As the late Steve Jobs famously said, “you’ve to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way round!” Ever since I read this quote and had a rare tour of his Feadship, M/Y Venus, it has been embedded in my mind and has become a mantra for our industry. Having used Apple products ever since they appeared on the scene, I have been indoctrinated into his thinking. From stepping foot into the Apple Store to peeling back the plastic coating on the Gorilla Glass screen, I enjoy all aspects of this well-established brand, which is why I don’t mind paying the premium every time I upgrade or invest in my work-life tools.

So, what does this have to do with superyachts? Well, having watched the market for over 30 years, it seems that our industry strategy has been the exact opposite of Apple’s. The obsession with constant upgrades of new unnecessary technology, the cost of innovation that doesn’t always work, the investment in a toy that creates headaches and frustration, and the buying process that is foggy, confused and sometimes even scary. Maybe we have forgotten about the fundamentals of ‘the perfect customer journey’, and are too focused on selling the world’s most expensive and indulgent product whilst failing to explain why and how our customers should engage.

So, rather than spend three days just discussing technology, business and management topics, we have developed a clear modus operandi for The Superyacht Forum 2018: mapping out “The Perfect Customer Journey”. In addition to our typically high-calibre speakers discussing the most pertinent issues in the market, we are building a series of topics, workshops and keynotes that are all analysing the current customer experience, and proposing optimal ways of engaging and connecting with the customer of tomorrow. Expect keynotes from owners who are investing new business models, Investors who are exploring ways of re-building the market, and Innovators who are reinventing Customer Journeys. From outside superyachting, a series of inspirational thinkers will joins us to challenge the way we sell and market our unique world. 

We are at an interesting crossroad, where our typical customer is changing, some of our most loyal customers are leaving and the wide range of potential customers are struggling to understand what we are offering. Without new customers, the market doesn’t work and we enter a period of inertia, which is where The Superyacht Forum comes into play.

We want to make everyone who attends this year’s conference part of a strategic plan, in some ways linked to the new Superyacht Life Foundation, where we explore, debate and develop “The Perfect Customer Journey”. Every stage in the process of ownership will be discussed and analysed in order to optimise and improve the journey whilst ultimately asking the question - “How can we make sure every owner is always enjoying the journey, and as a result, becoming our industry ambassadors to the wider UHNW community?”

It will be our strongest ever programme and we look forward to everyone having their say and sharing their opinions on what we should include. To register to attend The Superyacht Forum, click here, for more information, click here.

We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam in November.


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