Celebrating 78 years and its fourth year at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, the 2019 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, presented by West Marine, had a blockbuster run over Presidents Day Weekend, Feb. 14-18. Several boat and accessory manufacturers have reported the strongest opening day sales in years, seeing many new buyers, with the trend continuing through the weekend; the show’s attendance was 91,518.
In 2019, several enhancements and additions were made to attract crowds and improve the attendee and exhibitor experience, including more streamlined transportation options. Visitors this year embraced the park and ride model – complimentary water taxi rides were up 18 percent over 2018, totaling nearly 60,000 rides to and from the show; and average wait times for water taxis significantly decreased, 45 minutes in 2019 versus two hours in 2018. Bus ridership was also up, totaling 91,496 rides round trip, up 24 percent compared to last year.
Aiding in the improved transportation experience was the boat show’s partnership with RaftUp Technologies, which included the new ‘Miami Connections’ app, powered by RaftUp, and onsite transportation screens that provided arrival and departure updates for water taxis. More than 5,000 attendees downloaded the app in the first year, with an average of 2,000 daily active users during show days.
Additional show enhancements included more onsite restaurants and grab-and-go items from food and beverage provider Great Performances; more restrooms including new custom-made restroom trailers; and ticketing improvements including the addition of separate entryways for exhibitors and attendees to help make entry into the show more efficient, and new electronic Will Call.
“We are very happy to hear from so many of our exhibitors that the 2019 Miami Boat Show was a strong sales event – the main barometer of the show’s success,” said Larry Berryman, show director of the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, presented by West Marine. “Having a better foothold on the new location at Miami Marine Stadium and learnings from previous years helped guide us to decisions that made the overall show experience for everyone more seamless and enjoyable, from beginning to end. We look forward to building off of this year’s best practices for 2020.”
Show highlights for 2019 included the new Costa Conservation Village as part of several site-wide initiatives introduced to enhance and encourage conservation. The Miami Boat Show also partnered with Costa’s Kick Plastic program to continue to reduce the use of plastic onsite. As part of the effort, filtered watered stations were offered at key points around the show, and Costa reusable water containers were offered for sale at the show. Attendees embraced the program, and it’s estimated the equivalent of 83,500 single-use plastic water bottles were dispensed into reusable containers during the five-day show.
Additional show highlights included the BoatU.S. On-Water Training Program, which hosted 103 students and 40 courses in its inaugural year; Sailor’s Cove, featuring a wider array of seminars and on-water sailing lessons; and the VIP Experience, presented by Porsche.
For more information and to exhibit next year, visit MiamiBoatShow.com. The 2020 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show is scheduled for February 13-17, 2020.