This summer has been made up of excellent quality time with my family and escaping to my favourite places – the backbone of a good life and also the fundamentals of the superyacht world. During these past few weeks, my thoughts have turned to one or two things in the market that impact on the world of ownership that I think are worth sharing.
Following various conversations with friends who have chartered this year I have been struck by the realisation that in our pursuit of new blood we must not forget the charterers that we have already attracted. Two cases in particular made me think about how we deal with current charter clients.

One was a family that were renting a villa in France and wanted to do a day charter with their friends and family on a reasonable-sized day boat. Not only was the lack of information and guidance as to what they could do on board pitiful, but so was the clarification of how many guests could be accommodated in order to maximize the day’s fun. By asking the right questions, the broker would have discovered that the charter client could in fact have afforded to not only charter a much larger yacht but also buy the yacht 10 times over. Instead, their enquiry about bringing more guests on the yacht they had chosen was met with a ‘no’ rather than a proposal of a larger yacht that would comfortably accommodate the number of guests the family wanted to charter with. A client would unquestionably prefer to be told they could have exactly what they want – and more – if they spend a bit more money to being met with negative barriers.

The second anecdote this summer was from some friends who chartered a 36m classic sailing yacht off Ibiza, where the expectation of luxury and exclusivity seemed to be suggested by the significant price tag. Arriving at a remote beach in the dark by private taxi, only to be met by two crewmembers in a little RIB with a torch, was consequently a shock to the system. The ladies of the party were less than impressed with having to roll up their linen trousers and carry their shoes and luggage across the sand to the awaiting RIB, only to be sprayed and jostled across to the anchorage. This was far from the image that was conjured up in their mind when they first booked the idyllically romantic escape on a stunning wooden ketch, or what their agent had suggested.

These are, of course, just two stories and one can only assume/hope they aren’t an indication of most charter experiences. But they should act as a reminder to us about the importance of not just meeting but exceeding the expectations of charter clients. It is all very well to target new pools of superyacht charterers and potential owners but if when they come to us they are disappointed by what they experience, it was ultimately a futile exercise because they won’t stay. There are thousands of families out there that can afford to charter; we just need to reach out to them, ask the right questions and deliver a dynamic experience that exceeds their expectations that gets them hooked.

This column can be found in Issue 10 of The Superyacht Owner. Members can read the full story and the rest of the issue here. To become a member, click here.

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