NEW YORK, N.Y. – Over the past five years, the New York National Boat Show has seen its attendance drop from about 100,000 people to 61,000, due in large part to “less-than-ideal dates” that straddled the Christmas and New Years holidays.
Organizers and exhibitors have new hope today, however, with the announcement that the show is moving back almost two weeks to Dec. 13-21.
“Being pre-Christmas is a good benefit,” commented Michael Duffy, show manager for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which owns and produces the event, in an interview today. “A lot of people will be thinking, ‘I can buy a Christmas present at the show.’ We’re trying to stop that decline in attendance and bring it back up to those historic levels. This, we think, could be a good way to do that.”
Only time will tell
Last fall, Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center presented the new opportunity for December dates to NMMA. And after extensive polling, analysis of exhibitor feedback and in-depth discussions with both exhibitor and show committees, the decision was made to go forward with a nine-day, mid-December format, according to a statement from NMMA yesterday.
While the dates represent an even farther departure from the show’s historic time frame in the second and third week of January, “there was an overwhelming desire to move into December,” according to Duffy. “Only time will tell [if the new time frame will be as successful as the old January dates.]”
During the new dates, the show’s boating demographic is home preparing for the holidays instead of vacationing out of town, which has been the case with previous years’ dates, the association pointed out.
“At exhibitors’ requests, we’ve worked hard to find a date pattern that better accommodates the needs of show participants and attendees alike, and we think given the pre-holiday buzz encompassing the Big Apple at Christmastime, this new time slot could be a winner,” said Ben Wold, NMMA executive vice president.
“The previous date pattern made it difficult to attract the local consumer we were accustomed to seeing in New York,” said Scott Crutchfield, vice president of sales for MasterCraft Boat Co. “We’re certain these new dates will spur renewed interest in the show and deliver enthusiastic boaters to the Javits Center.”
“Christmas shopping will never be the same in New York,” echoed New York exhibitor Marc Hannah of Follansbee Dock Systems. “They say timing is everything; what a difference a few weeks will make!”
Space renewal applications will be mailed to exhibitors sometime in mid-May, according to NMMA.
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