2019 Safari Club International Show Summary

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Hank2211, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    For those of us who were unable to make the SCI show this year, I was hoping that some of you who did, could provide us with a summary of your thoughts.

    What was the overall tone of the show - upbeat or downbeat? I've already read on another thread that one outfitter who hunts Burkina Faso has said there will be no hunting (at least by them) there this year. Any other countries reported to be having difficulties, or, alternatively, providing good opportunities? Any updates on the South Africa land situation? Any interesting booths? New developments in rifles? How was Reno vs. Vegas?

    Etc. Etc. Etc.
     

  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I wasn't there either Hank. But the following opinions and/or facts are what I've read and/or been told:

    1. Attendance significantly down.

    2. In regards to selling hunts, it was feast or famine. Some outfitters doing very well, others struggling to sell a single hunt. The preponderance seemed to be on the famine side with some well known outfitters saying they were done with SCI, we shall see.

    3. Apparently the layout of the convention hall was not well liked and some found it to be confusing.

    4. A large number of booths sat empty.

    5. Shuttle bus service had issues.

    6. A number of people who would normally attend SCI and DSC have opted for DSC only this year due to the back to back schedules. DSC winning as it's less expensive and easier to get to than Reno.

    7. A more scary observation was that the attendees are all old, very few younger people.


    Again these are likely a mix of opinions and facts that I've picked up from those that were there.
     

  3. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks @PHOENIX PHIL, I was there and can confirm that all of your points are what I observed and heard as well, except the empty booths I really didn't notice that there were more than normal. I myself did not experience any shuttle issues except a very long wait time when leaving too close when the show was closing one day, which I always try to avoid (so I took a Lyft). The show was extremely slow on Saturday which is usually a busy day and this partially due that the airlines contacting everyone on Friday that was scheduled to depart on Sunday to offer to change their flights to Saturday due to the East Coast storm that was going to close many airports. I know several people who left the show early due to the storm. I think that the busiest day was Thursday. I believe that attendance was down a lot from years earlier when it was in Reno as our hotel used to be sold out by SCI this year there was many other people unrelated to SCI staying there. Also perhaps there were less woman than usual especially since the show moved from Vegas. I have to agree that you do not see a younger generation attending and that SCI seems to have an aging out problem. I talked to several guys (big hunters) that I have known for years that were there to just to see friends but are no longer hunting much or at all. I also talked to and heard that more companies may be choosing one show over the other next year due to the back to back show schedule in 2020, see the dates below. That is a hell of a short turn around for exhibitors to break down their booths and fly to Reno on Monday or Tuesday to put up their booths and start the next show on Wednesday. Anyone who plans to attend both shows should schedule their flight from Dallas to Reno early as I can see that being an issue. I think the show is more focused in Reno and that although the foot traffic was down I think the people who came were more serious than just some of the fluffy foot traffic that the show in Vegas generates. Personally I think that SCI is a great show and I always really enjoy it and I did this year as well. I will post the press release about show attendance from the SCI when I receive it and some pictures as well.

    2020 convention dates
    DSC - January 9 - 12, 2020 - Dallas
    SCI - January 15 - 18, 2020 - Reno
     
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  4. Rider717

    Rider717 AH Member

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    I went to all 4 days of the show. Here is what I observed and what I got from some exhibitors:

    Overall the mood of the show seemed subdued. To me the energy level was noticeably off from last year.

    The demographic is definitely older. My guess would be 60+ on average. Not a lot of younger folks.

    Attendance was ok from what I saw. Not as big a crowd as Las Vegas last year. The layout of the
    exhibits and events at the convention center was confusing and spread out so it was hard to really get a feel for overall size of the crowd.

    The shuttle service from my hotel was excellent. I can't speak to the others.

    It was indeed feast or famine for the outfitters. The product sellers seemed to be doing very good business though. From what I gathered talking to everyone was that they felt the show was too early this year. With DSC and Houston following it the feeling was people were shopping for hunts in Reno and planning on purchasing at the later shows. Some were booking like crazy and some couldn't even get people to stop and talk to them. a few were not even sure they would keep attending shows as the cost is high for them and they can do almost as much business over the internet.

    The antis were there in laughably small numbers, 3 people protesting on a corner.

