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Thread: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

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    RBW Member jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk has a reputation beyond repute jkaterenchuk's Avatar
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    Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Well after paying my $25US (actually $20 after DAN membership discount) to enter the BTS show yesterday and walking around I would have to say I was somewhat disappointed. Here is a show report from a different angle or point of view.

    Sure its always great to see and talk with people you know. Meet new friends and sit thru some of the presentations but my comments are with regards to the show floor itself.

    Here some of my general thoughts?

    1) Seems this is turning into a Dive Travel show. I would estimate over 50% maybe closer to 75% of the displays were dive travel planners, resorts or travel promotion companies. I do not need to spend $25 to see these people when every second page of the diving magazines has a advertisement from one of more of them.

    2) My uncalibrated crowd-o-meter would seem to indicate that show attendance was down about 20-25% from previous years. Now I admit this is mostly a judgement but I bumped into alot less people while walking the floor and was able to make my way down the aisle much faster than previous years because there seemed to be less people.

    3) I was most surprized by who and what was not at the show. When you hear or read what people on this board are talking about or buying it was rather surprizing that the owners of these companies decide not to show up at what I am told is the largest consumer dive show on the east coast. I guess they feel that consumers are not important to there future business success. Here is my list of shame....I appologize if I missed someone that might of been sharing a small booth tuck away in the end of a row....if so please declare yourself.

    a) Shearwater - seems Liquidvision made it to the show from your neighboorhood.
    b) Golem Gear - I wanted to see the back mounted HH CL.
    c) Juergensen Marine - seems the only HH CCR on display was the one that Curt has up for auction. Still wanted to see the back mounted CL's.
    d) Deeplife and the APOC - guess that tells you how much they care about the american market.....good luck to all those on this side of the pond that have bought into the dream and still believe in the tooth fairy.
    e) V-Planner - seems that the new competitor (Decosoft X1) was there and giving demo's on his impressive software for the X1. By the way I was quite confused by the notice on the Liquidvision table indicating that a new version of V-Planner for the X1 was going to be release shortly that would contain a similar 3 cell PO bar display that I had read Ross dismiss as unreadable in shallow water a couple days earlier. See post http://www.rebreatherworld.com/showthread.php?t=25709
    f) Nautilus CCR - if Deep Outdoors can come from the west coast and have several people manning a booth why can't you? I guess your marketing strategy for increased rebreather sales is "Hope".
    g) Poseidon CCR - well it was there but frankly It would have been easier to pick fly shit out of pepper then to find it at the show along with someone to talk about it. So mcuh for mass appeal to the recreational consumer.
    h) Pelagian CCR - I guess its just too cold outside of Thailand for this rebreather even if the current owners say that it has the best trim out of the box.

    4) My award for initiative would have to go to no one else but our esteemed owner of RBW....Curt himself. If he can fly up from Florida, rent a both, provide shirts and beer, organize a party and display his magazine at the show or otherwise provide a presence to those that subscribe to his magazine then the others on the list of shame should relook at who provided the flow of cash to allow them to achieve their current business status. Plus it keeps him away from designing anymore of those *&%@ smilies for a few days.

    5) My runner up award for initiative goes to the members of the tech diving agencies. Joe Radomski from ANDI and Tom Mount from IANTD (I know there are others but these two stand out in my eyes) at most times when I walked by reminded me of the movie "The Lonely Guy". They truly are there to be available to their members, answer questions and just generally be available. Unlike those on the list of shame they have no new wiz bang gee wiz touch feely thing to flog to the consumer but felt it important enough to have a presence to the consumers at the show.

    John
    Last edited by jkaterenchuk; 29th March 2009 at 16:09.

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Amazing really ,I went to the London Dive show yesterday & on Yorkshire Divers forum we are having the same conversation about how crap it was ! Same reasons ,more of a travel show ,not many of the major manufacturers there even from the UK !

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    I was not at the show but I would say the economy probably has in part to do with it. I believe it is more important for those to be at DEMA then BTS because you need dealers to carry the product and divers can go to their LDS to see dive gear. Also the new companies are probably there to get their name out and show products that are not easily to be seen, where as a company like shearwater has been around so easier for a consumer to see it somewhere first hand. As far dive travel, I agree, DEMA seems to be the same way. Personally I could care less about those booths because I just go online and book travel.

