A powersports show expert shares tips to help you maximize your “show time”
Motorcycle, boat and RV shows are a highlight of the year for many enthusiasts. They’re an opportunity to sample all that the manufacturers have going on, check out new accessories and parts, and connect with other like-minded people.
And with a little planning, show-goers can be sure to get the most out of their experience.
Todd Matthews knows. As Progressive’s Special Lines Event Coordinator, he’s racked up over 50,000 miles in the last few years traveling to shows the company sponsors. If you’ve been to a recent International Motorcycle Show or National Marine Manufacturers Association Boat Show, chances are you rubbed shoulders with him.
I caught up with Todd during one of his check-ins at the Progressive home office. As he sorted through the mail and packages that had accumulated on his desk during his trip, I picked his brain for some tips.
Here’s what he offered.
- Look for discounts—“There are a bunch of ways you can save a few bucks,” says Todd. Check the event website. You might find deals for buying tickets in advance, buying multi-day passes, buying through one of the show’s sponsors or buying as part of a large group. Some shows also have discounts for nearby hotels. “And if you’re going to a Progressive-sponsored event, check out our PerkShare page. We offer our own discounts to those events.”
*Top tip for motorcyclists—consider riding to the show. Some offer discounted/free parking for bikes, along with gear checks so you can securely store your helmet and leathers.
- Check the event website for features you want to attend—These might include seminars, celebrity appearances and demos. As for the latter, Todd really stresses pre-registering: “Several of the IMS shows offer motorcycle demo rides. But you have to register for those demos at the manufacturer’s website well in advance. If you don’t register, you’ll get shut out.”
- Check the event website for a map—These shows are huge. While it’s easy to find the big manufacturers, tracking down some of the smaller exhibitors can be a challenge. Fortunately, most of the shows offer detailed maps with the location of even the smallest booths to help you not miss a thing.
- Prepare to walk a lot—Seems simple enough. But again, these shows are huge. You’re going to do a lot of walking and standing. And take regular breaks to hydrate—convention centers are notoriously hot, dry environments.
- Get there early—“Attendance usually peaks around mid-afternoon,” says Todd. So if you’d like to get a decent parking space, avoid long lines at the ticket will call, and maximize the amount of time you spend getting your hands on new products, get there as soon as the show opens. Better yet, take a day off from work and come during the week, when there’s just less of a crowd.
“It’s certainly possible to show up spur-of-the-moment and have a great day,” says Todd. “But I think attendees can get so much more out of their experience with a little advance planning.”
For more information on the shows Progressive is sponsoring, visit: