STRICTLY SAIL CHICAGO REPORTS SOLID SALES
According to NMMA PR Manager Dana Fennewald, the Strictly Sail Chicago Show was “a great success in terms of exhibitor sales and exposure.” In keeping with general show trends, overall attendance dropped 13 percent, citing 15,251 this year as compared to 17,675 in 2009. On the bright side, however, Fennewald noted “an exciting drastic shift in terms of online consumer demand,” citing advance e-ticket sales up by 17% from 2009, along with rock solid reports of real time sales in the aisles.
To wit, Torresen Marine sold a 36 Hunter within the first few hours of opening day and continued selling boats through end of day Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve all heard the experts say that there have been signs of improvement in the boating industry,” said Brock Halbeisen, sales professional, Torresen Marine. “I admit, I wasn’t sure this was true until opening day of Strictly Sail Chicago. I sold a 36 foot Hunter on the first day of the show and just closed the deal on a 33 Hunter today. Now, more than ever, I’m a firm believer in the value of boat shows – if you want to sell boats, you have to come to these shows.”
Among the most featured attractions of Strictly Sail Chicago is the education seminar series featuring professional sailors and speakers from around the globe. According to popular presenter Tim Miranda of 3rd Coast Cruising, all of his seminars were booked in advance with waiting lists for attendees/visitors hoping to get an open seat.
“I’ve been so excited to realize that we’ve been able to tap in to an entire new audience of sailors with new programs like fractional ownership and extended chartering services,” said Miranda. “We’ve gotten a young, fresh group of people interested in getting out on the water and as a result, my seminars have been packed, with waiting lists to get an open seat. Thinking outside the box has worked wonderfully for the industry and this show!”
Several accessory exhibitors also had positive reports, with some noting an impressive increase in sales.
“On the third day of the show, we were already 18% over our sales from last year’s show. This is by far the best show we’ve had all year in terms of sales and customer awareness,” said Jerry Fultz, owner, Sailcare.
Added Tom Anderson, West Shore Marine, “The quality of attendees has drastically improved this year. We’ve seen less window shoppers and more serious buyers – this is the best show we’ve had in the past six years.”