Trends in the Yachting Industry


The internet has changed forever the way we retrieve information. We think nothing of shopping online or jumping on Wikipedia for a quick answer on just about any topic. Our world has become a society of information and instant gratification. It seems only logical that this should lead to an easier lifestyle with more leisure time; however, just the opposite has happened. In the early 80’s 

John Naisbitt wrote a book called Megatrends outlining “Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives”. In 1982 Naisbitt’s predictions seemed somewhat George Orwell-ish.

  1. We would transition from an industrial society into a new information society. 
  2. The US will evolve from a predominantly national economy to one in the global marketplace
  3. Corporations replace hierarchies with networking.
  4. And, as individuals, we will go from seeing things as "either/or" to having more choices. 

This trend was mentioned in the first article in this series. Long Tail Economics is the result of this trend.

John Naisbitt’s predictions became fact. Megatrends was an important book that clearly identified fundamental trends that will continue to be important for decades to come. 

All of these trends have impacted the Yacht industry, but the most important trend became known as the "high tech/high touch" paradox. We all know what high tech is--these are the technologies that "make us available 24 hours a day, like a convenience store," Naisbitt writes. High touch, on the other hand, is the stuff we give up when we're tuned in to the technological world.

A Yacht Broker offers their time, knowledge and information in hopes of developing a relationship with the buyer. Today’s buyer spends their time on the internet gathering information and developing their knowledge base. By the time the buyer contacts a broker, he or she has probably called or emailed any number of other brokers and developing a relationship with the buyer is rapidly becoming the missing piece of the equation. This also presents new and unintended consequences for the buyer. Buyers have created their own monster in this equation. They have gone from having their trusted broker who’s become one of their ‘people’, to residing on the database of every broker from Montana to Monaco. Suddenly their email and voice mail is flooded with updates and data from all of the brokers. Now they’re on information overload and they’re not sure who to trust. Information overload will often become so overwhelming that it becomes self defeating. This is when the boat buyer decides they’d better take a few steps back and maybe they’ll go to the next boat show. 

Having been a Director and Broker at a large firm for nearly twenty years I was becoming very concerned with the trends of this industry and realized that the business models for brokerage firms need to change. Buyers were wandering around boat shows looking at boats and not paying any attention to which firm was representing the boat or who the listing Broker was. The same seemed true of Buyers trends when looking through magazines. Brokers often had five, six or more listings at a boat show. There is no way that a Broker can manage those listings and meet every prospect so that the listing is well represented which is what the owner expects and why that broker has the listing. Buyers were moving on to other boats having only met the stewardess or deckhand.

I founded Cambridge Yacht Group in order to better service our clients and listings. Being a boutique brokerage the model is to better manage a select group of listings and clients. We are not the biggest and we don’t have the most listings. Our model is to obtain better listings and manage them better than anyone else as well as provide better information and service to our select clients.

 Steve Doyle, President