With so much attention being given to making North America's two largest tire industry trade shows more attractive to dealers, we'd like to offer this suggestion: Turn on the equipment being exhibited and make these events truly ``working shows.'' Trade show exhibitors often are quick to criticize the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and the International Tire and Rubber Association for the declining number of dealers attending these shows.
Some exhibitors, in fact, want to see the two shows combined into one large ``Industry Week'' show they hope will attract greater numbers of dealers while eliminating the cost of exhibiting at two separate events.
Yet these suppliers themselves often are to blame if dealers and retreaders find the trade shows less than exciting. Too many go to the expense of bringing in equipment and products-only to allow these exhibits to stand idle and go unnoticed by dealers passing by.
That's a mistake. Nothing beats sound and motion for drawing a crowd, as show photographers can attest.
We at TIRE BUSINESS frequently ask show exhibitors to start up their equipment in order to take action photos. And usually this machinery is no sooner turned on, than a crowd of curious onlookers will assemble around whatever unit suddenly has been brought to life.
Unfortunately, this equipment usually is quickly turned off once the photo is taken, causing the crowd to disperse and leaving the exhibitor wondering where all the dealer traffic went in his portion of the trade show floor.
Obviously, much can and will be done to boost show attendance. The NTDRA, for example, will offer free meals and hold hourly cash drawings at its convention trade show, Sept. 5-7, in Atlanta. It also will hold ``product seminars'' so exhibitors can talk about their offerings in theater-like settings on the trade show floor. This obviously will help.
But attendees want to view equipment and products in action. And only the exhibitors themselves can bring their all-too-static product displays to life.