Expanding the potential of the superyacht and its horizons throughout the superyacht lifecycle

It was interesting to see how The Perfect Customer Journey could be explored through the various services available throughout The Superyacht Lifecycle at the 2018 Superyacht Forum last month. From how to engage a potential owner or charter customer with new tech platforms as an alternative to a broker, to the passage of the yacht itself through unchartered depths with submersibles and taking on the Antarctic.

The audience was often visibly blown away by the no-holds-barred criticism of the industry. Yet there were plenty of positive discussions around responsible yacht use, protecting the environment and crew welfare.

‘Voyages of Discovery’ talk at The Superyacht Forum 2018

‘Voyages of Discovery’ talk at The Superyacht Forum 2018

The panel at ‘The Disruptor Debate’ at The Superyacht Forum' 2018

The panel at ‘The Disruptor Debate’ at The Superyacht Forum' 2018

The event shone a light on how the customer can be engaged at different stages of their own life – from accumulating wealth, to investing wealth to philanthropy and expeditions. TSF really did cover a lot of ground.

Lessons learned from the mighty 300m+ cruise ship market

Brookes Bell Senior Partner, Ray Luukas, took the stage during a panel discussion Fires On Superyachts, something that has become more commonplace in recent years. There was lively discussion around risk assessments of specific areas onboard, implementation of prevention systems and procedures. The audience was surprised by some of the stories and statistics shared, and how simple preventative measures are still not widespread in the superyacht industry.

Brookes Bell Senior Partner Ray Luukas hosting the Fires on Superyachts Panel at The Superyacht Forum 2018

Brookes Bell Senior Partner Ray Luukas hosting the Fires on Superyachts Panel at The Superyacht Forum 2018

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The good news is, much of the best practice and the rigorous safety procedures from the cruise liner industry can be emulated on superyachts, after all the finest modern cruise ships are essentially gigantic superyachts at over 300m long.

Many more lessons can be learned from the cruise industry, which was a key point raised on another panel session. Brookes Bell’s Dr Kieran Dodworth took the stand to share some of his knowledge, alongside Angela Composto from Ritz Carlton, Terry Allen from McFarlane ship designs and superyacht designer Martin Francis.

Our ground-breaking designs and interpretations of the regulations in the commercial and cruise ship sector are becoming increasingly relevant to the Superyacht industry as vessel sizes increase and regulations become more restrictive. For example – our work on Symphony of the Seas, allowed the world’s largest passenger ship at 362 metres long to be fully compliant with SOLAS’ Safe Return to port regulations.

Evolution or revolution? The future of the industry

On our part, we can see how the customer journey has evolved over such a short period of time. Brookes Bell has been operating for over 100 years and has worked within the superyacht industry for 30 of those, but really we’ve seen most of the change happen only in the past 3-4 years.

Innovations in tech alongside the new generation of wealth have meant the industry has had to rapidly evolve to stay relevant and attract new customers. Superyacht charter has also become increasingly popular in that time. Co-ownership of superyachts is now emerging as an option – access not ownership has become a driving force within the new UHNW players, largely made possible by the spread of the sharing economy across sectors and price brackets.

Professionals who know and understand all the parameters and can anticipate pitfalls and provide practical and innovative solutions are an increasing necessity in this period of rapid change – at every stage of a superyacht’s lifecycle. Whether it’s complying with new regulations, new ownership models or dicier charter destinations, there is a growing need for expert advice when it comes to navigating these new horizons.