This past Lake Dora show was to us here one of the best events of the past Lake Dora events. But, it down in size, both at the gate and with vendors. Gas prices are way below the norm, the weather was amazing, and the event was well publicized online and locally on Fox Orlando News..
Sure there was some crap weather on Saturday, and the gate was down. But the participants showing was down a bit as well. BUT, and its a big BUT Bertha Big Boogie Butt, BUT here. We must have had 30 folks come up to the tent who had never been and were happy to be there and will come back. That is a sign of a great product, returning traffic. Woody Boater is still growing, with over 250,000 unique people coming to the site, and over 60% return. So that’s over 125,000 people out there interested. And that’s just Woody Boater. Over 20,000 came to the site on the CBS Sunday Morning show. There are people out there.
So what is it? AGE? Interest? Cost of the boats? The simple answer is YES, and NO, the way we see it here at Woody Boater is that the “Hobby” was late to the game in truly identifying who the next generation is, and more importantly how they think. How they think is the most important part here.
The “Next Classic boat Generation” is around 30, doesn’t like joining clubs or anything for that matter, they don’t read paper anything or even watch TV. Boating is a dream still since they are just paying off Collage costs and first home down payments. They may have 1 or two kids and dealing with all that. BUT..again… We are talking about a mind set here. Our Next Generation” is a romantic curator of sorts. They are not interested in the restoration of a show boat right now, but more of a continuum of history.
They want to show off the age of there boat or car. They don’t have $100K to sink into a boat of any kind. We asked around, the hot market in the classic boat world today is $25K and under. Makes sense. These are guys..mostly that don’t want a new boat or boring boat. They see and feel the art of things. The same guys that would clear coat over a rough rusty paint job on a car. Like Gas Monkey Garage. This crowd does not see themselves in a boat show of sorts. They want to be out on the water and have an excuse to go boating with others.
The Lake Dora traffic and amount of boats is a reflection of a missed generation of Gen Xers that felt like they couldn’t participate in an old rich mans game. yes, that’s not the case anymore, but to be honest, it was and we are paying the price of that bureaucratic head in the sand opinion. Note, don’t bother with millennials, they will Uber there own boats. They don’t even buy cars. BTW, that’s a concept. Boat rides to places. Offer it up like Uber.
The good news is that it’s happening, and we are seeing growth in the area of lower cost boats and fun events like the amazing Gull Lake Woods and Water event. The number proved that. How did that happen? The way it was put together, and Marketing. It was masterfully marketed by an amazing team. They used social media, digital banners, video, and planned a year in advance. They went all in and it paid off.
All will agree that the Woods And Water event was mostly under 60, if not under 50. These folks there were there to see the boats, but many arrived in cool boats. The thing we must all do is think hard about our events and think differently about them. Get a 30 or 40 something to help plan it.
Get folks out on the water. No more boring music. Play cool music, have a cool party before the event. By the way, this years Woodystock welcome party hosted by many was a huge event and every year gets bigger. Think of the show as a party. A reason to go boating.
Maybe start it two days earlier to get vendors and participants involved. Heck, all i want to do is go boating and hang around with good pals that share my passion.