smart and very simple thing with its tripod saddle testing as it’s not an easy product to try before
buying, and selling the ergonomic benefits is an even harder task without getting bums on saddles. Madison demo’d an Elite hometrainer at the show a couple of years ago which had a long queue of people waiting to try it and the BMW wind tunnel for its e-bikes had a similar response last year.
People love having a go.

Which brands really stood out/ left a mark on you last year? Primal is a company that always puts a lot of thought into its stand, making it as interactive and engaging as possible, with cool things like a photobooth. Clothing is another product that isn’t easy to showcase, but Madison does it very well. Also if you’re at the show five minutes before it closes on the Saturday, you’ll notice that the Primal team is still flat out and talking to customers, and I think you have to adopt that mind set and aim to squeeze every ounce of benefit out of attending a show. Visitors really engage with brands when they can speak to them directly – it creates a powerful, long-term bond and visitors to exhibitions are a critical group because they are at the top of the pyramid in terms of dedication to their hobby.

What’s the correct formula for gaining maximum impact from your stand at the show?
• Willing and friendly staff

• A stand build that reflects the quality of your brand
• If you have enough room, then an element of interaction is a no-brainer especially if it can be linked to your social media activities, or a pro rider bike or the pro rider themselves is always a winner too

The show is open exclusively to cycle trade and press on Thursday, September 21st, and will be closed to the general public so the exhibiting brands and distributors can focus on your B2B requirements.

There are also a number of B2B stands that are only at the show on the trade day as well as a trade-focussed line-up of talks taking place! 

Please note, members of the trade are also permitted entry into the show on all three public days, which take place from September 22nd to the 24th, 2017.

Please remember you will be charged £13 on the day if you have not pre-registered.


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