From 19 to 22 September 2012, 33,000 luxury yachting companies, yacht owners, high nett worth customers and representatives of future purchasers converged on Monaco to meet up at the yacht show's 500 stands and aboard the hundred-odd superyachts on show. At last year's show there were signs of an upswing in the market. MYS 2012 confirmed the trend; slowly but surely, business is picking up.
Monaco, the epicentre of superyachts.
With yacht prices that have fallen significantly in the past four years and a wider choice, luxury yachting was already clearly a buyer's market, benefiting affluent customers provided they decide to buy quickly. In this competitive situation brokers and shipyards brought out their best selection of superyachts for the four days of the Monaco show: 103 superyachts of an average 46.70m length, including six mega-yachts of more than 70m and 38 brand new 2012 models.
Again this year the showcase spread along the Port Hercule quayside. Offshore 120 superyachts were at anchor, directly linked by tenders to the exhibitors on the docks. The constant to and fro of tenders showed that rendezvous diaries with potential buyers were full.
Because the MYS today represents a decisive step in the yacht selling process; Bertrand Vogèle, CEO of agency Yachting Partners International, considers it 'The most important moment of the year; the Monaco Yacht Show brings together all the output of boat builders wanting to show their latest models, with important boats for sale. It's the superyachting Mecca'. Jonathan Beckett, CEO of brokerage agency Burgess shares his view: 'We had eight yachts on show, between 47m and 77m, and two catalogue items presented by the their builders as new 2012 models; we also had 25 other yachts at anchor offshore.'
The boat builders had an equally successful show: 'The 2012 Monaco show was a success for us. Much better than last year. But I imagine you've been hearing the same thing all day,' said Henk De Vries, CEO of Feadship in an interview in the MYS studio during the show. 'The 2011 show was itself the best there had been since the start of the crisis (…); the crisis is still with us, but serious people are keeping busy. We have to be fit and ready for the fierce competition but that's OK. If you sit complacently on your laurels, you're out of the race.'
Theo Hooning, Secretary General of SYBAss (Superyacht Builders Association) stressed the need to be at the Monaco Yacht Show to promote luxury yachting to a new clientele of non-initiates: 'Once again this year the Monaco Yacht Show has proven itself the most important place to be if you want to share in the experience of superyachting. With such a variety of superyachts on show and events like our Monaco Sunset party, visitors had a host of opportunities to discover and understand the nature of these exceptional boats.'
That was one of the big challenges facing organisers and exhibitors this year: to attract a new A-list customer base to the show so that they can experience this ultimate luxury for the first time.
Four days of business networking
Cocktail parties at the stands, press talks and onboard parties, gala dinners in Monte Carlo's grand hotels: there were about 100 events this year. A record. And each one an opportunity to expand one's business network or promote one's company among a private and professional clientele. For this the Monaco Yacht Show's partner luxury brands used the Upper Deck Lounge, the new MYS reception area with sumptuous interior by Baccarat, Opera Gallery and Sabrina Monte Carlo/Paola Lenti. A great success.
This synergy between superyachting and the luxury world more broadly was well expressed by Patrick Hoffman, CEO of Ulysse Nardin, an official 2012 MYS sponsor: 'Ulysse Nardin has a long history in watchmaking but also in yachting and the sea; Monaco is a platform for meeting people in a convivial setting to share our passion for yachts and timepieces. It really is the ideal place for meeting the ideal people in an ideal atmosphere'. German auto group BMW, sponsor and official courtesy car provider for the 2012 MYS, considers the show 'the ideal stage for presenting the new BMW 7 and BMW 6 luxury models to a top-rank global audience'.
Awards for three superyachts
The official visit of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco to the Monaco Yacht Show was the occasion this year for three superyachts to be awarded trophies: The 2012 MYS design award went to sailing yacht Vertigo (67.2m, Alloy Yachts) for the outstanding work by French naval architects Philippe Briand and Christian Liagre. The trophy, a superb crystal glass sailing yacht, was made by MYS partner Baccarat. The Green Star Class 2012 certificate for boats built in compliance with rigorous environmental standards was awarded to Better Place (50.5m, Wally) and Aslec 4 (45m, Rossinavi) by Italian ship classification company RINA.
Live from Monaco Yacht Show
Although MYS can always be sure of coverage in the yachting press, the organisers' efforts to extend promotion of the show to the business and general media – and so raise the profile of the luxury yachting market among the general public – bore fruit. As well as some fifty interviews with leading figures in yachting recorded in the MYS Breaking News Centre (TV studio) and fed daily to the international lifestyle media, more than 800 journalists and media professionals were accredited.
So the portrayal of superyachting is no longer restricted to the specialist media. The sector is naturally of interest to the business media since it is a significant driver of the global economy. For firms in the industry obviously, but also for all the connected luxury markets, because it still has phenomenal scope for growth, especially among potential customers from the emerging great powers. A challenge that brokers and boat builders will have to rise to in the next ten years. Today there are about 4600 superyachts operating. And how many millionaires are there in the world?