MIACF does Discover Boating, but not at a boat show

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Visitors to the MIACF display at the Orlando Home & Garden Show learned that boating is more affordable than many thought.   

Visitors to the MIACF display at the Orlando Home & Garden Show learned that boating is more affordable than many thought.   

It’s no secret I’m a firm believer in our industry’s Discover Boating campaign. Indeed it’s our principal national effort to grow wider interest in boat ownership. That’s why I also enjoy spending time manning special Discover Boating exhibits at boat shows.

Such was the case this past weekend when I talked to hundreds of people about the boating lifestyle and the fact that they could become boating families for less than a typical car payment. But this time it wasn’t at a boat show. Instead, the Marine Industry Association of Central Florida was doing what Discover Boating is intended to do – reaching out to potential new boat buyers in untraditional ways.

“We wanted a presence at a large event with an audience of mostly non-boaters,” explained MIACF executive director David Ray, “so we booked a display of boats in the Orlando Home & Garden Show. The criteria for the boats in the display was every unit (boat-motor-trailer) had to be priced at $299 or less per month. Eleven member dealers responded with one boat each, and the models ranged from a 16-foot center console to 20-foot pontoons, and priced from $196 to $289 per month. We chose that price point so we could clearly show visitors they could own a boat for less than today’s typical car payment.”

But MIACF didn’t stop there. As an incentive to buy before the end of July, and as a way to track any sales results after the show, MIACF developed a special $500 discount certificate for which visitors could register in the exhibit. Visitors provided their name, address, phone and email at the display. The Certificates, listing all participating dealers, are being mailed to each recipient as you read this blog.

Deadline for using the $500 Certificate is July 31, 2018. Recipients are instructed to make their best deal and, then, present the Certificate to the dealer for an additional $500 discount.

“The dealer will absorb half the added discount and receive an MIACF check for the other half,” explained Ray. “Aside from being an incentive to buy now, it will also allow us to learn the actual impact of the Certificate promotion.”

While some attendees were boaters, the overwhelming majority were not. And, while several of the boaters acknowledged they had attended MIACF’s Orlando Boat Show held the previous weekend (March 2-4), most had not. Accordingly, our message that they could own a new boat like the ones on display for less than a car payment surprised many of the visitors . . . just what we wanted to do!

MIACF’s Orlando Boat Show followed the track of nearly all our industry’s winter shows with strong attendance and sales results. MIACF produces four boat shows annually. Besides the Orlando Boat Show in the spring, they also produce a fall Orlando “Clear the Decks Sale” Show as well as two shows in Daytona Beach, one in the spring and a second in the fall.

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