Verona the City that brought your Romeo and Juliet invited us to their annual cycling trade show called ‘Cosmobike‘ situated in the Verona Fiera Expo Area. First, of all, I would like to personally thanks them for the complimentary pass.Now let’s get down to our experience on Saturday morning 15 th February 2020.I must admit that this is not the first time I have visited this hard to understand trade fair. Actually I have been following it since its birth when it took over the reins from Padova Expobici Cycling Trade show – which I participated in as a visitor when I launched the first version of www.cambiobici.it.One thing you have to be careful in general when visiting Italian cycling trade shows are the hidden costs. So having prior experience was fundamental for my visit (parking and food at Verona Fiera are pretty expensive). I arrived in Verona at roughly 10.15 in the morning and found my top-secret ‘free’ parking space in the side streets surrounding the communal park in front of the Expo area. The first peculiar instance that happened was that they decided to change the entrance (Cangande on Viale del Lavoro) to the show at the last moment. I was lucky enough to have received a call, before my arrival, from a cycling buddy visiting the show before me who told me how disgruntled all the visitors were who found a closed entry without assistance and had to walk a couple of kilometers to reach the entry point at the ‘Ingresso re teodorico’ on Viale della Industria. Surely better signage and stewards outside on the route would have softened the blow of an organizational blowout.
When I reached the new entry point, I understood the reason for changing the entry. A significant amount of money has been invested by Verona Fiera in modernizing the structure, and I must say the new entrance is very modern and clean. The queuing system seemed to be better organized. All in all an improvement!The only constructive criticism I can give is to invest in better signage outside and inside the fair in at least 2 languages and to hire more personnel to help the public to make the experience more captivating and pleasurable. I queued up with my Media accreditation that arrived on my mobile phone a week before (with the old map) thinking that I had to wait in a very orderly fashion to receive my printed pass. If only there were more hostesses I could have saved myself 20 minutes of a useless queue. When it was my turn the Media backoffice host told me that I already had the ticket on my mobile and I could already enter. These silly organizational mistakes really let the trade showdown and do not help in their quest to reposition their brand as a national and international Cycling showcase event.
Curious to see how this year’s event was to be, I entered the first of two expo halls with my smartphone ready to live stream for our Youtube Channel. I quickly realized that Mr. Youtube had decided to put a huge spanner in the works in not granting me streaming rights even if my channel has all of the necessary qualifications. So I opted for good old Facebook Streaming( the result was not brilliant – next event will be better! I promise).The general feel to the Cycling trade show was very low key and static. The Booths were all very similar and scarcely decorated around American trellis stand structures. Yes, there were the following major and minor brands on showbut the element of surprise and good old razmataz to get you interested was absent! The thing that infuriated me the most was that I did not have a clue where the demo area was and I missed the sporting abilities of Danny Macaskill!There should have been a captivating speaker keeping you up to date on the event roster happening in the show, and the lack of signage was yet another weakness ( i think it’s an Italian habit). Trade shows should really concentrate on usability and dummy-proof signage and instructions. The average age range of the visitors was from 40 years upwards to 70-year-olds looking to reconnect with their cycling freedom on the next dream e-bike... Unfortunately, I belong to that age range! The other sectors on show rising in popularity were Gravelbiking and BikePacking echoing the similar market trends happening abroad.
I also have a suggestion in maybe rethinking the layout of the show. Finding the Cycle tourism booths placed in the furthest area of the show in a very cramped corner was rather disappointing and disheartening for the tourism brands on show. I think the time has come to abandon placing brands as per brand reputation because it’s so boring and sterile – Cycling does not need this!I think it’s time for the trade shows to introduce a specific feel to each cycling experience area (ADVENTURE, CYCLE TOURISM, COMMUTING, BIKEPACKING, ROAD, STARTUPS & INNOVATION ...) with more audiovisual and interactive technological involvement on behalf of the trade show organizers.In these past years, brands have totally lost touch with what the cycling consumer really requires, and these static formats do not help. Cycling brands should focus their marketing and branding activities around the action of cycling (what it really means and how it makes life easier) and not the lastest technical hype, which to be honest can be seen and seen again in different variations on the vast majority of national and international cycling brands.The positive notes of the show for us were:
The Vintage section celebrating the heritage of Italian Cycling
Meeting many of our cycling friends and contacts
I really do think that more creativity and organization should be put into organizing Cosmobike. Maybe a breath of fresh air in a new location in the hills with outside demo areas. Also parking, in my opinion, should be more accessible (park and ride) and lower prices for beverages and food should be applied.I also have my doubts about placing the event in February. I cannot see the point in showing off bicycles that have already been launched prior (the year before) to this event at major shows such as Riva Bike Festival, Eurobike, Rimini Bike Festival… It just does not make commercial sense for shops and consumers. If it is to remain in this period then more focus has to be put on the emotional and practical side of cycling (workshops, seminars for the public, kids cycling, amateur sportifs…) and less focus on static showcasing.It’s a pity to find these weaknesses as Italy really needs a major cycling event with a clear vision of the future. There is still plenty of room for improvement in Cosmobike. So we are looking forward to seeing your metamorphosis for next year. Use the ‘Limited time’ promo code ‘launch19’ at checkout when you order the ‘mortirolo’ package for unlocked features. This will enable you to use the site for free for 90 days with no financial risk…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLCmfETAeH4&t=212sWhat have you got to lose? nothing! What have you got to gain? you will only know signing up…https://www.bikechange.guru/register/HEY USA, CANADA, UK, ITALY AND CHINA… SIGN UP NOW!
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