Along with good conversation and a visual backdrop that would be hard to top, the ASNA Summer Meeting that took place July 12-13 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta, Canada, was everything ASNA Chair Mike Gempp
had hoped it would be.
“This really was a tremendous opportunity for ATAEs as well as representatives from the entire auto show community to network, to learn from some of our industry experts and to share their own experiences as we reflect on this past season and look forward to the next one,” said Gempp, who manages the Philadelphia Auto Show under the overall leadership of ATAE Kevin Mazzucola.
ATAE Tim Jackson
, who heads the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (and its Denver Auto Show) said the Summer Meeting was “very productive, valuable, timely and worthwhile.”
Two of the biggest topics that were discussed—security and data collection—took up a significant portion of the full-day agenda.
Among the presenters was Arnette Heintze
, CEO of Hillard Heintze
, an investigation and security risk management company, who shared insights on a topic that is more timely than some might hope.
On the issue of data collection, representatives from three companies were present to provide information and take questions, among them eshots
and Fish Technologies
Colorado’s Jackson said: “ASNA was fortunate to have leaders in location-based consumer intent technology present, as every modern auto show wants and needs to stay current on new technology available that better tracks purchase intenders visiting local auto shows.”
He also lauded the ASNA organizing committee for “a great job in aligning the topics with the current trends and issues we as auto show producers face.”
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The Summer Meeting also featured an update on the Power of Auto Shows, presented by Nancy Walter
, a vice president at Foresight Research
, which authored the study that was released a year ago. ASNA’s public relations consultant, Joe Rohatynski
, added insights related to strategies that auto show producers and partners should consider in an effort to put the Foresight research findings to use in the weeks and months ahead.
Tim Jackson said he was particularly impressed with the attention given to the topic of value. “We all know that consumers find auto shows of great value in their car shopping search process. We plan to make good use of the information provided by Foresight Research as we continue to promote the Denver Auto Show to local media and community leaders.”
Panel discussions, always a popular part of the annual Summer Meeting, were also featured, something that Jackson said provided “much new insight as to the biggest concerns faced by those buying space in auto shows.”
ATAE Wyatt Wainwright
, who heads the Houston Auto Show as well as the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, said both the presentations on security and data collection were of value, noting that the topics sparked great interest and conversation among a diverse group of attendees.
“This was a very lively, informative and well-planned agenda,” said Wainwright.
Highlights of 'Power of Auto Shows' key findings updated with
2016 Foresight Research auto show studies
The latest findings from Foresight (which includes proprietary data from surveys of new auto buyers as well as auto show attendees and local residents):
- 64 percent of attendees say they are in the market to buy a car or truck in the next 12 months after the auto show.
- 56 percent of attendees who purchased new vehicles after the show said the show influenced their decision (up from 51 percent two years ago).
- Over 25 percent of buyers gave advice to six or more people about vehicles and spread the word to non-attendees.
- Even after the event, auto shows influence purchase decisions (69 percent of visitors said they plan to visit a manufacturer’s website; 55 percent planned a visit to a dealer).
- More than 25 percent of attendees who planned to purchase a vehicle had their mind made up about which brand to purchase when leaving the show.
Auto show attendees represent a desirable demographic:
- 40 percent of auto show-influenced buyers are 18-34 years old (compared with 31 percent for digital and 32 percent for TV).
- 40 percent of auto show-influenced buyers have annual income of at least $100k (compared with 37 percent for digital and 34 percent for TV).
Auto shows influence Millennial auto buyers in all stages of the purchase “funnel.”
- 19 percent become aware and familiar with the brand they ultimately purchase.
- 24 percent added the brand to their consideration list.
- 34 percent actively shop for that brand at the show.
- 23 percent are influenced in their final purchase decision by their trip to the auto show.
Early testing of 48-volt systems for cars is showing fuel economy improvements averaging 10 percent, pointing the way to adoption of systems that would support technologies like stop-start, electric turbocharging and connections to various components required for autonomous driving. The need for the technology is compelling, says Mary Gustanski
, Delphi Automotive vice president of engineering and program management, quoted by Richard Truett
of Automotive News. “Electrical architecture is not just about getting the voltage, getting everything powered and getting the signals going, it’s about the data speed,” said Gustanski. It’s about the computing power and how you lay out the electrical system.” Current vehicles are capable of processing data at about 65 megabits or 15,000 pieces of data, per second. “Tomorrow, it’s 1.5 gigabits or 100,000 pieces of data every time you blink your eyes.”
