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06/22/2017

From The President

JP SKOV – Northstar Yacht Sales

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The YBAA executive committee and board of directors has been very busy for this first half of 2017. Our typical year starts at our annual meeting in February, where we transition to our new officers and board members, set our goals and assign specific tasks to our committees to be sure we are all working to accomplish our goals. 

The board’s first task was a total review of our long-standing association management agreement with Thompson Management Associates, based in Annapolis, MD. As many of you know YBAA is a volunteer organization run by brokers like yourself who are also running their own businesses, so we really require the support of a professional management team to keep our organization running smoothly. I'm happy to report that the board remains completely satisfied with the performance of TMA and has retained their services for the next two years. Thompson Management Associates has been doing a fantastic job with YBAA for the last twenty years.  

Next up, and probably the most widely-discussed topic we have had to deal with this year, is the merger of YachtWorld and Yacht Closer.  At our annual meeting we had a brief conference call with Brad Parker of Yacht Closer regarding the recent acquisition of his company by YachtWorld. Based on this call, the board decided to prepare a list of concerns about the merger, as expressed by our membership, to be addressed by Brad and an appropriate panel of people from YachtWorld in a follow up call.  

In March, a team from YachtWorld and YachtCloser were kind enough to answer all our questions about the new management structure and addressed a series of member questions, including: ‘Do you understand how unhappy the broker community is with the platform?; ‘Are you committed to the non-FSBO policy on your other website?; ‘Will you be willing to revise the terms of use and privacy policies, so we don’t feel we are selling our owners’ information?.’  

The most productive result of our conference call was having YachtWorld agree to have two members from YBAA serve on their their advisory board. This will give us a much-needed voice when the YachtWorld team is making decisions that impact our industry.

Another active member concern addressed by the board relates to the need for brokers to have alternatives for the digital marketing of their boats. YachtWorld is, by far, the leader in internet marketing and is vital to the success of many yacht brokerages. However, many members voiced concerns about the recent rate increases announced shortly after the merger of YachtWorld and YachtCloser, which served as a reminder of just how big a player YachtWorld is, and highlighting the desire for having some type of alternative to the YachtWorld MLS. 

After several meetings and a lot of hard work by the board, YATCO (www.yatco.com) has come aboard as YBAA’s newest Affiliate member. As such, they are providing members with a generous offer to “test drive” their MLS. In case you missed the recent email announcement, you can read all about it here.

The YBAA executive committee and board are working hard to serve the needs of our brokerage community. We currently have five different committees addressing a variety of topics that impact our industry and our businesses. Please feel free to reach out to me (jp@northstaryachtsales.com) or any of your board members with any questions or concerns.

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