Following a recent article discussing misogynistic marketing in the superyacht industry, which assumes that white, middle-aged males are the dominant force behind superyacht transactions, SuperyachtNews speaks to the owners of a 49m motoryacht about their views on the topic.
The couple, let’s call them Mr and Mrs X, reflect specifically on the purchase and refit of their 49m yacht, on which Mrs X led the interior design. Both acknowledge that some brokers, designers and yards still jump to the out-dated assumption that the man is taking charge of a superyacht purchase or project, and as such bias their respective pitches that way.
“I know nothing about design, so anyone working with us must be able to work with my wife 100 per cent and treat her, not only as an equal, but as someone who probably knows every bit as much as, or perhaps a little bit more than, they do,” Mr X explains.
“Whether it is a home, a yacht or anything else, the moment that an architect, designer or sales person feels that they can’t handle that then they probably can’t do business with us. I will look over the financial part but there is no way that I could make a suggestion on the design side of things, and if I did it would probably be a mistake to listen to me!"
Mrs X, who runs a successful design company, explains that the issue is not isolated to the yachting industry. “I have done so many projects over the years and there is always a time when that kind of attitude can be annoying, but I also think it can be used to your advantage – women have certain powers of persuasion that can be very useful during a refit project,” she laughs.
“However, I do think that the US is very much ahead of the curve compared to a lot of other countries in this respect. I find women in America are usually treated equally and the salesperson will address both people if they are making a pitch for a new build, whereas in Europe and other parts of the world they are likely to address the man first. We had a case in one country where the individual only wanted to speak to my husband, so we couldn’t do business with them.”
The above example is a costly mistake to make, and while such instances may be a rarity, it is important to remember the extent to which the superyacht industry can alienate female clients. As women make up an increasingly bigger share of the world's wealth, perhaps the industry should re-examine its traditional processes, from marketing through to sales, in order to better cater for a changing clientele.