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IBEX for Dealers?

IBEX (International Boatbuilding Exposition & Conference) is nothing like it was when it started more than two decades ago. As a dealer, you’ve likely never given much thought to attending IBEX. These days, it’s clearly worth considering.

Once the bastion of boatbuilding technologies and materials, IBEX offered industry retailers very little. That has changed in recent years, and for good reason. When it opens for its three-day run at the Tampa Convention Center, October 1-3, it will have nearly 600 exhibitors showcasing products and services to thousands of attendees from across the country and abroad.

While the latest boatbuilding technologies are central to the show, IBEX has become more of an all-industry event. It’s as much of an educational conference as a trade show, with dozens of seminars, tech sessions and even a powerful schedule of pre-conference Super Sessions on Sunday and Monday, before the exposition opens on Tuesday morning.

Its “Seminar Series” offers training on specific products and systems from industry experts, supplemented with many free “Tech Talk Workshops” from exhibitors.

“The range of seminars, super sessions, and special events provide an outstanding opportunity for marine professionals to increase their understanding of the latest developments in their field,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director.

A timely opportunity for dealers is the third annual “Grow Boating Marketing Summit,” a Special Seminar slated for Monday, September 30. The full-day event includes successful speakers and teachers lecturing on the latest in digital marketing practices, a discipline playing an ever-larger role for the most successful dealers.

Another Special Seminar called “Return to Thunderboat Row” is bound to be memorable for anyone who was in the industry during the Miami Vice era. Attendees should be ready for scintillating tales of the good, the bad, and the bloody times of North Miami's historic Thunderboat Row. Moderated by the editors of Professional BoatBuilder magazine, it will feature legendary drivers, throttlemen, and builders including Odell Lewis, Alan "Brownie" Brown, Steve Curtis, Bob Saccenti, John Cosker and Val Jenkins.

Another important feature of IBEX is the large in-water section outside the convention center. Boat builders, electronics manufacturers and others are able to demonstrate products, and the docks will be full again this year.

IBEX 2019 is not a one-size-fits-all event. Its diverse exhibitor base and, especially, its extensive educational format allows attendees to tailor their own programs. For dealers, it’s a chance to learn about what’s coming, review current technologies and even find new products and revenue opportunities. Because there are so many offerings, you may find it hard to attend everything, so pre-planning is recommended.

The city’s ultra-modern airport, variety of hotels and entertainment opportunities makes the visit all the more inviting. For a complete look at the seminar and workshop tracks, and everything else about IBEX, go to: www.ibexshow.com

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