Sunday, February 25

Lauderdale Show: Fewer People, but Lots of Buyers

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If you’re into boats, you’ve got to love John Staluppi, the Long Island entrepreneur who owns the third largest group of car dealerships in the U.S. Here’s what he has to say about going to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last week.

“I always go to a boat show with intent to buy boats, and I bought two boats at the show. I bought a 32-meter Ocean Alexander and a small outboard Ocean Alexander, 45 feet.” He knew that the show had safety restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with requirements for face masks, social distancing, and one-way passageways. “But I felt better once I arrived and saw everything,” Staluppi said. “I felt really good about it.”

The Lauderdale show, the largest in-water show in the world, attracted fewer people than usual during its five-day run, and there were only half as many exhibitors as last year. But many of them reported that the people who did show up were serious buyers – who actually did buy boats.

Informa, the company that runs the show, sent out a press release with Staluppi’s comments and more from several exhibitors:

“FLIBS delivered a steady traffic of qualified buyers,” said McKenzie Johnstone of MJM Yachts. “This was a strong show in challenging circumstances. We sold several boats during the show and will close several more in the weeks following.”

Federico Ferrante, president of Azimut-Benetti Americas, said that attendance was down but “our numbers are all incredibly positive.” He said Azimut-Benetti ended up with 16 contracts, “which is only slightly less” than the average FLIBS.

James Noble, the VP of Princess Yachts Americas, recognized that “the tone of the show was undoubtedly different,” but the show ended up “above and beyond our expectations.” He said Princess had seven yachts under contract and many more serous leads to follow.

Tom Derrico, the sales director of HYM Yachts, said it was “one of the best shows for HYM in a long time.” He said that the crowd was “moderate,” but “most people are yacht owners or buyers. We have contracted more yachts than expected.”

Pat Healey, president of Viking Yachts, said that in the first three days Viking “sold more than a dozen boats,” including two Viking 92s, a Viking 68, two Viking 54s and several Valhalla 46s. “Our new product has done extremely well,” he said.

The Fort Lauderdale hotel and restaurant industry certainly benefited from the show. James Tate, CEO of Tate Capital, which owns the Bahia Mar Resort Hotel and Marina, said that the week before the show the hotel’s occupancy rate was 31 percent. On the first day of the show, he said, it was 80 percent, then 90 percent for the next two days, and finally 80 percent again.

And Tim Petrillo, CEO of The Restaurant People, which owns 12 restaurants in the area, said simply, “it was by far our best week since we were allowed to reopen due to the pandemic.” Read more:




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