In our two week long feature of the 2015 Woods and Water event, one thing kept sticking out to all of us there. This is the future of how all the events should be. Period. It was fun, it was about being in the water and using our boats and most of all, the way the event was set up, it was set up, to attract folks to the passion of classic boating.The Woods and Water gang was dead serious about this being the best event ever! Wow, did they ever deliver.
In case you had not read it over the past couple days, the crowds were HUUUUGE! We are talking two solid days of packed docks and water ways. It was a massive turn out. Of course it had a lot to do with the fact that the boats were the top boats on the planet, but there have been plenty of shows with top boats, but not with crowds and smiles like this. Three things that made a huge difference though. Other than Dave Bortner, Lee Anderson and the amazing John Allen.
One, marketing. No show in our memory was better branded and promoted. It was AMAZING, and done a long time ahead to get folks time to digest it and dream about it. Around the area, bill boards, videos, printed inserts, ads, appearances, all of it, and in the boating community, tons of exposure. They had it all, awareness, and a website to find out more. They took marketing seriously, and it showed….and worked.
Two, Location. This could not have been a better location for a classic boat event. Bar Harbor Supper Club, is amazing and custom built for events like this. The entire area, and other things to do are perfect, The lakes that all connected made a great boating experience, the docks were perfect, the woods were perfect with the touch of changing colors, the water was perfect, the restaurant was perfect, the parking was perfect, the volunteers were perfect, everything ran …mmmm, whats the word I am looking for?
Three, It was FREE to folks wanting to come see the boats. FREE! The genus of this move was it attracted new folks and lots of them. We are talking free here, no $5 bucks at the gate and all that stuff. Open! And guess what, everyone was a winner. If you think about it, the gate is a small amount of money when you are forward thinking. Thinking about new folks to the culture, more talk online, more exposure of owners boats, much much better vendor sales, more people show up and eat at restaurants, more people stay at hotels. All of it! You may strongly consider this for some of the shows out there that are struggling.
Now, what we are about to say here, may cause some “issues” for some. And will certainly garner some passionate comments. This event focused on the consumer. Not the entity that put on the show. This group that made this happen, was 100% focused on the consumer. Not about the club. No barriers for showing up, Free Admission, fun events for participants is easy to do when your focused on the consumer. The crowd was young by the way. we are talking a ton of 30 year olds, the youngest group we have ever seen. And tons of them,. This was the cool thing to do this past weekend.
A FUN RAISER, NOT FUND RAISER! It feels sometimes that many shows we go to are focused as fund raisers for the local chapter or International. I can tell you, and everyone that went to the Friday event will agree, there is no way in hell that was a $50 a ticket evening. More like $500 a ticket. The open bar, the food, the music, the location, everything was beyond the top of the game. ALL done to make it fun for the participants, not an obvious fund raiser. And guess what? The auction raised close to double the amount of money than last year. DOUBLE! Ask anyone who was at the show as a participant, it was the best show….event ever. Ask around to the hotels, the restaurant, all of it, made money. This is the rule of basic marketing. Focus on the consumer, offer a great product or service and you will win. Focus on yourself, and you will experience a downward spiral of death.
The other day, Dave Bortner left a wonderful comment thanking the folks that made this all happen, in case you missed it, here it is for the world to see. FOR FREE!
From Dave Bortner.
Co-chair Steve Shoop and I appreciate the kind comments and want to take this opportunity to thank those without whom none of it would have been possible.
First off, John and Becky Allen, and Lee and Penny Anderson for their help, guidance, support, generosity, enthusiasm, and creativity.
Second, the commitment of our committee members: Michael Holland, Rob Haberkorn, Ted Rogers, Bill Butler, Dane Anderson, Ian Sandercock, Eric Sandin, Susan Tenney, Stu Holmer, Dave Huntley, Sandi Trocinske, Melissa Holland, and Nancy Rigelhof.
Third, our sponsors: Nor-Son Construction, Bar Harbor Supper Club, Korta Katerina Winery, Industrial Equities, LLP, RM Sotheby’s, Artful Living Magazine, Boathouse Classic Trailers, Faribault Woolen Mills, Niccum Docks, Jumper Cable Marketing, RBC Tile and Stone, Brian Jensen, Feltl and Company, Freedom Boat Service, and, of course, Woody Boater!
Fourth, special thanks to:
– The culinary rock stars at Bar Harbor Supper Club
– Our marketing team: John Karlson, Bruce Bildsten, and Mark Setterholm
– Our pals at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandria, MN for a great event on Thursday.
– Moonlite Bay Restaurant and C&C Boatworks for their help and hospitality during our Whitefish pre-events
Fifth, our numerous volunteers (wearing red vests) who consistently performed in a helpful, courteous fashion.
And last, but not least, all the attendees! We thank you for bringing, and representing, your great boats and for your participation in our show and events. We’re honored that you invested the time and energy to join us so there could be a show!