The Informa Group, owner of Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), in response to the cancellation of the 2020 event caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pressure from the wider superyacht industry, has taken advantage of the additional time to reassess the efficacy of the event and redesign it in such a way that it satisfies the industry’s requirements for a greater focus on end-users, superyacht lifestyle and exhibitors. Informa Group has laid out a four-pillar plan covering collaborative development, enhanced visitor experience, marketing strategy and exhibitor costs. While the plan is due to develop over the course of three years, it is expected that most of the changes will be implemented for the 2021 event, provided COVID conditions remain stable at the time.
In terms of collaborative development, a Steering Committee has been created, made up of decision-makers from the yachting industry. It will play an advisory role supporting MYS’ development strategy as it plays out over the coming years and provides formal recognition of Informa’s commitment to working in partnership with the industry itself. Additionally, Informa will provide financial support, matching the amounts invested by the industry in its marketing action plan to showcase the superyacht lifestyle.
“The objective is to work with the superyacht industry to attract a new generation of superyacht owners and buyers to MYS,” explained Gaëlle Tallarida, managing director of Monaco Yacht Show. “Our mission is to promote the superyacht lifestyle and broader superyacht market. Through the Steering Group we will include key partners from the industry and exhibitors across all sectors of superyacht activity, including associations, brokers, shipyards, designers, professionals services, equipment companies and so on, to ensure that the Steering Committee is representative of the MYS. The feedback from the committee will not only influence MYS, but also Informa’s other yachting events.”
The key to MYS’ future development is a focus on enhancing the customer experience. In recent years, much has been made of the notion that MYS has been far too business-to-business heavy and that, as a result, this was harming the end-user (buyer) experience. As of 2021, MYS will have three categories of visitor, each with its own designation and restrictions. The ‘Discover’ badge will be reserved for yacht clients; their advisors and consultants will wear ‘Advise’ badges; trade visitors, meanwhile, will be recognised by their ‘Connect’ badges.
Discover badges will be considered the VVIPs at MYS, there will be no registration process and the badges will not contain any personal information so the clients can retain their anonymity, as requested by the industry and the clients. These badges will be distributed exclusively by the exhibitors of MYS to the right people, as well as being distributed by luxury partners of MYS. Discover badge holders will have full access to MYS and use of the new VIP entrances over the four days; they will also be able to access the show earlier in the morning and later at night if they have a meeting with an exhibitor. There is an ongoing process with the Steering Committee to define which stakeholders fall within the other categories of visitor.
According to MYS, one of the advantages of the new badge system will be to enhance the flow of visitors on the quaysides. It will be easier for clients to board the superyachts and luxury tenders. On Wednesday 22 September, the Dockside area will be open to Discover and Advise badges only, so that these categories of visitor can meet with shipyards, yacht brokers, designers or tender manufacturers in a more intimate and personal environment. From Thursday onwards, the Dockside Area will be open to all participants.
In order to improve the end-user experience, MYS is also developing its premium services for VIPs. The official MYS VIP visit programme, the Sapphire Experience, features a programme of activities in the show and in Monaco for superyacht owners, charterers and future clients. Two new VIP entrances will be located near the Upper Deck Lounge and close to the Yacht Club de Monaco. Starting this year, visitors will find new sections dedicated to innovative projects and trends in sailing, design and exploration, and in so doing MYS will play a greater role in educating owners and potential clients on the possibilities that superyachting offers.
It is also hoped that MYS will be able to attract a larger number of UHNWIs with genuine buying potential and interest by working closely with new luxury partners. While MYS has successfully developed many luxury partnerships over the years, by creating more diverse and interesting partnerships, new demographics of buyers will hopefully be attracted to the show and, by proxy, the market.
While the focus of the show's development is undoubtedly on the end-user experience, MYS is also bringing in a whole host of changes to drive various other positive evolutions. From 2021 onwards, for instance, there will be a far greater focus on sustainability in terms of the show, the stands and the industry itself, as well as supporting ocean conservation. Elsewhere, ticket prices are due to increase to encourage the right type of visitor, exhibitor costs are being reviewed, hygiene measures and redundancy measures are being put in place and a new digital and communication strategy is being developed, which includes generating new and better lines of communications between buyers and sellers.
2020 proved to be a difficult year for MYS. Not only was the show cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but it also came under fire from various industry factions that were demanding change. However, with a new comprehensive strategy in place, it certainly seems as though MYS is moving in the right direction and that it will very much remain the premium shop window for the superyacht industry. While the implementation of all the new features is not set in stone, these developments, whether or not they are all implemented in 2021, showcase MYS’ dedicated to long-term growth and improvement.
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