As Europe's telecommunications infrastructure becomes more advanced,
allowing easier and cheaper access to the Internet, US-based yacht
brokerages and marine industry Web sites that list boats for sale are
developing strategies to attract overseas boat buyers and brokers.
Trans-Atlantic boat sales are no longer an impossibility, and brokerages
are looking to take advantage of a booming megayacht market.
"There just aren't enough products on the market to meet the demand," says
Neil McCurdy, general manager of Yachtworld.com, a marine industry
search engine that has been in existence since 1995.
US-based Yachtworld.com and
to have the most extensive listing of boats for sale online. Unlike
boats sale by consumers, not
just by brokers.
Yachtworld.com, in the past four
years, has focused on the domestic
market. But it now is beginning to shift its attention overseas.
The site, which currently has 700 member brokers, expects to reach its
goal of 1,000 members in the next nine months, says McCurdy.
Once that's achieved, he says the company will begin to market the site in
Now, only 65 member brokers are from outside the United States - a figure
Yachtworld.com is looking to
increase, he says. And they're likely to face
little competition since Europe based marine industry search engines don't
exist, he adds.
has seen its dealer base double to 750 in
the past year. In August, the site listed more than 50,000 boats for sale
and reported 450,000 visitors with 800,000 boat searches conducted.
While the number of international brokerages using the site has been
rising steadily, some obstacles still remain.
Kelly Morgan, marketing director of
Trader Online, a unit of Trader Publishing Co. and the umbrella
says it's difficult to get brokers
to place a lot of inventory on multiple sites because it can be
time-consuming to manage the inventory.
The Internet is impacting trans-Atlantic boat sales
and changing the way yacht charter companies do
"That's why we're constantly looking for ways to make the site user-friendly." These international sales are
not restricted to megayachts. Midsize vessels also are selling globally.
According to McCurdy, one New Zealand yacht broker placed several
12.91-metre (m) sailboats online recently, hoping to attract buyers from
outside the country.
Companies focus on overseas market
In an effort to increase its presence, Yachtworld.com is considering
opening an office in Europe next year, says McCurdy. Yachtworld.com, which
has US$5.3bn worth of inventory online and receives 275,000 visitors per
month, also will be placing a currency converter on its site and
researching ways to eliminate language barriers.
Florida-based yacht brokerage Allied Marine already is addressing this
concern. It has revamped its site to include a portion in Spanish and is
planning to market its Web site on Spanish search engines.
While US leads outweigh European inquiries, McCurdy of Yachtworld.com
predicts this gap will be narrowing as
Internet access becomes more readily
Allied Marine's Internet Marketing
Manager Manager Tina Mulka also points out
that having "traffic partners," like
Yachtworld.com and BoatTraderOnline.com, increases a company's presence and, ultimately, its chances of
landing a sale.
Allied Marine, for instance, has found
that it's tripled its exposure to potential
buyers by using Yachtworld.com to list
Although 4,000 people visited Allied's
Web site in August, 12,000 viewed their
listing through Yachtworld.com.
UK-based Ancasta International Boat
Sales Ltd. has seen an increase in sales as
a result of advertising over the Internet.
According to Tim Quinlan, sales director, 60 percent of the inquiries are generated by the company's Web site. Ancasta does not list yachts on search engines, and Quinlan was only vaguely familiar with Yachtworld.com or
Internet increases charter bookings
The Internet is not only impacting
trans-Atlantic boat sales but is changing the way yacht charter
companies do business as well.
Manager Tina Mulka also points out the way yacht charter companies do
business as well.
Since the early 1990s, the chartering of units more than 9.14 metres long
has increased 28 percent per year into a US$500m industry, according to a
Forbes Magazine article.
New York-based Yachtstore.com
claims to be the largest virtual yachting brochure on the Internet. The
site allows individuals to view and book charter cruisers online.
According to the article, 90 percent of Yachtstore.com's
revenue was generated by the Web.
Visitors to the site are able to book a cruise without ever speaking with
a broker, and virtual tours allow potential clients to view a yacht's
"Yachting follows the money," says cofounder Carlos Echeverria. "And right
now that's in Silicon Valley. They prefer our way of doing business on the
For related information, please visit www.boating-industry.com
and use the following keywords in an article search: charter, Internet,
Boating Industry International
1-518-783-1281 ext. 3114
National Trade Publications Inc.
Reprinted with permission.