Ottawa Show Reports Good Sales and Attendance

The recent Ottawa Boat and Sportsmen's Show held at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, ON featured more than 100 exhibitors and received a mixture of feedback from dealers.

While attendance numbers were not finalized at the time of publication, Denise Hayward, show manager, explained ticket sales were higher than last year's show. “This year we increased our French-language marketing and our overall attendance numbers were up,” said Hayward.

“Sales were happening and orders were being written,” continued Hayward. “I believe our boat exhibitors are in a good position now for spring sales as they made a lot of good leads. We've already received a few rebooks for the 2010 show.”

Many dealers reported making sales and generating leads at the show. Portland, ON-based Len's Cove Marina, was just one marine dealer that reported an increase over last year.  

“It went really well,” said Sean Horsfall, Len's Cove Marina's vice president – operations manager. “We brought on a new line this year, MasterCraft, which along with stronger sales from Rinker and Starcraft from last year's show, made it a really good event.”

Horsfall reported solid sales from all three lines and a 70 percent increase in sales compared to last year's show. Len's Cove had five models from its new MasterCraft line, which Horsfall attributed to being one of the key forces driving traffic to its booth.

“We didn't sell any cruisers,” continued Horsfall. “Everything was runabouts, pontoons, ski boats and wakeboard boats. Leads were good. We found that used models experienced a lot of action. There were definitely people who were looking for non-current models or 2008 inventory.”

Darcy O'Donnell, marine sales manager for Carsons Boat World in Perth, ON, exhibited several models from Legend and Sea-Doo. According to O'Donnell, attendance seemed to be lower on the Friday of the show, due to poor weather conditions, and sales were lower than last year. However, the dealer was successful in closing sales. O'Donnell reported that the dealership's dual consoles drew most of the attention to its booth.

“It was a positive show, people were buying and our booth was very busy,” said Shannon Walker, vice president operations for Walker Financial Services. “We picked up three new dealers while we were there. I think [dealers] are realizing in these economic times that it's important to have a business office that knows what it's doing and how to place the paper properly so boats are bought,” said Walker. “The banks have changed their mandate a little, and if you don't have an experienced business manager, it's pretty hard to sometimes to get the deal bought with the bank.”

Next year's Ottawa Boat and Sportsmen's Show will return to Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, ON, February 25 to 28, 2010.