Ford Motor Co. is among five investors providing $6.6 million in seed capital for Civil Maps
, a California-based startup that is focused on making three-dimensional maps for autonomous cars. According to the report, by Keith Naughton
of Bloomberg News, the other participants include Motus Ventures
, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford
, and AME Cloud Ventures
. Civil Maps, which has 16 employees, grew out of an accelerator program sponsored by Stanford University. It uses artificial-intelligence software to take raw 3-D data from sensors on self-driving cars to create highly detailed maps. Those would then be used to direct autonomous vehicles. Other automakers are said to be making similar moves, notably General Motors, which spent nearly $1 billion to acquire Cruise Automation
, a self-driving software maker.
BMW says it is partnering with Intel
in an effort to bring a self-driving car to market by around 2021, according to a report by Reuters. The move is said to signal a different approach to R&D efforts in the industry, which until recently had automakers engaged in typical supplier relationships. Now striking up partnerships seems to be the way to go as Silicon Valley players such as Google and Apple, to name just two, accelerate their development plans. “Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich
. The three companies have said their platform would be made available to multiple automakers, although BMW CEO Harald Krueger
said it is too early to say which others would join the alliance.
Gasoline prices in mid-July were said to be at their lowest seasonal mark since 2004, according to a report from AAA. At the time, the average price of a gallon of gas had dropped for 30 consecutive days after what was called a mini-surge in the spring. Prices were poised to continue their slide as both crude oil and wholesale gasoline prices continued to drop. Production of gasoline is also said to be just 100,000 barrels per day short of an all-time record, another reason to suggest further falling of prices. On the supply side, global oil prices have continued to weaken, notably on reports that production in June rose to more than 32.5 million barrels per day.
A new survey shows that about 80 percent of U.S. drivers had exhibited some form of “anger, aggression or road rage” at least once in the last year, a number that is said to be on the increase. The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. “Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski
, director of research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
, which released the study. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.” A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year.
One of the biggest changes to this season's Atlanta International Auto Show, at least from the insider perspective, is the new face in the form of Betsy Griffin
, who has taken over the reins from Dave Tribble
, the long-serving director of public relations who retired after more than 30 years.
Griffin, who was brought on staff ahead of Tribble's retirement, brings a perspective that ATAE Shayne Wilson
says has already benefited the Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association and the show. Her new title is director of marketing and social media.
"We experienced a new push in the area of social media and we expect that to continue in the months ahead as we gear up for next year's show," said Wilson.
'We recruited multiple interns from various universities in Atlanta to assist with social media promotions and photography. As college students and Millennials themselves, they brought the
latest ideas and techniques on how to market to this new target segment.'
—Betsy Griffin, Atlanta International Auto Show director of marketing and social media.
And for good reason: the Atlanta area is home to more than 50 colleges and universities with more than 250,000 students, a great opportunity for the auto show.
There is also an opportunity to tap into the interest generated by the presence of manufacturers such as Mercedes and Kia.
But it's arguably the social media push that caught the most attention at this year's event.
That included what is being described as a transformation with the implementation of a photography contest throughout the show that encouraged attendees to use the #AIAS16 hashtag when posting. Each day of the show, a winner was selected, the prize being a ticket to next year's event.
Following the show, all daily winners were featured on social media, with the public voting for an overall Grand Prize.
Auto show organizers also took a step forward with the use of interns, both prior to and during the show.
"We recruited multiple interns from various universities in Atlanta to assist with social media promotions and photography," says Griffin. "As college students and Millennials themselves, they brought the latest ideas and techniques on how to market to this new target segment."
That strategy took off and the interns used their social media profiles and presence on campus to promote the show and tap into new groups, while the auto show offered students the opportunity to gain valuable experience working a major event.
Griffin says the auto show continued to benefit from the support of Atlanta media, including having several local weather vehicles featured at the show.
"The stations had the ability to host live on-location broadcasts at the show," notes Griffin. "It was a huge hit/fan-favorite aspect of the show and the stations enjoyed the additional publicity it generated for their broadcasts. There was also a great extra-added advertising for the show and was a 'win-win' for all parties involved."
With Atlanta continuing to become a larger automotive hub and more manufacturers eyeing the city as a potential spot for business, show organizers are seeing the ripple effects.
"Atlanta is on manufacturers' radar as a city to watch and we're all noticing the shift," added Wilson.
