is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC
This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
From October 28-November 1, Informa Markets hosted an incredibly successful Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the first physical tradeshow Informa Markets has held outside of Asia since the pandemic began. The live event, which took place over the course of five days, hosted over 500 boats, and impressive attendance, particularly given continued travel restrictions and concerns. The FLIBS team worked tirelessly to launch a safe and productive show, and exhibitors lauded the event as one of the most successful yet.
Quality Over Quantity
While attendance didn’t fully mirror previously years, exhibitors heralded the quality of attendees the show was able to attract, which led to a commercially successful event for all involved.
According to the Robb Report, “The ‘quality over quantity’ description organizers forecasted on opening day was more than marketing hype. It turned out to be true. By the end of FLIBS’s five-day run yesterday, exhibitors reported many sales of the new yachts, center consoles and marine equipment on display.”
HMY Yachts said, “Even though this is a scaled down event it is proving to be one of the best shows for HMY in a long time. Moderate crowd however most everyone is a yacht owner or buyer. We have contracted more Yachts than expected.”
“We chose to keep our same booth size in the same location in an effort to show full support. We knew there would be challenges to having the show and exhibiting in the show but we were willing to take the chance and we are so very happy that we did,” said Kristina Hebert Ward's Marine Electric Chief Operations Officer. “This show has proven to be the most successful we have seen in years. The amount of strong, qualified visitors to the booth resulted in numerous business contracts, service agreements and sales of onboard equipment that is unprecedented over years past.”
“The quality of attendees has improved from last year, it feels like more real buyers and less folks coming to the show to simply look. We expect to meet or exceed our number of units sold over last year,” said Rudi Miklosvary, General Manager of US FLITEBOARD.
In addition to creating meaningful opportunities for the Marine community, the event supported charitable and local causes as well.
One of FLIBS’ exhibitors, Intrepid, pledged to donate $1,000 to Susan G Komen for every new vessel sold at FLIBS. With a whopping $10 Million in new sales at the show, the team were able to make a $15,000 donation to the worthy cause.
Additionally, the event helped bolster the South Florida community, which has struggled like many during the pandemic. In 2019, FLIBS generated an economic impact of $1.3 billion to the state of Florida and more than 8,000 full-time jobs were associated with the show. While the economic impact in 2020 isn’t yet fully understood, given the pandemic the impact may be appreciated even more significantly than in years past.
“We are so pleased that FLIBS took place this year. While it was not as big as previous years, it was by far our best week since we were allowed to re-open due to the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said Tim Petrillo, CEO of The Restaurant People, the largest restaurant group in the county. “Seeing our businesses get back to somewhat normalized levels gives our entire team hope that there is a light at the end of this very dark tunnel we have been thrust into. I am grateful that FLIBS pushed forward to host the event this year.”
Perhaps even more important than the commercial success of the show for Informa Markets’ customers and communities was the safety of the show for all involved. Next week, the FLIBS team will launch a video outlining how they were able to successfully put on an event that maximized safety protocols and ensured all visitors were comfortable and confident.
“FLIBS delivered steady traffic of qualified buyers. This was a strong show in challenging circumstances. Kudos to Informa for safety protocols and planning. MJM sold several boats during the show and will close several more in the following weeks following. Thank you to the Informa team for putting the show together a show that was safe and effective for exhibitors and attendees,” said McKenzie Johnstone MJM Yachts.
Miklosvary echoed that sentiment, “We are very impressed with the ticketing, COVID protocol and adherence to mask wearing at the event. Grateful that we’re able to do the event in a safe and responsible way. The onsite cleaning has been exceptional.”
“Their leadership shows that these types of events can be executed in a safe responsible manner and will pave the way for other events to be hosted in our destination, which our tourism industry desperately needs during this very challenging time,” said Petrillo.
An additional highlight of this year’s FLIBS included the return of NBC Sports Group, who filmed a one-hour network special which aired on the last day of the show, on the NBC Sports Network, and reached over 90 million U.S. households. The special covered behind-the-scenes and insider’s view of the 61st annual show highlighting FLIBS’ magnitude, extraordinary vessels, debuts, technical innovations and performance reviews as well as the luxurious lifestyle attractions.
The Informa Markets team feels this is a huge win for their team and for the industry as a whole, as it provides optimism for the return of safe and effective physical and hybrid events that focus on quality leads and exciting customer opportunities as we move into 2021 and beyond.