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Boat Shows are Overrated

Submitted onJuly 10, 2009 No comments yet, share your thoughts
Boat Shows are overrated

Boat Shows are overrated

The basic idea a boat show is fundamentally sound: to put sellers and buyers in the same place at the same time and give them an open invite to meet.  Fine idea and for the most part it almost works…

Buyers expect to “touch and feel” a variety of yachts and ask numerous questions from the experts that build, sell and service them.  They are boat shopping!! It’s supposed to be fun and exciting and when it’s all over they should be ready to make their decision.

All Exhibitors want is a fair shot at buyers so they can make their case and hopefully persuade them to buy.

The problem is that the original basic idea did not make enough money for the organizers.  Exhibitors will come if there are buyers.  Buyers will come if there are exhibitors.  Everyone else will come just because they have nothing to do that weekend…and here lies the problem.

Organizers have gone to great lengths to increase the popularity (traffic) of shows.  Extra advertising?  Free entrance?  Not enough- some have gone as far as busing in loads of seniors from retirement homes just to increase dock traffic!

So who wins with more traffic?  The food court and jewelry vendors, parking lot owners, water taxi operators and everyone associated with the ever more elaborate exhibitor displays.  Who loses?  The Sellers and the Buyers that the show was created for.

Sure, I understand the importance of grooming future boaters, but let Sea Ray, Bayliner and the Boston Whaler’s of the world handle that through their excellent open houses and convention center displays.  The Buyers and Sellers I’m referring to involve yachts that require lots of zeros just to make the offer.  These are the people that need to spend time with each other in a non-rushed environment where they can make a connection, understand each other’s point of view and hopefully match up properly.  Unfortunately with tens of thousands of “visitors” the traffic is horrible, the parking is worse and the end result is akin to speed dating- lots of opportunities, but you leave more confused and tired then when you arrived.

My two cents? Charge at least $100 a head for the entrance fee and more for the “VIP” day, provide an easy registration process so that information can be snail or e mailed to the Buyers as opposed to dragging heavy brochure bags and lower the cost of the exhibitor displays to promote more boats to make appearances.  If the point is to put sellers and buyers together in the same place at the same time then a radical change is needed- if traffic is the goal then let’s congratulate the organizers for trying so hard!

The key is for you or preferably your agent/broker to do some homework in advance- plan which boats to see, make appointments (don’t forget that many brokers keep boats just outside of the show) and research prices/comps before you get there.  Do this and you’ll actually benefit from a show.

If you don’t have an agent email us with your current status and we’ll do our best to pair you up with one of our trusted colleagues…at the very least we’ll recommend an expert or two in the the type of boats/area that you need help with- it’s up to you to interview them and see if you mesh well.

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