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What charter skippers can learn from the coronavirus crisis

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear skippers,

The clear advantage of legal certainty resulting from a booking in the home country is in itself a decisive argument for the skipper to book with a domestic charter agency. We reported on this in detail in our last newsletter. ▶ You can read more here.

Due to its importance for charter skippers throughout Europe, the topic has now also been taken up by major yacht magazines, such as Ocean7 or Boote in the current issue.

However, the experiences of 2020, a challenging year for everyone involved, have also highlighted other crucial points that have always been important in the complex charter business, but which prove to be particularly important for skippers and their crews in times of crisis:

A number of charter trips could not be undertaken because, for example, flights were canceled or the ships were not allowed to set sail. Or the skipper and crew didn’t want to set sail because there was a travel warning, for example.

The objective legal situation, which can be quite controversial in individual cases, was one thing, but the different behavior of some charter agencies and fleet operators towards the crews concerned was another.

Fair or uncompromising?

Regardless of the legal situation, a number of fleet operators were unable to repay the advance payments made, while others simply insisted on their formal right to withhold the payments.

Postponing the cruise to the following year was the compromise of the hour for a conflict-free cooperation – and the hundredfold free risk protection with the YACHT-POOL insurance certificate was a decisive help for the customer to accept these compromises.

A great deal of mediation work was necessary to resolve all the individual cases, involving a great deal of personal and financial effort on the part of the agencies. We registered a very clear separation of the “wheat from the chaff”.

The old, well-established, personal and partnership-based relationships between the traditional charter agencies and the fleet operators concerned worked quite well in most cases – on the narrow path between goodwill and economic opportunity.

In any case, this worked much better and with less friction than with some online agencies, where the customer relationship was limited to proving that a ship was free at a certain time and the rest was often a matter for the customer alone.

In many points that went far beyond this, many charter customers realized the complexity of the charter business, which goes far beyond arranging a hotel room.

No harm without benefit

is an old country saying, or more intellectually: in every crisis there is also a new opportunity. In coronavirus times, we saw who knew how to use them.

For us as an “outside insider”, it was very clear that the agencies that supported their customers with appropriate service commitment were securing a good piece of their future business by setting themselves apart from others.

This is because they have already taken the opportunity to demonstrate the value of their extensive market knowledge and solid business relationships with fleet operators and charter customers.

Many charterers have learned that the cheap price alone can be a will-o’-the-wisp that points in the wrong direction. On the other hand, there are weighty arguments and considerable advantages to having a local partner at your side – wherever you charter.

We have also learned from this and know that we have to take even more into account than before when awarding our CHECKED & TRUSTED quality seal. We also had to restrict the awarding of our quality seals due to the generally known economic situation.

Our quality seals have always been awarded for one year only, because a company that is good today does not necessarily have to be good next year. This applies to both fleet operators and agencies.
Therefore, please pay attention to the year!

Your personal experience?

In addition, we ask you to share with us your positive and negative experiences from your charter life. We would like to make this available to the skippers of our YACHT-POOL Skipper Community in a suitable form as a neutral exchange of experiences – subject to your consent.

We look forward to your valuable feedback! Please send them to skipper@yacht-pool.de with the subject “Experience”.

Dr. Friedrich Schöchl
CEO YACHT-POOL

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