You bought the boat and now you want to offset the cost and make your yacht charter ready. Great news! However, while she might be perfectly fit for you and your family’s lifestyle, does she have what it takes to stand out on the competitive charter market?
When designing your yacht for charter, keep these five key elements in mind. They will go a long way in your return on investment!
Make your Yacht Charter REady with Durable Finishes
Forget the velvet wallpaper and the priceless white silk carpeting, unless you’re prepared to repair and replace often. Much like a rental property, your charter yacht will see its share of wear and tear. And even the best cleaning solutions and most diligent crew can’t keep up with a revolving door of enthusiastic guests with wet bathing suits, sandy feet and a penchant for red wine.
A charter yacht does not need to be “dialed down,” however, it just needs to be flexible in the design and materials, amenities and accommodations. It’s not necessary to use hard, scratchy, uncomfortable contract materials. We have been using Perennials’ high-performance outdoor materials and even their outdoor rugs a lot lately in our interiors. Their materials are so luxurious, plush, and cozy and beautiful you would never guess just how tough and durable they are. We have had a lot of clients requesting white fabrics and carpet lately. With some of the new luxurious performance materials out now I no longer cringe when I hear the word white and the crew doesn’t have to worry!
Happy Crew, Happy You!
Happy wife, happy life? On your yacht, happy crew is the key difference between an ok charter and a re-booking. Pay attention to your crew quarters – is there enough space for them to escape for some much-needed quiet time during the charter? Then consider the layout – will they need to be climbing over railings or running from deck to deck to serve hors d’oeuvres? Consider incorporating prep stations and even a dumbwaiter if space permits.
Also, keep in mind all of the things that your crew must take care of during a charter – from storing outdoor cushions and wiping the decks down after the lightest sprinkle to quickly being able to store or secure any decorative items if the seas pick up. Do not over accessorize! Extra accessories may look nice for a magazine shoot, but can create nightmares for a stewardess who has to constantly clean, store and replace the tchotchkes! Museum Putty keeps lamps and decorative items affixed in rough seas while adding weights to outdoor cushions will keep them from blowing away in heavy winds.
And for those things that you do plan to store onboard, invest in designing custom storage for everything from tableware to vases to linens and more. Your crew will thank you for these little considerations and you’ll have less potential for breakage and replacement costs when items are able to be properly stowed and affixed.
Linens & Things
The charter experience is all about the details – so give considerable attention to your bed and bath linens. Make sure you have an adequate supply on hand for each bed and bath for a 7 to 10-day charter as well as storage for all. We recommend a minimum of three sets of bed linens; one on the bed, one in the wash and one in the closet.
Table settings and decor add to the daily intrigue and your guests will look forward to the table theme of each meal with delight. Prepare storage for these items and charge your Chief Stew with the fun task of sourcing creative and whimsical features to dress up every meal. You’ll need to have extra quantities of pretty much everything, from table linens to dishware, cutlery, serve ware and glassware in a variety of styles and colors so that the table never gets repetitive or stale. Read more about designing your table in our blog post Tablescapes And Yachts.
In addition to the ample supply of bed and bath linens needed for charter, you’ll need space for robes and slippers in various sizes as well as logo-embroidered items and personalized guest books and stationary, etc… We also always like to provide special embroidered hanging laundry bags and luggage pads as most charter guests are not sensitive to the incredible maintenance of the crew.
Toys & Toy Storage
What sets charter boats apart these days? Particularly when vying for bookings in the inviting waters that surround The Bahamas and Caribbean? Toys! Investing in a solid complement of water gear for all ages – from snorkel gear and paddleboards to SeaBobs, inflatable kayaks and towables – ensure that your yacht will stand out from the pack. The more exciting the toy – think JetLev flyers, inflatable slides, windsurfs and more – the more desirable your yacht becomes.
But as with all aspects of the charter, it’s best to identify your target client and the main activities to be enjoyed at your preferred destination while still keeping your offering as universally appealing as possible. Do you plan to cruise in an area known for its great diving, such as French Polynesia? Invest in high-end dive gear and highly trained crew to ensure the ultimate dive experience for your guests. Plan to offer your yacht in Alaska? Fishing gear, all-weather gear and plenty of indoor toys such as Xbox, board games and karaoke machines keep everyone entertained.
While the purchase of the toys is a post-build or post-refit action item, it’s important to consider which toys you’ll be offering and carrying onboard and plan for the storage as necessary. Guests will appreciate the toys they want to try out being available at a moments’ notice, and your crew will greatly appreciate the space needed to quickly inflate, deflate and store everything!
When planning to make your yacht ready for charter, it is especially important to consider the cultures and customs of the different guests who may be enjoying your yacht, as some cultures have very specific requirements when it comes to dining, service, etiquette and hygiene.
Some cultures do not participate in plated service at all and prefer to dine “family style.” Affording the option of a removable (but fixed when needed) lazy susan will appeal to multiple cultures and is perfect for more casual al fresco dining on the aft deck.
When it comes to personal hygiene, it is important to provide separate amenities to accommodate each person sharing a head individually. While no American men use bidets and few American women do, depending on the charter destination, bidets can be an important amenity. If you are unable to have a separate bidet due to space constraints, consider a bidet toilet seat.
Many cultures will not use the same hand towel twice or use the same soap or towel that another person has used. Some cultures won’t even share towel bars, so you’ll need to incorporate two towel bars per head as well as tumblers. It is also important to have separate soap bars, a soap pump and beautiful disposable guest paper towels for drying hands. Some cultures use separate soaps for feet and even separate storage for shoes away from any clothing or personal items.
Expectations can range widely when dealing with charter clients from around the world. For more information on this topic, read about “Considering Your Audience” in our blog post, “Creating a Luxury Interior Design without a Client – Considerations when Designing a Yacht on Spec”.
In short, there is so much to take into consideration beyond selecting durable materials that withstand wear and tear of heavy charter use. Every yacht owner, builder and crew member I have worked with and every project I have done has brought something new to the table that my future clients can benefit from in one way or another that they may not even know they need!
When building or refitting a yacht, whether an owner is considering charter or not, it is important to take into consideration these few basic accommodations that don’t cost too much during the build or refit but could possibly cost them a charter down the road.
The secret is to make that private yacht everything the owner expects and requires, and if the owner wants to consider chartering in the future, there is a way to make their yacht more desirable to the charter market without compromising their preferences or having to go through a major refit after the fact to accommodate charter.
To learn more about Perennials fabric care be sure to check out their website!