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By SuperyachtNews

The necessity of time, luxury and experiences

Professor Dr Phil Klaus and Dr Annalisa Tarquini-Poli tackle the challenges that face superyacht ownership at TSF 2023…

The opening day of TSF: Connect 2023 in Amsterdam saw the unveiling of extensive research conducted by the Superyacht Life Foundation and the International University of Monaco (IUM), shedding light on the attitudes of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) towards superyachts.

Professor Dr Phil Klaus and Dr Annalisa Tarquini-Poli took centre stage with their study during the conference's inaugural keynote session, comprising key figures from the industry. The research delved into recent shifts in global wealth, motivations behind luxury spending, and, notably, the perceptions of potential superyacht owners and charterers towards the superyacht industry.

“During the plenary session and our workshop, we realised that the industry is, in its majority, still inside-out driven,” says Prof. Dr Phil Klaus. “By embracing client-centric tools successfully implemented by our clients in other industries serving the UHNWI, such as client journey mapping and client experience management, the industry will immediately turn the challenge into an opportunity.”

The presentation, which included insights from SYBAss market analyst Erik Floor, addressed the growing disparity between the rise of UHNWIs globally and the stagnation in superyacht ownership.

A key finding of the study was that for UHNWIs luxury is, paradoxically, a necessity. The findings emerged from interviews with over 240 potential superyacht owners, revealing that UHNWIs perceive luxury assets such as yachts, helicopters, and private planes as utilitarian rather than extravagant. Research also indicated that UHNWIs prioritise their time above anything, considering it their most valuable asset and hold a strong appreciation for priceless experiences, particularly evident in younger generations post-pandemic.

Challenging the idea of superyachts as assets, the research suggested that superyachting belongs more to the realm of experienced-based goods. With the experiential goods sector on the rise, the findings suggest significant growth potential for the superyacht industry. However, there is a notable preference for charter-based experiences over ownership, signalling the industry's need for refined marketing and customer strategies.

The also study identified the negative experiences of other yacht owners, high ownership costs, and concerns about the potential headaches of ownership as a key deterrent for growth. The industry's reputation in terms of perception, sustainability, complexity of its service eco-system and perceived lack of professionalism also pose challenges. Professor Dr. Klaus emphasised that improving service offerings and professionalism can unlock opportunities for growth.

Both Dr Professor Klaus and Dr Tarquini-Poli advocated for a shift toward client-centric approaches, leveraging tools from other industries serving UHNWIs, such as client journey mapping and client experience management. They highlighted the industry's need to evolve from being “inside-out driven” to embracing a client-centric mindset, turning challenges into opportunities.

Ultimately, the research pinpointed three key facets for the industry's future success. Firstly, the trend toward one-stop shopping fosters collaboration between industry parties to enhance the service economic system. Secondly, a shift from conspicuous to conscious purchasing, with a growing emphasis on sustainability. Lastly, the concept of 'slow yachting,' encourages a slower pace for clients to savour the experience during crucial phases like yacht purchase.

Dr Tarquini-Poli finally emphasised that the findings underscored the importance of industry collaboration, not only in service offerings but also in presenting the positive aspects of the superyacht lifestyle to potential customers and the wider world. It is also a necessity for the future of superyacht ownership to spotlight exceptional experiences and efficiently manage clients' time. 

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The Superyacht Life Foundation

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