Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Thinking about the GIS attendance figures
The numbers are a little fuzzy, but show hosts said attendance was 14,780 or so. That's good, all things considered, but remember that two-thirds of those who attended were there to sell stuff to superintendents.
GIS hosts said there were approximately 5,750 "qualified buyers" attending. That includes superintendents, assistants, management company execs, owners, managers, architects, builders and anyone else who says they have "purchasing influence" for one or more facilities. Based on past breakdowns of who those qualified buyers are, I'd estimate about 2,500 actual superintendents -- the core of the market -- were in Orlando.
There are 15,800 or so golf facilities in the U.S. (we'll disregard Canadian and International attendees/courses to keep this simple). That means the show attracts only 16 percent of the primary customers nationwide.
(That said, if you look at the demographics of the superintendents who do attend, they clearly have higher-than-average budgets. So, that 16 percent who went to Orlando may command as much as 30 percent of all purchasing power in the U.S. market. That's why exhibitors still spend lots of money to be there.)
Yes, the show matters...it matters a lot...and attendance was surprisingly good. But, 84 percent of y'all didn't go to this year's national. A lot of us...including me...need to remember that the Big Show is a luxury that most facilities either can't afford or just don't care about because they're focused on surviving in the real world of today's golf market.