Monaco Yacht Show 2017: Review (October 18, 2017)

Does last week’s show retain its status as the king of all the yacht shows?
Throughout this year’s show, there were many signs of the industry waking up to our market’s negative environmental impact. Many events, such as Y.CO’s breakfast with ocean conservationist Emily Penn, looked to either introduce their environmental plans and initiatives, or encourage donations to charities they had pledged to support. In my opinion, this is a huge step forward for the sector, indicating a progressive attitude in what can be – at times – a very insular market. SYBAss officially launched the Superyacht Life Foundation, a new charitable entity that aims to promote the superyacht experience to the wider world. However, it will be interesting to see if these initiatives and campaigns remain a part of these companies’ plans at future shows.
It appears that Monaco does still remain the time and place to announce collaborations. The biggest piece of industry news was the confirmation of MB92’s acquisition of Compositeworks; Compositeworks’ management will remain the same.
Project Neptune is the exciting new concept from Triton Submarines and renowned British automotive giant Aston Martin, joining the growing number of superyacht manufacturers and designers looking outside of the market for opportunities to reach new clients.
I can’t help but think that the exciting announcements may have resonated more with the industry if revealed separately from the show. The few days you are walking around Port Hercules are a sensory overload. With so much information being revealed, it is hard to truly appreciate and consider the abundance of market intelligence that is being shared, when you are constantly on the move.
Of course, Monaco’s raison d’être is the buying and selling of yachts. Happily, many brokers reported a successful show, indicating that potential buyers do attend the show with serious intent. Of course, only time will tell if the many meetings bring sales and fresh clients into the market, and a serious enquiry at MYS can often lead to a sale many months down the line. The show’s organisers had worked to increase the UHNW audience, with new VIP concierge services and areas, designed to add new elements to the show that appeal to the consumer. With that in mind, the second annual Monaco Yacht Show Summit returned this year, with the aim of educating new clients about the intricacies of superyacht ownership.
The social calendar this year was packed, and I can only foresee this increasing exponentially with each coming year. Companies who wish to host events are competing with each other for attendees, with some nights – notably this year’s Thursday evening – seeing umpteen drinks receptions and networking events, meaning some spend most of the evening rushing between events to ensure they meet all the right people. The calendar is gradually stretching to now include events prior to, and after the show’s official timings. As a result, more people are obligated to extend their time in Monte Carlo, hoping to avoid the superyacht industry’s own version of FOMO.
In many conversations throughout the show, the sentiment I encountered was that if you’re in the industry then you must attend Monaco; but many see it as a daunting prospect, rather than a pleasant experience. Yes, the show is great to catch-up with acquaintances and meet people, but the sheer size of the event means that it’s almost impossible to engage with each stand; business cards are exchanged and short conversations are had, but meeting all one wants to connect with appears an insurmountable task.
So, now the event is over, is Monaco still a must? Yes. However, I believe that there are two parallel versions of the show that cohabitate with each other. One is the ‘owner’ show, which brokers and shipyards experience; the B2C engagement that sees new clients seeing boats and introducing yachts to their potential owners. The second is the ‘industry’ show, where companies looking to work together will network and discover the new services and products available.
Although I’m sure many owners attended the show, I would be intrigued to know what the percentage of owners to industry representatives was throughout last week. Gradually, I think these ‘two shows’ will grow apart, under the colossal umbrella of the Monaco Yacht Show, and may result in a slight identity crisis that will have to be addressed by both the show’s organisers, and its visitors.

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