BY APB Staff on 14 Apr 2020

Brokerages and builders using online technology to host personalised video tours

Brokers Launch Virtual Boat Shows

Yacht brokers and builders are innovating by holding online boat shows and hosting virtual inspections for prospective buyers.

In recent years, brands have been showcasing new models online with walk-through videos or self-guided photographic tours. However, ongoing restrictions under Covid-19 are pushing brokers to offer buyers a more personalised virtual experience, in the hope of enticing sales from those who can no longer inspect boats in person. 

Riviera dealer representatives in Australia, Japan and the US collectively launched an online boat show, featuring a range of new Riviera and Belize motor yachts that will be available soon. Dealers are offering inspections through a variety of options including a personal virtual tour on FaceTime or Skype, or a video with personalised commentary sent by email. 

“At Riviera, we are seeing a real desire for family and friends wanting to get back on the water as soon as they can,” says Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst.

“Over the past few weeks, we have received calls from Europe, the Americas and Australasia from owners who currently have new boats in build with us,” he continues. “The consistent theme from these calls has been ‘please do all you can to deliver our new boat to us as soon as possible.’”

Brokers Launch Virtual Boat Shows 2Riviera 64 Sports Motor Yacht

Riviera, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, is gearing up for the world premiere of the Riviera 64 Sports Motor Yacht in June and will offer a series of exclusive inspections for prospective owners of the 64 SMY throughout June and July.

Taiwan-based Hylas Yachts organised a series of guided tours aboard the new Hylas H60 sailing yacht in late-March. The H60, which was well received at its debut during the 2020 Miami Boat Show in February, is a semi-custom performance cruiser designed by Germán Frers and Hot Lab. 

Brokers Launch Virtual Boat Shows And Inspections 1Hylas H60 at sea (Photo: Billy Black)

During the series of online tours that ran from March 23-26, Hylas sales executive Kevin Wensley and Hot Lab interior designer Antonio Romano guided prospective buyers and journalists around the boat on a live Skype video call, answering queries in real-time. The company has also prepared a full, 360-degree tour of the H60, available to anyone who wishes to explore it in more detail.

Brokers Launch Virtual Boat Shows
The ‘marina’ at the Ancasta Virtual Boat Show 2020

Meanwhile, Ancasta Boat Sales, Europe’s largest brokerage network, has just opened the ‘doors’ to the Ancasta Virtual Boat Show, which runs for 10 days until April 24. The virtual marina has 54 powerboats and yachts from Beneteau Group brands, including Prestige, CNB and Lagoon. Visitors can hover over a moored boat to view details, videos and ‘get on board’ with a 360-degree tour. Staff will be answering questions and giving quotes via live chat for the duration of the show. 

Virtual shows might not wholly eclipse the real thing in our post-Covid world, but as Ancasta points out, there are some distinct advantages for those buyers who eschew crowds at the best of times. “Unlike normal boat shows, there are no queues, no need to remove shoes, or even leave the comfort of the sofa,” the brokerage says.