The aim for 2014, says Floating Life’s CEO Barbara Tambani in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.com, is to “increase the size of our fleet and number of direct clients.”
Although Floating Life’s Charter&Brokerage and management divisions operate as separate companies, Tambani heads both. And although it’s been a difficult time for the industry as a whole, she feels 2014 could signal a nascent market recovery. “The last two boat shows we’ve attended have given us the impression that things are starting to recover pretty well”, she explains. “The numbers of five or six years ago will never come back but there is a lot of activity and we have already closed [charter] contracts between December and January, which is quite strange.” ‘Strange, Tambani says, because up to now charters were not being considered until the last minute, which had serious ramifications for pricing. But it seems “clients are now going back to an organisational [methodology], which is a consequence of the positive work being done by the charter sector.”
Tambani links the improvements she is seeing in the charter market to growing confidence in the broader economic sense. The greater liquidity currently being seen is facilitating the forward planning that is so crucial to a buoyant charter market. And in order to capitalise on this renewed interest, she feels, distinguishing oneself through exemplary service will be key this year.
Interestingly Tambani explains how alarmed and frustrated she is by the lack of knowledge that charter brokers exhibit, an inadequacy that she feels is very damaging for the industry as a whole. “When a client has a question brokers should always be equipped with a reply.” However, she says she has lost count of the number of times charter brokers have contacted her company with questions about fiscal regulations for certain jurisdictions. “Come on, this is their job!” “How can they become a charter broker without knowing the basic fiscal elements of their business?” For Tambani, expertise and professionalism comes with study, and this is something painfully lacking in brokerage at the moment. Instead brokers are becoming managers with farcical speed, and she thinks this is one of the industry’s major shortcomings.
Having the expertise to deliver an appropriate level of charter quality “takes time”. “You need to invest in the business and the people”.
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