MAATS continues to grow

LAS VEGAS – As the final day of the fifth Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show dawned Friday at the Las Vegas Hilton Convention Center, organizers said attendance and exhibitor totals from the first two days of the event have already nearly equaled last year’s numbers.

“Obviously I can’t do numbers right now, but we were close to last year’s total [attendance] before we even opened today,” said Kathleen Clickett, show manager for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces MAATS. “The buzz is good on the floor. We were up in buyers before we opened today.”

Clickett said she is happy that MAATS is co-locating with the American Sportfishing Association’s ICAST, the fishing trade show that runs concurrently with MAATS, But she would be interested to know what attendance would be if MAATS was on its own.

“The co-location with ICAST is obviously a good thing for bringing in complimentary buyers,” Clickett said. “I wonder, though, how much we would have grown in our buying audience and attendance if we were still separate. I know we’re complimenting each other, but I wonder what our individual attendance would be.”

Clickett said NMMA is already at work planning for MAATS 2006, and will use an extensive post-show survey process to evaluate what worked and what didn’t this year.
Last year, about 65 percent of the exhibitors filled out and returned the surveys. Participation among the buying audience was a little smaller. But, with several changes at this year’s show, she said it will be more important than ever to receive input from those who attended.

One of those changes involved the location of the show itself, which moved from a space at the Hilton hotel, to the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is right next door. Clickett said that move allowed MAATS to add more than 125 units of exhibit space, which will be crucial if the show is to continue to grow.

“We grew plus we moved, so we were really at our capacity the last two years [in the Hilton],” she said. “I’m happy with the move. People are used to having [MAATS} all in the one building, so that was a transition, but it hasn’t been bad at all.

[The move] gives us the opportunity to continue to grow. But we’re almost sold out this year, so we can only hope that it will have no problem selling out for next year.”

Innovation Awards
One of the show’s highlights on Thursday, was the announcement and presentation of the product Innovation Awards at a ceremony after show floor closed. The awards celebrate technical advances and encourage new product developments.
Seven companies were honored during the ceremony. The winners were:

  • Clean Water Solutions for its Oil Eradacator, in the Boat Care & Coatings category,
  • Navionic for its Charting System, in the Electronics category.
  • Humminbird for its 987c SI Combo, also in the Electronics category.
  • Garelick Hydraulic for its Lift Outboard Motor Bracket, in the Hardware, Rigging, Rope & Anchoring.
  • Volvo Penta of Americas, for its Q-L Boat Trim System, in the Propulsion category.
  • Mari-Tech Industries, for its Wireless Lanyard, in the Safety Products category.
  • Air-Tight LLC for its E-Axle, in the Trailers, Parts & Accessories category.

    The dates for MAATS 2006 have already been finalized. The show will be held Wednesday through Friday, July 19-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. S.T.E.P. meetings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of that week.

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