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The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo (MDCE) has become one of the industry’s largest annual meetings and if it’s not on your calendar, yet, now’s the time to add it. 

With the MDCE just 60 days away and air fares generally predicted to move higher as airlines continue to improve load factors by cutting flights, now is a good time to grab some bargain fares to Orlando for the Nov. 14-17 event. Moreover, it’s shaping up to be a good one.

According to Phil Keeter, president of MRAA ,which co-sponsors MDCE with Boating Industry magazine, much has been added to this year’s event. “A total of 21 all-new sessions are included, and there are even some ‘bonus’ sessions available for attendees who arrive early," Keeter explained. "Besides strong opening and closing keynote sessions (speakers Dan Coughlin and Harris Rosen, respectively), there will be one other general session and three complete educational tracks with sessions spanning two days. This is the most all-inclusive educational program for dealers ever held in the industry."

More specifically, two educational tracks -- Sales & Marketing and Service Departments – feature a lineup of new sessions tailored to today’s market situation. An entirely new third track has been added this year. Entitled “Powering Profits,” these sessions are geared specifically toward dealer principals.

While the extensive educational tracks are the heart of MDCE, the expo portion is no less valuable for dealers. It has been enlarged to accommodate more than 50 exhibitors, including 30 boat brands. Covering an event-record 106,000 square feet this year, the open hours of the expo hall are also being increased because of its size.

In addition to saving on airfare by booking now, MDCE registration prices are also discounted for early signup. There is a catch: the early registration discount offer expires on Sept. 26. Specifically, if you register before the deadline will land a full conference pass, normally $449, for $399. Moreover, if you’re an MRAA member you’ll get an addition $50 off! There are also discounts for additional staff members attending. So, don’t blow the deadline!

Bottom line: The MDCE has become the industry’s major annual event that puts total focus on the retail segment of our business. Dealer insight and education is why it exists. Perhaps its value to retailers is best illustrated by the fact that a record 700-plus were in attendance last year. Frankly, I recommend every dealer attend.

Get all the details at: and click on the Marine Dealer Conf. & Expo logo.