Keeping up with the (superyacht) times
31 August 2016 – By Ocean Alliance
Our superyacht experience manager, Laurie Foulon, was recently interviewed by the widely read publication SuperyachtTimes, on the subject of modernisation of the superyacht industry and how well do we all use the technological tools that are now widely spread and at disposal.
It was so interesting to receive the feedback that, among about 10 Yacht Charter Brokers, I was the only one pointing out in my answers about the importance of utilising the internet and social media more in the industry!
Superyachts use the most advanced technologies on board yet the actors and representatives of yacht Owners, yacht Captains and Charter Clients seem not to be following the pace of the digital age.
By Gemma Fottles, SuperyachtTimes
From introducing future owners to the wonderful world of yachting, to improving and progressing tourism and maritime infrastructures around the globe, to simply easing the financial burden of owning a significant vessel, the charter industry is an essential element of the superyacht industry.
Like many elements of the industry, however, essentiality and competence are not always correlative.
This is not to say that the charter industry is incompetent. In fact, it is safe to say that with increasingly sophisticated – and considerably larger – superyachts hitting the water every year, hard to reach destinations becoming distinctly less hard to reach, and a growing number of UHNWI able to embark on superyacht charters, the charter market has never been better. But to really elevate the industry to the heights it is capable of no one can deny that several areas could certainly benefit from progression.
The internet is a prime example. An intrinsic part of modern day life, why is the internet, arguably, underutilised in the charter industry? Is it because the clients of big charter companies demand a personal touch, or is it a question of just not being able to keep up with the advances of modern technology and a younger generation?
We posed the following questions on the current state and potential future growth of the charter industry to charter specialists around the world. Here are Laurie’s answers:
How can the charter industry grow and become better?
Today’s charter industry is sometimes a little stuck in routine. The international yachting hubs of the Mediterranean and Caribbean need be made more attractive and diverse for new and repeat clients. I believe that clients should be presented with more adventurous options, which would create a new excitement for the industry. On the other hand, yacht owners wishing to explore new cruising grounds should not be discouraged by charter managers wishing to keep the yacht close to popular areas. It is our job as charter professionals to create these unique life experiences, to dare to suggest new possibilities and adventures specific to only superyacht owners and our exclusive travel industry.
Many would argue that the internet is not utilised enough as a proper tool in the charter industry. Why do you think that is?
Until a few years ago the industry wanted to believe that hard-copy brochures were still useful. A lot more yacht crew nowadays are widely spreading photos on social media, pro-moting their own yacht’s brand across several channels like Instagram and Facebook. To me, the charter industry is lacking youth and fresh views about new marketing strategies.
It is still confined in old habits and needs to be woken up! The internet is being underused because it is not mastered by Generation X, which currently dominates the charter industry.
Would an Airbnb-type model work well for the industry?
I think an Airbnb-type model could do two things: either loosen the feeling of exclusivity that a superyacht offers, by making it accessible to a wider audience, or allow to reach out to a brand new audience, introducing new and potential clients via new, modernised and innovative channels. Just like charter clients potentially lead to sales conversions, to me short-term charters are the future of the industry. Generation Y have less time in their hands and things move faster around them.
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