    Reno is not the easiest city to get to by air. Limited number of direct flights from some of the major hubs makes it a pain to get to compared to Las Vegas.

    The folks in Reno seemed really pleased to see us. I guess business is low for them this time of year and they really appreciate the business we bring into town.

    All that said it was still a good time. I talked with a lot of exhibitors, vendors and services in person who I had only corresponded with online or over the phone. It was nice to meet them in person. Dr Kevin Robertson of Perfect Shot fame was there and I had a really good conversation with him.

    Prices were good on a lot of products and there were some outstanding deals on hunt packages. Although some seemed to be to good to be true. One outfitter was selling a hunt for 1 male lion, 1 lioness, 1 buffalo and either a sable or a roan plus a couple of plains game animals for $25,500. Not sure he can make anything on that hunt. There were outfitters from everywhere with hunts on every huntable species so choices are still good to fill a bucket list.

    If you haven't attended or aren't a member of SCI or any other hunting organization you should really consider going and/or joining. The concerted effort to end hunting by western countries and the antis is only going to grow and we need to increase or organizations so our voice doesn't get drowned out by the anti hunting crowd.
     
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  5. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Sorry I forgot to mention about the show floor. Yes there were some problems with the layout and some poorly indicated and strange small rooms that if you didn't know they were there you could easily miss them. Those areas suffered from a serious lack of traffic which could have been alleviated with a good sign indicating there was another room on the main arteries near by. The doors were also obstructed by a large booth that sort of blocked you from seeing those doors.
     

  6. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    All good points @Rider717! Yes I could not agree more that it was too early in the year. I think people need a little break after the holidays and new year. Especially this year as the New Year was on Tuesday and people got back to work in a weird short week so for business the year really launched on January 7th and it's hard to justify leaving to go to the show on the 9th. I think the late January/early February show dates that the SCI used to have in the past were much better.
     
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  7. Blue Moon

    Blue Moon AH Senior Member

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    Isn't this a part of a bigger trend in general? I used to travel to and visit fishing and fly fishings fairs, but stopped after a couple of years when they were not able to update the shows. The seminars were pretty similar from year to year often even involving the same celebrities. Basically, the fairs changed over the years from an innovative atmosphere to more of a get-together for people in the business. The offerings from the product sellers also changed and focus become more of getting rid of last years stock. I think game fairs need to be focused more on activites in order to attract a younger crowd. If you can get families to attend fairs and be able to excite kids, it will probably be easier to get grandpa to loosen the purse strings a bit.
     

  8. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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  9. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The comments thus far are interesting in a number of respects and they tend to reinforce each other, which is positive. We will never agree on the Reno v. Vegas issue, but I have no doubt that it affects attendance. Whether it affects "important" attendance - serious buyers - I can't say. the age issue has been a challenge for some time, and I don't know what will cause that to change. SCI needs to get serious about bringing younger members into the organization - perhaps a tiered membership fee and convention attendance rate (it's pretty pricey) in addition to the real work of getting youngsters interested in hunting (something most of us can help with).

    I know exhibitors prefer Reno - it's cheaper, and the show is the only game in town, but I'd be curious to hear if any of them think they get a better return from one city over the other. I will say that given the cost of a booth, to have people stuck in small rooms which no one can find strikes me as unacceptable.

    As for the SCI press release, I see attendance was claimed to be around 15,000. Do I recall correctly that they used to hit 20,000 in the past? Might just be a faulty memory.
     
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  10. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I believe your memory is correct.
     

  11. kstrain

    kstrain New Member

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    I have been attending the SCI Show for 28 years, or so. The attendees are getting grayer, and older (63 myself). Most international hunts are WAY out of the average hunters budget. Do you think the law of supply and demand, and aging baby boomers (with lots of disposable income), are at fault?
     
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  12. ryanjones

    ryanjones AH Member

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    I certainly don't want to hijack this thread but it seems relevant given the report of lack of "younger" hunters at these conventions. I suppose I would be considered a younger hunter (age 36) and I am going on my first African hunt in May this year (Needless to say I can't wait!). We did a lot of research online, including this forum, and booked our hunt. I never even thought to attend SCI or DSC. Honestly, it seemed like added expense that I would rather put towards my hunt. I will admit that I am ignorant to these gatherings and would be curious to know what are the advantages of attending SCI or DSC?
     

