Walt Disney World jokingly, I think, refers to Space Mountain – one of the signature rides at its Magic Kingdom theme park – as the largest “mountain” in Florida. The 180-foot high, indoor roller coaster, built in 1975, is meant to evoke thoughts of space travel as riders are plunged, largely in the dark, through an obstacle course of twists and turns.
A good number of the 700 marine industry professionals that will begin gathering over the next few days in the shadow of Space Mountain for the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo – which starts Monday in Orlando – must feel as though they’ve been on that ride for the last many months.
But, despite the strained nature of the previous analogy, there is nothing forced about the program that awaits attendees at the Coronado Springs Resort next week. Instead, a carefully considered roster of presenters has been assembled and augmented by several panel discussions featuring still more experts and industry leaders, such as Dusty McCoy, Bill McGill, Clint Moore and Bill Yeargin.
John Spader will be on hand to help dealers devise a plan for profit over the next 18 months, David Parker will provide 29 tips for a stronger service department, Joe Verde will offer suggestions for recovery and growth, Jan Kelly will tell dealers how and where to prospect for new lenders, and has even compiled a list of over 230 companies for them to use.
There’s more. Our own Liz Walz will moderate a panel chosen from more than 30 dealers who each submitted an idea they’ve used to deal with the current economic climate. The panelists will explain each of their ideas and how their peers might implement it themselves. The art and science of managing inventory, and the how-to of marketing a service department, will also be explored in presentations.
There’s still more, much more – click here to find the full program – but suffice to say that everything has been planned so that useful information and ideas will be shared and attendees will leave with real-world solutions they can use to begin making positive changes in their businesses.
The Magic Kingdom has plenty of attractions. I think most of us have had enough of Space Mountain. Let’s put our heads together and find a better ride.