With the summer season well underway, the majority of yachting professionals have been very encouraged by the steadily improving results of the first six-months of 2011. Luxury yacht charter bookings are the highest in three years, there has been an increase in demand for yacht management and crew placements and there has been an increase in the number of clients signing up for new-build projects. Unfortunately yacht sales are yet to pick up and there still remains an over-supply of charter yachts. Nevertheless, the industry as a whole should take encouragement from an overall upturn in fortunes.
We are now in the peak months of the Mediterranean yacht charter summer season and the figures for the year so far are giving every indication that we are moving away from the disappointing results of the past two years. This trend has been mirrored across the Atlantic, where there has been a similar increase in demand. Unfortunately the supply charter yachts still outweighs demand with the inevitable result being that some yacht owners will sell less charter weeks than they will have hoped to. We have also experienced continuing pressure on yacht charter fees and, although discounts are lower than last year, clients are still negotiating prices.
INCREASING DEMAND FOR SENIOR CREW
The increase in yacht charter bookings has had a direct influence on the demand for crew and the first six-months of 2011 has seen an unusually high number of crew placement requests by super-yacht owners in Central and South America. While this is partly due to the fact that Fraser Yachts have been focusing heavily on these markets, having relatively recently opened an office in Mexico, there has also been a realisation that a top crew provides a better experience for super yacht charter guests and so maintains the value of their investment. As such, there is now a significant level of demand for highly qualified and experienced senior crew members to serve onboard yachts owned by South and Central American clients.
YACHT MANAGEMENT IN HIGH DEMAND
The increase in demand for charter bookings has been matched by an increase in demand for yacht management services. Indeed Fraser Yachts has experienced a steady rise in its yacht management fleet over the last three years as yacht owners have sought to control costs by making sure that their vessel is being operated in as efficient a manner as possible. While a large portion of this business comes from clients from the Middle East and Russia, there has been a significant increase in the number of clients from the Far East. Fraser Yachts have noted that Asian owners tend to use their vessels in a very different way to the traditional profile and as a consequence have tailored a new style of yacht management dedicated to the Far Eastern market.
US YACHT SALES SUPPRESSING THE WORLD MARKET
While the fields of yacht charter, yacht management and crew placement have all experienced recent good fortune, the number of yacht sales continue to disappoint. This is largely due to the fact that the North American market is not recovering as quickly as we would have hoped with the demand for brokerage deals and new construction projects lagging far behind European levels. Given the similarity of basic market conditions across these two continents it is not easy to identify the reasons for this disparity and as such one might conclude that it is a mindset that is restraining the US market and preventing deals from being closed. Whatever the reason, the lack of improvement in the US market is exerting a negative influence across the globe with worldwide prices being kept low as a result.
Fraser Yachts is a full service yachting company offering super yacht charter and mega yacht charter, luxury yacht sales and construction, as well as yacht management and crew-placement services. For further information regarding any of these three exclusive luxury yachts, please visit the Fraser Yachts website at www.fraseryachts.com.