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Dealer conference reports increase in registrations

Organizers of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo say the event saw the most August retail registrations in its history this year.

Organizers of the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo say the event saw the most August retail registrations in its history this year.

August registrations were up nearly 5 percent year over year, organizers said. Year-to-date retail registrations were up 13 percent as of the end of August, compared with the same period in 2015, putting this year’s MDCE on track to be one of the largest yet.

In 2015 1,147 marine industry professionals from North America and as far away as Australia traveled to Orlando, Fla., for the conference, which organizers said featured a sold-out expo hall filled with more than 100 exhibitors.

The event is jointly hosted by Boating Industry magazine and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. Organizers said sponsorships and exhibit space are off to a solid start this year and the conference’s top “Powered By” tier is nearly sold out.

The 2016 MDCE will take place in Orlando, Dec. 5-8, two weeks later in the calendar than it is traditionally scheduled.

“It’s exciting to see the industry respond to the new events and features we’ve added to MDCE,” MRAA vice president Liz Walz said in a statement. “One of our top priorities in building the show each year is offering fresh takeaways to move the needle for participants, and we think dealers and exhibitors alike will find this year’s MDCE to be the most impactful to date.”

The conference includes several new offerings, including dealer-to-dealer roundtable discussions, dealer case studies and three keynote presentations.

“The strong registration numbers we’ve seen throughout the spring and summer serve as clear evidence that boat dealers find value, opportunity and knowledge at MDCE,” Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet said. “We think the conference’s later dates have also helped, as they avoid conflicts with hunting season, winterization chores and other shows.”

Organizers said marine retailers who register for the MDCE before the Sept. 23 early-bird deadline will save $25 off standard rates; MRAA members will save an additional $75 or a total of $100.

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