In the midst of ‘boat show season’, there is no better time to catechise – and reflect upon – the yachting industry’s often wavering direction. Thus, The Superyacht Forum’s assorted programme on ubiquitous trends is serving up a feast for industry stakeholders and influencers in Amsterdam next week, from 13–16 November.
Among a litany of must-attend sessions is a first opportunity to take heed of new regulatory frameworks, such as the launch of the new Red Ensign Code (REG). The consolidation of codes has not been without its critics, with many lamenting greater regulation. But the new code, which theoretically offers greater flexibility and usability for naval architects, designers and owners, holds considerable sway over yacht builders, the nub of the industry.
For brokerage companies, there are a number of sessions that will spark interest, such as ‘The Art of Valuations’ session. This session will evaluate the process of valuing yachts, and whether it is currently too formulaic – disfavouring a more free-flowing sale and purchase market. With numerous parameters to a yacht valuation – often referred to as ‘hard value’ and ‘soft value’ by bankers – appraisals are often whimsical and it would be to the benefit of many sectors to create a workable model to pinpoint values and depreciation.
With numerous parameters to a yacht valuation appraisals are often whimsical and it would be to the benefit of many sectors to create a workable model to pinpoint values and depreciation.
Banks are more prepared to lend if they can mitigate risk and evaluate better the key constituents to a yacht deal. A more confident banking sector ultimately leads to a greater number of transactions, so Olivier Blanchet of BNP Paribas is well poised to offer his opinion in ‘The Art of Valuations’ think tank. He will be supported by Sam Tucker of VesselsValue, which is striving to achieve instant valuations for the yachting sector, after its successes in the commercial yachting sector.
The event also welcomes Belgian entrepreneur and yacht enthusiast Matty Zadnikar as a speaker for the ‘Charter: A New Approach?’ session. After a year-long sabbatical on board his yacht, Zadnikar acquired a 50 per cent acquisition in SeaNet, a US-based fractional ownership scheme.
The company focuses on the much maligned and historically unsuccessful fractional ownership model – a platform through which owners can mitigate their expenditure on yachts, increase use and pay for costs equivalent to usage.
However, arguably the most important element of SeaNet’s proposition, beyond widening the pool of potential investors, is that it provides members/owners with an exit strategy, which I’m sure Zadnikar will explain during the session.
“While there are common elements between a luxury strategy, a fashion strategy, a professional services strategy and a premium strategy, they are completely different and you can’t be all of them."
The ’10 Branding Commandments’ session will be run by Paul Kemp-Robertson of Contagious, a branding and design agency that has worked with companies such as LVMH and Google on their creative strategy.
In a recent panel hosted by YPI and Superyacht Events during the 2017 Monaco Yacht Show, marketing expert Patrick Coote explained that brokerage firms are right in the middle of luxury marketing and professional services marketing and they don’t know which or what they want to be.
“While there are common elements between a luxury strategy, a fashion strategy, a professional services strategy and a premium strategy, they are completely different and you can’t be all of them. It’s very important brokerage firms choose their space and own it,” explained Coote.
Kemp-Robertson will examine branding at the pinnacle of luxury markets and how we can engage with the ever-transitional UHNW audience – a fundamental prerequisite for brokerage firms.
Brokerage firms are increasingly having to establish themselves as a jack of all trades and experts in a multitude of yachting sectors, and so other workshops of interest include: future trends in yacht management; fiscal policies; intelligent ownership models; the data-driven Superyacht Intelligence sessions; and even the ‘floating on the market’ session, which no brokerage firm has ever successfully achieved.