As the superyacht market continues to professionalise and drive towards a level of maturity that is sufficient to ensure that owners and charter guests enjoy the best possible superyacht experience, The Superyacht Forum will explore the future of management on day one of the event. Speaking exclusively with SuperyachtNews, Jo Assael, technical director at Döhle Yachts, considers a number of ways that the management of superyachts has changed in recent years, as well as some of the changes that should be implemented in the coming years.  

“In the last 10 years we have seen a consolidation of management services and the market place move towards the larger brokerage houses and bespoke management companies. The ‘one-man band’ model has all but disappeared, with those owners wishing to operate with a smaller team tending to do so through a family office structure, supported by a collection of trusted professionals,” starts Jo Assael, technical director at Döhle Yachts.

The theme of consolidation is one that pervades various sectors of the superyacht market today. Perhaps the most discussed consolidation has been that of the new build market, which has seen owners be far more selective in their choice of shipyards. Indeed, in the years that followed the financial crisis, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of shipyards producing vessels year on year. This trend has been driven by a reduced appetite for risk and a greater appreciation for working with financially stable, mature enterprises. It is, perhaps, this desire to mitigate risk and enjoy the fruits of stable business that has also driven change in the management sector.

“The management of the yacht should support operations and not impact the owners and guests."

“The management of the yacht should support operations and not impact the owners and guests, giving them an uninterrupted experience on and off the yacht,” continues Assael. “The brokerage market has to be better educated in order to inform owners and not to over promise on charter revenue, running costs and maintenance budget, and the management team needs to have open and frank conversations as to the realities of boat ownership, including the risks associated with crew employment, insurance and downtime risks when maintenance budgets are reduced.”

One of the major focusses of The Superyacht Forum discussion will be exploring how superyacht lifecycles can be improved by implementing a more professional approach to maintenance.

“Overall maintenance costs are always going to be reduced by more consistent & controlled spending, which the on-board team often don’t have time to manage,” explains Assael. “When supported, planned maintenance is in place, the reduction in costs and downtime can lead to a seamless operation, however, the on board team can only be expected to do so much and, without proper shore-side support, daily on board tasks invariably take priority to the point where they are firefighting costs and downtime rises. Spending the money upfront on professional support services and preventative maintenance more than pays for itself and ensures that the yacht remains available to the owner when they wish.”

The risk, when it comes to discussions relating to the future operation of superyachts, is that issues will be considered in isolation. Investment in professional management services and a greater understanding maintenance schedules can only be implemented effectively if various other issues related to crewing, operations and management are considered in conjunction. During The Superyacht Forum all issues will be considered alongside one another in order to develop an action plan that will help the market reach the levels of professionalism that owners are now demanding.

Remaining tickets to The Superyacht Forum 2019 are available here. Join us from 18-20 November in Amsterdam and enjoy three days of engaging workshops, thought-provoking keynotes, and interact with leading minds from our market to learn about the subjects that you and your clients need to know.

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