Future of Boating: Attracting New Members

Published on November 26th, 2018

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) published a 43 minute video presentation by keynote speaker Liz Rushall on the topic of attracting new members. Liz is a leading marketeer in the marine sector, but commenting on the video, Freddy Rassinger is worried how the focus on growing participation is looking at the wrong age range. Read on…

Marketing is about studying and responding to the market as it is and not how you would prefer it to be. The obvious trend is that older people are the growth sector of this market and yet we are ignored by public sector bodies.

I am 66 years old and took up sailing two months ago, liked it so much that I’ve now bought my own boat and joined a club. I am not rich but I do prioritize my health. This took a lot of individual drive on my part as there was no encouragement, help, or contact from anyone (YouTube excepted). I took it up despite the RYA, sport England and local clubs, rather than because of them.

Gen Xers and Zers are no different to anybody else. They may have different toys but they have as much money as we had when we were the same age, probably more if they can afford to spend £500 a year on a phone and data. She focuses entirely on the dying end of the market, and by wanting to charge the growth sector of the market more money to subsidize the younger dying end, she would drive us away.

We are not lepers. We are where growth will come from. I bet there are a 100,000 people like me who would become new loyal members if the marketers dropped their rigid biases against us. My advice is to deal with the world as it is and not how you feel it should be. Maybe the young don’t want to get wet, cold, frightened and exhilarated but they will get older too.


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