Tampa Boat Show 2016 Results & After Thoughts

I was doing my normal morning catch up of Trade Only & Boating Industry articles and I saw a few about the Tampa Boat Show. As you know I worked the show this past weekend, but I didn’t get to do very much looking around, as I was busy inside my company’s booth.

I’m happy to report (just like T/O + B/I) that the attendance was up 25%. This is such a great sign. As people passed by our booth, I happened to notice how diverse the attendees were. There were a lot of non-English / broken English speakers and even some people from Canada and Europe visiting. That’s something special right there. There were people of all ages — younger adults who were really serious about purchasing a boat, young to middle age families with only 2 adults all the way up to 2 adults and 4+ children, and older couples/retirees of all kinds.

By seeing all of that (and my experience the past 4 years with going to boat shows), it sincerely confuses me as to who we actually really truly need to be focused on for marketing in this industry. Should we really try to generalize and focus?

As I try to become my own importance in this industry as BoatShowGirl, I know that things change all the time, just like the tides and boats traveling on the Sea. I think my heart is telling me that I need to focus on stories in this industry, that’s where my pot of gold lies.

So please stay tuned–I will have something special for all of you very soon.

Tampa Boat Show 2016

Hello Everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve blogged about a boat show, or anything industry related for a good long while. After attending the Bradenton Boat Show, I took the rest of the summer off, and ended up getting back involved in theatre after a 12 year break–so that’s where I’ve been–behind the scenes of stage life and doing a ton of writing plays for myself for the future. Needless to say, it was a successful summer and I’m about ready to go into helping with another production this fall. It really is tough keeping up with two extremely busy industries! Even though I haven’t been doing much with BoatShowGirl, please remember, there’s always calm before the storm. 

And now, for the Tampa Boat Show. 

I was asked this weekend what makes me love the boat shows so much—and I realized it’s the experience. Not that I didn’t think about it before, it’s something I’ve known, but I really said it out loud. So the point of me bringing this up would be that I’ve attended this show 4 times and worked it 2 of those 4 times, but yet, this was such a different experience than the last.

I didn’t go as Boat Show Girl. My invisible cape, business cards, persona were all left at home. Purposely. I went as an employee from Thunder Marine doing as I was paid to do–get email leads in exchange for giving out free cups. Easy peasy. It was also super cool sending time with my sales family, something that almost never happens, since I work at service.

Last year I worked in our booth doing the same thing and it was really weird because it was my first year having to ask that information to so many strangers. But this year? It felt so comfortable and second nature. I really enjoyed when I heard people talk about their boat show experience. I enjoyed meeting the service customers I had never met before. I enjoyed helping them with their boat show questions if they had any and so on. And it brings me to the question of how could I as BoatShowGirl do those things but make a living off of it?

Friday was slow and I got to walk around for a very small amount of time but Saturday we were so busy that we barely even got a break. I did get a chance to call into World of Boating and talk to them. Always super special when I’m “live” from a boat show.

Part of this year’s experience is that I didn’t get to walk around much at all. I know I probably missed the highlights, but that’s okay, because there always will be a next year… or a next show.  Last year I came back on Sunday just to walk around, but I chose not to do that this year.

From what I could tell some of the boat dealers made their area look superb. I think it was EdgeWater/Tom George that had a seating area for their customers (not just a seating area, but something that looks like it’s from a front porch / beach) –that always wins points with me. The aisles around some of the dealers were nicely done (Marine Max had a small fence-like plastic thing with their brands going around). One of my favorite boat brands–Cobalt–had this loop on their tv of two songs that played non-stop. If it drove me nuts, I can’t imagine how their employees felt. Those were the few things I noticed. After going and seeing family from our sister company outside on Friday, I didn’t get to go back and look. I also didn’t take home too many boat literature books either. I have enough for right now (a full box and small bookshelf) that I need to read through!

Anyway, that was my experience from this year’s boat show, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it!

If you are a dealer, vendor, or consumer at the boat shows — I want to know about your experience! Please leave a comment or contact me and tell me your story!

Listen to the World of Boating Podcast for September 10th and that’s where they ask me about this show. I will also post some pictures on Instagram, so find me @boatshowgirl

Thank you for reading & until next time,
Karen Maeby the Boat Show Girl