Feedback drives planning for 2017 dealer conference

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes
Early registration is open for the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which drew a record number of dealers last year who engaged in more than 30 educational sessions, three keynotes, several workshops, dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions and one-on-one consultations with experts.

Early registration is open for the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which drew a record number of dealers last year who engaged in more than 30 educational sessions, three keynotes, several workshops, dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions and one-on-one consultations with experts.

Early registration is open for the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which runs Dec. 10-13 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., and organizers are building the conference based on attendee feedback from last year.

“We’re coming off a record year for dealer attendance,” said Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, which owns the event.

“We had 640 dealers there last year and we’re super-proud of the fact that 40 percent of our dealer attendees were there for the first time, so we’re still getting a bunch of newcomers to the event — which is awesome.”

The attendees had almost a 95 percent customer satisfaction rate, according to third-party survey results from Customer Satisfaction Inc., and almost an 85 percent net promoter score, which measures the willingness of customers to recommend the event to others. “That’s considered to be a world-class level,” Gruhn said.

One of the things that dealers responded overwhelmingly positively to was an inaugural roundtable session, Gruhn told Trade Only Today. “We had dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions and set up 40 tables of 10. Each table had its own topic so people could sit down at the table that had the discussion most relevant to them.”

For the first time in 2016, MDCE attendees had the chance to participate in dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions, giving them an opportunity to share and hear best practices and strategies that have helped other dealers take advantage of opportunities and overcome obstacles. The roundtable discussions are being expanded for the 2017 MDCE.

For the first time in 2016, MDCE attendees had the chance to participate in dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions, giving them an opportunity to share and hear best practices and strategies that have helped other dealers take advantage of opportunities and overcome obstacles. The roundtable discussions are being expanded for the 2017 MDCE.

Last year there were roughly 40 tables, and all of them were packed, Gruhn said. “So based on feedback, we’re actually expanding that for this year and will do three instead of just one, so there will be one every day of the educational sessions. We’re super-excited about those. When you boil it down from an educational standpoint, that dealer-to-dealer interaction is something our attendees just can’t get anywhere else.”

The month of April provides attendees with the greatest discount available all year, Gruhn said, with registrants able to save $140 per attendee. There is a $75 MRAA member discount, a $40 early bird registration discount and an extra $25 discount that just runs through the month of April, Gruhn said.

“We typically get a lot of people interested in that additional savings because that is a per-person savings,” Gruhn said, making it especially attractive for dealerships bringing several people.

Click here to register and click here for more about the 2017 MDCE.

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