Charter Forecast: Top Tips For The Winter 2019/20 Charter Season
by Olivia Michel
As this year’s winter charter season kicks off, members of the superyacht industry share their advice and top tips for 2019/2020 charters.
Organisation is Key
Brokers have overwhelmingly agreed that this winter season is looking to be even more busy than last year. Elisabeth Niek of CSO Yachts suggests booking up to 6 months in advance and June Montagne from Ocean Independence’s Fort Lauderdale office agrees that clients should "book soon before all the best yachts and crews are gone". According to Montagne, smaller sailing yachts and catamarans are always the first to become unavailable.
Being well organised can also help save money. Jessica Engelmann from Northrop & Johnson suggests that "If you get in early, you may even be able to avoid delivery fees between islands should your itinerary take you between island groups". IYC’s charter management director Heather Hatcher also noted that "most owners are willing to give great rates to clients who book early", providing another good incentive.
Head of sales & charter at Imperial Yachts, Eric Lepeingle, concludes that cruising during the winter always needs a little more planning and organisation than a summer charter. "While the French Riviera and the Mediterranean in general are easy to proceed thanks to the very large network existing, there are still things to develop in the Indian Ocean or Caribbean", he comments. "Organisation remains the key", reiterates Lepeingle.
Experience is Important
If you’re planning to visit a new region for this year’s winter charter, Fraser’s broker James Bond recommends that clients “use a broker with a demonstrable history and experience of working on charters for your chosen destination”. Monaco-based broker Pierrik Devic seconds this opinion: “trust your charter broker who has a wealth of knowledge and can recommend off the beaten track itineraries like Papua New Guinea and Panama”, he suggests.
It’s hardly surprising that the Caribbean remains, according to Fraser’s Bond “the most active of winter destinations”. Thompson, Westwood & White CEO Hein Velema notes that almost one in five worldwide holiday charters start in the Bahamas alone.
However, brokers have agreed that charter clients are generally becoming more adventurous when choosing their winter destinations. Lepeingle has noticed “a certain excitement for the Indian Ocean” this season, as well as an increased demand for charters in the South Pacific.
With the right planning, brokers summarise that clients can enjoy a break from the cold weather with a winter charter in sunnier climes this season.