Skip to main content

Dealer conference opens in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. - Close to 1,000 people are expected to participate in this year's Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which begins today at the Orange County Convention Center and Rosen Plaza Hotel.

Organizers said 920 preregistered for this year's event, which is in Orlando for the second consecutive year. That's up from the 743 who attended last year's conference.  Of the 920 who preregistered, 440 are dealer personnel. Organizers said they expect more people to register on-site.

Additionally, this year's event  - MDCE 3.0 - features 116 exhibitors, including more than 40 boatbuilders that are taking part in a mini-boat show in the exhibit hall. Last year, 75 exhibitors and about 20 boatbuilders took part in the event.

The exhibition takes up 106,000 square feet of space, up from 58,000 square feet at  last year's event.

Among the highlights are the general education sessions and the breakout sessions - grouped into three tracks - that cover everything from service department issues to best practices to using the Internet to grow business.

"We have to have education in our industry to keep us alive," said Phil Keeter, president of the Marine Retailers Association of America, which produces the conference along with Boating Industry magazine. The addition this year of a service department track particularly seems to have attracted more people, he said.

"I think it's going to be a very positive meeting," Keeter added.

Some manufacturers are using the meeting to host their own dealer meetings. Others are looking to add dealers to their networks.

When they registered, attendees received a bag full of colorful pamphlets from boatbuilders. Some included letters asking the attendees to come and learn more about the boats and what the builders offer their dealers.

"As you consider your future plans, I also ask that you think about the many leading brands, products and services provided by Brunswick," Chairman and CEO Dusty McCoy wrote in a letter to attendees. "Our long-standing commitment to the marine industry and dedication to assisting our dealers makes us a most valued partner."

Duane Kuck, president and CEO of Regal Marine, said there are "select areas throughout North America" where the company is looking for dealers. He touted Regal's factory showroom, and programs such as Regal Pre-Production Pricing for yachts larger than 40 feet and Prime Time and Show Times sales events, as proof that the Orlando-based boatbuilder is investing in its dealers.

Dennis Revell, vice president of sales from Tracker Marine, invited attendees to the company's booth for a visit.

"In the face of challenging times, we have brought to our dealers unprecedented support, as well as new programs and business methods that are reducing their costs while also delivering increased margins, sales volumes and ultimately a stronger bottom line," he wrote in a letter to attendees. "We have plenty to share and have been busy preparing for your arrival. We would be honored for you to stop in for a cup of coffee and let us share some of the details with you."

The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo runs through Wednesday, culminating with a gala to honor the winners of Boating Industry's Top 100 Dealers program.

— Beth Rosenberg



Doing Good for a Good Night’s Sleep

The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association partnered with “A Bed for Every Child” to build beds for families in need.


RBFF Adds Six Board Members

The foundation said the board members add a breadth of experience from the fishing and boating industries as well as state government agency work.


DEALERS: How Was Business in the First Half of 2022?

Did the first six months of the year meet your expectations, and did you make budget? Take the Pulse Report survey here.


AkzoNobel Names New CEO

The company said Gregoire Poux-Guillaume’s experience as CEO of two other companies includes a track record of growth and teambuilding.


Flexofold Hires New Managing Director

The company said Henning Uldall will concentrate on sales growth and moving the company to a new headquarters.


Soundings Trade Only Announces Fifth Annual Most Innovative Marine Company Awards

The global program will recognize transformative innovation and ingenuity that benefits the marine industry.


Yamaha Is Now the Official Outboard of BTT

The outboard manufacturer announced a sponsorship of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which aims to protect and conserve populations of the popular gamefish.