The Global Superyacht Forum (GSF) has existed for the past 20 years, to ultimately benefit the industry's end user - the owner. With a record turn out and more sectors getting involved than ever before, this year's GSF saw an even greater commitment to improving industry standards for those already involved, and a renewed effort to attract new blood into the market. If you were unable to join us last week, a selection of some of the most poignant comments and expert opinions have been rounded up to showcase what is being done behind the scenes to better our market place.

"What if people could think in a completely different way?"
Presented by Rob Henderson of UNStudio and Mark Vernooij of THNK - the duo led two interactive sessions educating delegates on how we can re-frame our core beliefs. What if we stop seeing problems as barriers, and instead turn them on their head and make them work for us? Can we capitalise on thinking in new ways and leaving old methods in the past?

Re-framing session

"What if [the] industry embraced the internet? Billionaires are online"

While still relatively late adapting to the social media age, the superyacht industry needs to embrace modern technology and the way people consume media, shop, educate themselves and research their next investment. Tim Delaney of Leagas Delaney thinks this is an area where the superyacht market is lagging behind and needs to get involved in order to widen their reach.

"Be brave, be courageous, be vocal, constructive, optimistic and aligned"
Fierce words were delivered from seasoned shipping expert, Roberto Giorgi, the new executive chairman of Fraser Yachts who remains on the board of V.Ships. When looking to the future and what the next generation needs to do in order to carry us forward, Giorgi thinks we need to capitalise on passion and take the leap. In life, in business, in everything we do - be courageous.

"We must evolve to become a service based industry, delivering the best service at the best value"
The luxury industry sets high standards for service from hotels and villas to private aviation. Why is the same not done in the superyacht industry? From improving after sales and warranties to training crew to the highest standards possible, there are a number of ways the market can improve for their owners.

"Save the oceans, feed the world"
The overriding message from the team at Oceana as delivered by keynote speaker Alexandra Cousteau. We've reached a period where we are using the oceans more and more but as a result, limiting their reach and killing off resources.

"Nobility of purpose"
How can we get more players in the industry involved in ocean conservation? According to plenty of captains in the audience, they shared that their owners were keen to get involved. Whether it was personal philanthropy done through shark tagging whilst on board, or cruising the areas in need and bringing supplies, more and more owners in the industry are encouraged to get involved in global conservation to ensure we still have an ocean to play in.

Alexandra Cousteau

"We exist because of the client, as soon as we ruin their experience, we lose an owner"
Unfortunately we have heard of this a number of times over the years. An owner is misinformed when entering the industry which ultimately leads to them looking to spend their leisure time elsewhere. Gaining feedback from current owners, or those that have perhaps left for various reasons, is invaluable to the industry in order to improve the services available in future.

"Aligning expectations with reality should be the job of the industry"

From what it actually costs to run and operate the vessel, to what is involved in contracts, sales, warranties, etc; these issues need to be properly communicated to the owner. Whilst some in attendance believe that not every tiny detail needs to be discussed, there remains an onus on those working with clients to maintain open lines of communication and ensure when prompted, the raw truth is delivered.

Management workshop with Geoff Moore
of West Nautical

"When you have achieved everything in life, all that is left is your generosity"
Another comment from Delaney regarding the campaign he completed for M/Y Solandge - for so many owners and clients who enter the market, what is top of their list is spending time with their family and friends in an intimate and relatively undisturbed environment. Working hard to achieve this is the goal and one we need to appreciate when working with clients in this industry.

"We prepare people to buy and assist them up until they have bought; and then we drop them in the ocean"
Gaps in the after sales market is nothing new to the industry. However, this comment during the Warranties workshop certainly sums up the treatment currently on offer. The issue cannot solely be on making sales and leaving the client in the lurch once everything has been signed off. Increasing the amount of time and attention given to each owner once they've entered the industry will determine how long they choose to remain a part of it.

"Who do owners trust to give advice?"

Do you know? Please provide us with your feedback!

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