Home Business Insights & Advice Top five tips for running a sailing charter business

Top five tips for running a sailing charter business

by John Saunders
6th Jun 22 2:40 pm

Are you passionate about boating and have a flair for entrepreneurship?  You may be considering starting a boat rental company. Chartering vessels is the perfect way to share your love for sailing with people from around the world.

Combining your hobby as a business takes a lot of work and time. We’ve rounded up tried-and-tested advice to expand your client base and increase your revenue stream. Here are the top 5  tips for running a sailing charter business.

It’s all about location

A beautiful sailing destination makes finding yacht charter clients a cinch. Crystal blue waters, mild weather conditions, and inviting beaches are the winning recipe.

Some of the best international destinations include the Caribbean, Greece, Bahamas, and Croatia. These are frequently at the top of the sailing bucket lists. These well-established destinations have multiple ports. Sailors can find everything they need.

The US is also spoilt for choices when it comes to marinas. There is a huge demand for boat rentals in Florida Keys, Newport, and Hawaii to name a few spots.

When considering the location of your charter business, don’t discount more remote parts of the world. Think Kimberly in Western Australia and Raja Ampat in Indonesia.

These days, you can easily get travel information anywhere in the world. Clients are more willing to travel to lesser-known destinations. Especially if you sell the destination as a hidden gem or exclusive experience.

Hire the best crew

Your first priority is to ensure a safe and smooth voyage. This means hiring expert sailors and a professional cabin crew. However, it is vitally important that your crew like interacting with people.

Most rentals are relatively small boats and guests will be spending a lot of time with the crew. Make sure your employees are approachable, friendly, and engaging. Ask yourself; ‘Are these nice people to be around?’.

Clients need to feel at home and want to be included in the running of the yacht. Happy customers mean repeat business and great reviews.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to hiring onboard chefs. A good chef should be adaptable and capable. This means catering to different dietary requirements including vegetarian and vegan options.

A crew that speaks additional languages will also put you ahead of the competition. Multi-lingual employees make your charter service more appealing to international guests. German, Mandarin, French, Russian and Spanish are some of the most requested languages.

Don’t skimp on marketing

It is best to invest in professional marketing from the beginning. Professionals can help you get a quality website that ranks high on search engines. A well-run marketing campaign will return your investment in no time.

Your website should be easy to navigate, and attractive for users. Update it regularly to stay relevant and engaging. Make the most of video marketing on social media platforms. This is proven to be one of the best ways to catch attention.

Be inclusive, don’t only aim for seasoned sailors.  Keen yachters are a tiny portion of the population. There are substantially more novices looking to hire a boat.  Make sure your website is exciting and informative for first-time boat users.

Create a personal touch by maintaining contact with your customers through follow-ups. Keep on top of your inbox and respond promptly to all inquiries. It should be easy for your clients to contact you.

Stand out from the crowd

Find your niche. What is it that you are offering that you do better or differently from anyone else? Most boating destinations are flooded with fiberglass sailing vessels. Tall ships, yachts, and traditional boats can be a novelty.

Strive to offer something unique. The boats themselves may not be particularly different. Ask yourself what your charter service can add to make them special.

Consider offering personalised packages. You could, for instance, sell a photographic cruise with an onboard photography expert. Small party wedding cruises are also gaining popularity. These combinations can help you reach unexplored markets. There is an opportunity to feature in specialist publications and websites.

Partner up with other tourism businesses in your area. Combine sailing with diving, city tours, fishing, brewery visits, and other activities. Combination packages are easy for local tour operators to promote.

Keep up with the competition

In order to stay relevant, you need to establish who your real competitors are. Look at what you are selling. Who is doing the same? What services do they offer? How do their rates compare?

Other charter operations are not your only competition. You will be competing with all the other ways that clients could be spending their money. Your yachting packages need to be more attractive in comparison to ski holidays, all-inclusive resorts, and the like.

Follow modern trends and stay on top of the small stuff. Go out of your way for the little details. Convenient charging points, good lighting, fresh flowers, and chocolates on pillows all add up. These minor efforts can leave a big impression on clients.

The convenience of the internet means more people plan their trips last minute. Be prepared to make things happen, fast. Make sure your guests are able to book online and have a variety of payment options available.

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