This year’s Monaco Yacht Show was probably one of the most anticipated shows for many years. With the changes to the format from the show organisers to promote a more targeted audience and the increased safety measures to protect everyone from a COVID-19 outbreak, no one really knew whether the show was going to be a success or not. Having attended the show, it was undoubtedly smaller, with fewer yachts, exhibitors and attendees, yet despite this, it was a very good show.
A return after the Pandemic
The 2020 edition of the Monaco Yacht Show was cancelled, like so many other events, due to the restrictions being put in place to try to control the Pandemic. However, when SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) and LYBRA (Large Yacht Brokers Association) announced their members would not take part in the 2020 show (before it had been officially be cancelled), they also used the opportunity to challenge the show organisers to formulate a more “satisfying” business model for the show that would return a higher return on investment for exhibitors.
Informa, the Monaco Yacht Show organisers tried to accommodate the wishes of SYBAss and LYBRA by restricting access to the dockside to VIPs only on the opening day of the show. The concept was simple, only potential owners or charter guests (plus anyone with a specific invitation from a broker or accompanying a VIP guest) would be given access to the yachts on the first day of the show. This would provide a more relaxing environment for the high-value visitors to view yachts and thus help brokers get the all-important signatures on contracts.
From theory into practice
As with all new initiatives there were teething problems, the new format was not widely communicated and there were a number of brokers who were unaware of the change and therefore hadn’t encouraged their prospects to attend on the first day. Security on the quayside was also not particularly tight and a number of non-VIPs were able to gain access, when perhaps they shouldn’t have. However, the general feedback was that the VIP access was a success. Indeed, most brokers were very positive about the show all together, but then that’s hardly surprising. Yacht sales have been at record levels all year with what would appear to be a by-product of the Pandemic.
It wasn’t just the brokers that were happy with the show however, most of the trade exhibitors that we spoke to were also extremely positive about the quality of the people attending the show and the meetings that they were able to have. Something that I am pleased to report Peninsula Yacht Services experienced too. Despite there being a little over 15% fewer yachts in the show, there was the usual crowd of yachts at anchor in the bay, which combined to make a healthy pool of customers and prospects.
All in all, Monaco Yacht Show 2021 was a success and hopefully signalled the beginning of a return to a pre-COVID normal. Unfortunately with the travel restrictions to the USA not changing until the beginning of November, we won’t be attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this year, but we will be at the Superyacht Forum and METS, so we look forward to seeing you there.
Image credit – Yvan Grubski