Now, I’m rarely accused of holding back my thoughts and opinions, so this weekend during a bit of blue-sky thinking, I had an idea that may be part of our Brave New World, as well as being slightly disruptive.
Having read the recent announcement from Informa and their suggestion that they would run a not-for-profit event in 2020, and deliver a socially-distanced concept, with some flexibility and T&Cs that are designed to support the industry, it made me think of what makes sense for the future of the industry.
The common thread that seems to form the backbone of marketing conversations, is that there are too many ‘boat shows’ and our small industry cannot support them all… Cannes, Monaco, Genoa, Fort Lauderdale, Dubai, Singapore, Palm Beach, Barcelona, Palma, Dusseldorf… the list goes on. Yet, the industry all seem to agree that Monaco is the primary focus of their attention and the key show that owners and potential buyers are happy to attend from all corners of the globe.
Our industry seems to obsess over shows and a large percentage of marketing budgets are shared with show organisers, yet the ROI is often questioned. It is this time of year, when the marketing teams are planning their show uniforms and brand personas, the new stand, asking ‘how sustainable will it be?’, ‘will it stand out in the crowd?’, and ‘is the current crisis going to make me rethink the amount we invest?’.
If companies are going to exhibit in September, it is now that they have to commit to stand builders, marketing projects and other tangible costs, on top of their stand space cost, in order to create something in time for the show. Many companies have been hit pretty hard economically and every bit of cash is key for the coming summer and autumn months. And everyone, I think, is counting the dollars or euros.
So, here’s a radical idea and a suggestion for the Informa bosses. After all, you guys are pretty good at organising shows and perhaps this is the year to reset the dial, as per my recent comment in a rare interview with YouTube’s - Luxury with Natalia.
The idea is this. Seriously consider cancelling this year’s Monaco Yacht Show this September and encourage the industry to work together on a Brave New superyacht show World. The radical idea is for Informa to change their strategy and deliver two Monaco Shows in 2021 and beyond; yes, two shows!
If there were two Monaco Yacht Shows, one in April and one in September, the April event would be geared towards the market below 45m – the global production and semi-custom tonnage – with enough space for the best shop window of over 200 yachts between 24-45m, comprising all models and brokerage projects in this size range. Then you deliver in September 2021, an exclusive large yacht show, in partnership with LYBrA and SYBAss, and becomes the focus of the 45m-plus sector, with an event solely created for all of the larger tonnage, the semi-custom projects and the full-custom projects.
I think it’s fair to say that the exclusivity, the layout and the privacy, not to mention the security and heritage that Monaco delivers, make it a logical place and seamless process to create two shows for the two slightly overlapping and converging markets, but one before the season starts and the other for the end of the season.
I know this may sound slightly crazy and a bit radical, but at the end of the day, any potential client on this planet understands brand Monaco and is normally willing to fly in and enjoy the rare experience the principality delivers. If you consider how many yachts are sold each year and how many are built and delivered each year, perhaps by focusing the industry on two annual showcases with very clear segments on display, visitors, exhibitors and partners can invest and maximise their presence at one or two shows that absolutely make sense, rather than trying to appear on stage within a global travelling circus.
How much time, effort and money is spent by our industry, trying to be everywhere with our wares? So, why not create two clear annual focal points where any client who has an interest in our market can fly in from Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai or Saudi and see the perfect display of everything that matches their needs, rather than a broad spectrum from 20m to 120m, which essentially diminishes the experience and tries to showcase the whole portfolio in one go? In addition, this may reduce congestion and chaos in the Autumn, while by collaborating with key industry bodies, it removes the desire or need to create fragmented, industry-managed rival shows? Again, based on the number of yachts sold per annum and the new-build statistics, if we had two annual lifestyle showcases and superyacht buying experiences, perhaps the market would be able to focus on other initiatives and creative customer engagement concepts.
Having visited Monaco Yacht Show for the past 30 years, I can recall the bygone days when there were less people and a more balanced portfolio of yachts between 24m and 60m, with an audience that knew what they were coming for. Now, as the market has evolved and grown beyond our wildest expectations, we have a show matrix that is so diverse and so overloaded, that as a visiting client or customer who wants to see a good cross-section of 50m yachts for example, the myriad of yachts, shows, visitors and yachties that clog up the shows’ arteries is giving our clients and our industry a form of event ‘heart attack’. So perhaps 2020 is the year we conduct some important show surgery, remove those that are fatty tissue from around the heart of the market and allow the new blood to flow and enjoy this Brave New show World. Just a thought.
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