Summer is a-coming but charter and management companies are only just beginning to see evidence of this in their charter bookings.
In an echo of last year’s pattern, which saw companies such as Fraser Yachts take half of all bookings less than 10 weeks before the start of the summer charter season, clients are sticking it out for the best deals.
“There’s a lot of waiting and seeing, attributable to the sheer number of yachts on the market,” said Fiona Maureso, head of charter at YPI. “It’s going to be a good season, just last minute,”
The scene is of a strong buyer's market, with clients in no hurry to book their summer holidays due to the vast choice of yachts on offer. Captain Andrea Carlevaris, who supervises and surveys yachts in the Med, sees the evidence all around him.
“From what I can see I am afraid that the [supply] exceeds the demand. A lot of yachts are still in their homeports and we will probably only see things moving later on.”
Last minute arrangements are all very well if numbers are healthy – and charterers and management companies are optimistic for numbers this season – but this brings problems for the management companies, who have to adapt to very tight time frames.
“Compared with four or five years ago, by January the season was already done. Even in July you can sign contracts for following month. If you look at the numbers, we have increased but the way to get to the final result is different – more people are required, so there’s less income. People need to be working Saturday and Sunday,” said Barbara Tambani, Chairman of Floating Life.

Uncertain season: but charter is an amazing introduction to superyachts for some

Which countries are fueling charter demand this year differs amongst the opinion formers. According to Fraser Yachts CEO, Hein Velema, the US is on the up: “There is a slight dip in charter requests from European clients but that is compensated by an increase in requests from American clients,” said Velema. Maureso at YPI on the other hand is seeing US clients hold back, a consequence of the euro/dollar exchange rate. “The fate of the euro is having an impact on Americans; they’re waiting to see if have more bang for their buck if they hang on,” she hypothesised. With the reports of the euro strengthening against the dollar as recent as Wednesday in the wake of Greece's plans to modify its austerity programme to stay in the eurozone, many of these speculators may indeed be waiting to choose their moment.
Another late summer start for the charter season means it is still too soon to predict figures, despite mid June being upon us. Any solid picture of the demand will be likely to be ascertained in the next few days and weeks.

YPI Charter yacht, the ISA built 61.7m Mary-Jean II
Images courtesy of Yachting Partners International (YPI) 

Related Links

Fraser Yachts Profile | Fraser Yachts Website
YPI Profile | YPI Website
Floating Life Profile | Floating Life Website

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