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by Zsolt Szemerszky

Zsolt Szemerszky

Chartering from the client’s perspective

Chartering from the client’s perspective

Monaco is and will also be the place to be for those who want to charter in the South of France.

Among the main attractiveness of a holiday cruising on a superyacht one can find the unique destinations reachable by yacht only, the incomparable luxury, world-class service, the unparalleled cuisine, the privacy and of course the unforgettable moments on board.

Due to Monaco’s world-class programs and luxurious atmosphere, renting out a boat for charter is attractive for many nationalities. Even French people come to the Principality to enjoy a nice stay on a superyacht. They can find the best onshore restaurants in the area, best facilities and services.

Chartering is also there fore families. Charterers are becoming more and more educated on what the yacht charter is all about and what they can request and find on board. For example children friendly yachts for families is of absolute importance. For this reason many vessels offer various water toys, slides and other funs for all members of the family.

The charter season typically starts hand in hand with the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, which is early May. It is not far from the truth if we say that most of Monaco’s chartering clients in May are petrolhead car lovers linking their private vacation or corporate events to the Historic Grand Prix and to the Formula One Grand Prix.

It is also important to realise that typically there are two types of chartering offers, the standard and the static charter. Most of the charters are static charters in May due to the fact that during the major events of the year, the yachts are not allowed to leave the port of Monaco.

However, the real chartering season with connected travellers around the French and Italian riviera start right after the Monaco Grand Prix, from early June. The season usually lasts until the final week of the Monaco Yacht Show, which is typically the last week of September.

Charter agencies in Monaco always hope in the Indian summer, meaning having an unseasonably warm, dry weather in October, which can allow them to attract more people to experience a final superyacht charter.

It is interesting to observe the trend that overall most charter clients ultimately aim for cruising holiday charter. However, during the major events of the year, such as Monaco Historic Grand Prix, Monaco Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival, etc, 99% of the charter deals convert into static charters requested by event companies.

The typical charter booking is coming either through a personal contact or a family office. In general these people first “meet” with the charter agencies through their website and newsletter database.

For booking a charter yacht in Monaco, the earlier is better. The typical superyacht is booked at least a month in advance of the planned departure. Educated clients know and understand that forward planning is imperative to find the best suitable choices.

By planning a charter well in advance, a good charter agent can provide different solutions that would meet a client’s exact requirements. It also can also give the client an opportunity to see the superyacht in person and to have a brief first meeting with the captain and crew to understand the vessel. All these small things can give you the right impression towards making a satisfying decision.

Special requests as not unknown in the industry either.

For an enjoyable trip, breaking down the language barrier is amongst the very first things to do. It often happens that for example a Russian family aims to cruise for a week on a Superyacht, however they can only communicate in Russian. In such cases the charter agents can find a crew that are multi-lingual.

Another typical example could be for instance is that a Jewish family rents out a vessel and they are requesting Kosher food to be served. In this case, it is highly important to provide them with the right chef to serve the client and to satisfy the needs and requirements of the Jewish law.

There are many varied examples of special requests, however a very common request is interestingly linked to the wine cellar on a superyacht. High-net worth clients typically have special wine preferences, so advance booking is highly important to fulfil their requests, since wine importation can take multiple days.

And then there are the prestige questions, a typical holiday cruising trip where there are multiple families coming together and they all pay an equal share of the charter. By paying equally they normally expect equal quality as well, this means that the charter agent is usually asked to provide equal sized cabins for each family.

These are just a few examples to show why is it important to ensure enough time is allocated before departure to ensure proper planning. And to be honest, charter agencies want to be prepared for the guests, since this is a direct reflection of their services.

Based on current trend, most superyacht charter bookings in the Principality are happening in March and April, for this reason people who are coming or booking later, may be faced with lack of options.

On some occasions, the first-time charterer may decide to charter a yacht up to 48 hours before their preferred departure, thus making it a very challenging time for the agencies. There is a saying that the higher the rental price, the less the time that the client allows for preparation, which is always risky, because the agency wants to ensure quality of service and meet the special the special needs of the client.

From the yacht owners’ perspective one of the charter agencies most important task and main responsibility is the due intelligence and the identification of the KYC. Know Your Customer is the process of a charter agent, verifying the identity of its clients and assessing potential risks of illegal intentions for the business relationship. With all this the charter agents aims to secure that owners of the vessels who should not be facing any issues on the yachts.

Typically they also check references if they are repeat with the captain of the yachts they chartered. In general clients are all very educated and they do respect the asset. Obviously you will also have some exceptions but that is a very low percentage.

However, risk is always two sided, for example, it is a charter industry practice that no credit card is accepted in the Principality of Monaco for superyacht chartering. All payments must be done by wire transfer and always in advance.

Also worthy of note is the security rule, being all the passengers must ensure they have a copy of their passports before departure, this is important for security, liability and insurance purposes.

There are many chartering agents in Monaco who are taking client education very seriously, for example a month before departure, they normally send the client a brief information on the vessel and the itinerary of the trip, then a week before departure a pre-boarding document with all the useful information and important rules.

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