Exhibitors and show organizers had good things to say about this year's Ottawa Boat and Sportsmen's Show, held at Lansdowne Park February 25 to 28 inclusive.
“I think the show went over very favourably,” says Darryl Bond, Show Manager. “Some dealers did very well. Despite a bit of bad weather on Thursday and the attention the Olympics drew, dealers were still pleased with their boat sales. Retailers were also happy. Many of them said there was some very good spending taking place at the show.”
Bond reports this year's overall show attendance to be 21,717, down from 24,000 in 2009, with 155 exhibitors present.
Len's Cove Marina, Portland, ON, which reported an increase in sales at last year's show, was once again pleased with its results. “The Saturday was as good as I've ever seen it, and I think the mood and sentiment was much improved,” says Sean Horsfall, Len's Cove Marina's Vice President. “There weren't as many bargain hunters or non-current shoppers as last year. People wanted new product.” Horsfall is still following up on leads established at the show.
Moe Symos, Sales Manager for Pirate Cove Marina, Kemptville, ON, also felt that serious buyers made the effort to attend. “People were there to buy, not just to kill time,” says Symos. “We had a very good show and were very pleased with the outcome. We had 26 boats at the show including Lund and Sylvan fishing boats, and Premier and Sylvan pontoons. The pontoons drew more interest than in the past. We also had a lot of people looking for mid-priced fishing boats.”
Bond, who is also Show Manager for the Toronto Motorcycle Show, has plans to draw a new demographic to next year's Ottawa Boat and Sportsmen's Show. “We will refine our message next year. I'm looking at new, entertainment features,” says Bond. “There are 60,000 students within a 10-minute walk of our show. In order to get them out we need to make some changes in bringing things here that cater to them. A lot of these students are from upper-income families and we need to tailor our message to them. Teenagers might not buy boats, but their parents have the money to. These kids are now into wakeboarding, tubing, waterskiing and wake skating. That's what we'll use to draw them down to the show. When they see wakeboard boats there, they become an influence on that family just as much as anyone else within the family. A lot of people are buying wakeboard boats because they want their kids to continue coming up to the cottage as they get older. So these parents are just dumping the cash and we need to bring in the people that can afford to buy these types of toys.”
Next year's Ottawa Boat and Sportsmen's Show is scheduled to return to Lansdowne Park from February 24 to 27.