A lot of spring rain isn’t necessarily welcomed in all parts of the country, but for dealers in the Houston area, rain could be making a big difference. At least that’s the feeling around the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston as organizers just wrapped up the 27th annual edition of the Houston Summer Boat Show.
“There were a lot of events happening around town last weekend,” association president Ken Lovell said, “which likely kept our attendance about the same as last year. However, our sales were definitely stronger. For example, two of our larger dealers, LMC Marine and Texas Marine, reported they had record sales for our summer event. Overall, exhibitor comments about the show were very positive.”
In recent years, Texas boating has faced problems from low rainfall amounts resulting in low lake levels.
“While some Texas lakes are still below level, happily lakes in this region of the state are back where they should be,” Lovell said. “We also been emphasizing that Houston area boaters have many choices including rivers, bayous, the bay, the Gulf and the many lakes. We are truly a one-of-a-kind city for recreational boaters. I think that message is resonating.”
Finally, space sales were maxed out for the two exhibit halls used this year, leaving some requests for additional space unfilled. Lovell said efforts to get anther hall for next year are already being made.
More good boat show results come from the Progressive Insurance San Diego International Boat Show that also closed last weekend. With nearly 125 exhibitors expanding the show’s size by more than 20 percent, many were saying it was the most successful show on the West Coast they’d experienced in years.
This show is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association in partnership with the California Yacht Brokers Association, the San Diego Superyacht Association and Port of San Diego. Not only was this year’s exhibitor footprint larger, but more emphasis was placed on adding major attractions to draw attendees, including an expanded showcase of superyachts and a new seminar series on sport fishing and blue water cruising ‘south of the border’.
In addition, “Try It Cove” and the Discover Boating Hands-On Skills Training series put people on the water with hands-on paddle sports and powerboating and sailing lessons. It all worked as more than 7,600 visitors came through the gates during the four-day show — a whopping 24 percent increase over 2013.
Finally, exhibitor sales reports were also strong. South Coast Yachts, for example, wrote three contracts on new Beneteau Yachts at the show along with many qualified new leads, according to South Coast president Barrett Canfield. Similarly, Paul Hutton of Nordhavn Yachts Southwest reported: “This was the first time participating in the San Diego show and we’re very impressed with it. The docks were fantastic and there were lots of qualified customers — an all-in-all great show. See you next year.”
As we look forward to the industry’s round of fall shows beginning with the Michigan City (Ind.) In-Water Boat Show from Aug. 7-10, the solid reports coming from these June events is a good indication that the coming shows could be strong.