Last summer, The Superyacht Owner ran a feature on the cross over between the superyacht industry and other luxury brands. Late in 2013, we caught up with Charlie Birkett, founding partner and CEO of Y.CO for a broker's perspective on this increasing collaboration.

Expanding our network is key
With the amount of UHNWI rising, and their free time getting more restrictive, clients are looking for a holiday that packs the ultimate punch. "[Y.CO's] primary aim is to have our clients step off their charter totally spellbound, as passionate about yachting as we are," says Birkett. "Based On A True Story is the perfect partner to achieve this ... Just like Y.CO, [they] operate along the extra mile. Good enough isn't enough. It's essential for us to work with partners who regularly go to the same lengths we go to, to ensure total perfection."

By opening the doors to working with other luxury brands, the superyacht industry not only benefits from raising its profile, but by delivering a truly once in a lifetime experience to guests. Indeed, Birkett believes that while the industry is growing in the right direction "there is always room for growth and improvement in any industry." "Working with other luxury brands certainly broadens the appeal of the yachting industry and offers a greater service to all of our clients," he says. This, however, does not mean that the traditional charter route no longer offers good value. Birkett insists that such a partnership may be brought in "for experienced charterers seeking a new experience, or those looking for an educational aspect for the kids" adding that "collaborating with top end travel specialists can add an extra dimension to the charter". Of course such links expand the client pool, extend beyond the usual audience and can reinvigorate the market.

Image credit: Jim Raycroft

Preparing for the next generation of clients
"As modern life continues to take its toll, time poor travelers value the privacy, exclusivity and flexibility of yachting more highly," says Birkett. "And as the luxury market continues to expand, our team continues to find ways to communicate our passion to new markets." For him, preparing for the next generation of charter clients and ultimately owners is what is fuelling these new partnerships. "As life becomes more and more connected, the next generation of luxury consumers demands that all of their lifestyle choices are interlinked," he concludes. "They will be looking to choose a holiday that reflects their lifestyle, hobbies, interests - their personality - and that opens them up to new experiences and opportunities."

With more brokers pairing their charter experiences with external brands, there is little doubt that this will have a knock on effect for the rest of the industry. By casting a wider net, attracting new charter clients, and educating the wider public on the value of a superyacht holiday, not only will the charter market improve, but it may just lead to new owners as well - something this industry could always use more of.

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