We interviewed our sales director Jirka and Veronika from customer care to tell us everything about what happened at Biograd Boat Show 2021.
Who were the exhibitors at the Biograd Boat Show?
Veronika: Our favourite charter companies, but also brands of yachting apparel, motors, etc.
Jirka: Everyone who’s anyone in yachting. :-) It is the largest annual Croatian event, attended by manufacturers of boats and accessories, yacht dealers and sellers, charter companies, representatives of booking systems, people from marinas, etc.
Who is a typical visitor?
Veronika: Yachting and boat enthusiasts who come to see the latest innovations or buy their own boat, but also people from agencies, charter companies and various companies within the industry.
Were new boats also on display there?
Veronika: Unfortunately, we weren’t there long enough to meet with the charter companies and get to see the new boats. We basically spent the whole time with charter company representatives at their stands.
Jirka: The boat show is divided into several events – Boat Charter Agency Association Congress, Croatia Charter Expo and the Boat Show itself. We only attended the Expo, where we met our partners, unfortunately leaving no time to take a tour of the new boats.
What expectations did you go to the boat show with?
Veronika: The boat show met all our expectations, we strengthened our relationships with partners, got feedback from them and it helped us confirm even more so which companies we want to work with and which don’t really have the approach to boats and clients that we would like or need..
Jirka: To meet the people we are in almost daily online communication with, recap this season and arrange cooperation for next year. To talk about the latest news and try to negotiate better terms for Yachting.com.
Why do you think it is important to attend trade shows in person?
Veronika: Yachting has always been about community and personal relationships that just can’t be created via email.
What surprised you there?
Veronika: How many people showed up despite Covid and how beautiful it was there.
What charter companies did you prefer?
Jirka: The ones with 20 to 50 boats. With this number in the fleet, the boats can be kept in very good shape, you get a personal guarantee from the manager and at the same time it provides a sufficient range to our customers. In short, quality over quantity. The charter companies with more boats are not flexible in their dealings and we didn’t want to waste so much time with the smaller ones.
What were you able to negotiate?
Jirka: It’s a surprise. :-) But basically it's about discounts, better payment terms, various special packages, e.g. for families with children, for repeat customers, extras, etc.
But we can reveal something :-)
What are the new deals?
What are the charter market trends for the 2022 season?
Jirka: There are several trends. Clients want new or well-serviced boats, so there is a lot of pressure on mechanics at the moment (over the winter). After such a busy season, when everything that could float did, there is a shortage of quality mechanics and charter companies are having to fight for them. There is also a growing demand for motorboats and more expensive catamarans. New marinas are being built, such as Drage, where they are not installing moorings but dock fingers. The proportion of privately owned boats in marinas is falling and being replaced by charter boats.
How are the charter companies coping with the current Covid crisis? In what ways has their behaviour changed?
Veronika: There was a lot of praise for last season, interest was great (greater than the supply of boats), everyone has learnt to cope with Covid in relative peace and despite the restrictions it is possible to continue as before.
As a result of the pandemic, did old charter companies disappear or new ones spring up?
Jirka: We haven't noticed any major changes. We have noticed a few going out of business but this was also happening before Covid
So, how did you enjoy it overall?
Veronika: I think we all came back excited. We can't wait for another opportunity to go out on a boat.
Jirka: We combined business with pleasure, met a lot of nice people at the fair and beyond, sampled the local cuisine, wine and beer and finally sailed out to sea. The whole business trip turned out to be excellent team building. What more could you want. :-)
What's the weather like in Croatia now?
Veronika: We had a beautiful breeze and a lot less rain than we expected (almost none at all!).