Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IBEX Today

Here's a great video, filmed today, from Soundings Trade Only, letting us know about what's going on at IBEX - the biggest B2B show in the marine industry - which starts today in Louisville.

At the opening ceremony, the NMMA president predicted a better year in 2011, saying that the worst is behind us. Let's hope Thom is right! Now here's the Bill and Beth show:

Monday, September 27, 2010

By Way of Norwalk

Stopped by another boat show this past week, this time in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Norwalk show is the only big show in Connecticut with boats in the water this year, and as such draws a pretty good crowd of boating enthusiasts from across the state. It takes place on Connecticut's gold coast, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, and is just a stone's throw from New York City. Add in the fact that the show is located both geographically and chronologically near big shows in Newport, Annapolis and Boston, it's no wonder the show is a great place to see a large selection of yachts, boats and boat products.

Similar to my trip to Newport the previous week, I rushed in and out of the Norwalk boat show in two to three hours - I again spent less time at the show than on the road. But it was still enough time to see all of the land vendors, and walk all of the docks and even board a couple of the bigger boats. I got to speak with some interesting folks I know including the president of the Conn. Marine Trades Association, the editor-in-chief of WindCheck Magazine, and the guy who sells Nantucket Baggs at every boat show I've been to in the past year. Also met a bunch of new exhibitors (new to me, but most of them seasoned exhibitors, actually), many of them based right here in Connecticut and New York - some of them offering services nationwide, and some of them just trying to reach northeast boaters.

Anyway, got some good photos and story leads and had a few good, albeit short, conversations, and was impressed with the crowd for lunchtime on a Thursday. The parking wasn't bad, but would have been rough for someone to just pop-in during a lunch break from the office, so I suspect the crowd got even bigger as the day and weekend wore on.

Next up for me is the Boston Fall Boat Show, and instead of just a few hours I'll be on-site all weekend, exhibiting as BoatNameGear. I'll also have our new northeast sales rep on-hand if anyone wants to discuss advertising on our nautical sites network .

Here are a few photos from the Norwalk show - you can see more on flickr.

Remind me to used this on DailyBoater.com next July 4th.

I call this a "Billy Joel" boat, because it reminds me of the style he cruises in around Long Island.

An electric boat

Geico: The bigger, faster, brighter the better.

A view from the docks

The Lagoon 400 - this catamaran looked as wide as it did long.
see more on flickr

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Newport to Boston

A view from the Goat Island causeway
There's nothing like going to a boat show on the water, and in this job I get to go to them all the time. The other day, for example, I went to Newport RI for what I believe is biggest in-water boat and yacht show in the northeast. As the publisher of a diverse network of boating websites, I attended the show with several goals, and accomplished all of them in just a few short hours.

First and foremost, I attended in an editorial capacity. I was looking for story ideas for our boating news site - the Daily Boater - and found some unique new products that are worth writing about (see pics below).

Next, as the storekeeper for BoatNameGear, I went to the show to meet a couple of my vendors, as well as scout out new merchandising opportunities. Anything that can be personalized and used on a boat caught my eye.

Third, I was seeking potential partners or sponsors for the content sites in the Nautical Sites network. With a couple million visitors and growing, our websites are a great advertising outlet for many of the folks who were exhibiting. While I restrained myself and did not solicit anyone directly at the show, I came home with more than a few ideas for companies that my sales team will be happy to contact.

Lastly, I was investigating the show as a potential place to exhibit next year. Seeing the show in person confirmed my belief that this event - less than two hours from home - is a must-do for next summer. The only question remaining is which 'brand' to exhibit at the show!

The Newport show definitely got me jazzed for the upcoming Boston Fall Boat Show (Oct 1 - 3 at the Seaport World Trade Center, official website). While the Boston show is not quite as big as Newport, it will be great to be there for the entire weekend, putting BoatNameGear on display and talking to customers. If you're looking to get away for the first weekend of October, Boston is beautiful this time of year. And in addition to the boat show, there is plenty going on around town; the Yankees are in town playing the Red Sox, Notre Dame is in town playing Boston College, and the fall foliage is in town early and will be near its peak (fall foliage website).

Hopefully we'll see you in Boston, but for now here are a few pics from Newport and some of the products you may see more of soon on our sites...

A little yacht I passed on the way to the boat show

These yachts looked a lot bigger in person

We'll be writing up the Baby Sea Rock soon

More child's play. Opa Cove founder Richard Barbis proudly displays his Sea Squirts swim and life vests.

Boarding bars from Ding-EZ make boating easier for the young at heart