Why taking brokerage in-house made us re-evaluate the marina/broker relationship.
I guess that a good number of marina operators reading this will have an on-site Yacht Broker as a tenant. If this applies to you, how do you see the role of your broker within the marina? Is it always positive? Or do you, on a glass half-empty day, bemoan the fact that the broker is selling all your good boats out the marina, reducing your occupancy whilst paying you a paltry rent, and pocketing a hefty commission. To top it all maybe he promises a purchaser that the boatyard can de-rig his boat and load to transport at the drop of a hat, when you are booked solid and a refusal only makes the yard manager look uncooperative. I must admit, similar thoughts had occasionally crossed my mind, but back in 2010 the departure of our tenant broker and boat sales office forced us to re-evaluate the marina – broker relationship.
The north-east coast of England is admittedly not the strongest market for boat sales, and post credit crunch the prospects for finding a new tenant broker was not good. Despite our occasional misgivings about brokers (and at the time a leakage of boats being sold to Europe) we did of course recognise that on the flip side brokerage also acts to introduce new customers into the marina, so we were reluctant to see the loss of this service on our site. In the absence of a replacement, the only solution then was to bring the brokerage operation in house and to do it for ourselves. We were fortunate to have a suitable member of staff willing to take on the role, under supervision from the marina manager, and we joined Network Yacht Brokers as a licensee. The advantage of joining Network Yacht Brokers was access to the joint listings across 12 offices which gave us a full shop window on day one, along with the advantages of a recognised brand and shared costs of advertising and a web platform. Since joining, Network Yacht Brokers has now grown to 20 offices.
Now after seven years of operating our own brokerage our glass is no longer half full. Not only are we directly benefitting from the additional revenue the brokerage earns, but we have more control and as the broker is part of the marina team we can offer a more joined up service to the customer. Rather than moaning when boat is sold away, we have come to accept if an owner wants to sell a boat then he will, but at least the marina is benefitting from the sale, and we have also come to see for ourselves how a successful brokerage generates additional activity and revenue within the marina from boatyard services and berthing which would not otherwise occur if a brokerage was not on site. This later point applies whether your broker is a tenant or whether like us you do it yourself, so whatever arrangement you have, the message is ‘love your broker’.
Matthew Simms CMM – Marina Manager – Royal Quays Marina
Royal Quays Marina (part of the Quay Marinas Ltd group) is situated at North Shields, close to the mouth of the River Tyne on the north-east coast of England, and just six miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne. We are proud members of TransEurope Marinas, and the only coastal 5 Gold Anchor marina in the North of England. We have just received the NMU Marina of The Year 2018 Award – Runner Up (Coastal Marina over 250 berths), having won the same award for 2015. Following the construction of a new facility building and café bar restaurant in 2017, we now proclaim to have the ‘best loos and showers’ on the coast!