The London Boat, Fishing and Leisure Show, held recently at the Western Fair Grounds in London, ON, reported a 10 percent decrease in attendance. Nonetheless, exhibitors had plenty of positive feedback about the three-day event.
Approximately 14,000 visitors attended this year's show, which featured 115 exhibitors divided into boating and fishing sections.
“There was enough product sold at the show that exhibitors were happy,” said Jeff Guy, the show's general manager. “The exhibitors with lodging, resorts and fishing charters were booking space, taking deposits and were very pleased with the show's outcome.”
“Our sales were up 10 percent from last year even though the crowds were down 10 percent,” said Bob Gossling, Sea-Doo shows and events – North America – BRP. “Amongst our sales, we sold four of our largest boats, the 23-foot Challenger and Wake 230 series.”
Maple City Marine, a boat dealer located in Chatham, ON, reported satisfying sales results at the show where it exhibited a cross-section of boat models including Rinker sport boats and cruisers, Angler, Godfrey pontoons, and Polar Kraft aluminum fishing boats.
“We had a pre-owned photo and information board that attracted a lot of visitors, which we received plenty of leads from,” said Rob Rule, Maple City's general manager. “Our attendance overall felt pretty good even though every day there seemed to be some sort of weather issue. As soon as we get some warm weather, we're going to be able to rally people a little more. I think were going to have a very busy year for service, re-powering customers' boats and taking care of repairs.”
Acknowledging the challenges facing the Canadian boating industry, Guy offered this suggestion to other boat show organizers. “You need to keep a positive attitude in these economic times and you need to keep your advertising up,” said Guy. “We knew we were going to suffer a bit this year in public attendance and perhaps in space sales, but that didn't mean we were cutting back on the advertising. We maintained our advertising budget on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines, because you can't hide, you need to forge ahead.”
Next year's London Boat, Fishing and Leisure show is scheduled for February 26 to 28, 2010 in London, ON.