FORT LAUDERDALE - FLORIDA. Riviera Yachts of the Americas rode out the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma to achieve strong sales at the delayed Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in early November.
This year's event, scheduled for the last week in October, was moved back one week to allow for hurricane relief and for the local residents, hotels and businesses to get electricity and running water working again.
While show attendance was down to 40 percent of expectations before the hurricane, it didn't affect Riviera's sales. With seven flybridge convertibles models on display - the 33, 37, 40, 42, 47 Series II, 51 and the new 60 - the number of visitors to the stand was much greater than expected.
New Riviera CEO Mike Scruggs said: "The hurricane obviously didn't deter the serious boaters. Our dealers were very impressed with the level of enquiry for boats throughout our range.
"Hurricane Wilma made everyone in the boating industry think seriously about how we could keep the show going. In the end, virtually the entire on-water display went ahead as planned, The Riviera display was a full complement of our boats and worked exactly as we had planned before the show."
The result was that Riviera achieved sales of 11 boats valued at more than US$9 million.
Riviera treated owners to a special reception during the event. More than 150 invited guests enjoyed an evening of fine music and hospitality as well as the opportunity to meet fellow Riviera owners.
Riviera Boat Show Manager Phil Shaw said: "It was all hands on deck during the last few days before the show. We put our display together, helped other participants in the show and had a real focus to demonstrate to our owners that not even a hurricane will dent our enthusiasm to put on events that they can enjoy. That's what Riviera is all about."