Traffic up at Yacht & Brokerage Show

Posted on Written by Richard Armstrong

22_traffic_01Number of boats and exhibitors increased and PassageMaker magazine’s TrawlerPort made its debut

An expanded Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach drew significant traffic and encouraging reports of qualified buyers and sales, according to Show Management, producers of the Feb. 16-20 show held on Collins Avenue.

“At the end of the show we heard of positive feelings and an upbeat mood from exhibitors,” says Andrew Doole, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Show Management.

The number of exhibitors and boats was up 9 percent from the 2011 show and organizers estimate a 7 percent increase in attendance. There is no admission fee, so the figure is based on concession sales and the number of people who took public transportation to the show. “We went in knowing we had a great presentation. The show looked good, and the people showed up,” Doole says.

Nearly 400 boats were on display — 270 brokerage boats and about 123 new ones. There were 188 exhibitors, compared with 170 the previous year.

A new addition was PassageMaker magazine’s TrawlerPort, a show within a show featuring more than 30 trawlers and other long-range power cruisers from more than 20 builders, including Beneteau, Grand Banks, Kadey-Krogen and Nordhavn. “TrawlerPort Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show on Collins Avenue was a first-time event for us,” says Rob Dorfmeyer, general manager and publisher of PassageMaker. “On the docks the attendees seemed upbeat and many took the opportunity to learn more about the cruising under power lifestyle by checking out the numerous guest speakers and activities available. All in all, we were very happy with the site, turnout and crowds.”

David Hensel, director of brand and marketing at Grand Banks, says his company went into the show with “approximately $15 million in new sales in the three months leading up to the show,” and it sold three boats — a 47 Heritage EU, a 46 Eastbay SX and a 54 Heritage EU — at the show.

22_traffic_02The company also announced two new models, both with pod drives: the 43 Heritage EU, which will replace the 41 EU that launched in 2008, and a new 50 Eastbay in SX and FB configurations. The new Eastbay represents a sleeker, more swept-back design that Hensel calls a “strong leap forward for us.” The response was positive, and the first 50SX will go into production this summer and ship late this year for its debut at next year’s Miami show. “We’re very happy with the results of the show,” Hensel says. “Like everyone else, sales cycles are typically longer than before the downturn, but there’s definitely more activity now.”

Larry Polster, vice president of Kadey-Krogen Yachts, says consolidating the trawler yachts at one location was a good move. “We signed a contract for a new Krogen 52 at the show and saw a greater percentage of quality customers than at the other venue,” he says.

Sportfishing yachts also did well, according to the organizers. Viking Yachts says it sold nine boats from 42 to 82 feet. “The 42 was a popular attraction, which we like because it represents the low end of our brand. This is a strong sign of growth for the future,” says Peter Frederiksen, Viking’s director of communications. “The success of the show is encouraging and added to our backlog, but the market remains a challenge.”

Fort Lauderdale-based Denison Yacht Sales says it had its busiest Yacht & Brokerage Show ever. Denison introduced the Monte Carlo 76 to the U.S. market. “The show was a tremendous success this year,” says owner Bob Denison, noting that the brokerage “sold some boats, and there were some happy brokers.” Denison says sales included a Beneteau Swift Trawler and Fairline Gran Turismo that the company displayed.

In other news, the Prestige line of power yachts held a press conference to introduce two new models for 2012 and discuss ambitious plans to grow market share worldwide and become a major player in North America. “Our goal in the next decade is to become one of the biggest brands worldwide,” says product/marketing director Jean-Francois de Premorel, noting that Prestige has sold more than 2,500 boats globally in the past decade.

22_traffic_03The French builder, which is marketing 2012 as the “year of acceleration of Prestige,” began a concerted marketing effort in the United States about two years ago and has 11 dealers nationwide. Prestige displayed its 440S, 500S, 500 Fly and 60 Fly at the show, and this year it will debut the 550, 550S and 60S, featuring propulsion from twin Cummins QSC 699-hp engines coupled with Zeus 3800 pods and a Seakeeper 7000A active gyro stabilizer.

Marquis Yachts debuted its Italian-designed 630 Sport Yacht, which features twin Volvo Penta IPS3 pod drives. Parent company J&D Acquisitions used the show to introduce its new business partner, the Chinese state-owned Poly Technologies, for the sales and distribution of Marquis Yachts throughout China. “I’d rather be lucky than smart anytime, and I can say we lucked out incredibly with this partnership with the Poly group,” says Irwin L. Jacobs, chairman of J&D Acquisitions, who introduced Poly chairman Jiang Lianxiang.

Poly’s $35 billion in annual revenue comes from several core industries: real estate, the arts (theaters and galleries) and mining. The newly formed Poly Marquis has the rights to sell and distribute the Carver, Larson, Striper, Triumph and Marquis brands in China.

Lianxiang says the Chinese boating market is modest, largely because of insufficient infrastructure and levels of personal income that limit boat ownership to the wealthy, but he says that is changing. “I think in 5 to 10 years, the yacht market in China will be booming,” he says.

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue.

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