The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE) will be held on Dec. 5-8 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, hosted jointly by Boating Industry and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA).
2015 was among the most successful years to date for the premier dealer conference in the marine industry, with a total of 1,147 marine industry professionals in attendance. In all, 238 marine dealerships representing 875 separate locations attended last year’s conference, 40 percent of which were attending for the first time. More than 90 percent were MRAA members. The 2015 MDCE sold out its 40,000 square-foot expo hall space, with more than 100 exhibitors representing multiple sectors of the boating industry.
“The feedback on last year’s conference was overwhelmingly positive,” said Boating Industry Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Sweet. “With the great events and speakers we have lined up for this year we expect to surpass that success.”
The 2016 event has already broken several registration records and MDCE 2016 is on track to be the highest-attended conference to date. As of mid-October, 481 marine retail registrants and 691 total registrants have signed up for MDCE, with nearly 100 exhibitors on site to showcase new products and services for dealer attendees.
“The MDCE has never provided so much value for attendees to take back to their businesses to drive improvement and growth,” said MRAA Vice President Liz Walz. “Not only does the event feature an outstanding lineup of speakers and topics, but we’ve added a number of new educational offerings that will give marine retailers even more insight, tools and resources.”
Education and schedule
Much of the excitement surrounding this year’s MDCE is thanks to its educational lineup, which will offer familiar educational opportunities that have proven successful for attendees, as well as fresh new content developed through extensive attendee feedback.
As in previous years, the conference will feature four Educational Tracks – Leadership, Sales, Marketing and Service Plus – as well as pre-conference workshops, learning labs, networking opportunities and an opening and closing keynote. This year’s opening and closing keynotes will be given by author and serial entrepreneur Josh Linkner and Sam Dantzler of Sam’s Watersports Dock and Garage Composites, respectively.
New for 2016 is a breakfast keynote during the industry breakfast on Dec. 8. Seth Mattison, founder and chief movement officer of FutureSight Labs, will deliver the breakfast keynote.
Pre-conference workshops will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. Eleven workshops will cover topics including referrals, online reputation, dealership events, F&I profit, live chat and more. Be sure to register ahead of time for pre-conference workshops as space fills up fast.
The new schedule for MDCE 2016 places the opening keynote at 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, with the first track sessions beginning immediately after the keynote at 4:45 p.m. The closing keynote will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, immediately after the final track sessions.
MDCE organizers planned the educational agenda for the conference with feedback from past and prospective attendees. The speakers in MDCE’s four educational include MDCE favorites such as Sam Dantzler, David Spader and Valerie Ziebron, as well as new faces like Eric Keiles with Square 2 Marketing, Ed Alosi of Advance Consulting and Training, and Robert Grant of CDK Global Recreation.
New in 2016 will be mini track sessions featuring dealer case studies, in which dealers will be interviewed about a best practice they’ve adopted that has delivered big results for their business. These case studies will correspond with one of the four tracks.
Interspersed throughout the schedule are new educational opportunities like dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions. The roundtable discussions will give attendees the opportunity to focus on one of the biggest challenges or opportunities impacting your business, alongside other dealers with similar goals. Attendees will share what is or isn’t working and learn from the experiences of other industry leaders.
More information about MDCE, including how to register, can be found at www.marinedealerconference.com. On-site registration will also be available.