The motor industry is one of the sectors that invests heavily in events as shown in the latest report by American Express M&E “Global Meetings and Events Forecast”, with an increase of 5% investment foreseen for the sector this year.
This industry in particular, due to the characteristics of the product, demands a series of very specific requisites.
In this article, we will provide some ideas and advice for events organisers who work with the motor industry, but also of course for those who wish to apply these ideas to other kinds of events.
Events for the motor industry usually mobilise a great deal of people and tend to last several days, some even months. This usually happens with the so-called “back to back”, where there are test drives, presentations, press conferences and exhibitions of the new models to a group of experts and journalists from the sector; and once the event finishes it is repeated over and over again with different groups of experts.
You may also be interested in reading this article: “Where to organize events for the motor industry in Europe”.
1. Road trips
A group of people are invited to undertake a route, over the course of two or three days, so that they can experience the drive sensation and try one or various vehicles. We recommend forming small groups of no more than 20 people or with a maximum of 10 vehicles, but this depends greatly upon the route and the kind of roads chosen.
Image: road trip event at Barceló Monasterio de Boltaña.
It is important to choose roads without much traffic, with good surfaces and that pass through attractive scenery. If there are also interesting tourist attractions to visit and attractive accommodation is chosen, the road trip will score a 10.
You could design an itinerary that passes through several villages, stopping to eat or stay the night or using a base and exploring the area from there with different routes.
This format tends to be used when a brand wants to connect directly with the final user. The aim is to create loyalty in the consumer and reward them with a full experience that is based around the vehicle. Normally you would choose the most important clients or those that have potential for the brand and a route is designed for them to try out a new model (which is already on sale) or various different models.
Some brands also use this format with influencers and journalists so that they can try the models and then publish their experiences, a review or an article in the industry media; however, for this type of public other more suitable formats are generally used.
This kind of event is often used by high end or luxury brands, although it is also ideal for jeep models when the route ends up becoming an adventure.
You may also be interested in: “Corporate events and incentives at full speed”
2. Product exhibition
This format is used to present the latest models that will be coming onto the market before they are actually on sale. Normally these events will be aimed at sector professionals, journalists and opinion influencers. Sometimes the general public will also be invited, but usually on different days in order to differentiate the type of messages and activities aimed at each type of public.
Image: presentation of the new Porsche GT3 at La Bobadilla, a Royal Hideaway Hotel hotel.
It is advisable to find a venue sufficiently large enough to be able to exhibit several different vehicle models, with space to hold a large number of participants and that has additional spaces and rooms available to hold press conferences, meetings and other activities.
On occasion, this can be combined with short test drives on closed circuits.
3. Test drives in a controlled environment
This is about converting an open-air space in a circuit or actually using the track at a race track.
This format can be used equally for testing models that haven’t yet been released as well as for the latest models to have come onto the market.
The type of circuit used will very much depend upon the public that the event is aimed at and the vehicle model. Ideally a circuit should be chosen where the vehicle features can be tested in conditions that are as realistic as possible. If you are dealing with a four-wheel drive car or 4×4, ideally the circuit should be similar to a mountain road where there are mud, water, rocks, tree-trunks and uneven terrain present in order to appreciate the true possibilities of the vehicle.
Image: test drive circuit set up in the hotel parking area at Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento.
If we are talking about sports cars or those where power and speed play a fundamental part in the decision to purchase, a race track could be the ideal setting. For other models, a little more versatile or designed for daily use in the city or on the road, a circuit with different tests to try out the vehicle and manoeuvre it could be a good option.
The difficulty and danger level of the circuit and trials depends greatly upon the public towards which the event is aimed. A professional and more technical public will expect to be able to try more extreme tests to push the limits and assess the behaviour of the vehicle under certain conditions. Having a team of experts on hand is a good idea so that they can carry out the more dangerous trials or those that require a greater level of experience. Members of the public can always take part as co-pilot in this type of trials.
4. Vehicle presentation
This format is normally chosen for launching a new product in which the company has invested a lot of time and resources, and one where a series of innovations or important changes in relation to previous models are presented.
A unique venue with personality is usually chosen, with an avant-garde design so that the event transmits the values that the company wishes to communicate and associate with the new launch.
Image: launch event of a new Renault model
For this type of events we are looking for something spectacular and so there tends to be an impressive montage. Having a spacious, versatile venue is key to being able to host this type of large event.
Motor industry events present some very particular characteristics, very much ruled by the type of product they have. For this reason, it is very important to think about the type of event you want to hold and what the venue needs in order to host that event successfully.
Choosing a venue that has already hosted similar events will provide you with a certain degree of confidence knowing that the team at the venue will understand your requirements and can offer solutions that adapt to your needs.
It is important to have a location with good access and where the participants can stay without needing to travel very far to attend meetings or participate in activities. A big plus is to find a venue in attractive surroundings or close to a race track.