Why boat shows?
The boating industry relies on consumer preferences, behavior and decision-making. Boat shows provide an opportunity for the general public to understand the products and the services that the industry offers, as well as to appreciate and adopt the boating lifestyle.
Customers want and need to compare products and there is no other market place where exhibitors can show their full potential and distinguish themselves from others, For people in general, it is important to feel and experience things in order to come to a clear decision.
Boat shows are an industry in itself,, with several international organizations focused on staging and managing boat shows annually. The IFBSO was founded in 1964 to help the development of boat shows and marine trade exhibitions worldwide. In North America, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is currently the “world’s leading producer of consumer boat and sport shows, managing more than twenty shows in the largest cities in the U.S.” The NMMA was formed in 1979, but traces back its roots to 1904 when the National Association of Engine and Boat Manufacturers of New York was founded. In Australia, the various state Boating Industries Associations (BIA) organize boat shows in major cities, such as Sydney International Boat Show (SIBS), owned and operated by BIA NSW & SA Pty. Ltd, and the Melbourne Boat Show, owned and operated by BIA Victoria.
These organizations and their continuing growth and success in staging boat shows over the decades prove how boat shows are important, not only for consumers, but also for the industry players.
“Boat shows exist to sell product and to promote the boating lifestyle,” states Ben World, executive vice president of NMMA. “The average boat dealer sells between 30 to 50 percent of their annual volume as a result of boat shows or leads generated at a boat show. People shop an average of four to six dealers or manufacturers while at a boat show, so it is a very efficient use of their time when in the market to buy a boat.”
Boat shows were used to offer something different to keep the public interest in boating.
During the economic downturn, boats, engines and accessories sold at boat shows. Those who attended boat shows during that time were interested in buying a boat and were quality leads for dealers and manufacturers.
A change in the themes and marketing plans of boat shows also manifested after the GFC. “Boat shows that have reinvented themselves have become places of entertainment, fun, experience, and of course, a well-sorted arrangement of new products were strong drivers for the industry,” The boat shows had to become partners with the industry, provide service, create visitor potentials, and prove themselves trustworthy while leading the industry
Although boat shows will always have financial significance to the locality, international boat shows provide higher economic benefits. The more international a show is will help determine how many exhibitors and people attend. The more exhibitors and attendees, the larger the economic impact.”