Yacht charter digitalization challenges are real in this industry that relies on that aspect very little. However, what is the crucial problem? Time? Lack of knowledge? New trends? What does a new customer desire? Is it first the chicken or the egg?
4 Challenges for the Yacht Charter Industry
Every industry has challenges that need to be solved. It is no different in the yacht charter industry.
To be clear, challenges are not the same as issues or problems. They are simply a stepping stone from which you can set sail in another direction.
Every stone can be turned, and every challenge can concur.
Here are 4 challenges or stepping stones we think are important for yacht charter digitalization:
- Daily vs. Weekly charter?
- Gen X vs.Millennials
- Experience as the future of tourism?
- Boat shows or digital marketing?
Daily vs. Weekly Charter
We all know that weekly charter is the most common way of chartering a boat in Europe. However, there are parts of the world that live strictly on daily charter. The largest example is of course the USA, but there is also Thailand, China, etc.
And the rebuttal for that can be – they do not have the same coast with lots of islands as Greece or Croatia. Very much true.
Here is an example provided by the Booking Manager statistics report that proves the weekly charter still being number one source of bookings. The whole article you can read here.
Although, in this tackling and changing world, daily charter offers a lot more experience to the customer. By experience we mean- these companies need to offer fun activities, sightseeing, swimming with the dolphins or some kind of fun itinerary just because they do not have the time. They need to bring value to the customer right now. Not to mention they need to provide something different than their competition.
So, how can weekly charters provide the same value and yet continue the trend of 7 days booking?
In the past week (from 27th till 29th April 2021) we attended International Charter Expo and gathered some interesting insights.
- We have noticed a shift from bareboat to crewed charters that offer full service on board and yet remain on the 7-day schedule.
- Many of the charter companies we talked to are now offering packages for the guests such as Yoga Sailing, Historic Heritage sailing, etc. Also relying on the 7-day charters.
A question after this event remains- is the charter business ready for a shift? A shift in experience, not just renting a boat.
Tough question, and so many possible answers.
Let’s dive into the second one.
Gen X vs.Millenials
Gen X is the generation born between 1960 till 1980. A recent study showed the following results:
- 83 % of GEN x spend more money compared to members of older and younger generations
- However, Gen Xers do not make rushed or impulsive purchases
- Family life is a priority
- They are looking for the ability to relax and unwind
- Delivering a family-friendly, technologically accessible, serene location
- Gen X travel to celebrate special occasions
- 37% of Gen Xers prefer weekend getaways
On the other hand, we have Millennials which have a different agenda altogether. They are born from 1980 till 1996, still in their early years, yet completely different according to the recent study:
- 60% of questioned ranked authentic culture as the most vital part of the entire travel experience.
- 78% want their travel to be educational and learn something.
- Compared to other generations, millennials are 13% more likely to seek travel destinations with historical or cultural importance.
What does all this statistic mean? Yes, we have big spenders and we have experience seekers.
Of course, we can not manage to satisfy all the people with our product.
But let us lay out a thought. In a couple of short years, Millennials will be the ones spending the big money, and they want to experience more than any other thing.
Does this mean the experience will become the most important value? Or will they follow the pattern of Gen X?
We think it will be a mix of both. People grow, change and have priorities, however, some things will never change- the core of the people and what motivates them to go on a vacation and why.
This brings us to the next chapter.
Experience as the future of tourism?
As you may know, we already covered this topic in a different article you can find here.
This topic is too important not to mention it once again. Experience-based tourism is having a boom on the tourism scene. And why is that?
There are many key factors but here are the two main ones:
- green tourism and sustainability of a destination
- and people who travel only for the experience
While massive tourism was always connected to the sun, sea, and warm weather, sustainability has become a big part of tourism. We all know that global climate change is happening and many governments are trying to mend the years of massive tourism. Will it work? Only time will tell.
The second is the experience. Can experience as the main motive for traveling change the charter industry as well?
Well, it has already. A simple example is Yacht Week. They started small, and now are the perfect example of experience-based tourism for the Millennials.
While nobody is saying you should change your strategy, there is a lot to think about when it comes to new vs. known customers. Who knows what will motivate the Gen Z generation.
Boat shows vs. Digital Marketing
Last but not least. Boat shows have been very useful tools in the past to get new bookings and clients. That is, before the era of computers.
Nowadays, when people come to boat shows (talking about Millennials) they are more likely to look than to book.
Of course, on every boat show, you can have leads, even bookings, but it is not the primary source of income as it once was.
We believe that the shows will endure but the switch will be to show that you are still present on the marker rather than booking.
Business-to-business boat shows can provide real value to the overall community and focus on meeting the partners.
Do not forget about digital marketing though. It can serve for creating brand awareness, leads, and at the end customers. Having a good website is not enough, you need a marketing strategy behind it and a clear overview of your path.
Digital marketing is here to work for you, not against you, so don’t fear it!
How to do it and what you need to start, check out in our next post.