5 Reasons Why Yachting Will Thrive in the New COVID Economy
Yachting appears to be well-positioned to benefit in the COVID-19 era as house-bound consumers seek the close-to-home experience yachting provides.
1. SOCIAL DISTANCING AT ITS BEST
Activities that allow families to safely enjoy the outdoors while social distancing are well-positioned to thrive in the days to come. Boats are the ultimate self-contained units. Yachting allows people to sleep in their own bed, cook gourmet meals, and control where they go. Cruising yachts are designed to be completely self-contained with generators, solar panels, and laundry facilities, allowing cruisers to live off-the-grid for weeks at a time.
Nothing cures cabin fever, for kids and adults alike, like a week on the water.
2. LOW FUEL PRICES ARE HERE TO STAY
Business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders worldwide have sent gas prices as low as they’ve been in decades. Because of uncertainties around COVID-19 and a sudden increase in crude oil supply, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting the average price per gallon could be as low as $1.58 during this summer. Analysts say crude prices hit a low not seen since 2002 in May as demand has dropped to levels not seen in over half a century, and that imbalance means prices at the pump should continue to decline — great news for boaters and a huge boost for the boating industry in general.
3. ATTRACTIVE MARINE FINANCING
With all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and the world’s financial markets, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in the U.S. which creates an incredible opportunity for people considering loans for a new or used boat. Just how affordable at today’s boat loans? BoatUS quotes these rates for May 11, 2020:
LOAN AMOUNT RATE TERM
$75,000 – $500,000 4.74% Up to 20 Years
$500,000 + 4.99% Up to 20 Years
4. VIRTUAL BOAT TOURS BRING SHOPPING INTO THE LIVING ROOM.
According to a recent article in marine industry publication Trade Only Today, “Coronavirus is forcing American families to shelter-in-place for the foreseeable future, so some savvy dealers and show organizers are finding alternatives to traditional boat shows since gatherings have been all but banned.” COVID-19 has opened the door to a new way of marketing boats, the virtual boat show. The concept has been embraced by nearly every large yacht brokerage firm in the country and the results have been encouraging. At the appointed time and date, Virtual Boat Show visitors are able to step inside a variety of yachts for sale with video walkthroughs and exclusive captain interviews. The Virtual Boat Show is here to stay, an educational and rapidly evolving marketing tool for the entire yachting industry.
HMY Yachts has taken advantage of this digital opportunity by launching GO LIVE with HMY. This provides customers on-demand access with an HMY yachting expert from the convenience of a smartphone. Connecting live and in-person is the perfect way to stay safe while also having the opportunity to see the boat you want.
The first of it's kind, the Palm Beach Virtual Boat Show launched on May 14th after the traditional show was cancelled back in March. Visit HMY's "virtual booth" to experience a variety of video walkthroughs, virtual tours and digital presentations.
5. CRUISING BECOMES THE BEST FAMILY VACATION.
The era of peak travel is over — Covid-19 has changed the world’s jet-setting ways and it will take years to return to normal. With long-distance destinations on hold for families seeking to avoid large crowds or going through airports, chartering is a great option for those who wish to keep their travel plans. A charter offers limited contact with other people compared with conventional means of transportation, and charter yachts are always maintained to exceptionally high standards of cleanliness and health. HMY offers a full range of charter vacations aboard a professionally crewed luxury yachts from 60’ sportfish yachts to super yachts over 200' in length.
The popularity of boating is about to surge as travelers gravitate to family-focused activities with less risk of unwanted social interaction. The ocean is the ultimate coronavirus escape.
A FINAL WORD
Resiliency has always been a hallmark of the boating industry. Over the past 40 years, the industry has been marked by a series of peaks and valleys with the trendline always pointing up. Whether it was the credit crunch of the late 1970s, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, or the 2007–08 Great Recession, boat sales have risen steadily over the years to reach a total of 280,000 units in 2019. The COVID crisis caused the entire world to hit the pause button for a brief period, but when the dust finally settles the boating industry — much like America — will emerge stronger than ever.