Profile: Atlanta International Auto Show
March 9-13, 2016
Georgia World Congress Center
500,000 square feet
Adults $10, Children (6-12) $5 (under 6 free)
Wed.-Thurs. noon-9 pm; Fri. noon-10 pm; Sat. 10 am-10 pm; Sun. 10 am-8 pm
Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Shayne Wilson|
Metro Atlanta Automobile Dealers Association
It’s no surprise that the Austin Auto Show enjoyed a healthy 8 percent bump in attendance over last year.
At least not to ATAE Mike Marks
, who runs the Austin Automobile Dealers Association.
“First and foremost, we’re in a city that’s growing and prosperous,” said Marks. “People have money and they’re interested in buying cars. And that truly speaks for itself.”
The downside of Austin’s popularity can be seen when you look at the calendar. This past season, the show was held in April; next year it will be in March.
“We’re completely at the mercy of the convention center,” said Marks. “The fact is, everybody wants to come to Austin and our show does not drive the hospitality business, so we take what we can get, knowing that at least we will always have space.”
'First and foremost, we’re in a city that’s growing and prosperous. People have money and they’re interested in buying cars. And that truly speaks for itself.'
—ATAE Mike Marks on the strength of Austin as an auto market.
And while there are long-range plans to expand the convention center, there’s been no action on turning those thoughts into reality.
But this is a good news story and Marks counts his show’s corporate partner—Time Warner Cable
—as among the best he could imagine.
That has translated into even better techniques for promoting the show, starting with traditional ways and now online.
In the case of Time Warner Cable, those promotion efforts include having advertisements for the auto show appear on various websites and even the sign-up page for e-mail, a covetous spot to be sure.
Marks’ staff includes Lauren Davis
, who has now been managing the show for three years.
The team effort includes building a core of attractions that will appeal to everyone attending, including families.
Those features included not only the latest in new vehicles but a collection of vintage cars as well as a few iconic show pieces, including the actual car from the movie Grease (“Greased Lightning”), a Batmobile replica, and the Eclipse from Fast and Furious.
There were several “kids” oriented features as well, including a kids zone “bounce house,” balloon animals and face painting, and a pet adoption display (“Austin Pets Alive”) which offered a one-day (Sunday) opportunity to take home a furry companion.
Marks said Ride and Drives also played a significant role, with three opportunities (from Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Mazda).
“We would have had more but we didn’t have the space,” added Marks. “Next year we’ll have four.”
Profile: Austin Auto Show
April 8-10, 2016
Austin Convention Center
210,000 square feet
Adults, $8, Seniors, $5, Children under 12, FREE.
Fri.-Sat., 10 am-8 pm; Sun., 10 am-6 pm.
Austin Auto Dealers Association
ATAE Michael T. Marks, Executive Director|
Austin Automobile Dealers Association
Auto show manager
When ATAE Jennifer Whisenant
helped spearhead a move in dates for the Alabama International Auto Show from its once-customary fall spot to its new home in April, it was the culmination of years of the event coming up against a litany of “other things to do” for the potential show goers the Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association was trying to attract.
Looking back, Whisenant now says it was a good move, although two years into the change, there have been some adjustments.
“The first year  we still had a lot of competition with other events,” said Whisenant, “one of those being the NASCAR race at Talladega.”
'The first year  we still had a lot of competition with other events, one of those being the NASCAR race at Talladega. When we adjusted the dates, we tripled our attendance.'
—ATAE Jennifer Whisenant.
Still, avoiding conflicts with college and high school football, sports that have their own legendary fans, was a good move and the auto show in 2016 moved to its current early April dates, thus staying away from the NASCAR conflict.
“We tripled our attendance [over last year] as a result of that,” said Whisenant.
This year’s event seems to have hit the sweet spot that organizers were hoping for when they shifted from the fall, with all its seasonal conflicts.
“We literally could not have fit one more car into this year’s show,” added Whisenant, who said she even had to limit one manufacturer to just four vehicles.
Increasing the involvement of dealers in ticket promotions also helped attendance.
At the show, a boost in social media penetration solidified interest, with one dealer in particular lending an employee to take photos and post them on various social platforms.
“It’s all about sharing and sending,” noted Whisenant.
Another strategy that’s been embraced is reaching out to the local Hispanic market, which was helped by having some product specialists who spoke the language being available for interviews done with a Spanish language TV station.
