Trade Show Takeaways from Surf Expo

Trade Show Takeaways from Surf Expo

Last week, members of the Board Retailers Association attended the bi-annual Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida. This trade show is one of the oldest, biggest, and best in the board sports business, boasting 2,600 booths of apparel and hard goods, as well as a full line-up of special events, including fashion shows, awards ceremonies, and demonstrations.

At BRA, we’ve attended our fair share of trade shows. Not only do we know how to survive what can be a grueling few days, but we also know what makes a trade show truly great. Surf Expo was, as usual, a well run and smoothly organized affair, which is one of the reasons we keep going back. If you’re wondering what qualities to look for in a trade show, here are some of the ways that Surf Expo stands out.

  • The layout of the floor was very fluid and easy to navigate.
    With over 2,600 booths, 7,500 storefronts, and 26,000 attendees, making sure people can get around easily, quickly, and comfortably is essential. Surf Expo is the longest running board sports and beach/resort lifestyle trade show in the world, and their experience was apparent by how well their floor was laid out.
  • The signs were clearly positioned and easy to read.
    It doesn’t matter if you’re a trade show veteran or if you’re attending your first show. Clear and direct signage keeps things moving and helps everyone have a better time, and Surf Expo knocked it out of the park in this regard.
  • There was a great buzz and good traffic throughout the day.
    The energy at Surf Expo was great—the floor was busy all day long, spirits were high, and there was never a dull moment. There was also a lot of chatter online using the #SurfExpo hashtag, which helped people stay connected.
  • There was a great mix of new and existing brands.
    Surf Expo is a great place to find your favorite brands and learn about new products. We loved seeing it all in one place, and spoke to a number of exhibitors who also loved the diversity of brands. Those who were new to the game got to benefit from the masters, while the established brands fed off the energy of the newcomers.
  • There were well-positioned food courts and lounge areas.
    The organizers of the show did a great job of keeping everyone happy and healthy by making sure food and areas to rest, relax, and recharge were available.
  • There were amazing educational seminars.
    One of our favorite parts of any trade show it the opportunity to learn from and share with others in our industry. BRA gave a number of presentations throughout the trade show, and we also loved sitting on a Q&A with surf legends Ian Cairns, PT Townend and Shaun Tomson from Bustin’ Down The Door.
  • There were plenty of ways to see products in action.
    Scouring the show for the latest and greatest products is essential to keeping your board sports business thriving, and seeing these items in action can help you decide what you’d like to add to your inventory. To that end, Surf Expo supplied a demo area devoted to this purpose, including a pool to test out SUP and water sports items and a skate ramp.

As you can see, we were once again impressed and inspired by our experience at Surf Expo. If you weren’t able to attend or didn’t get a chance to see our presentations, check them out on SlideShare.  And if you have a chance to attend the next Surf Expo in September 2016, we highly recommend it.