PERFECTING THE CHARTER FORMULA
Loon was recently sold and is to be renamed Zeal, and her new owners are eager to continue operating the program that has been perfected over the past three years. Loon’s charter rate is $175k per week, and she booked an impressive 17 weeks in 2020 – particularly notable in such a tumultuous year. A testament to her popularity, Loon already has over a million dollars of charter revenue booked for 2021.
The success of Loon is an indication of how fruitful a charter yacht can be for an owner who sees the vessel as a valid business proposition. “The charter success of Loon has created a lot of buzz in the industry” notes Heather Hatcher, Charter Management Director for IYC. She explains that there are several key elements that go into creating a successful charter program, from a committed charter team to an invested owner to multi-skilled crew members. This winning combination is the result of the tireless efforts of Loon’s owners, her crew and the IYC team.
An expert charter team is vital in the success of a vessel. These individuals draw on years of industry experience and are led by Heather Hatcher, Director of Charter management, who has 13 years experience. The IYC team spent three years crafting the winning formula on board Loon, assessing each guest’s charter experience to ensure continued guest satisfaction.
It is common knowledge that energetic, quality crew members improve the reputation of a charter yacht, but Heather highlights that dual-roles on board are a factor that makes Loon’s crew stand out. “Another element of the successful charter program is the crew members have several additional skills aside from their primary role” she explains. “On board Loon, we have a dive instructor, a surfing instructor, and sponsored kite surfer, so these individuals offer next level experiences to guests that may not be found on other vessels.” Further, the longevity of crew is another aspect to consider in a charter program, as it is not only a sign of individual satisfaction in a role but also offers consistency to guests. Both the Captain and Chief Stew of Loon have been on board for over two years.
Many yacht owners are successful individuals with sharp business acumen, something that can and should be applied to their charter yachts. Fundamentally, the more owners invest in their vessels, the more fruitful the outcome will be. “The most important thing is that they have to treat this like a business in order to be successful. It’s a lot of responsibility but it’s in an owner’s best interest to be heavily involved in their charter vessels” says Heather.
Water toys and the on-water experience
Loon is renowned in the industry for having one of the largest water toy selections that can be found on a charter vessel. From the outset, Loon’s owner, the IYC team and her crew understood the importance of standing apart from the crowd and delivering the best on-water experience possible. The toys and equipment on board include a 43′ Everglades towed tender, a 15′ Jet tender RIB, four jet skis, a 27’ inflatable Funair Slide, a 30’ inflatable swimming pool, two seabobs, top-of-the range Scuba pro diving gear that enables guests to dive directly from the yacht (overseen by two dive masters and one dive instructor in the crew), fishing equipment, paddleboards, kayaks, a wakeboard and much more.
The Bahamas is a year-round destination and draws visitors thanks to its warm crystal blue waters, island lifestyle, wreck dives and sandy beaches. Placing a yacht in one of the world’s most popular cruising grounds is a guaranteed way to boost its appeal.
A vacation on a yacht remains one of the most exclusive, private experiences in the world. The advent of social media has given vessels the opportunity to share the life and activities that guests have on board. Loon has almost 3,000 followers on Facebook and over 56,000 on Instagram and the crew post frequent snippets of daily life on board, from images of delicious meals created by the chef to guests trying out the yacht’s vast array of on board toys.
This social media content highlights the plethora of things that guests can enjoy on their yacht charter, as well as showcasing the skills of its crew. Organic and natural, utilising social media is not only attracting more charter guests, but also elevating Loon’s status within the yachting market itself. “The social media aspect is hugely important for getting recognition, not just in the industry, but by reaching potential charter guests directly” says Heather.