2017 Best in Class: Best Boat Show Strategy

Best Boat Show Strategy

Lake Union Sea Ray
Seattle, Wash.

Lake Union Sea Ray’s flagship Seattle location might be in the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle, but the company’s presence and performance at boat shows over the past year scales an equally impressive height.

The dealership dedicated between 50 and 60 percent of its marketing budget for three 2016 boat shows: Seattle Boat Show, Puget Sound Boat Show, and Boats Afloat.

Despite declining attendance at boat shows, Lake Union Sea Ray was able to increase its show sales by over 25 percent, helping lead them to a 7 percent increase in revenue for 2016.

This was due to a mix of using better show layouts, providing customers with a healthy mix of models, taking a newer digital approach, and further expanding on their training.

At the forefront of the company’s boat show strategy is its self-selecting boat model, time and day Boat Show Appointment Site.

This concept previously earned Lake Union Sea Ray a finalist spot in Boating Industry’s Best Idea White Paper in 2015 for traditional marketing.

The strategy landed the company over 100 appointments for the show, which in turn provided sales people with additional opportunities to sell, as well as provided a pipeline of prospects.

The company also used a variety of other tactics when approaching its 2016 boat show strategy. A “Demo this Boat Today” feature promoted rides during show hours, and customers used a separate website to set appointments to see new or featured boats at the show.

Lake Union Sea Ray strives to continue pushing forward when it comes to boat shows by applying new strategies and continuing to improve current successful strategies.

On top of new ideas, displays, and technologies, Lake Union Sea Ray places a large emphasis on employee training and preparedness prior to a boat show.


Lake Union Sea Ray views each show as an opportunity not to just sell boats at discounted prices, but to show and exemplify to customers the difference of doing business with the company.

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