Seattle Boat Show goes digital for 2021

Ongoing COVID restrictions are preventing the Seattle Boat Show from being held in person in January 2021, but are not preventing the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) from producing a major boating event in January. The show will go on—but in a digital format. 

The digital show, Seattle Boat Show Connected, will take place Thursday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021 with an extensive suite of tools and exhibitor advertising opportunities designed to connect exhibitors and attendees. Additionally, NMTA is committed to driving attendee traffic to the show with an advertising budget just as large as previous in-person shows. The advertising campaign, with digital and traditional media, will start on December 15.

“We’ve spent five and a half months researching and planning for a digital show,” said George Harris, president, NMTA. “We’re leaning in and doubling down and giving it all we’ve got. I’m proud and excited about the new features and technologies we’re adding to the website and making available to exhibitors to help them drive those all-important winter sales.”

Seattle Boat Show Connected is the next generation of digital shows. It will have a number of features that will allow exhibitors to connect with attendees in a variety of ways, including an easy-to-use tool that allows them to schedule in-person appointments, Zoom, FaceTime, or phone meetings, boat and product tours as well as live text chat. The three-dimensional show floor will feature the show’s iconic red carpet and allow boaters to simulate cruising the aisles. Exhibitors holding special events at their locations concurrent with the show will be able to promote them via a calendar on the show’s website and through advertising opportunities. Exhibitors will also be able to upload product images, descriptions, videos, spec sheets, pricing, company logos, and even host their own live or recorded seminars.

The Seattle Boat Show is famous for its extensive seminar line up. The digital show will be no different. It will be full of engaging content aimed at drawing people in and keeping them coming back. There will be more than 100 hours of original boating, fishing, lifestyle and Boat Show University seminars, as well as a live video stream during show hours that will feature interviews with guest speakers, seminar presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors.

Exhibitor participation levels start with a free website listing. No NMTA member will be excluded from the show for lack of funds. However, companies that want to buy additional exposure can select from four higher level exhibitor packages with additional benefits and sales tools that include:

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○      Up to 20 photos, videos or 3D tours per featured product.

○      Appointment calendar setting tool that allows exhibitors to control their availability and meet with attendees via the customer’s preferred method (in-person, Zoom, FaceTime, Phone, etc.).

○      Live text chat with businesses during show hours.

○      “Buy Now” button for special boat show only promotions.

○      Calendar listing of in-person events at individual retail locations

○      Live or recorded exhibitor content including product demonstrations, Q&A sessions with product experts and virtual tours during all show hours.

○      Advertising opportunities and product spotlights on the website.

“Interest and demand for boats and accessories are at an all-time high right now and many industry experts are predicting an even bigger year in 2021. If people wait until next spring to go boat shopping it may be too late,” said Harris. “That‘s why we’re so pleased to be producing a rich and robust digital experience that will allow boaters to easily shop, tour and compare boats and accessories all in one place and make a plan for 2021.”

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