The superyacht charter market has bounced back better than ever in the aftermath of pandemic-induced travel restrictions, with an increase in charter bookings across the board in 2021 and 2022.
The current market activity is snowballing into some exciting forecasts and trends for the year ahead. Without having the same front-row seat as charter brokers, it can be hard to understand how the charter market is behaving and make predictions for the future. That’s why we spoke directly to the team of leading brokers, charter managers and retailers at Yachting Partners International (YPI) to find out what trends we can expect to see from the charter market in 2023.
This year, charter retail brokers at YPI have reported that there has been an influx of new charterers looking for an amazing first-time yachting experience. And with expert charter brokers on hand, the YPI team is happy to guide them.
These charterers and many more are opting for extreme destinations such as Alaska and Antarctica. However, the usual hotspots of the French Riviera and the Amalfi Coast, Turkey and the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Leeward Islands and St Barths over the Christmas period remain in high demand.
With the UAE and the Red Sea becoming more and more popular with yachties, and thanks to the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 and the World Cup hosted in Qatar, presence in the Arabian Gulf is predicted to be the up-and-coming ports of call. The governments want to attract yacht owners and develop the yachting industry in the Middle East by developing and improving the yachting infrastructure, with the support of the YPI Dubai office. Some of YPI’s fleet is already repositioning towards the Middle East for the winter and spring.
As explained by YPI’s charter retail team, more central agencies are heavily promoting the sustainability features of their yachts. A great portion of the market is doing its part to preserve the environment while at sea. As a result, charter yachts with features such as recycled materials, low fuel consumption, hybrid engines and other environmentally-friendly design elements are firmly in the spotlight. YPI’s storied history with sailing yachts continues with Irelanda and Inti Cube in their fleet, ready for charter, perfect for those wanting to take sustainability back to the winds.
Alongside wanting to help the environment, an increasing number of clients want to be close to their natural surroundings, where everything from the boat interiors to the destination plays its part in providing an experience that is the perfect mix between luxury and nature.
YPI’s charter retail team has noticed how clients’ appreciation of elements such as large windows, easy accessways and wide open deck spaces has increased. Well-curated exterior areas are also a hit with charterers, and a lot of charter time is dedicated to relaxing on board in the swimming pool, alfresco lounge, well-furnished beach club and, if available, an outdoor cinema.
Keeping nature close is a running theme, and the popular yachts for charter with YPI have interiors with more natural-feeling materials and light-coloured woods. Transparent floors, stairs and abundant glass also help feed in the all-important natural light and give the impression the interior spaces are much larger. In YPI’s fleet, Berge is a yacht boasting astonishing floor-to-ceiling windows which creates an exceptional connection to the ocean.
Many yachts can carry water toys and teams of fitness instructors and masseuses. However, the requests received by charter managers are largely to do with what happens in the galley and for more healthy and vegan food options on board.
Cam is one of the best personal trainers and can be found exclusively on board Preference 19. He creates a fully dynamic fitness programme making full use of Preference 19’s space, which includes full circuit setups, basketball games, and best of all, sunrise yoga on the bow.
The culinary experience is a huge part of any charter, and chefs are happy to oblige and create custom sample menus for clients ahead of the charter. This way, guests can see and understand their chef’s specialities and skills through an attractive sample menu offering fresh products that can easily be adapted to any potential changes in preferences.
On some charter yachts, guests can feel as if they are in a Michelin-starred restaurant – especially if the vessel has an open interior layout connected to the kitchen or a well-equipped outdoor galley where guests can have a fully-immersive meal time. YPI’s client experience division receives several concierge requests to host a fully Michelin-starred experience and procures the same ingredients 3-star Michelin restaurants use via Superyacht Supplies.
With the backlog of bookings that the pandemic created, YPI’s charter managers are seeing clients wanting to book as early as possible to avoid missing out. However, only a select number of charter yachts are currently prepared to start taking bookings for 2023, as many owners haven’t yet confirmed their yachts’ availability. As a result of the high demand, some charter managers are predicting that owners of private vessels will consider joining the charter market for the first time.
To find out more about how to charter a yacht with YPI, or any other yachting-related query, contact the team directly here.
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