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Hi John,

    This year was the first I could not attend due to personal commitments. But I do share the same feeling for the "above the sea" travel industry enclave (distraction really) onto what is clearly the main attraction of the show - the "beneath" part. But between the current state of the economy and last year's gas price fiasco, the travel industry no doubt is feeling the pinch and come out in drones like the angry hornets whose hive was recently knocked down. And every year it just seems to get worse.

    Let's face it, even the scuba industry paradigm had shifted in the recent years from diving to dive-travel. The rigs are getting smaller, more portable, etc. When I was recently shopping for a piece of equipment, the first question I was asked was "are you going to be traveling?" Now, maybe I'm just old school, but the only dive travel I do without my the family is within driving distance: Great Lakes, Canada, Mass, NY, NJ, PA, occasionally NC, and sometimes the cave country. When I travel, I live out of the back of my car, and don't require a 5-start resort for lodging. I only need a simple place to crash.

    Serge

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    By the way I was quite confused by the notice on the Liquidvision table indicating that a new version of V-Planner for the X1 was going to be release shortly that would contain a similar 3 cell PO bar display that I had read Ross dismiss as unreadable in shallow water a couple days earlier. See post http://www.rebreatherworld.com/showthread.php?t=25709
    Ross display is different. It displays the 3 bars in the corner of the main display, instead of being layered into or behind the display like Decosoft.

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    We are at the show.

    We have two parts to our business. The first is our sales through our dealer network. Scuba Connection has a 40 foot booth at the show. Our US Dealer rep is about 2 booths down from Liquivision in the Scuba Connection booth. We have been to all three of the last three years shows. I believe this is the first BTS show for Liquivsion.

    In addition, we resell through manufacturers. You can find out more about our products and see them displayed at the ISC, rEvo, and Titan booths.

    I am leaving for Silicone Valley in a couple of hours to look at the new technologies and techniques for improvements to our exisiting products and new things we can offer in new products.

    The Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose next week is the biggest conference to display all of the new technologies for the embedded processor market place from compilers to processors to operating systems. There are two key conference tracks that I will be attending this year, "Designing Safer Systems", and "Software Engineering Pratices."

    I regularly sit next to engineers from Nokia, Sony, Research in Motion, Microsoft, Phillips, etc. at the conference but I have yet to see another engineer from the dive community.

    Unfortunately, I can't be in two places at once, or we would be at BTS too.

    Bruce

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    Here is my list of shame....

    a) Shearwater - seems Liquidvision made it to the show from your neighboorhood.

    John
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  7. #7
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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    Well after paying my $25US (actually $20 after DAN membership discount) to enter the BTS show yesterday and walking around I would have to say I was somewhat disappointed.
    Sorry to hear that. I'll go out on a limb here and **guess** that you have never had the pleasure of being an exhibitor at a "show".

    Did you check the exhibitors list before going?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    1) Seems this is turning into a Dive Travel show. I would estimate over 50% maybe closer to 75% of the displays were dive travel planners, resorts or travel promotion companies. I do not need to spend $25 to see these people when every second page of the diving magazines has a advertisement from one of more of them.
    That's a fact at all "dive shows" LDS often realize more revenue acting as a travel agent than they do from gear sales and training. Short of NOT ATTENDING, there is nothing a "Hard Goods" manufacturer can do to about this.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    3) I was most surprized by who and what was not at the show. When you hear or read what people on this board are talking about or buying it was rather surprizing that the owners of these companies decide not to show up at what I am told is the largest consumer dive show on the east coast. I guess they feel that consumers are not important to there future business success. Here is my list of shame....I appologize if I missed someone that might of been sharing a small booth tuck away in the end of a row....if so please declare yourself.
    Attending a show is of course remarkably expensive, and many of these expenses are "fixed" i.e. independent of the length of the show.

    Freight for display items, travel for booth personnel are the same for a 2 day weekend show as they are for 4 days of DEMA. Some products, for example, dive computers "Pack In" your suitcase.

    If all I needed at a show was few boxes of T Shirts, a stack of brochures and a Walmart Beverage Cooler, it would be a different story. These items ship cheaply, and are hard to damage. Set up time is meassured in minutes.

    The contents of my booth weigh 900 lbs, not including the actual booth. It costs me more to ship my booth to Orlando and back than I spend on the booth space. Add to that the damage the "drayage monkeys" do to my booth EVERY DAMN TIME, and two day shows are even less attractive.

