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Our view of Southampton Boat Show 2019

2019 marked the third year for ProMarine Finance Ltd to exhibit at the Southampton Boatshow, being the second time in Mayflower Park between Ocean Hall and the Marina. Having seen Marine Mortgage lending grow in certain sectors through the year, we found this year’s show had a very different feel and not representative of the past 12 months.

Did the heat keep the visitors away? – well we were told by some with tickets the weather was too good to go to the show!!! At least on the marina there appeared to be a cooling breeze most days – whereas our location was sweltering, causing us in the afternoons to end up squeezing into the back of the stand to get out of the sun!!!

Previously our location was chosen so to be close to other Marine Mortgage lenders, however 2019 saw us as the only finance exhibitor with a stand, meaning we received enquiries for larger boats that didn’t fit into our lending profile. We also didn’t have visitors who were looking to get started in boating, nor did we see many looking for a lower value boat, or a vessel of an older age – all being our typical customer.

So where were the typical smaller boat buyers? – Did the emphasis being driven by British Marine and their Futures Project of selling ‘boating experiences’, which is further emphasised by the show’s main sponsor ‘Borrow a Boat’, mean that our target audience chose not to come?

Our business is growing well, mostly due to the internet, so maybe customers in our market can research all they need from the internet….. We believe this is why other Marine Mortgage providers chose not attend and it could certainly influence our decision to be present in the future.

As always we enjoyed ourselves at the show meeting new, past and present clients, along with the regular boat dealers. The BRBA dinner was a great event at the Grand Café, superb food and generous drinks from Coleman Insurance – always makes for an entertaining journey home on a Brompton Bike!

Makes us wonder if the traditional boat show for attracting boat buyers and selling boats has run its course in the UK – London is no more, On the Water was cancelled and Southampton feels as though it is shrinking. There appear to be plenty of big names in the industry voicing support for the show and their sponsorship, but we are not too sure whether to believe it.