Right now I am sitting in the Business Lounge at the Grand Canaria airport. My flight will take me back home in a matter of a couple of hours and so I will leave this wonderful archipelago of the Canary Islands. I am leaving because the world´s largest and most important indoor boat show is about to take place in 2 days: Boot Duesseldorf. All is set, all is ready. So many things are flying through my head, especially, after this vacation in the sun.
I should be staying here, aboard my boat, set sails to the Caribbean or Cape Verde islands the least. Instead, I will spend the coming 10 days working my ass off in 9-hour-days on the stands of our brands trying to sell boats to exactly those people I envied here on Gran Canaria strolling the marinas. Well, first you have to earn it, before you spend it, I guess. Since July I banged the drums to attract our clients, customers and friends to come to Duesseldorf, at last the first show since an enforced 2-year Corona-pause. And times, they are crazy indeed!
Right now – and inquiries still pour into my inbox on an hourly bases – I am looking forward to 118 appoinments for the show. This is incredible! The Duesseldorf boat show has always been the biggest event for us, at least here in Europe, but in all my seven years now with the boating industry I cannot recall having as many appointments as I do have now in my Outlook calendar. 118 people coming to visit me, seeking my expertise and counseling, that´s almost 14 appointments per day!
With only 8 hours opening time per day, I have roughly thirty minutes for each one coming. Crazy! We have a similar picture for our other brands, power boats and catamarans enjoy an equally high demand. Of course, not every appointment is a future owner and not every future owner will decide to sign the contract for his new boat with our company, but nonetheless, if this high demand signals anything, I guess, it is an unbroken interest and longing of the people for the “freedom on the seas”. Anyways, Boot Duesseldorf has always been something very special.
I remember my very first boat show at the Rhine very well. Back then we used to be the Northern Europe branch of the Dufour yard itself. Not an ordinary dealer, but the yard. We´ve had the new flagship, Dufour 63, coming up for world premiere. Due to reasons I still don´t understand fully today, my concept for the launching ceremony got rejected, crazy enough. But the yard had no alternative concept at hand. So we improvised a day before the show something: And bought all the big bed linen at hand in Duesseldorf to at least have concealed the boat before the premiere. Crazy!
Ups and downs
It will be very, very stressful, I know it. Apart from eight hours of constant talking, running around, on and off the boats and ringing phones the weather will be a thing. We leave our hotels in the morning darkness, return to our rooms after the sun is down again. No real daylight for more than one week. And what is this constant begging for free tickets?
Of course we provide our owners with boat show passes to welcome clients and friends of our company on the stand. But what goes on in the heads of complete strangers, sending us emails asking for free tickets? I mean, you seriously want to buy a boat worth several hundreds of thousands of Euros but you cannot afford 19 Euros for a show ticket? I would never in my life as for VIP-treatment, let alone ask to people I do not know. I´ve stopped handing out free tickets for our company years ago. With some 10 boat shows in all over Europe over one year, the budget for free tickets is considerable indeed. Those aren´t “free” – we pay for them. Running an analysis in our CRM, more than 50 per cent of free ticket recipients didn´t even show up at our booth. Let alone, none of them bought a boat in the end. This budget, honestly, is better invested in more personnel at the stand.
Anyway. Spending my last few hours on Gran Canaria now, enjoying the hot sun, a wonderful 25 degrees Celsius air temperature, I look forward to the show, to my own brand, to my guests and friends from the business and of course to all those great boats I am sure going to see as a visitor myself. Let´s start – let´s meet in Duesseldorf!
Copyright (c) Picture Dufour premiere by Boats.com/Loibner
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