Ride and Drive events, limited to three because of space, were also popular, so much so that Whisenant is now looking at the possibility of expanding the number by looking at off-site space.
“It’s doable,” she said.
Profile: Alabama Auto Show
April 7-10, 2016
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex
220,000 square feet
Adults, $8; Children, $4; 6-11, Free
Thurs., noon to 9 pm; Friday, 10 am-9 pm; Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm
Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association
This season’s Denver Auto Show, which distinguished itself in becoming the second highest attendance ever, continues to reflect a growing market, one that’s demographically young, says Barbara Pudney
of Paragon Expo, which produces the show for ATAE Tim Jackson
and the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.
“Denver is one of the more desirable places to live and we saw evidence of that this year, especially with the interest in green cars,” said Pudney.
That doesn’t mean there were no surprises.
One of those was a Groupon
promotion that gave a maximum of 100 guests the opportunity of to get a personalized “preview” that included a continental breakfast, entry one hour before the general public and a walk through hosted by Jackson, who talked about the history of the show.
'Denver is one of the more desirable places to live and we saw evidence of that this year, especially with the interest in green cars.'
—Barbara Pudney of Paragon, which produces the Denver Auto Show.
Pudney admits she was surprised by how quickly the tickets—which had a face price of $75 each—were snapped up.
“They were all gone within a day and a half of being offered,” she said.
Visitors also got the chance to speak with product specialists ahead of the general public arriving.
The idea for the Groupon offering came as the result of the promotions company discussing what might be possible, including the value added aspects that ended up being part of the deal.
Pudney said it was a test case that proved the power of marketing.
The interest in green car technology also continued to be featured at this year’s show, with a parade of vehicles around the state capitol that occurred on the Sunday before the show.
A day earlier, the Denver Auto Show was represented in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which took place on March 14 this year.
“We had a green car in the parade to advertise the show,” said Pudney.
A partnership with local radio station KYTO gave visitors the opportunity to show their green and get a discounted ticket to the auto show.
Among other features at the show were Camp Jeep’s all-new indoor obstacle course, and Ride and Drives hosted by the full line up of Fiat Chrysler Automobile brands, as well as Ford and Mazda.
Profile: Denver Auto Show
March 16-20, 2016
Colorado Convention Center
400,000 square feet
Adults $12, Seniors $6 discounted admission on Thursday, Children (6-12) $6, Children under 6 FREE
Wed., 5 pm to 10 pm; Thurs. noon to 10 pm; Fri., noon-10 pm; Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm
Paragon Group, Inc.
Nearly 15 years ago, when Eleasha Naso
was earning her bachelor of commerce at Edmonton’s MacEwan University
, she connected with Bob Vilas
with the idea of serving as an intern at the Edmonton Motor Show, having worked at a dealership in Internet sales.
When she graduated, Naso was hired by Vilas, who was running the Edmonton Motor Dealers Association, and was impressed enough to bring her on board.
Today, Naso calls herself “one of the lucky ones,” having gone from school to her career in one step.
At this season’s Edmonton Motor Show, she formally took over from Vilas as the first step in a planned succession that has since seen her assume the role of executive director.
For his part, Vilas stayed away from the auto show, a deliberate decision that Naso says was appreciated (and which Vilas says was difficult for him, but necessary).
“People would have looked to me for answers and Eleasha is the one they need to look to now,” he said.
The facility that hosts the auto show makes the Edmonton Motor Show one of the largest in Canada as far as square footage is concerned, which means it’s able to contain not only a wide range of new vehicle displays but a very large aftermarket Auto Emporium, including two full halls of customization suppliers and accessories with box liners, chrome bush bars and everything in between.
'It was a little bit weird. But I already knew everybody there, so it was a fairly seamless transition. And I had a wonderful mentor.'
—Eleasha Naso, commenting on her first year running the Edmonton Motor Show solo after the retirement of Bob Vilas.
Show visitors got a chance to meet the stars of “Highway Thru Hell,”
a reality TV show that features the crew of a towing company known for its huge machinery and expertise, both in Alberta and nearby British Columbia.
Another feature related to trucks and trucking was a Commercial Zone, a full hall devoted to showcasing what companies bring to what is one of the strongest truck markets in North America.
Besides the “regular” showcasing of vehicles—in some 160,000 square feet of space—the auto show included separate displays devoted to exotics: Auto Exotica and Lux Lane.
There was also an increasingly popular auction of vehicles, some 120 vehicles featured in a setting that Naso says is reminiscent of those put on by Barrett-Jackson.
