Exhibitor Testimonials on INTERBOOT 2023

October 1, 2023:

Sonja Meichle, Managing Director of Ultramarin Meichle + Mohr GmbH:

We are very satisfied with how the fair went. During the week, we experienced robust sales and successful meetings both in the boat sector and in functional clothing and shoes. On weekdays, you frequently attract visitors who are more interested and knowledgeable. Regardless, it can be stated unequivocally that it was a very good audience overall. We also fully support having the Interboot run for five days in the future. While we may not have the same cost considerations as exhibiting companies from distant locations, we firmly believe that the shorter duration of the fair is a good idea. I am thrilled about our future chance to showcase ourselves efficiently and concisely over five days at the trade fair. You certainly have to give it a bit of time to show what the ultimate result will be. In the initial year, people may not fully grasp what this new, condensed fair will mean. It’s an ongoing process, but rest assured, we wholeheartedly support it. We have remained loyal to the Interboot. It’s a platform that is very important to us.”

Dennis Pfister, member of the Board of Management of Boote Pfister GmbH:

"Honestly speaking, the attendance during the first weekend was weaker compared to last year, but the number of visitors was higher during the week. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are typically quite quiet, but that was certainly not the case this year. Those three days were exceptionally strong, also in terms of sales; we have no complaints. Last year, many suppliers visited our booth. This year, we experienced an increase in the number of customers compared to suppliers, and we also welcomed numerous newcomers who recently entered the boat business. The jet ski industry is experiencing significant growth where we are. There were actually relatively few customers from the Lake Constance area who stopped by our booth, but we had many customers from all over Germany. Interboot is primarily a sales fair for us. Of course, it is also important for marketing purposes and to make new contacts, and to meet new manufacturers, but we come here mainly to sell boats, and that works for us. Compressing the fair into five days in the future could offer significant advantages for both exhibitors and customers, as it allows for a more concentrated experience. What’s more, business continues at home. The reduced trade show duration 

allows staff to be taken out of day-to-day operations for a shorter period of time. That makes me a strong proponent of a five-day fair.”

Vinzenz Batt, Managing Director of the Swiss Boat Builders Association:

“In recent years, the boating industry has experienced unprecedented success, as the Covid pandemic led to a situation in which anything that could float sold exceptionally well. Several exhibitors were unable to attend because they lacked both goods and boats to sell. Many now argue that the expected return does not justify the effort that would need to be invested. Furthermore, the Internet continues to strengthen, while the economic situation is progressively deteriorating. These days, the middle class has to be more vigilant in managing their finances. Owning a boat is no longer the first priority. Despite this, I firmly believe that trade shows play a significant role in the customer journey, specifically in the sales process. According to our exhibitors, there were productive discussions throughout the week, resulting in successful sales. I also appreciate the decision to shorten the event to five days. You then don’t have as many weekdays that drag on a bit. Furthermore, I perceive this as an opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses, especially those lacking sufficient staff to easily suspend operations on the home front for extended periods of time. For companies like that, business stands still during the trade fair. It makes a lot of difference whether the length of the fair is nine days or five. In any case, it’s crucial to mobilize these people to come to the fair next year. Getting former exhibitors back has to be the ultimate goal. Trade show business is people business.”

Davor Panarese, Head of Sales at KIBAG AG:

“We are extremely pleased with the success of this year’s trade fair. Due to its proximity to Gottlieben near Kreuzlingen, the Interboot serves as something like our in-house trade fair, attracting our Swiss clientele to Friedrichshafen. Despite being slightly quieter than in 2022, we have engaged in meaningful conversations every day and will be penning many quotations in the aftermath of the show. In my opinion, trade fairs are still important, particularly for the opportunity to show a strong presence. For the industry here in southern Germany with a catchment area of Switzerland and Austria, it is crucial to have a trade fair in this region. We are certain that we will continue to participate in Interboot in the future, even if we will need to wait until 2024 to be able to draw our conclusions about the shortened duration of only five days.”

Hans Roelants, General Manager of Sea Ray Brunswick:

“Although it seems like visitor numbers are a little lower than last year, we are actually very pleased with the success of the show, as the sales figures in 2023 are significantly higher. As far as the next Interboot lasting only five days is concerned, we are of course curious about how it will go, as the exhibitors’ effort and expense will remain unchanged. However, trade shows hold significant importance for our industry since they provide a unique opportunity to showcase the complete product range and allow customers to examine all the models in one place. In my opinion, this is the greatest strength that trade shows offer. The Interboot is an essential event that serves as a barometer for the upcoming season, allowing us to anticipate how it will go.”

Uwe Fröhlich, owner of Boots-Center Fröhlich e.K.:

“The show this year was slightly more subdued than usual, mirroring the behavior of visitors amidst the current inflation and economic situation. As a regional player, we have the advantage of being able to provide exceptional service to our customers, who highly value our offerings such as dry storage with slip service. Given that our main focus is on entry-level boats from VTS and Regal, there is always something going on. However, it typically takes around three to four weeks after the show to accurately gauge our success. For the past 50 years, we have proudly presented our services at the Interboot, the most significant annual event for us since our regular customers are always here.”

Yanick Nürnberger, Junior Management Director of Europe Marine Großhandels GmbH:

“The show has gone as we expected it to go for us so far. Given the challenging economic climate, we are content with our results and relieved that we proactively anticipated a slight decline in sales compared to the previous year. For our 24-foot boats and the classes above, we detected a significant level of interest and successfully conducted advisory and sales meetings. The Interboot again attracted a high-quality audience, and the proximity to Switzerland is a long-standing advantage of the fair. We remain somewhat skeptical about the reduction in the length of the fair next year. We have been participating in the Interboot for over 40 years, during which the event lasted for nine days. We will not be able to dedicate the same level of effort to a five-day event. However, we will definitely return, as trade shows remain a crucial platform to showcase our presence and present boats directly to customers live and in person.”

Inga von der Linden, Managing Director of Matt Linden GmbH:

“Our customers are the exhibitors, and there’s no place like a trade show to reach them. We were very successful in networking with shipyards and dealers throughout the entire show, particularly during the less busy periods. As anticipated, there was a decrease in activity during the week; however, on those days, we engaged with knowledgeable visitors who approached our booth with specific inquiries. We are optimistic about the shorter duration of the event in 2024. We hope to attract a larger audience or have more condensed attendance over the course of five days. Change is both good and essential. We remain committed to trade shows and the Interboot as valuable networking platforms, and we look forward to returning next year.”

Edeltrud Perabo-Sachs, Sales, Panaenius Yachtversicherungen GmbH:

“We are delighted with our new space in the West Foyer and pleased to report that our numbers are on par with last year. The quality of the audience was very good, and we were able to engage in interesting consultations. The announced reduction in the fair’s duration is beneficial for us, as it allows us to exert similar effort over a shorter period of time. We will continue our association with the Interboot in the future, and we consider trade fairs to be a crucial means of establishing and maintaining contact.”

Vito Catalano, Head of Sales at Alife & Kickin:

“Everything about the layout, organization, and running of the fair was exceptional. We were also highly impressed by the hall. It exuded a pleasant brightness and boasted an excellent layout and wayfinding system. On Swiss Day, our booth experienced heavy traffic for over three hours, but unfortunately, it was rather quiet for the rest of the event. We still plan on returning next year and believe that reducing the duration of the event to five days is a good idea since it requires fewer man-hours to staff the booth over a shorter period of time. I also think it’s important that trade fairs exist. A person-to-person sales conversation offers a tangible experience and carries a unique energy that surpasses that of selling products solely on the Internet.”

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