With more than 140 years of history, over 300 boats built and dozens of yachts currently in build, it’s fair to say that Benetti is a superyacht success story. The recently launched 63m 11.11 has already garnered much industry praise and any day now the 90m Lionheart, its largest yacht to date, will be ready for delivery. Vincenzo joined the shipyard in 1993, becoming CEO in 2011.
Time flies when you’re having fun
“I have worked at Benetti for more than 20 years and built over 300 megayachts, but it seems like only yesterday that I started there. When you do something with passion, you don’t feel the time passing. I worked in shipping before joining Benetti and hadn’t even realised it was possible to build such beautiful boats. I have to say the most rewarding project for me was Ambrosia, a 45m boat we delivered in 1994. Everything was new to me and I just fell in love with it. One of the strengths of Italians is that we love design and lifestyle. These are both crucial ingredients in yachting. At Benetti, we also employ passionate and loyal people.”
Charter is key for the newer markets
“We have delivered more than 11 boats over 30 metres in the China region. More and more, the Chinese are beginning to love the sea but many of them still don’t understand why you’d spend so much money on personal enjoyment. If it is for business, they can comprehend it a bit more, but they don’t want to see a boat as just a toy. It’s very important in my view to invest in charters in China as that’s the best way to introduce future customers to the market. Our European market is lower than it has been in the past but it is stable. Brits, Italians, Germans, Greeks – we all love the sea, so we’ll always use boats; it’s just a matter of timing.”
It’s vital to manage change
“One of the main difficulties of our business is managing changes in the build process. We can reduce the modifications only if we develop a detailed design before starting the construction process. It is important to be clear and transparent with the client on this and make them aware that changes are an issue in terms of time and cost. We are perhaps more flexible than the industry standard, though, as it’s important to leave room for the client’s personality to shine through. We try to make the process contractually easy, too. At the end of the day we are building their toys; they already have a lot of headaches in their own business lives so we don’t want to add to that.”
Thinking long-term is key to the future
“We need to ensure that our job doesn’t end when we deliver a boat. It is important for clients to realise that they will not be left alone; we will support them long-term. We offer them assistance in maintaining the boat and are also involved with the crew. This good service is essential for our future. We also have to keep up with new owners’ style preferences as they are changing. Ten years ago, we were designing 90 per cent of our boats in classic style, but today it’s about 90 per cent in contemporary style. Clients are also looking for more integrated technology.”
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