A smarter Southampton Boat Show

Dean Smith Dean Smith, commercial director of British Marine, talks about planned changes to the Southampton International Boat Show. Credit: Rebecca Jeffrey

2019 marks a new goal for British Marine to boost Southampton International Boat Show attendance figures from 100,000 to 150,000 with infrastructure, layout and marketing modifications.

In a bid to make SIBS more sustainable, the show will have an’ accessibility-flexibility-affordability’ theme. The Mayflower Park complex will be reduced to a single deck structure and there will be a new visitor building and catering area, while the membership and exhibitor lounge will be rehoused to enable more room for trade.

"Although looking healthy, boating is changing and we need more footfall and more new blood," explained Dean Smith, BM commercial director.

Doubts were cast on the feasibility of future shows when Southampton City Council announced a planning application for Mayflower Park, but this has now lapsed, offering more security and reassurance that the show will not change dramatically. BM is also in talks with the council about community investment in addition to site maintenance.

The show will retain its ten-day format and incorporate a new app offering the show guide in advance alongside a free show map. It will offer digital tickets through SEE tickets, using ticket scanning to help improve customer analysis and tailor its marketing.

In addition, new catering contracts will be put in place in a bid to improve food quality.

And Dean also confirmed that with the demise of the London Boat Show and the cancellation of the 2019 London Yacht Show BM's boat show sales team was reduced in numbers in 2017 with a core team put in place to ensure member support is prioritised.

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