Taiwanese yacht manufacturer, Johnson Yachts, has announced that it has two new yachts under construction, including one 30m-plus superyacht, ‘Johnson 115’. Alongside the new Johnson 80 ready to be shipped to the United States, and the two hulls currently under construction (Johnson 70 and Johnson 115) the shipyard is confidently awaiting the evolution of the world health situation, and continues to adapt accordingly.
According to the shipyard, Taiwan has had around 441 cases of coronavirus, of which only seven deaths, out of a population of 23 million. The secret of Taiwan’s success reportedly lies in the memories of the 2002 outbreak of SARS. Taiwan has been able to draw from its experience developing a quicker and more effective response by the government.
From an operational perspective, Johnson Yachts adapted well to the onset of new regulations as a result of COVID-19, and Leah Huang, Marketing Director at Johnson Yachts, explained to SuperyachtNews that the uniform and health awareness has understandably changed. “[This has been achieved by] checking employees’ temperature and ensuring everyone wears a face mask while working.” Huang did confirm that, with these adjustments made, the shipyard is working as normal.
However, from a sales and marketing perspective, Johnson Yachts has had to be more creative. Although Taiwan was not too heavily influenced by coronavirus, one of their main client bases has had a polar opposite experience.
“Our main market is the United States, one of the most affected areas. That’s why we are facing some difficulties in delivery and marketing planning due to cancelled events, as well as other international business and operational restrictions that have been put in place during this pandemic,” continued Huang.
Johnson Yachts have been proactive in taking advantage of the current situation by investing in new improvements, employee training, and technologies, and have started developing virtual tours, especially for new products like their flagship, the Johnson 115, due to ongoing travel restrictions.
“Virtual tours and webinars are a good way to promote yachts; they are able to catch attention and generate interest around the product,” says Huang, and it would seem that virtual tours are currently the only way to show a potential buyer the vessel and the work behind each model, particularly those in the US with whom they are keen to be connected to.
“Yachts are luxury goods and quality workmanship products, and nothing will be able to substitute a visit onboard, however, after the pandemic, we can still use this instrument to attract clients or just to tempt them to make a reservation to step aboard” states Huang, emphasising that virtual yacht tours can be seen as an online media method to help offline sales.
According to The Superyacht Agency, Johnson Yachts have thus far delivered three superyachts since 2010, with the shipyard focusing more heavily on the sub-30m market, which is perhaps indicative of the yards focus on the US market, where many boat owners opt for smaller vessels in order to use them more flexibly in the US, Bahamas and Caribbean. At present, however, Johnson Yachts does not have any issues in terms of the build schedule and anticipates a surge in demand within the superyacht industry once the situation worldwide has calmed. “I’m sure that when the COVID-19 situation begins to slow down, people will be more than motivated to go out boating after many months of isolation, therefore, the demand should increase,” Huang concluded.
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