A closer look at the Superyacht Show

Written by Georgia Tindale

Looking at the full - and, some might say, hectic - superyacht events calendar for 2018, you would be hard pushed to find many in the superyacht world who would say that what the industry really needs is another boat show. Therefore, the announcement in January that the Large Yacht Brokers Association (LYBRA) will be hosting a new superyacht show in OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona a week after the MYBA Charter Show in May this year was met with surprise by some in the industry. 

The Superyacht Show marketing Photo: Zeelander Yachts / Breed Media

Photo by Breed Media / Zeelander Yachts

With that said, however, at its core The Superyacht Show aims to be fundamentally different to all the other shows that have gone before it in one key aspect: it will be entirely client-focused. With lip-service having been paid to the idea of a ‘client-focused’ superyacht show by many in the industry for years, we spoke to Eric Blair, Secretary General of LYBRA about how The Superyacht Show intends to finally make this claim into a reality for its visitors, and what the long-term plans for the show are. 

When asked why LYBRA decided to launch The Superyacht Show this year, Blair explains that the LYBRA representatives - which represents the leading superyacht brokerage companies worldwide, including Burgess, Edmiston, Fraser, Northrop & Johnson and more - had been discussing launching their own show for some time. “The appetite for a show had been growing for some time and as they say, ‘There is no time like the present.’”

Interestingly, Blair also wholeheartedly agrees with the claim that the superyacht market is already saturated with yacht shows. As he explains, “It is important to be very clear on this point. There are many, many boat shows already and we certainly don’t need another one. The Superyacht Show will not be like any other show worldwide. It is all about the clients viewing yachts that are available for sale and charter. There is no comparison to be drawn with the typical understanding of a boat show format.”

And how will this be put into practice? The client focused-nature of the show will underpin everything about it: with what is excluded from the show just as important as what will be present. As Blair explains, The Superyacht Show aims to have a more private, exclusive atmosphere, achieved, in part, by excluding the business-to-business element of typical yacht shows. “There will be no B2B exhibitors, no stands, no traders, no suppliers, just the world’s top brokers, some of the best yachts on the market and a small group of high luxury brands to enhance the experience. Simple, private and exclusive. In short, this will be the very antithesis of a ‘traditional boat show’ as we know it.”

OneOcean Port Vell aerial Photo: OneOcean Port Vell As Blair explains, this altered focus should result in a far more enjoyable boat show experience for the attendees above all; they become the top priority as a consequence. “Most shows are run on the basis of selling and filling the maximum number of metres-squared to any company that will buy it. Our sole focus is the clients who are coming to view yachts, and asking ourselves, ‘how do we ensure that their experience is a great one?’ From the VIP limo service to the registration, from the excellent restaurant facilities to the hostesses and staff, we are aiming purely for quality, not quantity.”

Welcoming owners, charterers, potential buyers, brokers, owners’ representatives and family offices to the show, and with a location in the centre of the popular hotspot of Barcelona in the OneOcean Port Vell, it would not be surprising if many accepted LYBRA’s offer of welcome. Regarding the choice of venue, Eric Blair explains that it was a straightforward decision for LYBRA, as the OneOcean Port Vell was seen to compliment the private nature of the show. “We chose Barcelona, as it is an amazing city that is fantastic as a short-break destination. As for OneOcean Port Vell, this is one of the only superyacht marinas that is fully private with excellent onsite facilities for both yachts and visitors.” 

And, answering the inevitable question of why LYBRA decided to delve into an already crowded superyacht show market, Blair was unequivocal in his answer. “We do not consider The Superyacht Show to be in the same space or position as any of the other shows, so we are not competing with them on any level.”

As for the future of the show, LYBRA’s vision is clear: establish the show’s reputation this year, and then develop into a popular, luxury event which remains fundamentally different from other boat shows. Eric laid it all out for us: “This year we simply want to plant our stake in the ground and lay a firm foundation for future years. Moving forwards, we would like to grow the show into an event that clients and brokers like to attend because they know they can view great yachts in a calm, safe, private, luxurious, fun and elegant environment, far away from the hectic crowds that boat shows attract.”

OneOcean Port Vell

Host on the coast: OneOcean Port Vell 

An event such as the Superyacht Show brings with it a huge amount of organisation and work for the host venue: a side of the story which is often left untold in reports of boat shows. We caught a few minutes with Ignacio Erroz, the General Manager at OneOcean Port Vell to hear how they are planning to accommodate MYBA and LYBRA in such a short space of time, and their feelings about the future of Barcelona as a superyacht venue.

This year, you will be hosting the MYBA Charter Show and the LYBRA Superyacht Show within two weeks of each other. Tell us about how you envisage this working out and the practicalities of hosting two events in such a short period of time.

The MYBA Charter Show and The Superyacht Show are two important events in the superyacht industry, which is why each of them requires special attention and dedication. Our great record of previous work in combination with our team’s experience and professionalism makes it possible for us to host two events of such magnitude and make them come out perfectly at the end. 

You hosted MYBA for the first time last year. Was it always the plan to host these industry events?

 When the OneOcean Port Vell was newly transformed, the main objective was to create a luxury marina that could offer superyachts all the services and facilities needed in the heart of Barcelona. However, the enormous capacity of our marina and its unique location has also awakened the interest of large associations such as MYBA, and later LYBRA.

Tell us about the superyacht scene in Barcelona - do you think the MYBA and LYBRA shows will contribute to this, and if so, how?

 Barcelona is a city with an enormous potential and unique characteristics that, in recent years, have made it one of the major references to the sector in the Mediterranean. Hosting these shows in Barcelona helps to reinforce the city as one of the key destinations in the superyacht scene, without a doubt. Of course, Barcelona itself also lends an enormous added value to both the MYBA Charter Show and The Superyacht Show.

Do you intend to host more events like this in the future?

For OneOcean Port Vell it would be an honour to be able to host more events of this magnitude, as long as they do not interfere with the interests of MYBA Charter Show or The Superyacht Show.

The Superyacht Show will take place from 2-5 May this year at the OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona, with tickets available for purchase online from the beginning of March on the Superyacht Show website. www.thesuperyachtshow.com

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