As the 30th annual METS wrapped up Thursday afternoon in Amsterdam, Netherlands, exhibitors and show organizers alike were beaming over what can only be considered another successful edition of the world’s largest marine equipment trade show.
Heavy crowds on Wednesday set a single-day attendance record, with 10,211 unique visitors as of 5 p.m. This figure represents a year-over-year increase of approximately 4 percent over the previous record of 9,844 visitors, which was set on the second day of METS 2016.
While final attendance figures have not yet been released, the consensus among many exhibitors was that overall visitor attendance will likely beat the former record of 23,702 set last year.
“Wednesday’s attendance was an all-time high. We peaked at 10,000 plus, and while it’s just a number, it’s nice to have a record number of over 10,000 people here as we celebrate our 30th anniversary,” said Irene Dros, maritime director for RAI Amsterdam. “We are very proud of the results so far. We have worked hard all year to make this METS festive and special as our 30th anniversary, and it feels rewarding to have the industry support it this way by coming to Amsterdam and doing business at METS.”
While Thursday crowds did appear to be a bit more relaxed following the frantic pace of the first two days, the aisles remained busy and a significant number of exhibitors were still engaged in client meetings late into the final afternoon. Even more telling was the noise level, which remained high right into the show’s final hour.
“One program we introduced this year was a matchmaking system to facilitate meetings between exhibitors and boat builders,” said Dros. “It’s an easy-to-use software system and we sent out the link to all of the exhibitors. We also sent the link to all of the boat builders. The software makes it easy for the exhibitors and boat builders to establish matches and schedule meetings in advance of the show. We know that more than 1,000 of the exhibitors clicked on the link and used the system, so the need to have an efficient appointment program through the show seems to be there. We also provided more networking spaces throughout the show where people can sit and have conversations, or just take a moment to rest and take notes.”
A revised total of 1,546 companies from more than 50 different countries exhibited at the 30th anniversary edition of the world’s largest marine parts and accessories trade show. The figure represents an approximate 5 percent growth over 2016’s total of 1,471 exhibitors, which was itself a record.
“The show’s been great, we’ve been packed with back-to-back meetings with OEMs,” said Marcus Hamilton, international marketing manager for Fusion Entertainment. “METS is all about the meetings, it’s about talking to the customers, meeting new people, and strengthening relationships with our clients.”
For Xantrex marketing manager Mitul Chandrani, the 30th METS exceeded all expectations. “The opening day was the best opening day of any trade show I’ve been to in my entire career,” said Chandrani. “We had booths in two locations and it was non-stop.”
The 31st METS will be held from Nov. 13 to 15, 2018, at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre, in the Netherlands.