Taiwanese yacht manufacturer Johnson Yachts celebrated its 30-year anniversary as a luxury yacht builder last year, and while 2020 has not panned out the way anyone expected, the shipyard does not intend for its 31st year to be delayed by coronavirus.
With a new Johnson 80 ready to be shipped to the United States, two hulls currently under construction, the Johnson 70 and Johnson 115, the Taiwanese shipyard is confidently awaiting the evolution of the world health situation.
Taiwan has had around 441 cases of which only seven deaths (the island counts 23 million inhabitants). The secret of Taiwan’s success lies in the painful memories of the 2002 outbreak of the SARS; also caused by a type of coronavirus, the disease was a direct predecessor of COVID-19. Taiwan has been able to draw from its experience developing a quicker and more effective response by the government.
“Currently we are trying to maintain our production line, as Taiwan was not influenced so much by coronavirus. However our main market is the United States, one of the most affected areas, and that’s why we are facing some troubles in delivery and marketing planning due to cancelled events and other international business and operational restrictions that has been in place during this Pandemics” began Leah Huang, Marketing Director, Johnson Yachts.
“Anyway, we are taking advantage of the current situation by investing in new improvements, technologies and employee training." The latter has proven a prudent investment for many shipyards, in order to ensure the abilities and facilities are in place as capacity returns to normal.
“In terms of marketing and sales, we keep in touch with our dealers and clients, in order to understand their local situation and satisfy their needs,” Huang added, understanding that the impacts of this virus vary from business to business, but that communication is imperative for clients to feel well looked after. That's why Johnson has started developed virtual tours, especially for new products like their flagship, the Johnson 115.
“Virtual tours and webinars are a good way to promote yachts; they are able to catch the attention and generate interest around the product. In addition, due to the current situation, virtual tours look like the only way to show your brand, the work behind each model and to remind people how excellent products are. Yachts are luxury goods and quality workmanship products and nothing will be able to substitute a visit onboard, however after pandemic, we still can use this instrument to attract clients or just to tempt them to make a reservation for a step aboard. I would say virtual yacht tours are an online media method to help offline sales” stated Huang.
Regarding the ways in which Johnson Yachts has adapted its operation to the onset of new regulations as a result of COVID-19, Huang explained 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,” he says. With these adjustments made, the shipyard is working as normal.
At present 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 commented.
Images: Supplied by Johnson Yachts