Boat shows are still the best places to buy catamarans. But if you wait until the last day of the show, the deal may be gone.
Firstly, let's get a realistic picture of what a "Boat Show Discount" is. These discounts are most often a collaboration between dealer and manufacturer. So if you think you are going to get the same deal after a show, you're kidding yourself. The prices you see are typically for a boat, built at the factory with a standard set of specifications that are "most often ordered by buyers." They are the items you really must have to insure an enjoyable future as you cruise the seven seas - or your own backyard as the case may be.
These catamarans are then placed on display at the boat show, intended to be sold there. The manufacturer gives up something - usually in the way of options, and the dealer gives up something - usually a percentage of their profit. Please understand, margins in sailboats are not anywhere near the margins in powerboats. Traditionally, the margin decreases by type of boat with power having the largest margin and sailing catamarans the smallest. After all expenses, commission, overhead, show participation, etc a dealer very rarely has more than a couple of percent left over to apply to a discount without the help of the manufacturer.
When the show is over, the "free" options are no longer free as the manufacturer's offer comes off the table. Similarly, the dealer readjusts their thinking as they have already laid out a sizable expense to participate in the boat show including transport, and sometimes additional rigging expense, to and from the show location. There is a benefit to all for the catamaran to be sold and sailed away to its new home from the boat show.
So let's talk about what is available at the show. With over 90% of shopping, even in the luxury catamaran market, happening online, it is the boat show where people come to either weed out their choices or make the final decision. Think about that for a minute, that means that there is only ONE boat available, at the boat show, with the boat show discount advertised. Just one for the sometimes hundreds of people looking to buy that particular model within that particular year. So how do you get lucky enough to be the recipient of such a deal?
There's no luck involved, just timing. This goes back to the importance of aligning yourself with the right broker. When working with your broker, make your intentions known from the start. A good broker will be in tune with the market. They will know what is happening from a consumer perspective of course, but more importantly, in this case, from the manufacturer. For instance, The Catamaran Company received this yesterday from Lagoon America regarding the catamarans that will be in the Annapolis Boat Show and their availability:
2016 Annapolis boat show boats:
- L380n°800: SOLD
- L42n°32: SOLD
- L450 Sn°34: SOLD
- L52 Fly n°100: 4 cabins version_ 2017 model year
What this tells us is that THREE of the FOUR Boat Show Specials that could have been offered for this show are already off the table. All we have left is a Lagoon 52 Flybridge version. The email goes on to show other offers at other shows. What I am telling you is that if you are aligned with the right broker, you can actually buy a boat show boat BEFORE the show! That's the best way.
So how about those folks who wait until the boat show only to find out the show model is no longer available? Check back in tomorrow when we talk about ordering a new catamaran at the show.