Following on the Singapore Yacht Show 2013, Derani Yachts has the following assessment in retrospect. The show, and Singapore as hub to support yachting in Southeast Asia can only continue to grow in importance and size from here – being in its infancy. Attending as free agent always give new contacts and often leads to boat sales. Review by MD Hakan Lange.
It was truly an impressive display not just of boats on display and their size and the variety but also the number of visitors and in hindsight the number of potential or actual sales that have been reported, real sales rather than wanna-be sales.
And given Singapore’s strategic location the boat show obviously attracts people from all over the region, given how easy it is to get to and from the city state, and transportation and hotels in that part of Sentosa is also appealing to potential boat buyers who want to spend a weekend and do at bit of shopping. So, I can only see Singapore Yacht Show keep on growing in size and numbers to the point where the marina may have a problem in the future in terms of accommodating the resident yachts. But overall it gave a very good first impression.
The brokers and potential buyers visiting the show are there for a similar reasons; making contacts, finding out what else is on the market: look at new boats and new products.
There were quite a lot of brokerage boats displayed at the show, which is a good thing – as it allows a wider price range scope for people who want to buy a 40, 50 or 60 foot but may not afford a brand new boat, who may consider a pre-owned boat to be better value for money and someone who has ironed out all the issues.
For Derani Yachts, in the reflection of going to the show, we ended up selling a boat, simply through the fact that a potential buyer recognised the shirt of Derani Yachts and made contact and we were fortunate enough to sell a large trawler as a result, not someone finding us through other means of contact. So walking the show allows you to meet people that you otherwise don’t meet. And this is something I have experienced in many other parts of the world in different shows: walking around and looking at products and meeting a potential buyer and selling more boats as a result of visiting shows rather than being locked to your own stand, your own display area don’t get to move around the same way you do by being a free agent walking the show.
Everyone visiting a show has a plan in their head – what they want to achieve and see -and they always end up seeing something else and meeting new people as well, and if you happen to have the right product at the right time…
It’s important for every broker; when you don’t participate in a show it’s always worthwhile visiting the show, as you are almost guaranteed ending up meeting people that you would have otherwise not made contact with. Going back the last 10 years, we have sold a lot of boats just by being at shows. Once again, this showed to be worthwhile for Derani Yachts.
If you go back in time and look at Genoa, Fort Lauderdale in Miami… various other leading European and American boat shows, they’re in their fiftieth year or more of boat showing. The Singapore Yacht Show is only in its third year. This is only in its infancy as far as boat shows goes; with a lot to learn from the established shows. The challenge we have here is always to educate potential buyers, because the people buying boats in Europe and North America are normally experienced third generation boat owning families – the know what they want; if they’re into power boats or sailing and the type of boat is pretty clear to them, whereas here it’s a question of understanding what a potential buyer has in mind and then guide them through the jungle of potential boats that are available and what we can offer and why we think our products would suit them.
About 60 per cent are first time buyers, and with a lot of new money. But you can easily go off boating all together by ending up either being pushed by a broker into buying something that they want to sell rather than listening to the customers and understanding what they want to do and not pushing them into a bigger boat just to make money. That’s instead of allowing allow things to develop at the prospective customers’ pace and make them feel comfortable – yes, you are there to sell them a boat, but you are also there to hold their hand and be there and answer the phone when they need something. This is the beginning of a relationship rather than: the deal is done and now you’re on your own. That’s not how we think, and given the percentage repeat customers we have this is clearly paying back to Derani Yachts in terms of customers bringing their own friends and family members,sometimes just for a charter but the confidence is there; the respect and trust between us and the client is there and it’s a long-term relationship that begins to grow, and people change their boats and we are there to help them along the way.
We are please to confirm the sale of a Selene Ocena Trawler to a Singapore resident and we can see the boat being spending part of the time in Phuket and the rest of the year between Malaysia and Singapore. It was a well worth visit to Singapore yacht show.
Over the last two years we have seen the establishment of Hong Kong as the leading boating destination in terms of the number of boats as well as how long boating has been taking place in Hong Kong, and clearly they have had a number of shows, none of which has become a huge success story due to competition between different marinas and individuals, but there are really three regions for boating.
Given the geographical distances between these three hubs there is really no synergy or sensible direction to have a regional show because they are so far apart physically and are affected by different seasons. So, the Hong Kong boat ownership benefiting from China’s growth at the moment is a market by itself. Then Singapore, Indonesia, Southern and Eastern Malaysia and Philippines is a market by itself, and Phuket is the new emerging market but where you see more and more of the service companies moving to Phuket.
Even Superyachts are getting a lot of their work done in Phuket, previously done in Singapore which has been the traditional place for Superyacht services, so this is becoming the growing hub – Singapore and Hong Kong are pretty much full with regards to boat space etc., and with very limited destinations in the immediate vicinity of these two locations, whereas Phuket is well-placed between the Langkawi archipelago and the Burmese Southern archipelago. Between these three locations – Langkawi, Phuket and Burma we’re talking in the range of 300 islands of more or less unexplored and fantastic destinations for boaters whether you’re into diving, sailing, big game fishing or just boating – there are few places in the world that can match this unique location. And therefore more people are considering keeping the boat in Phuket and therefore I see the importance of Phuket maintaining its own boat show activity and growing this market as and when the opportunities arise.
Of course, there is always a need for more marinas – they always tend to fill up. But it’s not as straightforward, there are not a lot of suitable locations and there is also some government issues in Thailand in terms of permit and environmental requirements etc. But so far Phuket manages to host most boats being sold here or brought here from Singapore and Malaysia – with a bit of flexibility with high and low season. Low season is not a problem since most people put their boat on land then so that frees up the in water space. But, no question – it’s going to become the main boating hub in Southeast Asia.