by Jeni Bone
Thanks to a burst of warm spring weather and consumer optimism, Aussie Boat Sales is enjoying a spike in enquiry and 'better than expected' sales.
Anchorage Marina boasts strong enquiry and near full occupancy.
Owner, Scott O’Hare is 'quietly confident' of a good summer. 'It’s better than I would have thought so far,' he says cautiously, referring to the arrival, finally of pleasant spring weather and Victorians’ innate love of boating following a long winter of hibernation and football.
'Brokerage boats are doing well, those under $100,000 and we’re seeing good sales of the trailerable fishing fiberglass boats under $50,000.'
In addition, O’Hare reports 'surprisingly good business in Maritimos'. 'We’ve just sold two Maritimos – a 60 Cabriolet and 500 Offshore – with two more orders on the way.'
O’Hare attributes this positive start to the season to 'continual hard work'.
'Word of mouth is very strong. We have a great social network and really follow up with people on the phone. There is genuine interest out there. It’s all about long term deals.'
Aussie Boat Sales also maintains dialogue with customers and potential clients via its own newsletter and, says O’Hare: 'the most important thing is that extra bit of service'.
'Price needn’t be the fulcrum,' in closing a deal, according to O’Hare, adding that imported boats will have to go up in price, owing to the deflated Aussie dollar. 'Rather than negotiating on price, we offer attentive service and other incentives which make people come back to us. If they’re shopping around, we want them to remember us for being friendly, professional and responsive.'
Another initiative that has seemed to work, maintaining the company’s brand in the market – possibly with a new segment in the community – is its sponsorship of the Western Bulldogs throughout 2008.
'It was something different. We also ran a give away with a 5 1/2 m runabout and Honda which got us good coverage.'
Scott O'Hare, experiencing "better than expected" times.
O’Hare is looking forward to an additional kickalong in February with the Melbourne Summer Boat Show. 'People might get through Christmas and find in the New Year that the world didn’t end, and possibly that the economy has turned a little and that relief might inspire them to buy.'
Aussie Boat Sales will be showing Maritimo and Bavaria and perhaps Chaparral, from the US. 'It’s a great show, on water and gets the crowds. We will have five Maritimos and possibly a 6th, the new model. We’re also taking the Bavaria and Buizen for the first time.'
O’Hare also owns the Anchorage Marina, which currently has near 100% occupancy. 'The berths are almost all taken,' he says. 'The 8m are all full, in 10m we have one left and there’s a handful of 12m and 15m. I’d say we’re around 93%.'
Key to its high occupancy is great offers, including free visitor berthings and overnight rates for as low as $30. An award-winning restaurant, which the O’Hare clan has owned for some 25 years, onsite also helps attract people to the location.
'Everybody’s welcome – that’s our motto. We want to be known as the friendliest marina in Victoria.'
More at www.aussieboatsales.com.au