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Dealer conference plans 2013 pre-event workshops

The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, which has seen a 173 percent increase from the number of registrants prior to May 1, 2012, announced it will feature an all-new series of pre-conference workshops at its 2013 event, set for Nov. 17-20 in Orlando, Fla.

The new series will feature seven workshops and is scheduled for the morning of Nov. 18. The workshops will offer in-depth strategies and expert advice in either single three-hour workshops or as many as two 1.5-hour workshops, announced the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, the group that co-produces the show with Boating Industry magazine.

“We have created these workshops in response to requests from MDCE attendees, who have been looking for deeper, more interactive educational sessions,” MRAA membership and marketing director Liz Walz said in a statement. “These workshops take MDCE’s dealer education to a new height.”

Although the specifics of the pre-conference workshops will be announced in the coming days, the sessions will feature limited seating and be focused on topics such as leadership, sales, customer loyalty and the service department, as well as digital marketing efforts, such as apps, social media and search engine optimization.

“The beauty of these pre-conference workshops is that they will allow dealers to build a plan in specific areas of their business while they are at the MDCE,” Boating Industry editor-in-chief Jonathan Sweet said in a statement. “Then, when the three tracks of educational sessions start the following day, attendees can enhance the plan they have created with the ideas, best practices and solutions that they pick up during the rest of the MDCE.”

This year’s conference is on track to be the largest yet, with more than 250 registrants more than six months from the event. The 251 registrants is a new record by a long shot, the MRAA announced. Last year, which set the previous record for registrant numbers, 92 were slated to attend by May 1.

“Clearly, these people understand the great value that the MDCE has to offer them year in and year out,” MRAA president Matt Gruhn said in a statement.

The finishing touches are being put on the educational agenda this week, and the speakers and topics will begin to be announced later this month. The full event promotional brochure will be published in June and will be inserted into Boating Industry magazine.

“We are thrilled with the number of people who are already registered,” Boating Industry publisher Amy Collins said in a statement. “The MDCE has been growing in momentum over the past six years and we expect to continue that momentum through this year’s event and beyond.”

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