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London Boat Show 2019 cancelled

by Annabel Wildey 15 May 16:25 BST 9-13 January 2019
London Boat Show 2018 © Robert Stanwyck

British Marine, which organises and owns the London Boat Show, has announced that the 2019 Show, due to run at ExCeL London from 9-13 January 2019, will not take place.

This decision was made after independent research by exhibition experts, Zing Insights, showed there was insufficient support from a large proportion of the marine industry to the London Boat Show with its current format, duration and location.

In the last three weeks, Zing Insights has carried out personal interviews with over 67% of exhibitors. This revealed that whilst a number of marine companies supported the change to a five day Show, finding it preferable to a 10 day Show, a large number of key exhibitors were not prepared to commit to exhibiting to a five day Show at ExCeL in January 2019.

Visitor research also showed that consumer satisfaction of the 2018 Show was below acceptable industry standards. Visitor satisfaction was centred on the content of the Show and specifically on the number and diversity of sailing and power boats exhibited. The research results showed a year-on-year decline in audience satisfaction which would continue to fall if the Show proceeded in the same format and continued to fail to satisfy visitor expectations.

Zing's research findings were endorsed by British Marine's exhibition sales staff who, despite intensive sales efforts, reported that an insufficient number of signed contracts of commitment to the 2019 Show had been returned. This was particularly significant amongst boatbuilders and boat retailers. Lack of signed contracts from this sector also affected confidence from other potential exhibitors, further reducing confirmed sign ups within the deadline.

Sales activity and support for the London Boat Show is in contrast with British Marine's TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, which attracts close to 500 exhibitors and more than 106,000 visitors and has the support of title sponsor TheYachtMarket.com. The 2018 event is significantly ahead in terms of ticket sales and exhibitor sign ups compared to this time last year. TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show 2018, running over 10 days from 14-23 September, celebrates its 50th year with a host of special events and activities taking place.

The British Marine Boat Show team are now able to put all their focus on ensuring TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show 2018 is the most successful to date. British Marine is in talks with relevant landlords to increase the footprint of the Show to meet exhibitor demands, both on the land and on the marina. New and exciting content for the Show includes additional features, alongside new displays and attractions.

"The decision to put the London Boat Show on hold is naturally very disappointing for the British marine industry," said David Pougher, President of British Marine, "but British Marine and its Board of Directors has a responsibility to its members and we cannot commit to running a Show which is clearly forecasted in its current format to be commercially unviable and will not meet customer satisfaction levels. By contrast, TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show produces a positive contribution to the industry, is well supported by exhibitors and visitors alike and is a highly successful event and we are now able to put all our energy, expertise and enthusiasm into this event."

British Marine says making the decision to put the London Boat Show on hold now for 2019 enables the organisation to look at alternative options. "We are very aware that many companies in the marine industry look at a sales activity such as the London Boat Show in January as an excellent way to kick start the year, but times change and we must do the same in order to offer events which are affordable, accessible, welcomed and supported by the industry and its customers, and are financially viable for all involved. This is now the task for the British Marine team, its Board, its members and valued advisors to seek new opportunities to support our industry," concluded David Pougher.

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