The MYBA Superyacht Brokers Seminar 2013, Jenny Caird, Director of 212 Yachts attends…
The MYBA Superyacht brokers seminar took place in Saint Laurent du Var this week, from Monday – Wednesday. The event consisted of a number of industry experts presenting on a range of important super yacht topics, including charter, yacht management and yacht sales and purchase. An intensive 3 days brought together brokers, yacht managers, charter brokers and agents, as well as the odd lawyer and surveyor. Jenny summarises the event from her perspective: The seminar was very successfully organised by the Maritime Training Academy in combo with MYBA. The Maritime Training Academy was made up of a friendly and impressive team, each of whom openly shared their own knowledge and encouraged candidates to listen, learn and ask questions in a safe training environment. The Holiday Inn Hotel, Saint Laurent du Var did a great job at providing a good service and ensured that there was always much needed coffee and treats during the breaks. The seminar programme included highlights such as:
Analysis of MYBA Agreements
Communications, customer care, business and ethics
Current and impeding VAT, legal and financial challenges
A Captain’s perspective – how brokers must help the Captain do a great job for clients
Marketing of yachts – sell the benefits
Networking with fellow brokers, industry influencers and experts
The importance of brokers in yacht purchase, sale and yacht charters
What shone through consistently for me was the importance of clients in the super yacht industry; it is the clients whom make this industry tick, they are the people that push brokers and broker businesses (the good ones at least) to constantly improve services, improve their approach, to be adaptable and at all times to put the client first. But key to the enjoyment of clients is the important role that brokers play in ensuring that clients purchasing a yacht or chartering a yacht do just that – enjoy. It is the brokers role to mitigate, to mediate, to clearly communicate with all relevant parties involved, to listen and to be at all times honest (never lie). The overall positive experience of clients depends greatly, if not entirely on a broker possessing all of these skills, combined with knowledge, experience and a can do attitude.
French VAT and yacht charters
New VAT challenges for those chartering yachts on the French Riviera caused much heated discussion. In theory EU rules require that when chartering a yacht for less than 90 days, VAT must be paid in the country where the chartered yacht departs.Yachts now being chartered in France, without VAT being accounted for, are operating out of line with European legislation. At present the French government appear to be objecting / turning a blind eye to the EU Directive. However, it is only a matter of time before French authorities will be required to check the yachts and their use at high seas. This will add a much higher ticket price to those starting charters in Riviera waters. In an industry which is already struggling with the economic climate, VAT which will be an unwanted extra expense to clients risks driving yacht charter clients elsewhere to start their charters. Of course, this potentially opens up new opportunities for those in a position to adapt quickly. This VAT will affect small boat rentals too. For 212 Yachts small day boat charters (tenders, ribs, motor) on the Riviera is the heart and large majority of our business and for day boat rentals, some as little as €500 a day, a 19.6% French VAT rate will be a deterrence to our clients who are already budget conscious.
Changing times in the yachting industry and how business is conducted
From VAT, to anti bribery laws, to money laundering, to new crew regulations on commercial boats, combined with stiff competition; too many active brokers, too few clients, too many yachts for sale, not enough charter clients; too many charter yachts… there was, in my opinion, an unspoken sense that a revolution is coming. In these tough economic times the businesses that will survive and succeed have no choice but to change current industry norms, they will be leaders. Smaller companies may suffer, that remains to be seen. Regardless, what is important, is the client. The industry leaders and experts must keep at the forefront of their minds that it is the best interests of the client which must take prominence in terms of how the industry develops.
General observations about the MYBA Superyacht Brokers Seminar 2013
The reason I attended the event was because I know, that I only know what I know. In other words we must never assume and always seek to learn more. Did I learn? Yes. Did I enjoy the seminar? Yes. Why? From a content perspective, sure I picked up new information. What I enjoyed most was meeting new people in the industry. For the most part the candidates were charismatic and confident, as I expected from people in a primarily sales driven role. However, I also expected to see the skills (as mentioned above) displayed in all the brokers I met. However, I was frankly flabbergasted to observe the inability of some people to simply listen (and therefore miss vital client information) or clearly communicate. Why is this important to me? Well, simply put, it gave me confidence in me and the potential of 212 Yachts. 212 Yachts is focused on small boat rentals, not super yacht charters, however I want to use big companies and big yachts as a benchmark for my business and standards. This was the main reason for me attending the event. Listening to my clients requirements, regardless of how little the boat, puts me in a stronger position to impress and deliver on promises. Observing this missing skill set in others, assures me that I am doing something right. It was a pleasure to speak with people from the large broker houses (very respected companies attended) and to see their passion, enthusiasm and keen commercial know-how.
It was encouraging to see from some their interest in 212 Yachts small boat rental on the French Riviera. It was a delight to know that intelligent, admirable, serious and committed companies are working towards the continuous innovation and improvement of the yachting industry as a whole. My favourite speakers, people who spoke in a language I believe in, who demonstrated leadership and professionalism, the type of people who are likely great influencers and mentors, included Jonathan Beckett from Burgess and Mark Duncan from Yachting Partners International. In an industry that is highly competitive, where brokers and companies alike are cagey and generally unwillingly to share information, the MYBA Superyacht Brokers Seminar managed to bring professionals together to share knowledge and industry insight. This knowledge sharing, regardless of competition, is at the end of the day key to the successful growth and continuous improvement of the super yacht industry and most importantly; key to the clients enjoyment!