Edmonton was able to secure three reveals, including the Lexus LC500, the Bentley Bentayga and the Rolls-Royce Dawn, none of which had been seen before in Canada.
Another addition to a show Naso said is constantly being refreshed was a social media lounge, which included a selection of video game consoles and couches.
“We tried to cater to people who live their lives digitally and want to share their life that way,” she said.
So what was it like to run the show solo for the first time?
“It was a little bit weird,” said Naso. “But I already knew everybody there, so it was a fairly seamless transition. And I had a wonderful mentor.”
Profile: Edmonton Motor Show
April 7-10, 2016
Edmonton Expo Centre
500,000 square feet
Adults, $15; Advance adult, seniors, students, $13; Children under 6, FREE; Family pass (two children, two adults), $36.
Thurs.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sun., 10 am-6 pm
Edmonton Motor Dealers Association
Eleasha Naso, Executive Director|
Edmonton Motor Dealers Association
When it comes to determining the value of any auto show, ATAE Mark Schienberg, who heads the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, has no illusions about the key metric that gets the attention of the industry.
“It’s really about Return on Investment for manufacturers who ultimately will decide how much they are prepared to invest in an auto show,” said Schienberg, who heads the New York International Auto Show, which draws from the nation’s largest Designated Market Area (a term used by Nielsen Media Research and others).
The New York DMA, according to the 2010 census, is 20.9 million. Los Angeles, the second largest, comes in at 17.5 million.
But the raw numbers tell only part of the story.
'We were constantly pitching media about the stories related to things like lifestyle, safety, environmental issues and buying patterns of various audiences.'
—ATAE Mark Schienberg, commenting on keeping the media's attention even after Press Days.
The other part involves people on Schienberg’s team working to make sure manufacturers know and understand how New York represents a great media opportunity, not only during the two day Press Preview but throughout the entire show.
All told, the 2016 show generated over 3 billion traditional media impressions. However, one of the biggest increases in media coverage came after press days ended. Following the two-day Press Preview, the show saw a 42 percent jump in media coverage this year. “We were constantly pitching media about the stories related to things like lifestyle, safety, environmental issues and buying patterns of various audiences,” said Schienberg.
Part of the strategy that Schienberg and his team employed was encouraging as many as 13 manufacturers who had a presence at the auto show to host a variety of special events, making use of some of the hottest venues located throughout the city.
The New York Show remains one of the highest-attended auto shows in the world, but according to Schienberg, it’s what attendees plan to do after they visit the show that’s most important. According to a recently completed post-show attendee survey, 68 percent of attendees said they plan to buy or lease a vehicle in the 12 months following their visit to the New York Auto Show.
Schienberg said this year’s show was very much a success, partly due to the emphasis organizers have placed on maximizing the many strengths of New York City.
“Whether it’s maintaining close relationships with the media, attracting huge crowds, or simply providing good customer service, we’ve worked hard to make sure manufacturers get the biggest bang for their buck,” he added.
Profile: New York International Auto Show
March 25-April 3, 2016
Jacob J. Javits Convention Center of New York
930,000 square feet
Adults, $16; Children (under 12), $7
Mon.-Sat., 10 am-10 pm; Sundays, 10 am-7 pm.
Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Mark Schienberg|
President, Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association
ATAE Greg Remensperger
, who runs the Portland International Auto Show, was as excited about this year’s show as any time that he could remember.
“We were within one half percent of our highest attended show in our history,” said Remensperger. Not bad considering the number one spot remains the year after 9/11, a time when an attendance spike could be attributed to concerns over travel.
“We’ve come close to that number but this year was definitely a landmark. On the other hand, if I’d known we were that close, I would have been standing on the sidewalk handing out tickets,” he quipped.
One contribution to this year’s attendance surge can be attributed to a new initiative for the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association, a “Geo Fencing” campaign implemented by R West
, the auto show’s new advertising agency.
'It’s very tangible. You can see how many people received a message, how long they stayed on the site and whether or not they clicked through to buy the tickets.'
—ATAE Greg Remensperger, referring to a very successful implementation of 'Geo-Fencing' at this season's Portland International Auto Show.
Under the plan, anyone with a smartphone would receive an invitation if they were in specific areas targeted by the campaign, notably high traffic areas near the Oregon Convention Center.
Remensperger said the Geo Fencing initiative may not be unique to auto shows, but based on his experience this year, he would recommend it to his colleagues.
