Ironically, given she is now one of the charter sector’s best-known names, Barbara actually fell into yachting by fluke. Having worked in the private banking sector she moved to Florida in 1988, where she met a yacht broker who encouraged her to join the industry. Her long career started with a role at Fraser Yachts, before moving to Allied Richard Bertram as manager of the charter division. “I got the bug,” she says. Having trained under some of the industry’s most experienced figureheads she later moved to work at the The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals before joining IYC when the companies merged in 2010. She has worked with some of the most recognized and award-winning charter yachts, including Kogo, Apoise and Moonlight II.
Barbara believes that part of her success has come from complete transparency with her clients to ensure they are fully informed to make the best choices about which yacht and destination to pick. “I am always honest with my clients, telling them the pros and the cons of everything clearly and then they can make their own informed decision on what works best for them,” she says. “They should have no surprises – you have to be transparent and look after their best interests.”
Part of making the perfect charter match also comes from asking the right questions, sometimes knowing what the clients want before they even know themselves. “Do they fish, do they like watersports, do they have kids, do they dive, and do they want to relax or be active? You have to understand a client’s wish list and personality before you do that important first scan for possible boats.” Again Barbara always returns to her passion for making sure the client’s needs are both met and exceeded. “Communication and understanding is key; you never want a clients thinking one thing is something else because it is not what they had expected.”
Getting to know the charter boats and destinations, and attending charter shows to learn about new trends and listings, is also crucial for Barbara's matching process. “You have to travel to get to know the destinations and to get to know the boats and the crews,” she explains. “The charter sector is such a people-focused business, so you need to get to know everyone and what the style of the boats is. Clients often have favourite crew and chefs they like to work with, so again you need to know what’s on offer to make sure that the charter you are presenting is the perfect fit.”
After so many years in the charter business the Bahamas is Barbara Landeweer’s personal favourite destination. “The Bahamas is just spectacular, especially for the people who really are water-sports or diving oriented because it’s unbelievable for that,” she says. “When you arrive and see that beautiful crystal see-through water, all the weight goes off your shoulders. It’s a mental thing, it’s what a vacation should be.” Also top of her list of recommendations is the Galapagos Islands, which are “amazing for a life experience,” and the Mediterranean which is “deservedly extremely popular too, for those who want to be in the midst of everything.”
With an infectious passion and vibrancy it is no wonder that Barbara has received recognition from both her peers and by her many repeat and referred clients. If people have the vacation of their life then that’s when she considers her job done. “This is such a fun industry to be in – it’s nice when people go home having had the best experience, and feel like part of the family with their yacht crew. That’s why people come back and that’s why I do what I do.”
To plan you perfect yacht charter contact Barbara here.