Setting up and hosting a boat show takes a lot of effort. Whether you’re showing off your latest models or simply looking to gain some brand awareness, these events are crucial to your business’s success. But, they can also be a great way to network and gain lifelong customers! If it’s your first time hosting a boat show, you might feel a bit intimidated.
Fortunately, preparing ahead of time can take away most of the stress and help you have a seamless experience. We’re here to help you learn how to run a boat show with ease.
What Is a Boat Show?
A boat show is an event where boaters, marina owners and boating gear companies merge together to showcase their many offerings. These exhibitions primarily focus on showing off new boats and promoting deals, but they offer so much more for attendees.
Of course, the new boats themselves are what attracts people, but there are plenty of other features that the crowd will enjoy. As a manager or marina owner, here are some of the things you can offer at a boat show:
- Jet Skis
- Personal Water Crafts
- Boating gear
- GPS equipment
- Safety equipment
- Water sports gear
- Educational seminars or classes
- Opportunities to meet with expert boaters or fishermen
- Food and beverages
Boat shows can be local and small or large, international events. Boat enthusiasts travel from all over to see new boats and products in person. Think of a boat show as a convention where boaters, families and sellers all come together to network and discuss their love of boating.
These events are usually family-friendly and may have booths that offer activities for kids that make it the perfect all-day event. Some boat shows also offer sea trials. This means potential buyers can take a boat out on the water with the dealer to ensure it lives up to their expectations before closing a deal.
What You Need to Host a Boat Show
Running a boat show usually requires having different vendors that attract a variety of customer bases. Once you learn how to host a boat show, you can get right into showcasing different products, gadgets and accessories alongside your boats.
Here are some of the things you’ll need before hosting your boating event:
- Local boat dealers and salespeople: Depending on the size of your marina, you can network with other local dealers to bring more business to your boat show. Bringing in outside boating gear dealers or merchandisers can help you improve attendance and spread the word about your brand.
- Advertisements: Part of hosting a successful boat show is getting people to show up. Sending out emails, newsletters, flyers and brochures lets people know to mark their calendars and inform their friends about your show. You will also want to create some type of merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, sunglasses or other boating-related gear with your company’s name and information for added exposure.
- Staff and volunteers: Running a large boat show can be quite hectic if you don’t have enough people to help it run smoothly. If your staff is small, try recruiting temporary team members or asking for volunteers to help host informational booths or direct attendees to parking.
- Security: Hiring extra security for your boat show can prevent any mishaps and protect your inventory and exhibitors’ inventory. Security can also screen attendees at the entrance and check bags and purses.
- Map and directories: Regardless of how large or small your boat show is, attendees will appreciate having a map to navigate your show. You might want to include where they can find food, restrooms, merchandise, boating gear and — of course — the different types of boats they can find.
- Caterers or food trucks: Having food and beverages at your boat show increases everyone’s comfort, especially if it’s on a hot, sunny day. Food trucks are a great option as they encourage people to bring their families for an all-day activity and may even urge them to stay longer.
- Admittance price: The price of a boat show can be anywhere from about $5 to $35 or more, depending on how large your show is and what you’re offering.
6 Tips to Prepare for a Boat Show
Hosting your first-ever boat show can be very exciting but quite intimidating. We’re here to help you reach your goals for your upcoming event with our best boat show tips:
- Plan ahead of time: Some boat shows can last up to a week. No matter how long your event will be, it’s important to plan everything ahead of time to avoid running into last-minute issues. Having backup staff or vendors can help everything run smoothly. Planning in advance also gives attendees plenty of time to hear about your event.
- Have a wide range of experts: A boat show is a fantastic opportunity to showcase different experts in the industry and draw in various customer interests. For example, you might have a vendor experienced in marine equipment or an expert in boating licenses. Having industry connections at your event means customers can build relationships through your brand.
- Keep pricing and discounts transparent: While there will be plenty of people at your boat show who want to admire the beautiful boats, many attendees will be serious potential customers. A boat show is the perfect time to put out new deals, discounts and promotions — but don’t leave anything out. Be transparent with your buyers and give them tax and monthly price breakdowns.
- Present professional staff: Whether you hire employees or recruit volunteers, keeping your staff in uniform sends a message about your brand. You and your team can decide on a color palette or theme ahead of time and have matching shirts made with your logo. This way, employees showcase your brand and customers can easily spot staff members for assistance.
- Create a welcoming event: Boat shows are for everyone, so it should feel that way at your event. There will certainly be experts and seasoned boaters, but make sure you advertise that all are welcome. Attendees who are new to the boating lifestyle or want to take up boating as a hobby will feel more invited and leave with a positive impression. Talk to your staff about approaching every customer and getting to know them and their interests.
- Set up fun demos: Nothing is more exciting than seeing an interactive exhibit at an event. Customers are more likely to interact if they see creative displays or games. For example, you might have a virtual boat race or a way for customers to try out and test the durability of your products.
Find a Sturdy and Beautiful Dock Worthy of Hosting a Boat Show
Bringing customers, boat experts and sellers to your dock can make for an unforgettable event. If you’re preparing to host a boat show soon, you might be considering upgrading your marina or property. Here at EZ Docks, we can help you find your ideal design and layout for your upcoming boat show.
We carry a wide range of dock solutions and accessories that make it easy for your boats to get in and out of the water. Our EZ Dock products can also be formatted in custom layouts that will show off the best boat angles or allow for vendor dock space as well. With our docks and other products, you can temporarily install piers, fingers, and create specific angles for each show. Our team is committed to matching you with the perfect solution that meets your needs and budget. We also offer customization and financing options. We’ll work with you throughout the entire process to help bring your vision to life. Browse our products online or request a quote for your dock.