The total cost of chartering a yacht is not always immediately obvious. What should clients understand before choosing a yacht? Would 'all-inclusive' charters be a good idea? Angela Audretsch asks some experts.
Everything considered, a superyacht charter can offer real value for money when you take into account the privacy, flexibility and luxury they offer. But the actual cost of a charter can often be somewhat confusing. With high season and low season, food, fuel and tips, the price can quickly add up.
“It is the charter broker’s responsibility to inform clients of all the areas for consideration and outline the expected costs,” says Captain Ferdi Heymann of M/Y Pangea. “We personalise each charter and tailor it specifically to each client’s needs. This is why the extras vary greatly from week to week, with different clients and different tastes.”
Under MYBA’s charter contract, the charterer is expected to pay for guest food and drink, fuel, dockage and marina fees and things like massages, excursions and other expenses. These can add as much as almost 50 per cent to the base charter price, but depends entirely on the type of charter you take.
“Some clients want to be seen in high end marinas and taken to exclusive restaurants,” says Heymann. “Other clients come to the boat to get away from the rat race and people in general and are more low key. With all the variables, it is easy to see that prices for a charter on the same boat can vary, and quite rapidly increase depending on client wishes.”
The lack of immediate transparency when it comes to charter costs could be putting off new charterers from dipping their toes in the water. So would an all inclusive charter model ever be possible? Regular charterer and former owner of Alexandra V, John Brendmoe says ‘yes’.
“I have chartered yachts for years and this has given me a knowledge of how I want my own charter yacht to be run to make it the best possible experience for clients,” says John Brendmoe. “One of the concepts we came up with for Alexandra V as fixed-price charters.” Brendmoe explains that the price would include the Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA), where everything from food, spa, drinks, port cost, fuel and tip is included. “It’s all about transparency and simply giving customers what they want,” he says. “I have seen boats that are chartering at close to 250,000 euros, but a massage costs an extra 79 euros. I don’t find that attractive; I find that very disappointing. When you charter a boat for 250,000 euros you shouldn’t see a price increase of 79 euros for just having a massage. We hope we can come up with a fixed-price.”
Jacqui Lockhart, charter manager at Dubois Yachts wonders whether all-inclusive charters would limit the level of personalisation, and as a result, the uniqueness of the experience though.
“The all inclusive question has been a topic for a long time and over the years we have seen some yachts making all inclusive offers as well as some clients requesting an all inclusive price,” she says. “It is possible. However, I believe the reality is that to tailor a charter to a specific client’s requirements, it is not possible to have an all-inclusive price.” She argues that the itinerary is likely to vary depending on the client’s preferences which in turn affects the fuel cost, while food and drink requirements are chosen as closely to the client’s preferences as possible. “I believe the majority of clients like to know that they are being billed for what they have chosen,” she says, adding that communication is the key to ensuring that everything is as clear as possible for the client from the outset and that there are no surprises.
“The most important point is that it is the broker’s duty to make sure the client is fully aware what the charter will cost and how on board expenses will be handled,” she says. “The broker should also follow through with the Captain to ensure the client is fully appraised and aware of any outstanding costs. Communication between all the parties is essential but worthwhile when everyone is satisfied at the end of the charter.”
For Heymann, all-inclusive charters would be possible, but they would serve a different market. “Everything would have to be based on a certain profit model and I think with that clients might lose the feeling that the yacht was set up according to their specific requirements,” he says. “You would just receive the same service as every other client and it would not be viewed as unique. I don’t believe, therefore, that in our superyacht industry this would be a winning formula.”
What do you think? Would all-inclusive charters be a good idea? Would they encourage more people to charter? Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
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