Select Yachts strives to insure that every charter is a successful one. Our repeat client base testifies to our attention to detail and efforts to match the charter client with the ideal yacht and crew. This highly competitive industry includes numerous yachts of similar build and quality. More than the specific yacht, it is the crew’s synergy, professionalism and client interaction that ultimately results in back to back bookings. Here are some tips that our experience suggests are imperative for superior service and charter excellence.
Client Contact: It is standard to contact your clients no less than two weeks prior to their charter. Establishing an excellent relationship with your charter guests prior to their charter will help to put them at ease and give you an understanding of their needs and expectations. Discuss their itinerary, preferences and concerns. Refer them to our “Tips for a Successful Charter Vacation.
Premium Products and Services: Clients requesting items not included in the estimated APA, or in the Inclusive package rate, for example; fine wine, liquor, champagne, caviar, resort dockage, rendezvous diving, clearance/cruising taxes, golf reservations and spa services, often underestimate their actual costs, or believe these are included in the charter rate. Although it is not the responsibility of the Captain to insure that the client brings sufficient funds to cover these expenses, a lack of client funds can result in a lack of crew gratuity.
If possible, after discussing preferences and itinerary with the client, provide them with an estimate of any additional costs. This will allow the client to pre-pay expenses to the Broker with a credit card, or arrange to bring sufficient funds.
Menus: Printing the menus prior to the charter can avoid issues with dislikes and allergies that charter guests failed to note on their preference sheets. We suggest you include “Subject to Change” on the copy to avoid provisioning issues.
Contact Information: Exchange contact information. Your clients should have direct contact details to provide to relatives and in the event of travel delays or emergencies. They should provide you with flight and hotel details.
Guest Arrival: Discuss arrival plans, will you be meeting them at the airport or hotel, will they need a taxi to the boat, etc. Remind them to bring a copy of their charter contract.
Crew Briefing: Everyone needs to know their duties, responsibilities and expectations on board, this is especially important for freelance crew. One chef informed us that on the first day of charter her new stewardess took individual orders from the eight guests on board, politely noting what each would like for dinner. She returned to the Chef and presented eight different meal requests.
Arrival Confirmation: It is good procedure to notify Select Yachts that guests have arrived safely and include any news regarding the charter clients. Select Yachts will forward the information to the Broker who normally calls to insure that clients have boarded safely. Brokers remember and promote crews that take the time to reassure them.
Uniforms: Charter guests expect the Captain and Crew to be in uniform while on duty. There is a wide range of styles and types of uniforms. Regardless of the number of crew or type of yacht the crew should dress professionally and appropriately.
Alcohol: No drinking on charter. Alcohol is prohibited except on the dock after working hours, and with permission of the Commanding Officer when no guests are on board and the yacht is not underway. Excessive drinking on a yacht is unacceptable, each crewmember is part of a team, in case of emergency if one fails, the result can be a disaster.
Drugs: Possession, use and traffic of drugs are absolutely forbidden on yachts. Imagine a customs check, and they find something: the yacht will be seized and charges levied against the crew, the guests and the owner.
Expenses: Captains are responsible for submitting an itemized list of all expenses and receipts to the client at the conclusion of the charter, and to refund any unused monies. Download Captains-APA-Ledger-(1).
Grievances: Inform Select Yachts within 24 hours of any critical guest complaints, mechanical, electrical or air conditioning problems, or serious issues with client behavior. Even though you are trying to fix the situation, keep us posted. We are there to assist in any way we can, even change boats if necessary, to avoid complaints or accusations that may lead to litigation.
Photos/Videos: This is a superb marketing strategy, effective for you and your client. Take pictures of your clients and send them an album as a thank you. Ask permission to use images on board in a slide show. Email images/videos to Select Yachts to upload on your listing and forward to the broker who will love to see their clients on charter.
Guestbook: Ask clients to provide a comment before they leave. Select Yachts can quote positive comments on broker sites and your listing. Brokers, guests and potential clients will enjoy reading the comments of others.
Feedback: Kindly provide feedback to us about your experience with your guests and be sure to include any problems, for example excessive drinking or not tipping. This will assist everyone in working with them (or not) on future bookings. Let us know if you are heading to a new region, changing crew, etc.
Thank Clients: Most clients become friends with their crew and are sad to leave. Insure they become your repeat charter clients. Email a thank you note and include any photos/videos you may have taken of them. Send a thank you card, include a USB stick of photos. If you will be chartering from a new location include that information.
Direct Bookings: Clients who contact the yacht directly to book a charter must be referred back to their charter agent. Not only does your failure to do so violate the terms of MYBA and CYBA contracts, it will result in discrimination by affiliated brokers.
Yacht Websites: Most brokers will not present yachts to their clients if they find that the yacht has their own website that is not broker-friendly. Brokers resent working hard to present accurate availability and rates only to find the client selects a yacht from the information they provide and then goes direct, under the impression the rate will be better without the broker fees.
It is inadvisable to include direct contact information on your site, or links to any social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Broker-friendly means absolutely no means of contacting the yacht directly.