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 few regulars were missing. Understandably, there were also 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 merely 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 or charter.
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, denting footfall for exhibitors.
On the docks, however, it was a different story. Most yacht exhibitors seemed delighted with the new 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 received one VIP pass, to ensure that yachts could get suppliers on board for any last-minute fixes. With overall visitor numbers down, one could hardly blame indoor exhibitors 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 also ice cream stands and vending machines for bottled of water or a snack. The Show’s free 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 😉