Interbike picks Reno as new location for trade show
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Interbike will be largest trade show ever held in Biggest Little City.
Interbike has a new home.
The bicycle trade show is moving its annual September expo to the Biggest Little City from 2018 to 2022, the organization announced Thursday morning. In addition to being the largest annual bike trade show in North America, Interbike is also the largest trade show ever booked in Reno. Coming along for the ride to Reno with Interbike is Clif Bar CrossVegas, the nation’s biggest cyclocross event.
The search for a new location "was challenging," with several candidates such as Denver submitting strong bids to host the event, said Pat Hus, Interbike vice president. Ultimately, Reno won out due to a combination of factors.
In addition to providing concessions ― up to $1.35 million annually, according to the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority ― Reno also had the advantage of having North America's largest alpine lake in its backyard, Lake Tahoe. Combined with other factors such as affordability, weather and plenty of opportunities for biking, Reno-Tahoe provides Interbike a lot of flexibility for events and partnerships, according to Hus. This includes the event’s first ever Interbike Marketweek, a consumer festival that will be held near Lake Tahoe prior to the main expo event.
"We could not be more satisfied (with Reno-Tahoe)," Hus said. "The place goes above and beyond the call of duty."
Sealing the Interbike deal is a big get for Reno-Sparks. Lack of convention space recently torpedoed the region’s bid for Interbike's big brother, the Outdoor Retailer expo, which went to Denver. Interbike is operated by Emerald Expositions, which also oversees Outdoor Retailer.
Negotiations were led by the RSCVA, which described its bid as a group effort that involved key public and private entities in the Northern Nevada community.
“Interbike represents the largest trade show event ever booked in the Reno-Tahoe area,” said Phil DeLone, RSCVA president and CEO. “We are grateful to Interbike, and Emerald Expositions, for giving us this opportunity, and I am encouraged to see what this destination can accomplish when we all come together to achieve a common goal.”
In 2015, Interbike reported that nearly 23,000 attendees and more than 1,400 brands took part in its trade show. The number eclipses the Safari Club International convention, which attracted more than 18,000 attendees earlier this year in Las Vegas.
The expo is also projected to generate 107,280 room nights for area lodging businesses over five years, according to the Reno-Sparks Conventions and Visitors Authority. The RSCVA expects an annual economic impact of $21 million from the event.
Interbike’s move comes with the added bonus of bringing America’s largest cyclocross event with it. Despite the move to Reno, CrossVegas will retain its “Vegas” moniker, said Brook Watts, the event’s owner and organizer.
“So many people know that name and they associate it with a great evening of fun that we decided to hang onto it as part of the heritage of the event,” Watts said.
Interbike's move to Reno is seen as a way to rejuvenate the trade show amid increased competition from other events as well as Las Vegas fatigue among some attendees. The trade show saw attendance fall in 2016, which the organization says reflects a dip in sales for the industry as a whole.
This is not the first time that Interbike has pedaled its way into the Biggest Little City. First held in Las Vegas in 1982, Interbike’s history includes a three-year stint in Reno from 1985 to 1987, according to Hus. The trade show was held in other cities as well before making Las Vegas its permanent home in 1998 after the event saw major growth.
Interbike is not the only trade show making a return to Reno from Las Vegas. The Safari Club announced last year that it will return to Reno for a three-year stint from 2019 to 2021. At the time, current RSCVA President and CEO DeLone was the Safari Club’s chief executive. Safari Club’s return to Reno occurs on January 2019 just a few months after the Interbike expo.
The move to Reno should give Interbike attendees easier access to and from the event, Hus said. This will allow more convention goers to take their bikes with them, something that posed a challenge in Las Vegas.
In addition to being right next to the Atlantis Casino Resort, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center is also within easy biking distance of several hotel-casinos and lodging facilities in the area.
"If people bring their own bikes, it's not as conducive in Las Vegas based on temperatures and traffic to be riding to and from where you are," Hus said. "Here (in Reno), it's going to be super simple."
Interbike will provide shuttle service for attendees to and from the trade show, airport and other events it has planned. Transportation is one of the amenities that Interbike will invest in as part of the concessions it received from Reno-Sparks.
Hus also touted options such as the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno for attendees who plan to come with their trailers or RVs.
"You can park behind the hotel and stay there for a less expensive rate and still have access to the hotel facilities, so that's kind of cool," Hus said.
Affordability will extend to exhibitors in the form of lower food and lodging costs, according to Interbike. Reno’s smaller size compared to Las Vegas should also lead to improved hospitality as attendees and exhibitors get more undivided attention from hotels, restaurants and other venues, the organization claimed.
Having a non-union convention center comes with advantages as well, Hus said. Hand-carry and booth setup options should be less restrictive, providing exhibitors and attendees more flexibility and cost savings, according to Interbike. Hus also stressed that Interbike is not anti-union.
“Our decorator has a union group and we work closely with them on almost every property,” Hus said. “The property itself, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, is a non-union building and in that model, we’re not held to as restrictive policies as we have with many of our other properties.”
Interbike also cited Reno’s ideal temperatures, which average in the low 80s during the day and the 60s in the evenings. The weather makes demoing equipment and the overall convention experience a lot more ideal, according to Interbike. In addition to constructing an outdoor test track near the convention center, the event also will include outdoor dining options.
Organizers are already setting up events around the expo to take advantage of the new Reno-Tahoe location.
This includes a partnership with Northstar California on Friday, Sept. 15, the weekend before the expo, for the inaugural Interbike Marketweek at The Village at Northstar. The consumer festival will include camping options for attendees and continue through the first half of Sept. 16. The event then transitions into a familiar staple for Interbike known as Outdoor Demo on Saturday afternoon and through Sunday, Sept. 17. Outdoor Demo allows attendees to try out the latest cycling products from participating manufacturers and retailers. The actual Interbike International Trade Show runs from Sept. 18 to 20 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Interbike is currently in talks with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority about air travel options for expo attendees. The trade show also plans to make more announcements about its 2018 show prior to the event.
As part of concessions it received from Reno-Sparks, Interbike says it plans to heavily market not just the event but the destination as well. Hus says the organization has taken note of the changes in Northern Nevada in the last few years, including the arrival of Tesla's Gigafactory as well as the region's shift from a traditional gaming-based economy to a more diversified one.
Today's Reno-Sparks is definitely not the same place organizers saw when Interbike was held in the area decades ago, according to Hus.
"The city has come a long way from the late '80s from what we remember," Hus said. "We're excited to tell the bike world about it."