YachtZoo, which provides yacht charters throughout the world, announced at Luxury Travel Exchange (LTX) this week, that it is now offering services to travel advisors. The company receives a commission from the yachts it charters and shares that with travel advisors, said Neil Emmott, a partner in YachtZoo. Emmott is based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, which is where the company’s U.S. arm is located. Its international office is in Monaco.
At a seminar at LTX, Emmott said that the company will hold advisors’ hands as they work through the entire process of chartering a yacht for their clients, starting with the first step of jumping in after the advisor sends out a promo alerting their clients that they can offer yacht charters.
“We can then follow up with providing information to your client on your letterhead and we can give you a cheat sheet that advises you on the questions to ask your clients,” he said.
Emmott cautoned that clients considering a yacht vacation are often at first vague about where they want to go; for example, they might mention Italy, but do they want to sail on the Adriatic or Tyrrhenian sea? YachtZoo will help them get more specific with suggested itineraries with ports of calls. Regardless of what is plotted out ahead of time, clients should know that flexibility is built into the experience. For example, ports can be changed during the trip and if a client decides they want to simply drop anchor at sea, that is an option as well.
Pricing for yacht charters is most determined on the size of the vessel and how much fuel it will burn. Basic menu plans and certain beverages are built into the pricing with YachtZoo; premium options that are requested will add to the overall cost. The crew is always provided with YachtZoo, which does not work with “stripped down” yacht charter deals in which the client sails the vessel and provides their own crew.
A list of food preferences is provided to the advisor to give to their client. The sooner the advisor can get that information back to YachtZoo the better so the company can start acquiring the supplies that are desired. It’s best to have such provisions provided up front, said Emmott, who noted that the company can indeed obtain items in port, but getting a hold of Diet Dr. Pepper in Sicily, where it’s not readily available, could come at a price.
Because a yacht vacation if focused on a high quality of life at sea, the chef is a critical component of a charter, as is the captain. “The captain has to be charismatic and be able to interact with high-net-worth individuals but they shouldn’t cross the line. They should be fun but safe,” said Emmott, whose team stays up to date on the yachts available throughout the world by attending yacht charter shows and yacht shows which charter companies usually attend. The company also personally checks out vessels by having lunch on board to try out the food and the service, and to inspect the upkeep of the vessel to determine whether soft goods are being kept up and that carpets are not frayed.
“It’s also important to note if the vessel has acquired a bad smell from poor upkeep,” said Emmott.
Taxes have become a moving target for yacht charters, said Emmott; there have been many changes in Europe that have increased the amount of taxes charged. Once was, yachts were commercially exempt, with no VAT charged. “France and England have jumped on the bandwagon” for charging, he noted.
The most common differentiator in selecting a yacht is, does the client want a Jacuzzi on the vessel? If so, does he or she want to fit all of their guests into the Jacuzzi? “We have had some very interesting requests that we’ve accommodated,” said Emmott. The other important request is whether the client wants wave runners (stand-up jet skis) to be provided and if they want water toys for children who may be on the charter.