DEMA Management Issues Letter to Dive IndustryOn Friday, April 30, 2004, Tom Ingram, Executive Director DEMA, issued the following letter to the diving industry, addressing some of the questions concerning the upcoming DEMA Show 2004 in Houston. The letter is printed here in its entirety:
Dear Dive Colleague: For the first time since mid-2000 the world wide economy is on an upswing. There have been some modest but important signs that the diving business is improving, including increases in equipment sales during the first quarter of the year, and overall increases in travel figures to pre-9/11 levels.
As you may be aware there has been much discussion over the past week concerning the withdrawal of Scubapro, Aqua Lung and Mares/Dacor from DEMA Show 2004 in Houston. While we regret their decision, I can assure you that the Show is still over 90% sold and remains the best place to capture new customers and showcase new products. With the slight shift in the number of manufacturers attending the show, exhibitors have moved into position to capture bigger shares of the market. Aggressive, forward thinking manufacturers and other suppliers intent on expanding their markets see that DEMA Show 2004 is the best place to leverage the upswing in the industry and take advantage of the growing economy.
Anna Backe, National Sales Manager of Tabata USA said, "The feedback that I have been receiving from TUSA dealers has been that they go to DEMA Show to buy inventory for the year, check into new travel destinations and get additional training through their certification agency. It is much more convenient for them to do their business with TUSA at the DEMA Show."
Gordy Heck, National Sales Manager for Deep Outdoors put it this way: "As a DEMA member in good standing, we have every intention of attending DEMA 2004 in Houston. We view DEMA show as the one time every year where as a manufacturer we are able to interface with Professional Dive Retailers from across the US and overseas. This exchange is invaluable as it allows us to convey our company philosophies and share our product line in a personal, clear and concise manner. We believe that the best customer service to the end user is through the local Dive Retailer and this is why we do not authorize Internet or mail order sales. DEMA Show is vital to the success of our company, as Dive Retailers are our main sales front for product distribution. Come see us at DEMA and share with us the results of our R&D, Sales Promotions and new POP Displays."
Bob Hollis, CEO of Oceanic expressed his perception of the show. "The DEMA show has always been extremely valuable for exhibiting suppliers who want the type of exposure and business a trade show provides. We continue to approach the show as a business opportunity, writing orders and showing products in an exceptional trade show space, and getting face-to-face time with retailers who can help expand our market reach."
According to Diving Unlimited International's Susan Long, "DEMA is an opportunity to meet with dealers but also to meet with Divemasters and Instructors who are key influencers on what divers buy. I would never consider not going to the DEMA show.'
The obvious beneficiary of the show is the diving retailer who gains because they are in a position to take on new lines of equipment, training, and travel. DEMA Show makes it easier for retailers and others to see all the new products in one location, as well as facilitate the education programs so critical to retailer success. According to DEMA's own surveys from the 2002 and 2003 shows, 99% of retailers and their staff spend time on the exhibit floor. Of those, over 50% are there to look at new products, see demonstrations and make purchases. Over 60% of attendees go to the show for seminars made possible by exhibitors and through DEMA-sponsored education programs. More than 30% of those attending DEMA Shows in 2002 and 2003 were attending for the first time. Companies that exhibit in this year's show will have the first opportunity to influence these new store owners and their employees.
There has been discussion regarding Houston as a show venue. If you haven't visited the city since the last DEMA Show in 1992, you wouldn't recognize the newly re-vitalized downtown /convention center area. Host to the 2004 Super Bowl last February, and host to the 2004 Major League Baseball All Star game later this year, Houston has come into its own as a convention city. Officials from the city have also pulled out all the stops to welcome DEMA, and are prepared to demonstrate that the city good enough for the largest single-day sporting event in the world is also a great host city for DEMA - great dining, great entertainment, and a great place to do business.
DEMA is also working to help reduce the cost of exhibiting and attending. We've negotiated material handling (drayage) rates in Houston that are 20% lower than in 2003. There are plenty of hotel rooms in the DEMA block with rates ranging from $105 in some hotels to $139 at the Hilton Americas, DEMA's host hotel. The Hilton Americas was opened in December 2003, and connects directly via skywalk to the George R. Brown Convention Center, saving time and cab fare, and eliminating bus rides.
DEMA Show is yours to use most effectively to increase your business contacts and place or write orders. Ultimately how you conduct your operation and plan your time at DEMA Show determines what you gain. I would like to encourage exhibitors to create specials that are specifically for the show. I would also encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities regarding seminars and other promotions for your company. Look at this show as it was intended - a chance for buyers to meet with sellers in an enjoyable environment to conduct business.
If you need more information on attending or exhibiting at DEMA Show 2004 in Houston visit www.demashow.com. For a list of companies exhibiting at DEMA Show 2004, go to http://www.demashow.com/exhibitors.php3. You can also contact the DEMA office directly at 1-800-862-DIVE (3483) or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
See you in Houston.
Sincerely, Tom Ingram Executive Director