Chicago, Atlanta Boat Shows Welcome Eager Boat Shoppers, Exhibitors After Two-Year Hiatus

The Discover Boating Chicago and Atlanta boat shows returned in a big way after a two-year hiatus, welcoming thousands of attendees and exhibitors enthusiastic to have the shows back. In partnership with Progressive Insurance, the Discover Boating Chicago Boat Show attracted nearly 30,000 boating enthusiasts, and around 20,000 attended the Discover Boating Atlanta Boat Show – many ready to invest in boating.

“The energy and enthusiasm were palpable. We talked to so many attendees and exhibitors that were thrilled to have the boat shows back in Chicago and Atlanta,” said Jennifer Thompson, NMMA SVP, shows. “We’re hearing from exhibitors who are reporting steady traffic to their booths throughout the show, boat sales, and new customer leads generated.”

More than 45,000 people used Chicago’s and Atlanta’s new Discover Boating Boat Finder since its December launch. Visitors continue to spend well above the average time browsing the pages, reinforcing consumer interest to shop boats both in-person and online, with high interest among shoppers in the 25-34 and 35-44 age ranges.

Discover Boating tested new activations in both Chicago and Atlanta to take the experiential aspect to the next level to retain show goers and boating enthusiasts while engaging next-gen boaters. The new Discover Boating Beach Club in Chicago featured live entertainment and activities, notable chef and mixologist demos and samplings, live DJ sets, opportunities to surf waves & watch the pros, a paddle sports pool and more. Atlanta’s new Discover Boating Lake Life Lounge featured live entertainment daily, plus a taste of the “lake life” with local chef and mixologist demos and samplings.

“The new Discover Boating show features were incredible additions to the show, immersing attendees of all ages in the boat life. We look forward to expanding these experiences across all Discover Boating boat shows,” noted Thompson.

Up next: the Discover Boating® Minneapolis Boat Show, in partnership with Progressive® Insurance, runs through Sunday, Jan. 22.