The countdown has begun to the professed king of all yacht shows: Monaco. Taking place in the final days of September, each year it sees over 30,000 visitors pass through its gate over four days. The number of exhibitors, from shipyards to designers to manufacturers, recently rose to over 600 companies, ensuring everyone who’s anyone in yachting is present in Port Hercules to network, establish contacts and size up the competition.
The significance of the show to the industry cannot be disputed, and in order to ensure it remains relevant to the market, the organisers have introduced a number of measures to increase the presence of potential clients and interested UHNWIs.
“The industry is searching for new blood,” says Johan Pizzardini, communications and media manager for Monaco Yacht Show (MYS). “At the moment, the industry depends on existing clientele, so they participate in the MYS and they believe in the MYS. We have the responsibility to upgrade the show and make it a fantastic platform - a superyacht hub - for professionals to come to, whilst bringing new prospects to Monaco who wish to either charter or buy a yacht.”
Part of the drive to bring new people to the show is the Sapphire Experience, an initiative that begins months in advance of the show. As Pizzardini explains, together with the Monaco embassy, the MYS team organise a number of events and social gatherings in New York and London with a carefully selected guestlist of interested UHNWIs. Attendees are invited to Monaco to experience the show, as well as the region as a yachting destination, in the hopes that their visit will lead them to engage with the market for the first time. “If out of the 50 people that we met in New York or London, 10 would come to Monaco at the end of September and then there are three or five people that want to buy or charter a yacht, I would say mission accomplished!” adds Pizzardini.
New clients can find the industry’s complexities daunting; not knowing how to navigate the intricate charter or superyacht acquisition process. As part of the Sapphire Experience, clients have the use of an exclusive concierge service that entitles them to tours of Port Hercules and introductions to brokers and shipyards. Pizzardini explains that it was the result of conversations with leaders in the market, who lamented the small number of new clients entering into the large yacht sector. “It is very important for us,” he says. “We listened to the industry, they requested new blood on the docks on Port Hercules, and our main purpose is to liaise a broker or a shipyard representative with one potential client, and then we leave them to discuss.”
Of course, this programme is not entirely altruistic, but it is a strong indicator of the show’s commitment to improving itself, and the wider industry. “If in a few months there is a sale, it is good for the industry, because the broker or the builder will say, ‘Okay, I will go back to Monaco because on the Quais there are the right visitors,’ so we developed it for them.”
Aware of the large amounts of time, logistics and finances that many companies put into their time spent at the show, Pizzardini explains that the organisers recognise the importance of continually improving the event for all. “Our main purpose is to keep the exhibitors happy and to make sure they optimise their return on investment, because we know for a large number of the exhibitors, they put all their pennies in the Monaco basket. We have the responsibility to make sure that we don’t just deliver square metres, but deliver high-end services and good visitors to Monaco.”
In addition to the Sapphire Experience over the four days, on the eve of the Monaco Yacht Show, the organisers will host the Monaco Yacht Summit, an educational conference for prospective clients. “Before visiting the show and meeting brokers and visiting boats, we will only discuss information that benefits a future owner, sharing intelligence and answering tangible questions, so those visitors, when they then go to the yacht show the day after, they better understand and identify what kind of yacht they would like to have.”
Pizzardini explains that both of these initiatives were available in 2016, but were promoted discreetly through a network of brokers and UHNW advisors. This year, however, the show made an active decision to publicise these two services to the wider market. Intrinsically, a new client for the market is beneficial to each and every sector of superyachting, “If someone will order a new yacht, the whole chain of production and all our exhibitors will work too,” he concludes.
As show season is almost upon us, many question the value of these events. However, one cannot dispute the merit of plans such as the Sapphire Experience or the Monaco Yacht Summit, as ultimately, they will inform future clients of the world of yachting. By introducing ‘fresh blood’, Monaco Yacht Show stands to reaffirm its place at the top of the yacht show podium.
Monaco Yacht Show will take place from 27 - 30 September 2017.