“My years as a captain gave me the knowledge base to understand everything about these yachts – I understand them, I can drive them, I can act as engineer on them, I can land a helicopter on them – and that gave me a huge leg up above the competition when I first started working as a broker,” he explains.
Running a successful charter yacht is the goal of many owners and here, again, Mark's experience has proven invaluable, having run market-leading charter yachts including Starship, which was one of the best charter yachts in the world when under his command, and Nadine (of Wolf of Wall Street fame), known for having a plethora of toys and tenders on board. “When I sell yachts I can speak from an intelligent perspective of having run them and built a successful charter operation,” he explains. It is Mark's belief that a successful charter boils down to making sure the clients are happy and having fun. “My philosophy, when it comes to charter, is ‘he who plays with the most toys wins,’” he laughs.
Long-term client relationships are at the heart of everything Mark Elliott does. As a captain he worked with the same owners for much of his career, running no less than 14 yachts all named Big Eagle, for them. Today, that same long-term approach is another key part of his success. “I work with my clients for life and it doesn’t just end the moment their boat is sold,” he says. “I help my owners through all aspects of yacht ownership, the hiring and firing of crew and the management and chartering of yachts.”
Understanding where to be in order to provide the best support for clients is also the result of his years as a captain, and Mark founded the IYC Nantucket and Newport offices as well as the St. Barths and St. Maarten offices, which provide high season support for clients. “I chose to open these office where I did because I knew where they would be most useful for the captains, crew and owners,” he says. Predominantly based out of Fort Lauderdale, Mark is always on the move, making sure he is always based where the yachts are cruising. “I travel a lot, so I am always on site to support my clients – there is never an off season!”
The IYC reach is now bigger than ever since merging with Cape4 Yachting in 2015 and Mark believes that this unrivalled network will take the company from strength to strength. “IYC has offers that covered the Caribbean and Florida and East Coast of USA and we now have huge presence in the Med too, covering the entire gambit of popular places for yachts,” he says. “The recent merger has made us one of the largest brokerage companies in the world, meaning we can take care of a client’s yacht wherever it is. It’s exciting.”
As owners get more adventurous with where they take their yachts, having a large international reach is more important than ever for brokerage houses. “I think the next destination buzzword will be Cuba,” muses Elliott. “The last few years were Croatia, which is a wonderful place to cruise and travel, but Cuba is next; yachts will be popular there as there is not a lot of luxury infrastructure right now.” Many yachts in the IYC charter yacht fleet have experience chartering around Cuba, with very successful itineraries there. “People want to have different experiences, they want a change from the same old places.”
One thing is certain, whatever Mark Elliott’s clients want, whether it is a new destination, advice on a charter programme or selling their asset, they will be in good hands with Mark with them every step of the way.
To contact Mark click here.