It was the year 2018 when, during a sparkling Dusseldorf boat show, I interviewed Andrea Cragnotti who, at the time, was already the Sales Director for Italy, Spain and Portugal for the Jeanneau and Prestige brands. About that interview I was very impressed by the following statement that, in my humble opinion, it is now imperative to quote.
“ I travel about 150 days a year to have direct contact with our network. We have invested in people, in the seriousness, the expertise of women and men who have direct contact with the market and from whom we therefore receive important input for strategic, commercial and product choices.”
Perhaps better than anything else, this statement succeeds in describing Andrea Cragnotti, both as a manager and as a man, and today it is as relevant as ever given that we are at FLIBS, Florida, and Andrea has just been appointed the new Sales Director Large Yachts of PRESTIGE. An important role, which will see him manage worldwide the marketing of the large yachts of this shipyard that, with the new PRESTIGE M8 and the X-Line, is literally revolutionizing the market.
Andrea, what does this new role consist of, for which our congratulations are mandatory, and what are the goals you have set for yourself?
” First of all, I would like to thank you for your congratulations and for these nice words. Let’s start with the fact that PRESTIGE has become in the last 10 years the leading player in the motor yacht sector between 42 and 59 feet by number of units built. We are the undisputed leader in this market because our sales exceed those of all our competitors. My appointment represents the yard’s desire to take this leadership to the 60- to 70-foot range as well, and probably one day even further… This requires someone who is fully committed to the product, the distribution network, and customer service.
My role will therefore have a comprehensive approach, going from product development to marketing, from communication to delivery of the boat to the customer, thus accompanying the growth of the brand there where the customer has even higher expectations. Another major responsibility will be distribution; dealers continue to play a key role, our partners are our ambassadors around the world, and after 16 years of working in the group, I am fortunate to know our entire sales network very well.”
Prestige, the genius of Camillo Garroni and innovation. An explosive mix of ingredients blended with a market that is demanding ever-larger boats. What is Andrea Cragnotti’s vision in this regard?
“Well, Camillo is a key element of our success, of the latter but also of the former, with his father Vittorio, saying that is a must. PRESTIGE’s link with the Garroni studio is a successful union that has been going on for 25 years, and Camillo is an extraordinary “son of art” who manages not only to live up to his father’s standards (which is not so obvious) but, in some ways, by venturing a bit more than his father, has managed to create and produce some extraordinary innovations such as for the X-Line or the very recent M8″.
Camillo has both the genius and a very high ability to adapt his architectural engineering product to an industrial boatyard. Something that is not for everyone, because it is very easy to have genius ideas but then you also have to make 200 boats a year with an industrial system. He, on the other hand, knows how we work and so he can do a very good job.”
PRESTIGE M8 is the American premiere of this event. More specifically, it’s also a catamaran. How is the marketing reacting to this new product line?
“There is a general enthusiasm around this boat, which, starting from the European boat shows, has already won several awards and is also a success in terms of numbers. It is a boat that has extraordinary features, both in terms of surface area and space, volume and also in terms of consumption, which is very low, so really an interesting product.
We strongly believe in the potential of motor-powered catamarans; people who have an experience, whether it’s a charter vacation or the purchase of such a boat, are unlikely to go back to the monohull afterwards.
There is also a growing focus on ecology and emissions so it is a product that is already having a lot of success now and will grow even more in the coming years.”
PRESTIGE, however, is also synonymous with high-end boats built with high quality standards. Who is your typical owner and how much do they identify with this brand?
“We strongly believe in owner loyalty. Many of our customers start perhaps with a smaller boat and then grow, thus creating an established relationship with us and our sales network.
PRESTIGE also invests a lot of resources in events dedicated to our owners; every year we organize appointments, both at the shipyard and at sea, to allow them to touch the new products and, above all, to be together.
Our typical boat owner is a person who looks for ergonomic solutions, who lives the sea and who therefore looks for a seaworthy boat. He is obviously looking for the comfort of a luxury motor yacht, however, he is also looking for a “timeless” item, with a design intended not to age over time and characterized by great elegance.”