“Exit right toward Palm Beach,” my GPS sounded while I slowed down on I-95 toward my exit. After a quick right, then another left, I found myself at a parking garage where I grabbed a ticket. After finding a parking spot and parking my car, I grabbed my bag and camera, and headed down Clematis Street. 10 minutes later, I found myself at the Palm Beach Boat Show entrance, where I grabbed my exhibitor pass and headed inside.
I know, my morning sounds easy, right? no traffic, no lines, easy walk, but let me tell you, boat shows never really go like this for me. The morning of a boat show is typically full of traffic, lines, congestion, and long walks. I couldn’t be happier with my experience for the first time at the Palm Beach Boat Show 2021.
The Social Nav. Sales Team (aka Kirsten) is usual at every boat show on the east coast, but it was a first to Palm Beach this year. To me, it’s essential to know how to do the boat show. If you are in the industry, you know what I mean. After doing it a year or two, you come up with a personal show strategy that makes 4-5 days at the show more enjoyable because you know where to park, stay, walk, get around, and just the ins-and-outs of the show. This one, was by far one of the easiest.
The layout of the show was super maneuverable, even with a lot of people and boats to see. Like the Miami show, there were many winding docks with ships of all sizes, sail, power, and yachts.
The one thing that made this year’s show different from others, was all the SOLD signs (not complaining about that!) Inventory was low for most OEM’s, accessory-companies, and outdoor products. After talking with dealers, I found out a lot of the boats they were showing were already customer-owned boats, and if you wanted new, you had to get on the list, which A LOT of people did. It was also amazing overhearing conversations while walking the docks, about reaching and exceeding sales goals, or customers asking, “when will it get in!?”
Thursday (the first day of the show), usually industry day, was packed (not like your typical boat show). It’s safe to say the marine industry is booming… It’s one of the best times in history to own a boat, and people are not shy to order them. Although there were many eager customers at the show, it never seemed to get that cramped of a crowd, and I believe it was because of the layout of the show, giving people the space they needed, even if there were thousands of them!
If you didn’t make the show and have never been to one before, here are some tips and tricks I learned from this year’s show:
- Easy to get to the show: No lines or traffic
- Parking: Find the nearest parking garage for the day and walk down to the show
- Food: Restaurants on the same block as the boat show with quick-food or places to sit down with clients
- Stay: Many hotels and no traffic, you don’t need to worry about being within walking distance
- Attire: Apply sunscreen (I got burnt the first day) and wear comfortable shoes (I never do this and always end up with blisters)
- Show layout: Three main tents with accessory booths and then other booths scattered throughout the show
- Docks: Many people asked me if there was anything but yachts at the show, and the answer was yes. There was a large number of center console powerboats on the water and land. There was also a good sail process and some classic-style inboards. A great variety.
- Service: No cell service, basically at all. I couldn’t get a signal or Wi-Fi at the show.. making my job as a social media reporter difficult. I would recommend finding a coffee shop down the street you can escape to, when using the internet throughout the show.
- Crowds: Many people but never too many people in one place, the layout of the show allows people to have their own space, but also get in the show
If you didn’t make the show this year, come next year! See you there.
– Kirsten Corssen, Manager and owner of Social Navigator