    The decision to attend has to be a sober business decision; Will doing so provide a return on the investment? One needs to sell a lot of product to recover the $5-10K even a modest presence will cost.

    Before deciding that XX company "doesn't give a damn" about a certain market segment, Ask yourself, would prefer a company exhibit at "YOUR" local show, or stay in business to service your needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    4) My award for initiative would have to go to no one else but our esteemed owner of RBW....Curt himself. If he can fly up from Florida, rent a both, provide shirts and beer, organize a party and display his magazine at the show or otherwise provide a presence to those that subscribe to his magazine then the others on the list of shame should relook at who provided the flow of cash to allow them to achieve their current business status. Plus it keeps him away from designing anymore of those *&%@ smilies for a few days.
    Bravo. I hope it pays off.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkaterenchuk  View Original Post
    5) My runner up award for initiative goes to the members of the tech diving agencies. Joe Radomski from ANDI and Tom Mount from IANTD (I know there are others but these two stand out in my eyes) at most times when I walked by reminded me of the movie "The Lonely Guy". They truly are there to be available to their members, answer questions and just generally be available. Unlike those on the list of shame they have no new wiz bang gee wiz touch feely thing to flog to the consumer but felt it important enough to have a presence to the consumers at the show.
    Again Bravo.

    Next year will be the real test. My **guess** is a number of this years attendees, after taking measure of the benefits of attendance at this years show, will make different allocation of their promotional budget.

    As side note: DEMA's in trouble. DEMA has "extended" the dead line for booth payments. (Gee I wonder why?) Several of the largest booth buyers, who have attending DEMA for many many years have pulled out.

    Shows do come and *GO* and the combination of a down economy, and the information available on the net is making them nonviable.

    Tobin

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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    For the past 20 years I have only missed 3 shows. One in the late 90s because of a project conflict, last year because of a last minute family issue and this year. Though this year my wife and partner Kathy went and did out presentation on the USS Monitor this morning.

    Over the years I have exhibited at BTS in a variety of manners during the 1990s when I had Sub Aqua magazine we were there as it was our backyard, later on when I ran NS Research we did one year with gas mixing hardware. We did 3 years with Abyss and then I did one year with TDL there.

    BTS is the largest consumer show in the USA but it is focused on the New York Tristate area. Which is also the largest dive travel population in the country as well. Many of the exhibitors have been there for years and have their spaces booked years in advance. Ever wonder why Orbit Marine and OMS are in the SAME spot every year ?

    The costs of doing a trade/consumer show are staggering these days. A small weekend show like BTS for an exhibitor can top 10k for just 2 attendees. Booth, travel, materials, shipping, food, tips, etc. While that may not sound like much for a drug company, for a small dive company its huge. They would have to do no less than $50k in sales with low margin show specials just from that weekend to cover it. And, that has just not happened in the dive business in the past few years.

    Travel companies are a little bit different. Most if not all get huge show subsidies from their local governments and local tourist boards. Florida Keys and Key West pony up $$$, Cayman Islands foots the entire bill, etc. This is why you always see travel companies at dive shows. It's not their money they are spending ! But a local dive operation may not get anything if their town is not flushed with tourism money.

    I expected BTS to be low this year. Off 20% in attendance is huge, but not that bad considering how other industry shows are off 40-50% I went to DEMA in Vegas in October and despite the lies they say about record attendance I can tell from my "meter" that it was off 30%.

    I know many people go to shows with the expectation that they will "see everything" from "everyone" but that just does not happen anymore. The internet has really helped / hinder that. And, costs for a show are just staggering.

    BTS will continue to be an outstanding show. It's the bell-weather for all diving in the United States. It has more workshops, and presentations and events than any other packed into one very small weekend. I'm sorry I missed it this year. I missed seeing many of my friends.

    Glad you got to go.

    Cheers
    JDS
    Last edited by JS1scuba; 29th March 2009 at 17:00.

  9. #9
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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Here are a few pictures from the show. It looks like the crowd was pretty good Friday night.

    Bruce
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    Re: Am I the only one that thought the BTS show was a disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by cool_hardware52  View Original Post
    Sorry to hear that. I'll go out on a limb here and **guess** that you have never had the pleasure of being an exhibitor at a "show".

    Tobin
    Ooops too far out on the limb. In fact in my professional background I have been responsible for P&L of consumer product companies including directly making decisions on marketing and show expenses. All your points from a manufacturer perspective are quite correct.

    John

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