Two of the major boat show organizers are now offering apps to help show-goers navigate the aisles and docks with their smart phones and tablets.
Show Management’s MyBoatShow, a free app for the iPhone, iPad and Android, will officially launch at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which will be held Oct. 27-31 (www.showmanagement.com). “We’re staying up to date with how our attendees are behaving and the tools they like to use for research,” says Steve Sheer, Show Management’s marketing director. “This is a great app because you can map out your day by searching for products and exhibitors and adding them to your favorites list and organizing your day so you can spend your time making the most of the show.”
A free show app is also expected to be available for the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s 2012 Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail (www.miamiboatshow.com), which is scheduled for Feb. 16-21, says NMMA public relations manager Sarah Ryser. The NMMA’s first show app was available for the 2011 Miami show, she says.
Going forward, Show Management will offer its MyBoatShow app for other shows it produces, such as the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show and the Palm Beach International Boat Show, Sheer says. “That’s why the name of our app is generic, because it will be used for all of our shows,” he says. “When the St. Pete Power & Sail show rolls around, you’ll be able to get the same app for that boat show.”
There are no apps in the works for other NMMA shows, Ryser says. “For now, we want to make sure we are optimizing the experience for … the Miami boat show, but the plan is to roll out apps for other shows, particularly the ones with a broad reach,” she says. That would include shows in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Minneapolis, she says.
The Show Management app will provide multiple interactive functions, such as an exhibitor list, a list of boats, a list of products and maps of the show locations — the Bahia Mar, Hall Of Fame and Las Olas marinas; the Broward County Convention Center; Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina; and the Sails Marina. You can use MyBoatShow to access information about new boats and products and identify their display locations at the show, Show Management Web manager Paul Brown says.
“For instance, you can search for all the inboard boats or search for all the boats at a specific show location, such as all the boats at the convention center,” Brown says. “You can search for an exhibitor, and when you find that exhibitor the app will take you to a map showing that exhibitor’s area.” Search a boat by size, type, sub-type, builder or location. You can search new boats, brokerage boats or all boats.
One of the key tools will be the ability to compile a favorites list of boats, events or products that you want to see, Sheer says. Tapping on the name of an exhibitor will give users its website and phone number. Selecting a boat also will deliver specs and identify the participating dealer, he says. The app also will deliver alerts giving show-goers daily updates with additional show information.
The NMMA app will provide a list of boats, exhibitors and booth numbers, an event schedule and maps, Ryser says.
The FLIBS and Miami show apps will give tablet and smart-phone users transportation information as well. For instance, the FLIBS app will show bus and water transportation routes on the illustrations of the show and the Fort Lauderdale area.
This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue.