Yacht shows are a key element in the supply chain at the core of the superyacht industry. During these uncertain times, many questions have been asked concerning the status of this year’s yacht shows and their impact on each unique link in the industry’s supply chain.
To help express the interests of all parties in relation to the upcoming yacht shows, the ninth SuperYacht Times Webinar brought together Informa’s President of U.S. Boat Shows, Andrew Doole, Monaco Yacht Show’s Managing Director, Gaëlle Tallarida along with Farouk Nefzi, Marketing & Brand Director for Feadship and Carlos Vidueira, VP of Rybovich Superyacht Marina & Refit. Here are some key points from their conversation:
What is the current status of this year’s edition of the Monaco Yacht Show?
Gaëlle Tallarida, Monaco Yacht Show: MYS takes one full year to prepare for a team of 14 dedicated people, who I think over the years have shown our strength and capability to deliver an efficient platform. Now we are working step-by-step to adapt our planning, especially in considerations of contact with the client. Once we know how the COVID-19 situation will evolve over the next few months and what the outcome of our planned meeting with the government in June, I think we will know if we can go ahead by the end of August. In the meantime, we are studying to see what is feasible: we may register fewer people, for example. We have so many aspects to work on to satisfy every kind of scenario that we don't have confirmed at that moment - but I know as a team we are very reactive so it is important to stay positive!
At that moment, I would say that we have a lot of people committed to coming, and I'm quite confident that we will be able to set up a show and can ensure that all those attending are doing so safely. It might be smaller - it depends on the exhibitors, who we have allowed to take their time to confirm their exhibition stands. So far, we have less than 5% of the previous year's exhibitors who have decided to cancel their participation. In terms of yachts, so far we have registered approximately an equivalent number of yachts compared to the past previous year. This is because the bookings usually move ahead during the summer. Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesHow are you adapting the organisation of the American shows?
Andrew Doole, Informa: We postponed Palm Beach International Boat Show twice and then we finally cancelled it. Before we cancelled it, we wanted to give some value back to the exhibitors who were relying on business from that show. So we the quickest thing was to work with our programme provider, TRMG, who also have a digital platform to host a virtual boat show, which is happening on 14 May.
For the future shows, everything will follow the state and city protocols as far as health and safety are concerned. We're working with the trade shows around America to come up with a set of standards which can be applied throughout the country. Some simple initiatives would be to increase the number of shuttle buses and water taxis to spread people out, plus digital credentials to eliminate the need for a credentials tent. Fewer tables and seating areas, but more places for food and beverages so guests don't all congregate in one area. FLIBS takes place across seven sites with 27 entrances, so I think we can do a fair amount of social distancing! We are working on putting people’s minds at ease before FLIBS and looking into what other people’s views are on coming, as well as explaining how to visit the show safely and easily.
Carlos Vidueira, Rybovich Superyacht Marina & Refit: Speaking as the President of the Superyacht Life Foundation, The Superyacht Experience event shows that we all have to work together toward a common goal as shows have a very important b2b function. Plus there's a business-to-consumer function, and in some cases, these functions overlap. So, the idea behind The Superyacht Experience was really focused on the consumer experience, and that's why I really am disappointed that we were unable to show that because I think we would have made a big, big step forward in showing how shows can offer a different experience which is tailored toward the consumer. Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesAs a shipyard, and in light of the corona-crisis, how do you make the decision whether you are to attend a show?
Farouk Nefzi, Feadship: We have already decided that we will not organise our own events at shows that create big gatherings of people close to each other, which will have an effect because exhibitors and stakeholders organise so many great side events that create this special buzz and help to build our community. I think visitor numbers are going to be down by at least 50%, which for the superyacht builders like us is going to beg the question as to whether the return of investment for participating in a show is still worth it. Plus, is the type of client that we're aiming for willing to take the risk to fly over and meet us?
From a show organising point of view, perhaps this is the right moment to really reshape that part of the industry and take a closer look at how our clients can still get privacy and know that the level of exclusivity and safety is guaranteed when they are visiting. I would like to challenge the show organising world to really look at their business model, which would give me the tools to tell our shareholders that the return of investment is valid. Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
This interview was part of the ninth SuperYacht Times Webinar. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found in the programme here.