“It’s very tangible. You can see how many people received a message, how long they stayed on the site and whether or not they clicked through to buy the tickets,” he said.
Other changes this year included an evolution of sorts—from the Eco Center to a more encompassing Tech Center, with a broad focus on the various technologies that are finding a home in the latest vehicles.
That would include things like adaptive cruise control and other passive and active safety technology, as well as newer technology that prospective buyers will be considering, like cyber security technology and gateways that allow control of certain features via mobile device.
That doesn’t mean the eco aspects of the area were overlooked.
Indeed, various alternative fuel technologies were featured by the Columbia-Williamette Clean Cities Coalition
. Various manufacturers, among them Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, and Volvo, were also showcasing their own offerings.
“The Tech Center was very interactive, like the technology itself, and created a lot of interest,” said Remensperger.
Show goers also got to see a complete modification of a Maserati Ghibli in a 20,000-square-foot section of the convention center.
Remensperger and his staff even went a step further than the traditional Ride and Drive, of which there were many at this year’s show. Working with a Portland-area Land Rover dealer, they created an off-road obstacle course during which visitors could actually drive themselves in one of the vehicles. The sponsoring dealer leased a plaza across the street for that purpose and has already booked the space for next year’s auto show.
And, in keeping with its tradition, the show continued to offer a variety of feature exhibits that were tailored to the Portland and Oregon lifestyle.
“We show off the most beautiful cars in the world,” concluded Remensperger, “but in the end, we have to know our audience and offer them things that they can relate to and purchase for use in their everyday lives.”
Profile: Portland International Auto Show
Jan. 28-31, 2016
Oregon Convention Center
400,000 square feet
$12, Adults; $10, Seniors (62+) & Military with ID; $7, Children (7-12); FREE, Children under 6 accompanied with an adult; $30, Family Pass (includes two adults, two children, good for any single day).
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10 am-10 pm; Sunday, 10 am-7 pm
Oregon Auto Dealers Association
Three years into producing the Tulsa Auto Show, ATAE Peter Hodges
is happy with the progress being made in bringing the kind of excitement to the state’s second most populous city.
Reporting this year’s attendance as being “pretty even with last year,” Hodges said the dealer group that asked his team (at the Metro Auto Dealers Association, based in Oklahoma City) to rejuvenate the Tulsa Auto Show is “very pleased with our work.”
While Hodges certainly has his hands full in running two other shows, the Oklahoma City International Auto Show and the Oklahoma State Fair Auto Show, taking on the Tulsa event wasn’t exactly starting from scratch.
One of the 'cross promotion' items used at the Tulsa Auto Show is an 18-hole mini golf setup that raised $9,000 for a nonprofit store that helps teachers with free supplies for needy students.
That, and a scavenger hunt involving food vendors 'drew a significant amount of attention and worked out very well for them.'
—ATAE Peter Hodges.
Indeed, he has been able to bring at least one of the features he brought to Oklahoma City’s “main show” to Tulsa, that being an 18-hole mini golf setup that raised $9,000 for the Pencil Box
, a nonprofit store that helps teachers with free school supplies for needy students.
And that’s on top of the $50,000 donated by the Tulsa Auto Dealers Association from proceeds of the 2015 auto show.
The mini golf setup was obviously a hit, according to Hodges, with some 700 golfers (each paying $5 a round), going through during the three-day show.
Each hole was also sponsored to the tune of $300 each, that money also going to charity.
“We also gave away different prizes at the mini golf, the biggest one being an Apple Watch, which went as part of our hole-in-one contest, and some secondary prizes associated with the Master’s golf tournament,” said Hodges.
Other features of the show included the Ford GT90 concept car and a Ride and Drive presented by Toyota.
On the show promotion side, Hodges and his team were able to use the popularity of what they had done with the Apple Watch associated with the mini golf feature to their advantage, giving away a second one that was tied to a scavenger hunt involving food vendors.
“That drew a significant amount of attention and worked out very well for them,” said Hodges.
Profile: Tulsa Auto Show
April 15-17, 2016
140,000 square feet
Adults, $8; Children (7-12), $4, Children under 6, FREE
Friday and Saturday, 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, 10 am-6 pm.
Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association (Oklahoma City)
ATAE Peter Hodges|
Executive Director, Metropolitan Auto Dealers Association
Automotive Trade Association Executives
The Auto Show Report
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ATAE Executive Director