WANDA KENTON SMITH
Soundings Trade Only
NOV 26, 2019
Boating Industry’s inaugural Elevate Summit delivered high marks for content geared to the C-suite, according to participants. The three-day event also attracted smaller crowds than previous events like last year’s MDCE. Organizers said the smaller attendance is part of its “management-exclusive” model.
“The Elevate conference had high-quality presenters and beneficial training for all functioning aspects of the boat business,” Russell Baqir, senior vice president of Northpoint Commercial Finance, told Trade Only Today. “Attendee participation and dialogue addressed both micro and macro hurdles facing the industry.”
From a vendor perspective, however, Baqir added that exhibits were “lightly attended.” He added that some fellow exhibitors reported solid leads.
“It was slow on the floor concerning discussions with dealers, and there was no OEM boatbuilder presence,” he said. “I did have some quality meetings with some of our existing dealers and enjoyed quality time with a few of the engine OEMs present. The jury is out, however. We’ll have to see whether or not vendors realize much return from their investment.”
Jeff Husby, owner of Regal Nautique of Orlando, agreed that there was a high caliber of education at Elevate. He also wanted to see more OEM, dealer and vendor participants.
“While there were a lot of new faces in attendance, which was great, the opening two days didn’t have many big dealers or boat OEMs,” Husby said. “I especially would have liked to have seen more vendors.”