ORLANDO — The Marine Dealer Conference and Expo has seen significant growth in each of the last three years, and it looks to continue that trend when it returns to Orlando this fall.
The 2011 MDCE will take place at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center hotel Nov. 6-9. As always, it will feature an educational line-up packed with the industry’s leading experts, dealers, and trainers, as well as an expo hall filled with the marine industry’s leading manufacturers and service providers.
The educational line-up will once again consist of three different tracks, focusing on sales, marketing, service and management-related topics. And like last year, the expo hall will feature more than 100,000 square feet of exhibitor space.
With a focus on continued growth, the MDCE committees made a series of upgrades to the 2011 event, the most noteworthy of which is the incorporation of the educational rooms into the expo hall. Feedback from the 2010 event’s dealers and exhibitors outlined a desire for greater traffic flow in the expo hall. With three modular classrooms set up throughout the expo hall, dealers and exhibitors will be able to maximize their time at the event by conducting meetings and interacting with one another on an ongoing basis.
“Every year, our goal with the MDCE is to improve on what we accomplished the year before, and we’re really excited about the changes we’re making this year,” said Matt Gruhn, publisher of Boating Industry magazine, which co-produces the event with the Marine Retailers Association of America. “With the new layout, we’re trying to keep the event as centralized as possible, to maintain the close-knit feel and great one-on-one interactions this event has become known for.”
In 2010, the MDCE attracted a record attendance that included 465 dealers and 974 industry representatives overall. Those numbers represented 6- and 31-percent increases, respectively, when compared to the 2009 event. The expo hall nearly doubled in size, as 115 exhibiting companies filled 106,000 sq. ft. hall.
“We’re extremely excited for the 2011 MDCE,” says John Vallely, Jr., general manager of Vallely Sport & Marine, Bismarck, N.D., and chairman of the MRAA convention committee. “Not only is this event generating great momentum in becoming the go-to conference for the marine industry, but the dealer body has recognized this as the one place it can go to get all of the education and industry connectivity it needs.”
The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center, this year’s host hotel, is an award-winning facility centrally located between Orlando’s many attractions. The resort’s signature feature is its lush gardens, which re-create three different Florida environments under glass-walled atriums. The property, featuring Spanish Renaissance architecture designed to evoke a turn-of-the-century Florida mansion, also houses world-class restaurants, a spa and more.