Four Reasons You Should Book Your Charter at a Boat Show
For sailors, boat shows are a fantastical display of all things boat. Yachts and gear and gadgets abound. Parting with your hard-earned dollars at a boat show is tempting and oh-so easy. Is it better to plunk down the plastic at the show, or secure your dream charter over the internet?
When it comes to yacht charters, booking at a boat show has some advantages over the internet. That’s not to say you shouldn’t scout locations, fleets, and amenities online before you walk the show. An informed consumer comes armed with specific questions.
Choosing a reputable charter company is vital. Start with an online search to identify the more notable charter companies. Cross reference those with the exhibitor list on the website of the show you plan to attend. For a worldwide list of boat shows, go to National Marine Manufacturers Association. Your internet search and a boat show vendor list will get you started.
Exhibiting at boat shows is expensive. Charter companies committed to the industry invest in boat shows. Those struggling financial and likely to take shortcuts, are not often found at boat shows, which is good, because they are to be avoided. Now that you’ve identified the reputable players, you can see them all at once and compare.
While I am not recommending you squabble over pennies, seeing your options in front of you gives a strong basis for comparison. Charter companies are hungry for your business and are willing to work with you to make your trip affordable.
Buying from a person is far more appealing to me than even the most exhaustive internet search, especially when it comes to a significant purchase. Looking someone in the eye and gauging their authenticity carries more weight than emails and phone calls.
Charter sales representatives are not just order-takers. Most are passionate about sailing and get personal fulfillment from helping you have a memorable experience. This connection lasts beyond the boat show and may prove beneficial if you have a special request when you arrive for your charter, or if something is amiss.
As you stroll the 2.5 million square feet of the Miami Boat Show, for example, you might feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the marine industry. In reality, it’s a small world. Look closely at the vendors and you’ll discover they all seem to know each other.
Some of them are, or have been, competitive sailors. Many have exhaustive trans-ocean resumes. They’ve sailed the seas around the world, can recommend the lesser-known anchorages and have salty stories from the local hot spots. Your charter representative can help you identify the best boat for your needs and skill level.
You might have thought show specials would be at the top of the list of reasons to book at a show. Not all specials are created equally. Some are special; some are hype. You may find an offer only applies to certain dates or certain boats. By the time you make your selection, the special may not apply.
The worthy offers are those with discounts that apply across the board. A ten or 15 percent price reduction is worth your attention. You may save more if you extend your stay another week. Even if no discount is offered, it can’t hurt to ask for complimentary use of a stand-up paddle board or other recreational equipment you might otherwise have to rent.