Less than three years after selling its decades-old business-to-business tradeshow, Snowsports Industries America is diving back into the show business with the purchase of two consumer-focused expos.
Less than three years ago, Snowsports Industries America decided to sell Snow Show, its business-to-business tradeshow.
“We took a step back, and [asked,] where do we go from here? How do we move SIA forward in a way that we are going to reap benefits for our members and create opportunities?” said SIA President Nick Sargent.
The answer: interacting more with consumers, which SIA intends to do by purchasing two consumer-facing shows: the Boston and Denver Ski and Snowboard Expos.
“In most industries, direct to consumer is definitely a direction that manufacturers are moving,” Sargent said. “Our industry is not immune to that. In this space where we have a number of specialty retailers that are going out of business, it made a lot of sense for us to reimagine and rethink the consumer interaction.”
Sargent said the acquisitions should be complete in early 2020, and SIA will build on the strong roots those shows already have.
“These consumer shows that we are acquiring are 40 years old and have been an integral part of our [industry’s] ecosystem for that amount of time,” Sargent said. “We are going to make some subtle changes to modernize the shows, give them a nice, uniform look, and really focus on making that experience and consumer interaction very memorable.”
Many of SIA’s members—resorts and suppliers—already participate in the shows, and the purchase will give more members access to them.
“We’ll also include our outdoor partners,” Sargent said. “Aside from just ski and snowboard, we’ll have other outdoor products there—it could be footwear, it could be apparel, it could be other winter sport activities: sledding, snowshoeing, or Nordic. We are going to bring more of our members to the show to drive a stronger message back to the consumer.”
Sargent said the show also serves as a touchpoint to help highlight the industry’s expertise. “The sports of snowboarding and ski are not cheap,” Sargent said. “We have to be creating a larger, more interesting, and compelling exchange of information and experience to get them excited about the sport and make the choice to purchase this equipment.”
By showcasing the industry’s knowledge and experience at the show, SIA ultimately hopes to convince consumers to get away from purchasing equipment online and into local shops.
“With these winter sport products, you need a specialist to apply the bindings, to fit the boots,” Sargent said. “You can’t get that online. That’s what makes these specialty retailers so special. When you go to a ski resort, you typically go to the ski shop to see what’s new. You can ask, What don’t I know? What didn’t I see online? What’s hot? What colors look better in person than on a computer?”