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Everything you need to know about exhibiting your yacht at a yacht show.

IT’S SHOWTIME!

Why exhibit? Which show? Which berth? How best to communicate all the extraordinary things your yacht has to offer? Gary Wright, Chairman and Co-Founder of Y.CO, shares his unique insights on what success looks like, for a seller, at a leading yacht show.

Understand the benefits of exhibiting your yacht

Yacht shows are the most exciting events in the yachting calendar, and the best single way for a buyer to understand if a yacht is right for them, is to go and visit it. Yes, we live in a digital age, with information at our fingertips. But, for a prospective buyer, nothing will ever compare to seeing a yacht in real life. Walking on board. Meeting the crew. Getting a sense of the yacht’s atmosphere. Its operations. If those operations are compatible with their own life plans. Buyers can visit any yacht they want to if they’re willing to fly around the world to do it. But at a leading yacht show, they can see anything and everything in their sector of the market all in one place. That makes sense for buyers, and it makes sense for sellers. The benefits of yacht shows are huge for both.

Choose the right show

There’s perhaps six to eight leading yacht shows around the world worth exhibiting at, but once you get above a certain size or calibre of yacht, perhaps only two or three. If your yacht is in that mid-to-large category that Y.CO specialises in, then Monaco really is the jewel in the crown. A lot of large yachts spend their summer in the Mediterranean and the winter in the Caribbean, so are perfectly placed for the Monaco Yacht Show in September before they head back across the Atlantic to another yacht show later that year or early the next. Fort Lauderdale is quite soon after Monaco, but the Palm Beach International Boat Show, in March, is perfect timing, and an amazing show for the best-in-class, 40-metre-plus yachts we tend to work with. Anyone who’s anyone in the yachting industry will be at Monaco. Then Palm Beach is a smaller, friendly show that you can cruise through at your own pace, but still with some truly extraordinary yachts on display.

Have the right representation

Having the right representation at a show is important, and that’s where we step in. As a yacht company that knows most yacht shows inside out, we’re able to oversee everything for a seller: from selecting the right show, to securing the best location, to marketing the yacht before, during and after the show, to setting up and running the sales stand. We try to mobilise everyone and everything for a show – from myself and Charlie, to the show team, sales team, marketing team, front of house team, or hospitality team running the booth at the entrance to the yacht. We want everyone to be part of it. It’s intricately orchestrated and every bit a team job. Also, we’d never just suggest to an owner that they do multiple shows for the sake of it. We know from our many years of experience that some yachts will have more traction in certain shows than others, so we pour our energy into doing our very best job for the shows that count.

Secure the best location

There are a few main considerations when securing the right berth – easy access, visibility and high footfall being a few of them. But more specific factors like whether the berth offers a good profile view of the yacht, or how close it is to the stand, are important too. Before anyone comes aboard, we know who they are, what their network is, and what they’re capable of buying. And in most cases they will have a previously arranged appointment. So while the berth matters, it’s not the absolute make or break. But we still of course want every Y.CO yacht to look its absolute best in a location that suits its size and design, so we work hard to get it right. You’d never see a 90m Y.CO yacht with the most beautiful profile stuck behind a small cruise ship. Or a 70m yacht sandwiched in between two 80m yachts in a really obscure part of the show. Not on our watch.

Maximise your marketing

If we’re promoting a yacht for sale at a show, we’d typically start the marketing process at least three months before the yacht show starts, with the mission of massively boosting that yacht’s exposure on the world stage. We’d create the right buzz on social media, commission photo shoots, lifestyle shoots, create tour scripts and brief the crew on what highlights to focus on. If the main salon is a design inspiration, for example, we’ll make sure the crew knows who designed it, what the designer’s own inspiration was, and what the most beautiful features are. Often it’s the finer details that make all the difference. So we don’t just promote a yacht in the obvious ways; we celebrate and explore its backstory. We create maximum exposure in all the leading industry publications, from Boat International to Yachting World. And we make sure we’re not just addressing our own clients in our marketing, but a wide network of brokers who will be relaying the details to their own clients. Clients, brokers, industry professionals, the show organisers, trade press: we’ll make sure our communications are engaging everyone, while doing our best to support friends and colleagues in the industry.

Follow up effectively

After a show, the marketing and promotion will continue. And we remain closely in touch with the six or eight prospective buyers who have shown the most interest at the show, as well as the brokers who have interested clients of their own. We might arrange revisits, so the prospective buyers can see the yacht a second or even third time, send more information about certain aspects of the yacht, let our wider audience know how the yacht show went through blog posts, website updates or social media, and sometimes even gather all our leads together in a post-yacht-show event. We’ll also ask for feedback and testimonials from all the people who visited us at the show. Marketing of a yacht is an ongoing process, and something we’d never think of as a job done. When Monaco draws to a close, we’ll already be getting prepped and excited for Palm Beach.