For boating enthusiasts, the smartest answer to coronavirus-inspired home quarantines could well be the current four-day “Endless Staycation” by MarineMax, the world’s largest boat dealer. It sells superyacht brands like Benetti, Azimut, and Ocean Alexander, not to mention dozens of other motoryacht and sailing yacht lines.
The virtual event on the company’s Facebook page includes walkthrough presentations on multiple boats as well as webinars by experts. MarineMax, with nearly 60 locations around the US, is also offering private tours at individual stores as well as virtual appointments with sales personnel for buyers.
“We’ve been doing these virtual events for several years,” Chuck Cashman, MarineMax’s chief revenue officer, told Robb Report. “We’ve developed them to the point where our viewers are getting a more refined experience. It allows us to take potential owners through new models and show them features in much greater detail. We’ve actually done some sea trials with video running.”
This virtual Endless Staycation makes even more sense, says Cashman, at a time when “the world doesn’t want to travel.” Cashman said MarineMax already had a virtual event planned for this time, but the Coronavirus impact helped shape the Endless Staycation.
Virtual sales continue to attract more buyers. The company recently sold an 84-ft. motoryacht to an owner who was watching a sea trial from his home in Hawaii, with his marine surveyor on board, overseeing the test. The owner was able to ask questions and see everything during the test.
“That makes more sense if an owner doesn’t want to travel,” says Cashman. “We can sea-trial it through Facetime and communicate in real time with the potential owner. The large yachts really lend themselves to this method.”
During the Endless Staycation, there will also be finance managers available for discussion. The schedule also includes webinars led by experts. The schedule through Sunday includes walk-through tours of different vessels, ranging from the Boston Whaler 250 Outrage to the 89-ft. Azimut 27 Metri superyacht.
Abbey Heimensen, MarineMax’s director of marketing, says the online experience offers more alternatives to shopping, regardless of the coronavirus impact. “The very first online event [two years ago] was a learning experience,” says Heimensen. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know, so we approached the project from a different perspective. After listening to our customers’ feedback and remarks from our team, we knew the idea was concrete, but we had room for improvement.”
This event, Heimensen says, shows well how the virtual model has evolved. “With customers at the top of our priority list, we hope everyone enjoys an endless staycation aboard their personal vessel this season,” she said.