With a number of boat shows forced to cancel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the yachting industry has responded by offering virtual yacht shows as a way to showcase boats and reach prospective owners at home.
Virtual boat shows offer brokers a new way to connect with clientele, that respects the social distancing rules currently in place across the world. They allow buyers to browse through a vast portfolio of yachts and even step on board, via video walkthroughs, 360-degree tours and click-through galleries - all from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
“Fraser has long been a supporter of videos and virtual/360 tours to provide clients with more information before they actually step on board", said Lisa Peck, global marketing manager of Fraser. "Now in these unprecedented times, they are even more important, and virtual shows allow our clients to see and compare a variety of yachts all in one place, just as they would a normal boat show."
Roger Sowerbutts, broker for Horizon Yachts USA agreed a "more personal approach" was needed with virtual viewings. "We invite buyers to a real time virtual viewing on board the vessel of choice, then they can guide the tour from their home or office virtually via Facetime or Skype."
BOAT International's Virtual Boat Show kicks off on April 27 and will offer a host of specially curated content all in one place to fill the void left by the cancelled boat shows. The virtual experience will feature a selection of the best boats on the market, as well as exclusive previews of the coolest superyachts delivered in the last six months, and insightful Q&A sessions with leading figures in the yachting industry.
Elsewhere, Denison Yachting's Virtual Boat Show features walkthroughs, livestreams and exclusive show pricing, Burgess Yachts have curated a list of 360-degree and guided tours, and Palm Beach Boat Show have announced they too will be running a virtual edition of the cancelled show.
While nothing beats strolling along the pontoons, a virtual boat show certainly could be the next best thing.