Canadian Boat Shows, owners and operators of the Toronto International Boat Show, released the show-end attendance numbers for this year's event. The group reports overall attendance at 70,174, a three percent decrease compared to 2014's show.
Through its Buy A Boat And Win Program, organizers were also able to approximately gauge the number of boats throughout the event, placing total at 843 by the concluding day. This is reportedly up from the 772 recorded last year.
"I think a majority of exhibitors are going home with a positive start to the year as a result of solid sales as well as leads that will spell success over the coming months,' relates Show Manager, Cynthia Hare. "The general feeling on the Show floor was positive. Attendance was down slightly but the people who came to the show this year were definitely motivated to buy, and we're very pleased that most boat brands and accessories had a strong show.'
Despite a dip in attendance, it would seem the show was up slightly from a sales standpoint compared to last year.
Paul Nickel, President of Pride Marine Group, said, "I wish the show could go on for another 10 days – we've had our best-ever sales of Chris-Craft – and this was our best show in years. We're set up for a great next few months with all the contacts we've made.'
Director of Sales and Marketing for Desmasdons Boatworks, Matt French, said that the quality of the people visiting the Show this year seemed to make the difference. "One of our best years! There just seemed to be much more consumer confidence, and though there may have been fewer people, those that were here, were here to buy boats. Our engagement ratio is 40 to 50 percent better this year over last.'
"It was a good show, and I think it's because the people are here for a purpose – they're already educated, they know what they want and they've done their homework online,' said Gordon Bay's Ben Hatherley. "We've also seen more first-time buyers and that's a great opportunity to create a relationship and sustain it.'
"The Internet has changed everything – people come to the Show knowing what they want and challenging all of us salespeople to deal with them in a different, even more informed way,' says Chuck Howell of Forest River Marine.
Naylor Systems has been manufacturing docks and lifts for 40 years. "This year's Show was better than last year and last year's show was great,' said Owner Wendell Naylor.
"I spoke to more people, got more leads, and more sales than last year,' says Derek Tamargo, who reps Yacht Controller out of Miami. "Over the last four years, this was definitely the best – and we signed up some new dealers as well.'
Roula Angelis at Dreamcast Marine Canvas Ltd seemed pleased with the show's outcome. "We paid for the Show in the first three hours on the first Saturday and just kept progressing from there.'
Chris Wert from Hurst Marina near Ottawa was very pleased with his results coming out of this year's Show. "Our brand new line of Cutwater boats really found a market – we surprised a lot of people, I think. The trawler style and unique design features of these boats made a real impact and we're very happy.'
In addition to happy exhibitors, Canadian Boat Shows is pleased with its marketing efforts to the Asian community through its Mandarin-speaking outreach program. By way of show tours, Charley Zhou of the New Boater Welcome Centre, brought approximately 50 Mandarin-speaking participants through the show.
Canadian Boat Shows says the Toronto International Boat Show generates more than $354 million in economic impact to the region.
Next year's show returns to the Direct Energy Centre from January 9 to 17, 2016, while the event's Special Preview Night will fall on January 8, 2016.