For many Yacht Owners, the advantages of chartering out their yacht is apparent. It includes the ability to offset running costs, maximise revenue, build a brand and reputation and keep the crew sharp and active throughout the charter season. These benefits of chartering for Yacht Owners are dependent on a few important factors, one of which is the capability of the Central Agent who is responsible for the charter management of the yacht.
What is a Central Agent and why appoint one?
A Central Agent, often referred to in the industry as a CA or Charter Manager, is appointed to manage the charters on behalf of a Yacht Owner. A Central Agent is responsible for the promotion and marketing of the vessel. They are also responsible for handling funds and paperwork, and managing the yacht’s calendar, enquiries and bookings. By appointing a CA a Yacht Owner is entrusting the charter management of their vessel to a dedicated and experienced professional tasked with maximising the number of charters in a season, and consequently the revenue, for the yacht.
Choosing the right CA
When appointing a Central Agent, selecting the right one can define the success of a yacht in the charter market. With many different companies offering charter management services to Yacht Owners, it can be difficult to identify what the most important aspects of a Central Agent are. We have therefore outlined the key themes that form the basis of a successful Charter Manager / Central Agent.
1. A smaller Central Agent does not mean a lesser service
A Central Agent’s ability to represent a yacht for charter is not impeded by its size. Boutique agents, such as Sophia Tutino Yachting, will often have the same access to market and the same global connections as larger brokerage houses. Experience and expertise is not directly linked to size.
A large Central Agency may manage a fleet of 50 + yachts for charter where your vessel becomes number. Comparatively, managing smaller portfolio has a much greater ability to provide a personalised service to each Yacht Owner. Each and every charter contributes meaningful revenues to the CA as well as the yacht resulting in a more focused marketing campaign. Less competition with other vessels in the same fleet means that each yacht is represented proportionally more when compared to yachts in a larger fleet. It is also likely, as is present at Sophia Tutino Yachting, that there is a much higher ratio of senior management to the number of yachts managed, allowing direct leadership from senior members on how to best represent each individual yacht.
2. Close working relationships
A frequently overlooked aspect of successful charter management is the working relationship between the Central Agent and the Yacht Captain and Crew. The Captain and crew have a vital role in the success of every yacht charter as they are responsible for the day to day operations of the yacht. Unforeseeable challenges and situations that might impact a charter can occur at any moment, whether that is a mechanical breakdown, a global pandemic or stormy weather. It is the responsibility of the Central Agent and Captain to collaborate together coherently on every charter, despite the challenges, to provide the best service possible to charter guests. This alliance is the key to producing successful charter seasons and it builds a good yacht reputation for future charters. Yachts with a good charter reputation are undeniably valuable and they will often be the first vessels to be booked up in a season.
We recognise that the Central Agents who understand the fundamental challenges of running a yacht for charter can build better relationships with Captains and crews. At Sophia Tutino Yachting we make it our priority to fly around the world to become better attuned to our Yachts and their crews with the goal of presenting the best possible yacht for charter.
It is also imperative that a Central Agent understands the expectations and intentions of Yacht Owners. We believe that our Yacht Owners should enjoy all the benefits of yacht ownership, most notably the use of the yacht at their discretion. A Charter Manager should recognise how an Owner uses their yacht and manage charters accordingly so that the benefits of yacht ownership are not impeded. A focus on transparency with Yacht Owners is essential to maintain trust and respect. From experience we have found at Sophia Tutino Yachting that regular monthly reporting offers this greater transparency and allows for a more productive and trusting relationship to be built.
3. Access and use of industry portals
A Central Agent’s principal role is to successfully promote an Owner’s vessel for charter. As the aim is to secure the maximum number of charters throughout the season, yacht promotion should be achieved through multiple different mediums. This ensures that a yacht has a high, but also relevant, exposure to the charter market.
At Sophia Tutino Yachting we believe it is important that a Central Agent has access to the best and most relevant industry intranets, and we have access to Yachtfolio, Charter Index and Central Yacht Agent. These portals enable the Central Agent to successfully present the yacht to the yachting world and charterers alike; with professional photos, a yacht description, key features, yacht brochures and technical specifications as well as the profile of each crew member and the sample menu and specialities of the Michelin starred chef.
With Sophia Tutino’s 14 years of experience in charter management, we know that selecting a CA who is proficient with intranet portals will be pivotal to the earning potential of a yacht as this representation is widely accessible and utilised by charter brokers to select suitable yacht for their clients.
4. Digital Marketing strategy
The Central Agent personal networks are critical in promoting each yacht and securing charters. This, with strong digital marketing strategies, are important to maximise the exposure of a yacht to both B2B and B2C connections. At Sophia Tutino Yachting we have an exclusive B2B network of over 1000 charter brokers worldwide in which to promote the availability of the yachts we represent. A Central Agent with a good reputation may also be more successful in obtaining charters as brokers associate the Central Agent with a certain level of trust and professionalism.
At Sophia Tutino Yachting we have an extensive B2C client database built over the last 14 years delivering access to private client connections globally. We work closely with international market connections including Family Offices, luxury travel agents, PA (Private Assistants)’s networks, luxury concierges and Influencers. This gives us unrivalled publicity in which to promote our Owners’ yachts.
The power of social media should not be underestimated as a medium for securing charters. The CAs have a digital marketing strategy which generates maximum and consistent exposure in which to promote an Owner’s Yacht. We believe that the global reach of social media is one of the most powerful tools when presenting to a worldwide market.
5. Yachting Association Membership
A good starting point in selecting a reputable Central Agent is to look for memberships with Yachting Associations. These are a clear indication of the professionalism and experience of the company as memberships to leading Yachting Associations such as MYBA, ECPY, IYBA and CYBA are vetted before being granted. Yachting Associations like MYBA (The Worldwide Yachting Association) and CYBA (Charter Yacht Brokers Association) also guides its Members on the highest ethical and technical standards, ensuring Corporate and Individual Members meet the requirements of the Rules of Conduct that govern the industry. By selecting a CA with multiple memberships to Yachting Associations, such as Sophia Tutino Yachting, an Owner is essentially securing the advantages of procuring a service that has already been vetted by professional bodies.