Something for everyone at the London Boat Show
The 63rd annual London Boat Show took place from Friday 6th January to Sunday 15th January at the ExCel in London. The prestigious event is known to kick off the 2017 European boating calendar and marks the start of the season - a time to look ahead and get ready for the coming months when boat owners can get back on the water. The Show offers those who love boating a unique insight into what will be the most sought-after products and upcoming trends for the year ahead.
Coleman Insurance Brokers enjoyed a busy time at the Show and took the opportunity to meet up with many new and existing clients. Yacht and Commercial Craft Manager Tony Pauffley said, “The London Boat Show is a real lifestyle Show – whether you love boating, want to experience something new or just want a fantastic day out, it’s certainly the place to visit.” Tony took time out to chat with various stand holders and learn about their experiences at the Show.
State of the art navigation
Chris Rankmore of Platinum Marine which sells Garmin marine electronics and Audio equipment advised, “We’re enjoying showcasing the multi-functional display GPS MAP 8422 which is the highest resolution product in its class on the market. The GPS MAP 8400 Series can interface with Fantom Solid State Radar and can use Garmin’s patented ‘Motion Scope’ feature for unrivalled situation awareness to identify targets and their relative direction of travel.”
Sailing holidays to tempt visitors
Visitors to the Boat Show were tempted by numerous holiday stands, including the stand of Sailing Holidays Ltd which has been established since 1976 and boasts a fleet of some 180 boats, to which around 8/10 new ones are added each year. Marketing Manager Amy Neilson commented, “We’ve been welcoming lots of new visitors, as well as many of our regular clients who have come and sought us out especially to book their 2017 holidays. Yacht Charter clients account for a big part of our growing market and we have received many enquiries. We’ve also had much interest in our Skipper Charter holidays which are a brilliant way to introduce people to sailing with unobtrusive guidance and local knowledge.
Continuing, Amy added, “We have three new Flotilla routes in 2017 – Our one week Ithaka Flotillla, our two week Zakinthos Flotilla and our two week ‘pop-up’ Flotillas in Croatia. These are proving very popular and we are already 25% ahead on our bookings at the Boat Show when compared to 2016, it’s all extremely positive.”
Sailing Holidays founder, Barry Neilson said, “We pride ourselves on being a very proactive stand at the boat show. We always have lots of staff on hand to speak to visitors, including our staff from Greece who know the business inside out and can really sell the Greek sailing experience.”
Accessibility of sailing to all…
Poole based Rockley Water Sports had a very prominent and impactful stand at the Show which gained much interest with the installation of the activity and demo pools and boating lake. Rockley MD, Pip Woods enthused, “This Boat Show has seen us gain some phenomenal PR and we have been profiled on BBC Breakfast News, ITV and SKY news. The interest from the media has been around the boating lake and the activities that are happening. The weekends at the Show have been particularly busy with children visiting and enjoying our facilities. It has shown the accessibility and appeal of boating to all and proven that it doesn’t have to be super expensive to get on the water...wherever you are in the country you are never no more than 70 miles from the coast.”
Pip added, “2016 has been an awesome year for us all at Rockley Water Sports. We’ve spent the last 12 months celebrating our 40th birthday in various forms – from offering special deals and offers to taking staff away to celebrate. 2016 saw more new people take to the water in Poole than ever before. Our French holidays bookings were up and much busier than anticipated. We also enjoyed a fabulous 40th birthday party in November at The Lighthouse in Poole.”
Preparing for a busy Show
Jenny Llewellyn, Exhibitions and Special Events Manager at Sunseeker was enjoying a very busy time on the impressive Sunseeker stand and talked about the mammoth task of getting ‘exhibition ready’ for the London Boat Show. Jenny advised, “We have between 100 – 150 staff on the stand at any one time, including sales people, partners, hospitality, hostesses, drivers and technical support.”
“The build-up started on 17th December, in preparation for a 6th January Show start. It’s a huge task to end up ‘Show ready’ with masses of people involved ,including the Exhibition team and technicians. We even have a fully equipped kitchen and chef on site producing meals for staff. Sunseeker founder Robert Braithwaite’s ethos is that ‘an army marches on its stomach’ and he ensures that we do!
“We have enjoyed welcoming a steady flow of visitors each day and have all enjoyed working together, we are a very close knit team – the Sunseeker family!”
Shopping with virtual reality
Pearl Yachts stood out at the London Boat Show with their use of virtual reality to showcase their range of yachts available – Pearl 65, Pearl 80 and Pearl 95. They used Oculus Rift head- sets, linked to a custom- built virtual reality APP to wow potential clients with the best that their yachts had to offer and allowed visitors to enjoy a virtual tour at their leisure and view the parts of the boat that they most wanted to see.
MD Ian Smallridge enthused, “It has been a really good way to enable potential clients to view our complete Pearl Range, without having to step on board. Feedback has been good. It’s the first time that anyone has done a complete range of yachts in virtual reality. We have achieved potential sales and it has also resulted in a visit this week to one of our boats in Majorca. We would definitely use virtual reality again, it has been an economical way of showcasing our range without the logistics and cost of transporting boats.”
Boat orders being taken
Gibbs Boat Sales from Poole had a strong presence at the Show for their 25th consecutive year. Director Don Bissessor said, “We are extremely delighted with how our new models are being received by Boat Show visitors, in particular the Grandezza 25s which retails at £75,000. It’s the first time that it is being show cased in Europe. We are at the half way point in the Show and we’ve taken 10 orders, we’re thrilled! Of the sales made, 60% are going to clients in other parts of Europe and 40% are straying in the UK, including in the Poole area.
Bang & Olufsen partner with Sunseeker
Bournemouth based Dawsons, a company which specialises in top of the range audio-visual equipment has recently launched his B & O packages with the Sunseeker Yacht range. Director Kevin Dawson advised, “We have some of our B& O products on display in the Sunseeker VIP lounge at the Show and are very proud to have launched our range of exterior waterproof speakers which have been very well received. Sunseeker has now also included Bang & Olufsen options as part of the factory options list – this is excellent news for Dawsons.”