  13. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Yes! Supply is much the same, or going up (general statement and demand is going down at the shows as the shows themselves haven't done a good job of showing what their value add is to new/younger clients.

    Very relevant!

    You're the case study of what the shows have done wrong. They haven't embraced the internet, nor do they understand how the new/younger hunter shops. The main advantage to the shows, IMO, is meeting with an outfitter face to face. As you're more aware than I am this just isn't as important to the younger generation and thus why you don't understand the "value" of the shows.

    I go to DSC every year. But, its really a social event for me to see old friends and meet new ones. I've talked business there, but have never actually booked a hunt from DSC. It's given me ideas and sent me in a particular direction, but I've never booked as a result of being there.
     

  14. barbells.and.arrows

    barbells.and.arrows AH Senior Member

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    @ryanjones As a "younger" hunter, I agree that social media & the internet are going to be the way of the world. Is it great to meet people absolutely? But if outfitters/guides/whomever on whatever continent have a strong social media/internet presence that will book hunts/trips. We are friends with the owner of the charter company we fish with in Key West, and he fully embraced the internet AGES ago before it was the cool thing to do, and his willingness to adapt and embrace it has tenfold made a difference in his business.

    I have been to hunting shows, and I personally am not a fan of the hobnobbing/internet famous "sponsored hunter" hoopla. Give me an average joe's testimonial or let me talk to the average joe that has hunted with you, and spent their hard earned money, and would spend it again with you. That speaks more to me than anything.
     

  15. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Does this tell you anything!


    In December 1995 the internet had 16 million users, totalling 0.4 per cent of the world’s population. By December 2000 that had grown to nearly 6 per cent of the world’s population and by December 2014 there is over 40 per cent of the world’s population with internet access.

    In a 2012 poll by the British Science Museum it was revealed that 8 out of 10 under adults under the age of 25 would “feel lost without the internet”, whereas only 6 out of 10 adults over the age of 25 would feel the same way if they had no internet.



    Online/Internet is effectively replacing the need for both people in the exchange to be present in the same time and space.
     

  16. Travis2282

    Travis2282 AH Enthusiast

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    I first attended the DSC show 4 years ago, I drove 16 hours to get there so I could save a little money! This weekend will be my 4th year in a row but I have flown ever since! I would be considered a younger hunter I guess at 35. But I value meeting the owner/guides in person. I planned on attending SCI this year, but the cost was just gonna be too high to justify!
     
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  17. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    For many years I never missed an SCI show. Like @Royal27, I never actually booked a hunt there, although I met people with whom I later booked hunts. As I've got older, I began to go not so much to think about hunts, but to see old friends and to see more guns and gear in one place than I can anywhere else.

    The issue is that I have more gear than I will ever need, and I have my (reliable) network in Africa to book hunts where and when I want them. The result is that I have missed the last number of shows, and likely will not attend next year either.

    SCI has to find a way to make this show more relevant to more people, of all ages.
     

  18. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    It takes as much time to fly to London England as it does to get to Reno. Hmmmm.

    Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 08.53.26.png

    Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 08.55.05.png
     
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  19. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Interesting discussion. I go to catch-up with friends and look at "stuff" (art, books, guns, etc). I am pretty sure that I have only booked one hunt of any kind at either SCI or DSC. I don't really "get" Vegas (much less Reno), so doubt we'll ever go back to SCI. The atmosphere at DSC has always seemed friendlier, and it is an easy drive and weekend for us.
     

  20. 5shot

    5shot AH Senior Member

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    I think clubs/organizations in general have an aging problem. I am a member of a local fly fishing club (my dad has been a member since the 70s), and at 49 I am one of the younger members. Most are late 60s on up into their 90s.

    Young people just aren't into joining organizations any more. Other than the presentations, I don't get a lot out of it either, as I don't have a whole lot in common with the older members. Who knows any young people that belong to a lodge (Elks, Moose, etc.)?

    SHOT Show is a bit different, as everyone is trying to get out new PRODUCT every year, so although it is always the same vendors, there is always new stuff to see.
     

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