The 2021 Virtual Vancouver International Boat Show has successfully concluded its show run, February 24 – 27. In its 59th year, the show was pushed to get creative as all in person events remain on hold amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than cancelling all together, the show forged ahead to present a virtual show – in response to exhibitor feedback, and strong demand for boats and the boating lifestyle.
The Virtual Vancouver Boat Show attracted 14,103 registrations made up of returning boat show patrons, new boaters, and first-time show attendees. Just over 10,000 of registered individuals actively attended the show at least once (71% engagement rating); contributing to total visits of 15,430 times.
Organizers said consumers flooded the show eager to shop, experience and interact on the new platform. The newly developed virtual show seamlessly supported highly innovative and interactive virtual showrooms, thousands of product listings, video content, as well as live-streaming and chatroom capabilities.
“When COVID-19 hit just after the 2020 Vancouver International Boat Show, I couldn’t have imagined the concept of a ‘virtual’ boat show. With the great support of the Boat Show team, and a fantastic platform, we have just completed our first ever, successful Virtual Vancouver International Boat Show!” said Don Prittie, president of Boating BC Association and Canoe Cove Marina. “The great reach of the virtual show has introduced recreational boating in BC to a wide variety of new boaters in search of boating information and great deals. During the show, we were inundated with inquiries from new customers wanting to call our Marina ‘home’ this summer. We are very happy with our results.”
Vancouver Boat Show organizers are currently reviewing extensive post-show analytics, which will be shared with exhibitors and industry at a later date. In the interim, some preliminary insights include:
- 68% of attendees have visited the Vancouver Boat Show in the past;
- 32% of attendees are new to the Vancouver Boat Show;
- 11% of attendees came to the show with the intention of purchasing a boat;
- 47% of attendees came to the show with the intention of shopping for accessories & services;
- 39% of attendees came to the show with the intention of a boat purchase in the future;
- 18% of attendees came to the show to learn about boating.
“We are extremely happy with the show’s platform performance and its ability to connect guests in an all-new manner,” explains Eric Nicholl, Show Manager of the Vancouver Boat Show. “Exhibitors utilized several ways to communicate directly with consumers during the Virtual Show, including appointments, online live chats, Zoom meetings, Facetime, 3D technology, and virtual boat tours that offered options as close as possible to the in-person experience. The thought of sitting idly by as in-person events were cancelled did not bode well with our team. We’re passionate about the industry and collectively, with the support of the exhibitors, we set out to execute the first-ever Virtual Show in Boating BC’s history.”