BOAT SHOW ROUND-UP
High Spirits, Strong Sales and a Boost in Attendance at Strictly Sail Pacific
Four days of perfect weather capped a stellar Strictly Sail Pacific, which featured increased attendance, strong sales and enhanced retail activity, all of which led to an upbeat mood among exhibitors and show visitors alike.
“By far, this was the strongest Strictly Sail Pacific Show in recent years,” said Sail America Executive Director and Show Producer Jonathan Banks. “Buyers were out in force, exhibitors and attendees were in remarkable spirits, and the show looked great. The show got off to a strong start with America’s Cup Day, and new features, including VIP Day, the DIY Demo Tent and the Discover Sailing Learning Center, were all a big hit.”
SPACE SALES AND ATTENDANCE WERE UP
According to Strictly Sail Pacific Sales Manager Mitch Perkins, space sales were up over 20% and the show site had to be expanded to meet the higher demand.
“The new layout, with additional exhibit space in the area by the First and Last Chance Saloon, worked out really well,” said Perkins. “The addition of outside exhibitors, small boats, and class associations created a strong sailing theme throughout Jack London Square.”
Final attendance for the 2011 show was 12,850 compared with 11,700 in 2010, an increase of 10%. Attendance was up every day of the show, with the biggest gains on Friday and Sunday. Saturday was the biggest day of the show with over 4,000 attendees.
“There was a lot more excitement this year, a higher customer count and higher sales activity, said Lauren Durfee, West Marine Boat Show Manager. “Items were selling off the shelf, with a focus on electronics and safety gear.”
Added first time exhibitor Debbie Betz of Bank of America Financing, “The show has been fantastic and has resulted in financing and sales for nearly 20 boats. I was very pleased with the show.”
NEW SHOW COMPONENTS WORKED
According to Banks, several new show components, including America’s Cup Day, VIP Day, the DIY Demo Tent and the Discover Sailing Learning Center all drew rave reviews.
The oldest trophy in sports was prominently displayed at the show throughout the day on Thursday with an evening presentation on the future plans for the 34th America’s Cup.
Hundreds visited the Mad Mariner sponsored DIY Demo Tent for hands-on demos on winch servicing, engine maintenance, detailing, fiberglass repairs, plumbing and rigging. Participating sponsors included High End Engine Maintenance, Beta Marine, Forespar, Lewmar, Seashine, and New England Ropes/Brion Toss Rigging.
The Discover Sailing program was expanded to include free sailing lessons on a variety of topics from Learning to Sail to Heavy Weather Tactics. More than 50 people signed up for free lessons, which ran all four days of the show.
Working closely with marketing partners, Adstrategies, BigPicture PR, Kenton Smith Marketing and Caffeine, Sail America developed the most aggressive marketing plan in the history of the show, generating upwards of 5 million impressions. Traffic to the Strictly Sail Pacific website increased by over 30% and eticket sales increased by 35%.
SEMINARS WERE STRONG
With 52 speakers, 82 topics and 114 seminar slots, the 2011 Strictly Sail Pacific seminar slate was exceptionally strong, with attendance topping 5,000, a 5% increase over last year. Speakers such as Kame Richards, Zac and Abby Sunderland, Brion Toss, Richard Spindler, Liza Copeland and Pam Wall, among others, were big draws.
“All in all, Strictly Sail Pacific enjoyed great success for the sailing industry this year,” concluded Banks. “In all aspects, the results spoke for themselves. We’re very pleased with the feedback from exhibitors and hope this show is a barometer for the rest of the year.”
Added Ian Wail of Star Marine, “People are spending money and planning cruising again. With the economy on the rebound, sailors are cruising and prepping their boats. Clients came from Hawaii, Oregon, Southern California and Nevada.”