Transparency is something that we champion as an industry and rightly so – from the perspective of attracting new blood into yachting and helping insurers, financiers, brokers and other market players evaluate the performance of the market, it’s crucial.
However, the privacy and exclusivity offered by a floating safe haven continues to be one of the main attractions of yacht ownership. This was reiterated by a gentleman I came into contact with recently, who has just become a superyacht co-owner on a fractional ownership programme.
Despite being generally happy that he is getting better value for money than he was as a regular charterer, he finds the brandishing of pricing information for his superyacht on websites as undermining and deprecating to his share value. Meeting his requirements, however, is the private aviation company NetJets, which he says maintains exclusivity through privacy.
“Fractional ownership companies all need to consider their programmes,” he explains, in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews, requesting to remain anonymous. “Think of this: NetJets never publishes any prices – ever. If you want prices from NetJets, you have to be a serious customer – the information is not in the public domain and neither is how the scheme works. They have been very clever to create an impression of uniqueness by not putting prices anywhere at all,” he says.
He explains that the last thing an owner on a co-ownership programme wants is prices being actively promoted in the public domain about the shares and the values if there is a share on that particular vessel up for grabs, or if they are trying to promote other boats. This is because, in his opinion, it “cheapens” and “defeats the whole purpose” of the brand.
“The moment you start quoting prices, you’ve turned away 80 per cent of your audience because they never want guests to know that.”
“As an owner, it’s not nice to see how much you pay for your boat stated clearly online,” he adds. “If an owner says they have a boat in the south of France, but that boat is referenceable on the internet, then guests can see how much they are paying for it which isn’t a nice position to be in.”
He continues: “I think there is a fine balance between achieving a high-quality brand [from a low-quality one] in this space. The moment you start quoting prices, you’ve turned away 80 per cent of your audience because they never want guests to know that.”
He says NetJets “wins as a brand” because they are very discreet about the costings and the whole perception of the scheme. His takeaway advice for fractional ownership companies is: “Don’t quote numbers until you have a serious buyer. It needs to be value-driven. People should know what the vessel is going to be worth anyway.”
His concern is that as these companies gain wider exposure, more and more people have access to the pricing, although he understands that “if you go too far the other way, it’s a turnoff”, so there is a requirement for these companies to find a happy medium that entices new clients and keeps existing co-owners happy.
In his opinion, with outright ownership there is a large element of exclusivity that you don’t get with fractional ownership. “There are some people who will say, ‘Why would I want to say I share my boat with someone else? I want my own boat – even if it’s going to cost me £2 million to have it sitting doing absolutely nothing, I want to be able to say this is my yacht.”
Fractional ownership definitely has allure for outright owners that are haemorrhaging costs, however this owner feels that any attraction might be thwarted by the disclosure of information. “If he sees a price tag of X on a website, you might have just killed that buyer because they don’t want their friends to see,” he concludes.
At The Superyacht Forum in November, there will be inspiring conversations relating to the perfect customer journey and ownership experience. For more information click here and to register for a ticket click here.
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