Yachtcharter Trends 2019

08.03.2019 nauCAT
Yachtcharter Trends 2019


boot Dusseldorf

Photo: Velimir Tišma


For all those who do not call a boat their own, chartering a yacht is an increasingly popular option to spend a holiday on board. Yacht charter is en vogue with German as well as international holiday makers, and the possibilities for travellers are becoming more diverse again.

This is true not only for the holiday destinations but also for the various options and formats how to create your perfect boating holiday. This applies not only to the destinations, but also to the offer and holiday forms. At least, bookings and offers for 2019 indicate this.

While the destinations in the western Mediterranean are becoming more and more the home territories of charterers from Germany due to their good accessibility and are booked primarily for short btreaks and week trips, the eastern Mediterranean, especially Turkey, is also experiencing growth again. The exotic destinations of the Seychelles have grown enormously, but the Caribbean is also slowly returning after the devastating storms in autumn 2017. A high degree of comfort on offer at their holiday destination is what is of prime importance to travellers.

The collective memory takes about two to three years until the memories of sensational events begin to fade. That is why the charter business in the Caribbean is still far from its potential. In the autumn of 2017 hurricanes Irma and Co left their mark not only in the minds of travellers, but also in the infrastructure of the affected islands. A lot of effort is still needed to get back to pre-Autumn 2017 standards.

"One or two years will probably still have to pass before the hurricanes are out of our heads again," says Marc Rosendahl, Managing Director of Sun Charter. "What is crucial, however, is that confidence in the region and the image of the Caribbean must first be rebuilt. We have noticed this, even though we as an agency were not directly affected by the hurricanes," says Aysegül Inceören, Marketing Manager at Argos Yachtcharter. The islands south of the British Virgin Islands are still well booked until May, but otherwise the Seychelles have taken over first place from the Caribbean as the prime exotic destination. Charterbar Yachting has also registered this: "Many have changed to the Seychelles in their bookings. But slowly the bookings for the Caribbean are coming back again", says Charterbar managing director Ümit Uzun.

The top destinations in the Mediterranean are very diverse, and vary between providers and offerings. While at Argos Greece is now number one, it is still Croatia at other agencies. "Croatia was the largest market, at least for the 2018 summer season, but with less growth than in previous years. The biggest winner in the Mediterranean is Greece with a plus of 15 percent," reports Stefanie Heß of Sunsail/The Moorings. Greece not only scores well with travellers because of its great destinations - the Ionian Sea in particular is very popular, but also because of its low price level. In the Mediterranean region the prices for all additional expenses are lowest in Greece, explains Rolf Brezinsky of PC Baltic Sea charter. But he has also reason to hope for a good season in the Baltic Sea next year - the great weather conditions in the summer of 2018 should pay a dividend.

In the western Mediterranean, the Italian charter destinations have acquired new fans in recent years. According to Marc Rosendahl (Sun Charter) and Aysegül Inceören (Argos), Sardinia and also Sicily are well booked. In Spain and on the Balearic Islands, on the other hand, the gap in booking numbers is wide between the various agencies. While both Sunsail/The Moorings and Argos have recorded a significant decline, probably also due to discussions about both water scarcity and quality on the islands, Mallorca has gone well at Sun Charter. "Mallorca is a great area that can be reached quickly and cheaply. That makes it especially interesting for families," says Marc Rosendahl. "Here in particular the smaller yachts up to 35 feet are in great demand. It makes family sailing affordable." These criteria also apply to the areas around Elba/Italy and Istria/Croatia. Istria in particular lives from the fact that it can also be easily reached by land with your own vehicle, which makes holidays less expensive.

The potential of Turkey is unanimously recognized. After bookings had fallen significantly in recent years due to the unclear political situation, the country is now beginning to make a come back as a charter destination. Providers who withdrew from the country on the Bosporus in the past are reopening offices. "The travel agents are coming back," says Ümit Usun of Charterbar.

The exact choice of yachts charterers book depends largely on the actual charter destination. In the Mediterranean monohulls make up the largest market, even though demand for catamarans is increasing. But costs as well as mooring capacities in marinas still make many customers turn to monohulls. "However, customers tend to book a few feet more in terms of boat lenght compared to a few years back. They are looking for boats which offer a lot of comfort, sporty yachts are less often asked for", Ümit Uzun agrees. The desire for comfort and good manoeuvrability is also noticeable in the requested equipment of yachts. Even when booking smaler yachts, people are, for example, looking for bow thrusters. On yachts from 45 feet upwards this equipment is almost demanded as a standard feature. Good standards are also expected in the sanitary facilities. In terms of cabin layouts, the trend goes towards owner versions, which guarantee a high degree of comfort.

The demand for catamarans is growing: lots of space, lots of light in the saloon and comfortable living below and even on deck make multihulls ideal holiday cruising platforms. But the advantages come at a price and also demand good sailing skills, particularly when handling such wide boats in full marinas. That's why catamarans are particularly in demand in exotic destinations where anchoring is the prevalent choice over marinas. In these cases, further technical equipment which provides greater independence is welcome on board, as for example gGnerators, air conditioning, water makers and solar panels. Since catamarans are usually booked by more than one couple or family together anyway, higher charter fees are carried on more shoulders. What is also important for many charter guests is the communication equipment on board. Internet access packages for staying connected to the world on board are being booked more and more frequently.

What has changed significantly in recent years, are the duration of holidays and the frequency of bookings. Whereas in the past it was mainly male crews who booked a charter cruise almost yearly, now many families and couples are around. However, because of the size of the holiday budgets, families in particular and young customers are not going on charter holidays as regularly any more, but rather every few years. In addition, charter holidays of one week are the most common, whereas in the past it used to be two weeks. However, the closer the holiday destination is to home, the shorter are the holidays on average. In exotic destinations bookings tend to be longer, not least because of long journey times. And agencies are required to provide substantially more additional services. Customers often hesitate to book flights, transfers and overnight stays independently for overseas destinations. All-inklusive, carefree packages offered by agencies are gladly accepted. In the Mediterranean, on the other hand, charteres tend to book bare boat charter more often. Booking European flights online is easy as well as cheap, and customers are well-acquainted with the procedures.

"Customer behavior has changed significantly, but it is also much more customized," reports Marc Rosendahl. Ümit Uzun also confirms this: "Additional packages they book are very individual. Watercraft and toys such as SUP-boards or kayaks are also asked for". Marc Rosendahl knows that it is important to adapt to the different needs: "Some want detailed advice and want to travel to great spots in the countryside, for others it is the sailing trip itself and a good services in the marinas that is all important. And some like to join a flotilla cruise to sail in company. The charter market is very diverse".



Most read