A bite-sized guide to the ‘perfect’ charter yacht
What are the essential elements of a charter yacht that appeal to clients?
Amanda Armstrong, founding partner at Yomira, draws on a combined 50 years’ experience to set out the essential elements that appeal to clients
Is there any such thing as the perfect charter yacht? Does it exist? Owners do not always build their yachts with charter appeal in mind, but the commercial aspect of chartering is very appealing – if only to offset some of the running costs of the yacht and keep the crew motivated when the family aren’t on board.
With a combined 50 years of experience of chartering vessels, the Yomira team has plenty of experience working with owners and captains across a broad spectrum of superyachts, both motor and sail. There are, of course, countless elements that go into making a ‘perfect’ charter yacht and we can break these down into digestible bite-sized important pieces.
All successful charter yachts certainly must have one key ingredient and that is a professional, proactive crew. Whether an owner is keen to manage certain aspects of chartering or leave it up to a company to handle all the details of the fiscal, operational and legal requirements, a very successful charter yacht is one that is properly looked after by a trusted captain and crew – from the mechanics, through to the cosmetic presentation and, ultimately, the front-of-house team who will interact with a variety of demanding guests.
Amanda Armstrong, founding partner at Yomira
Choosing the right representative to help position your yacht in the market is also both a personal and commercial decision. Does the size of the company really matter? Will you benefit from your yacht being serviced along with the rest of the fleet? How will the company market your yacht to stand out from the numerous other vessels they look after? Conversely, is a small, boutique, more focused and agile approach necessarily better? Will they have the appropriate reach in the market? Can they service your needs across the spectrum of requirements required for running a successful charter yacht, while also protecting your valuable asset and maximising your charter revenue? No matter how many offices the company has, will your representative have the necessary gravitas, experience and knowledge to market your yacht accordingly? The key is all about relationships and trust with your superyacht partner.
‘The Pressure of Leisure’ is an excellent fictitious name for a superyacht when considering the level of design that encompasses both the owner’s personal requirements, taste and own use of the yacht (perhaps as a semi-permanent residence or part-time office), as well as maximising the appeal for potential charter clients whose predominant reason for chartering is a holiday.
Motivations that drive client decisions can be very specific, but certainly understanding how your yacht might be used by other clients from an objective and practical point of view, compared to your own personal preferences, is essential. Can the beds convert to be either a double or twin? Will charter clients actually use a dining room positioned inside behind the galley? Would clients prefer more sunbathing areas rather than a Jacuzzi if there is also a swimming pool on board?
Of course, this is all rhetorical, but the reasoning behind all decisions is a very personal one. Having the right relationship with your superyacht representative is the answer; best practice for how and where you want your yacht to be represented. The photography needs to be excellent and ideally not the same as the majority of the yacht’s competitors; videos and 3D walkarounds are becoming ever more popular. Crew interaction, whether virtually or at boat shows, is important to ensuring clients have a human touchpoint for the yacht. And it goes without saying … toys, toys and more toys, the newer the better. Get two of everything. Clients rarely like to go Seabobbing on their own or take out the only kayak by themselves when all the other guests are enjoying cocktail hour.
The best charter yacht in our experience is one where the owner is happy with the yacht they have designed and has a contented, motivated crew, while also appreciating the requirements of charter clients. Rent yachts first. It may sound crazy, but are the crew personable? Are they able to switch from being very friendly with charter clients to being ultra-discreet, obviously on demand? Can they change from running an owner’s schedule to a charter itinerary? Is your chief steward(ess) able to be the main point of contact when the captain is potentially better employed driving the yacht?
It’s also worth bearing in mind that charter guests love continuity with crew; it’s ultimately the crew who make the charter. No other experience is as intimate as being on a yacht with the crew, so look at rotational positions. In our experience, crew who are on rotation tend to be happier as they have the opportunity to have some home life as well as being refreshed when they come back on board, and they also don’t look for work on other yachts quite so often.
In conclusion, the perfect charter yacht delivers an exceptional experience for the client, whether this is the owner or charterer. And this summation is completely personal. Luckily, no two yachts are the same or our job would be decidedly harder than it is already!
This article first appeared in The Superyacht Owner Report. To gain access to The Superyacht Group's full suite of content, publications, events and services, click here to join The Superyacht Group Community and become one of our members.
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