MIAMI BEACH — Exhibitors seemed largely happy with the decision to install gates and charge admission to Yachts Miami Beach, the yacht and brokerage show along Collins Avenue that opened Thursday and will conclude Monday.
Although there are no final attendance figures yet, exhibitors were pleased with the quality of the buyers at the show.
They also seemed pleased with the new look and layout of the show.
“We’ve had some very good feedback,” said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of Show Management and executive chairman of Active Interest Media, the company that owns Show Management and Soundings Trade Only. “Exhibitors have been happy to focus on quality boat buyers."
“We’re seeing a lot of higher-quality people,” said Tim Pulcher of Galati Yachts, speaking at the Cruisers Yachts booth — one of seven lines the company sells. “It takes a week or two to shake out, but we have a ton — 15 or 20 bills — working.”
“I like it a lot,” Mike Murdoch, a Princess Yacht dealer with Freedom Marine in Vancouver, said of the decision to gate the show. “I think it’s better that they are charging. The numbers will say, but most of the people I talk to seem more serious.”
The folks at Sea Ray agreed. “You’re not getting the tire kickers, and you can focus on the buyers,” said Scott Ward, president and general manager of Sea Ray sport yachts and yachts. The company sold a 650L during a VIP party Friday night and was poised to close a few additional deals.
Pulcher was excited to see new, innovative products, even from competitors, because that’s what generates excitement for the shows.
“You’re seeing it from every company,” Pulcher said. “It’s so exciting. In 2008, 2009, no one was coming out with anything. Now it’s a whole different vibe.”
Most builders had expanded displays with several new debuts. Intrepid Powerboats had four boats at Yachts Miami Beach, as well as 12 boats at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key, which runs concurrently but is separately owned and operated.
“We’ve done a good job of having a strong presence at boat shows,” Intrepid president Ken Clinton said. “Quality people are writing checks and signing contracts.”
Clinton said business at the shows had been so good that he took an order for an Intrepid 407 Panacea — a boat that has not yet been built.
Viking had sold eight boats as of Sunday at the two shows, ranging from 37 to 80 feet.
Trade Only Today executive editor Chris Landry contributed to this report.