LIVE FROM METS: Familiar faces in a foreign land

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Another day, three hours, 39 minutes and 9 seconds until METS starts, and I’m already exhausted.

I have heard the stories about METS through the years and was never quite sure what to think. I have done the tour of the U.S. shows for many years and I have always been impressed. Sure, some years South Florida rules; the Northeast shows, especially Annapolis can be the place to be, but all in all (sans hurricanes) they are all great shows. So this year I find myself at the Marine Equipment Trade Show in Amsterdam.

I was lucky enough to be asked by one of my clients (Mastervolt/Marinco) to speak at its training meeting about social media, so I had no excuse not to take the seven-hour flight and see what the hubbub was about. Four martinis and eight hours later (there was a delay) I’m here. The show has yet to start, but I already love it. Everyone seems excited for this year’s show, and for me, seeing all the familiar faces outside the States is pretty neat (it’s as if we’re in some nerdy U.S. boating industry gang).

METS attendance is expected to reach 20,000. There are more than 1,300 exhibitors and 15 national pavilions, and specialist pavilions for superyacht, marina and yard equipment and construction material at the Amsterdam RAI Convention Center. It opens Tuesday and continues through Thursday.

The show is broken down to

• Accessories and equipment: 97 percent

• Engines: 2 percent

• Services: 1 percent

I have yet to adjust to the time difference, so I spend my nights walking the streets in a daze (not for the reasons you might think), ready to hit the booths tomorrow. So if I stop by your booth to say “Hi,” my eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep, not from the “coffee shops.”

Gaspare J. Marturano is a social media and digital marketing thought leader, industry speaker and the author of “SocializeWith.Me or Someone Else Will” (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). With more than 20 years of experience, he is now leading Fastlane Communications’ Digital Marketing and Social Media practice, providing best-practice counsel and execution in the areas of social media policies, processes, people, technologies and content marketing programs.