With many of her clients still onboard their yachts enjoying their 2013 year-end St Barts yacht charter vacations, Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters, takes a few minutes to reflect on the year that was (and offers us a glimpse of what’s to come in 2014).
Q: The charter industry still seems to be recovering from the global economic downturn of the past couple years. Did 2013 represent an uptick in the volume of charter business?
Sheeder: “Our research indicates 2013 showed significant improvement in charter revenues when compared to both 2011 and 2012. Many newly-built yachts entered the charter marketplace in 2013. These are builds that had stalled while under construction during the height of the downturn. As the global economy began to pick up, delayed construction projects commenced.
The result is a beautiful new fleet of superyacht charter vessels that hit the seas in time for the 2013 summer Mediterranean charter season.”
Q: Did the year end on an uptick?
Sheeder: “We haven’t seen any industry data yet, so we can’t speak for our competitors. We can tell you in terms of the Caribbean yacht charter marketplace, SailAway had its strongest December in over 3 years. While the inquiries for smaller vessels did not grow, our bookings of superyachts – some of the largest yachts in the world – increased significantly.
Presently, we have the two largest charter vessels currently docked in St Barts for 9 night charters – motor yacht LAUREL (240 feet, $525,000 per week) and the Lurssen yacht charter motoryacht MARTHA ANN (230 feet, 600,000 EUROS per week).”
Sheeder: “I would have to say the ending of VAT exempt charters in France. For many years, our clients enjoyed St. Tropez yacht charters and summer vacations along the Cote d’Azur, free of the burden of VAT. That all changed in the summer of 2013 when the French yacht charter VAT went into effect. As of July 15, 2013, charterers can expect to pay an additional 9.8% for their Côte d’Azur yacht charter.”
Q: Are you optimistic as you look ahead to 2014?
Sheeder: “Our team is extremely optimistic as we focus on incremental growth in 2014. During the economic downturn, while many of our competitors hunkered down to ride out the storm, we took a contrarian approach. We focused our efforts on increased marketing. Our strategy was simple – stay in touch with existing clients and prospects. We wanted to be “easy to find” once the economy turned around.
Internally, we call it our “Tip of the Tongue” project. Clients had “tightened their belts” during the downturn and we were committed to be the brand they remembered (always on the tip of the tongue) when they were ready to loosen their discretionary income belts!
Now that 2014 is here, we are excited to announce that:
The sky’s the limit! It will be an exciting, challenging, and awe-inspiring year!”
For more information about yacht vacations around the world, please visit SailAway Yacht Charter Consultants at http://www.1800sailaway.com/ and share our information with your friends, family, and associates!
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