While the burgeoning market of distributor events has been hit by COVID-19 concerns, AIMExpo appears to have been hit by a double whammy - the pandemic and, to judge by the show floorplan, a decidedly lukewarm response from vendors.
Which is a shame as it had been hoped that co-joining with Tucker Powersports to host their traditional January Dealer Show at AIMExpo, and in the Midwest rather than its usual venues in Texas, should have helped to put wind back into the event's sails - however, with COVID-19 reshaping the way specialty and traditional channel based industries such as the motorcycle market do business, we may now never know if the initiative and changes would have made a difference.
Cinnamon Kernes, Vice President and General Manager MIC Events, is quoted as saying: "We have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 AIMExpo, the industry's annual trade show, and while this wasn't an easy choice, it is certainly the right one.
"With local directives limiting gathering size, travel restrictions, and a myriad of other obstacles created by the pandemic, there are too many unknown factors limiting our ability to create a safe environment that will also deliver the experience and ROI our exhibitors and attendees expect. We do not want to deliver a show that doesn't live up to their high standards. Also impacting our decision to postpone are the dealers working to rebuild their businesses after suffering devastating damage from fires, hurricanes and floods that have hit both the East and West Coasts.
"There is tremendous value in face-to-face meetings and in-person events, and we believe in their ability to create irreplaceable opportunities to connect with people and businesses to drive commerce."
For the record, we here at AMD Magazine 100 percent agree with that and hope that once the impacts of the pandemic are tamped down, there will still be a role for such events - distributor shows and independent or trade association-backed initiatives alike. It is a worry that, as is the case in Europe, if national motorcycle industry trade associations can't maintain such events, then it will be very difficult for anyone other than the market's distributors to be ae to do so.
Kernes went on to say: "The AIMExpo team will continue to work with key industry partners, including Tucker Powersports, to explore options that deliver relevant and important educational content for dealer attendees in 2021. Likewise, the team will be looking for opportunities to connect the powersports brands through quality networking events later this year. We look forward to bringing AIMExpo back in 2022 and will celebrate the industry of powersports and everyone that makes it great."
Earlier this year, AIMExpo and Tucker Powersports announced co-locating shows. Tucker supports the decision to postpone and has made a separate announcement regarding their plans for 2021. In it, Marc McAllister, CEO of Tucker Powersports, stated: "While we at Tucker were very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the AIMExpo show this year, the health and safety of our dealers and supplier partners has to be our first priority. We want to respect public health restrictions and we don't want to put anyone at risk. We are now looking forward to reconnecting with the MIC and AIMExpo in 2022."