Countdown to Sydney International Boat Show
by Jeni Bone on 7 Jul 2014
Three weeks before the 47th Sydney International Boat Show, marketing and events manager, Domenic Genua updates us with final arrangements, how the two-venue format will work and what exhibitors and visitors to SIBS 2014 can expect.
• How many SIBS have you been involved with now?
The on-water component will be as spectacular as ever. BIA NSW
My involvement with the show started in 1993. For the BIA I was producing some of the media and PR activities and for other organisations such as 'OMC' I was running the Johnson Outboard Fishing Clinic.
In the early years, I was producing a whole lot of stuff and building stands for almost a dozen different businesses at the show. I joined the BIA in this capacity in 1998 and this will be my 22nd boat show and 17th in this current role.
• How have exhibitors coped with the challenges of two venues?
Mostly, they have coped very well. It goes without saying that after 25 years in one venue, moving to an interim facility will create some issues.
The industry members are mostly realists and know that there is no magic answer for every little issue. We as the show organiser have planned as best as possible and the processes and professionalism shown by the majority of the industry to date has been exceptional.
If this continues throughout move-in and the show, it will be a credit to the industry for being able to adapt to the interim facility for the benefit of the entire industry.
• How long will it take to get from Cockle Bay to Glebe Island by boat, or bus?
FREE ferries will operate non-stop between Darling Harbour and Glebe Island, as will buses from Central Railway Station to Glebe Island.
At the peak, we will have nine ferry movements an hour with vessels having the capacity to hold between 150 and 400 passengers. The travel time will vary depending on the ferry type and capacity. We suggest that for the slowest and largest of vessels, the total time from the commencement of boarding to the last person alighting, should be no longer than 30 minutes.
We envisage that buses will have a similar time for the transfer, but this will obviously change during any transfers that take place during Sydney peak hour traffic.
• How many exhibitors have signed on to date and how many do you anticipate before SIBS?
We will have around 220 exhibitors this year. This number will not increase. The 'house full' sign is basically up. Enquiries for space are welcome, but we are finalising the final elements of the floor plan and very limited opportunities exist.
• Is that up or down on previous years?
This is down as expected by around 10%. Our floor capacity at the interim venue is 3,200m² smaller than the old venue.
• Is the BIA offering any incentives or reductions for this year’s show?
Yes – the BIA has again increased the marketing and communications budget on last year and will strive to deliver a highly qualified audience. Exhibitor space prices have again been held at last year’s rate with no price increases for exhibitors. The BIA board has chosen to absorb the increased costs of running the show and will again run the Association at a deficit to support the event and industry.
• What are some of the major highlights at each venue?
The heroes of the show will always be the exhibitor’s products and services that will be on display. Our efforts to promote the recreational boating lifestyle comes with an underlining message that visiting the boat show will give you the opportunity to learn about these products and buy them to fulfil those lifestyle aspirations. As a boat show that has a policy for only 'new' products, the visitors to the show know that visiting the event will give them the opportunity to see what the latest and greatest in recreational boating is.
• How will you broach the issue of two venues in your marketing/media?
Our media has had to include a second band of messaging. Our lifestyle ads will remain. These will inform and persuade our target audience that visiting the boat show will fulfil those lifestyle aspirations. After 25 years exclusively at Darling Harbour, we have identified the need to complement our lifestyle messaging with messages about how easy it will be getting to the show, and how much fun the process will be.
To do this, we have engaged two boat show ambassadors, Andrew Ettingshausen (ET) and Jessica Watson. Andrew and Jessica have been great and we have completed a series of messages that will be used in the process. Members and industry will be seeing these very soon.
• What are some of the mediums you’re using this year to promote show?
Selecting the right mediums is always challenging. The process always starts with a study of the target audience and what mediums they are consuming at different times during the day. Our campaign will always be set around those findings.
In 2014, our target audience will see, hear and read our show messages on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, outdoor billboards and on-line. This will all be complemented with a number of strategic activities meant to support the main campaign.
• What is the significance of the Sydney show – what makes it unique and imperative for exhibitors?
The Sydney show started in 1968 with the aim of fulfilling numerous industry objectives. It remains the largest and most significant boat show in the region and is solely focused on assisting the recreational marine industry in Australia grow and prosper.
Turnover at the show, or immediately after it is estimated to be around 22% of the total annual turnover for the NSW industry and over to 10% of the total national turnover.
It is only imperative for exhibitors if the event is part of their marketing program. The boat show is not for everyone, but it is for those organisations who themselves have a number of strategic business growth objectives that they know can be clearly delivered at such an event.
• What market does it cater to/attract (regional, national, global, where from?)
In 2013, the show had 58,901 visitors. Of those, 38,332 were from the Sydney metropolitan area, 12,991 were from country NSW, 5,876 were from interstate and 1,701 were from overseas.
Of those that were not from the Sydney Metropolitan area, 83% said that the boat show was their primary reason for their visit.
• What will be worth waiting for about the new Darling Harbour venue from a BIA perspective?
In 2017 the new venue will be open for business. It will also be the year that the Sydney International Boat Show will be held for the 50th time.
The new venue will be bigger, more modern and have the capacity to allow the show to deliver a greater event and experience for our audience.
• What are some of the other BIA initiatives this year you are working on to attract people to the boating lifestyle?
The BIA is always looking at programs to continue to inform and educate people about the joys of recreational boating.
Our campaign on Channel 7’s Sydney Weekender program will continue throughout the year. The association between the BIA and this program started in 1998 and over the years has been able to deliver very positive messaging about numerous segments within recreational boating.
MyBoatingLife.com.au has gained tremendous momentum in recent times and its national focus helps the BIA show the public that boating has no borders. It remains the focal point for our target audience to either learn about how to get into boating, or to assist existing boaties on making their boating life better.
Our Try Sailing Day that has had great success for almost two decades now will be developed into our Discover Boating Week. Discover Boating Week has been scheduled for the 18 to 26 October. This event will certainly allow numerous industry sectors to participate to showcase the beauty and pleasure of what they do.
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