Captain’s Chair: Palm Beach show offers opportunity to reevaluate March 24, 2016

Many of the larger vessels that you might have seen at the Palm Beach International Boat Show last week were there as part of a recurring economic cycle that happens every year. After spending time in South Florida in the spring, they head to New England or the Mediterranean for the summer, come back in the fall for maintenance, paint jobs, upgrades and reconditioning, then off to the Caribbean for the winter, and then back to South Florida to start over again. This cycle is the global migration of an industry that our region is the heart of.

The Palm Beach International Boat Show is also the completion of a circuit and offers an ideal time for exhibitors to reflect on their displays. It’s easy to blame our shortcomings on outside factors, like a new venue or location within the show, but it’s important to look inward. When was the last time you or your team did any sales training? Do you have a concierge mentality? Have you enhanced or updated your website recently, and are you providing valuable digital content? Are you utilizing social media and posting regularly?

All of these things and many more are vital to ensuring your success, both at the show and year-round.

Attendance at this year’s Palm Beach International Boat Show was higher than usual on Thursday and Friday, and several brokers said they were pleased at the number of qualified potential buyers boarding their boats.

Bradford Marine displayed six boats in the show and received offers on three of them. “The buying audience is a more targeted clientele,” said Ryan Campbell, marketing manager at Bradford, of the show’s attendees. “People were not just there to browse, they’re there to buy, they’ve done their research.”

Preliminary estimates show that both attendance and the number of hotel rooms booked during this year’s show are up over last year. This year’s show also had five boats over 200 feet, including the 252-foot (77m) Silver Fast, built in 2015 by Silver Yachts.

I’m sure the yards are now looking forward to all the surveys they’ll be doing and preparing the vessels for the summer season, and we look forward to seeing them when they come back this fall for FLIBS.

Phil Purcell
Executive Director, Marine Industries Association of South Florida

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