Boat shows are generally much the same, though there’s always a frisson of excitement around the Monaco Yacht Show.
By far the largest European in-water show, and as much of a business networking event as a charter/sales forum, ‘everyone’ in yachting goes to Monaco.
This time was different, though, following the cancellation of the 2020 show and the 30th edition deferred by twelve months. Many attendees left it to the last minute to commit to attending, in case COVID would again spike travel plans, doubtless giving the organisers a few headaches up until the show opening.
There was evidence of some exhibitors not taking up their booked slots and a fair few regulars were missing. There were also considerably fewer yachts on show, though was it a success? The evidence suggests it was.
The success of any exhibition, trade fair or boat show is always difficult to measure, given that they are often just a barometer of prevailing market conditions. New build order books are full and the pre-owned market is hot, so the only people not smiling this time were brokers with no more stock to sell.
The biggest innovation was the ‘VIP’ pass on the opening day, banishing anyone not actively in the business of selling/buying/chartering yachts from the docks. This meant that only the enclosed pavilions were open to non-VIP guests, making the Wednesday relatively worthless to indoor exhibitors, denting their ROI. The last day, Saturday, was also a washout indoors, with the halls deserted all day. Getting merely two days’ worth of all-important footfall during an expensive four-day show is a hard sell.
Assuming that this MYS format is maintained in coming years, exhibiting suppliers can be expected to focus more on METS in future, where they will get more bang for their buck.
Outdoors, on the docks, it was a different story. Most yacht exhibitors seemed delighted with the VIP-only format, with only one broker grumbling to us about the number of suppliers slipping through the net on Wednesday to promote their wares. Each industry exhibitor had one ‘VIP’ pass, it transpired, to ensure that yachts could get suppliers on board for any last-minute fixes. Given the lack of indoor traffic on Wednesday, one could hardly blame them for taking the opportunity to get out on the docks ahead of everyone else the next day.
Welcome additions to the show were a number of outdoor pavilions and seating areas to take a break and cool off from the heat. There were ice cream stands and even vending machines, to dodge vastly inflated Monegasque prices for a bottle of water or a snack. The Show’s free* (*included) wifi worked well, once connected. You don’t want to be roaming with mobile data switched on in Monaco.
The proof of the pudding of any trade show is in the eating. It seems that those who went, left satisfied. Notable throughout the event, even on the final day, was the large number of surgically enhanced ladies on the arms of grumpy men shouting into mobile phones; there were plenty of owners on the passerelles, in other words 😉