The year 2020 had a great impact on a myriad industries across the globe and yachting is no exception. As some countries get used to the “new normal” and others continue to combat the Covid-19 virus, one thing that resonates in all is that 2021 will be a year of change. When it comes to the world of superyachts, we’re seeing greater attention paid to the world that surrounds us; we’re seeing quality of trips prioritised over frequency and we’re seeing privacy valued more than ever before – the list goes on.
Multi-generational yachting holidays will become the norm
Many families have rediscovered their inner pack mentality following the confinements and social distancing of “the year of Covid” 2020. They missed the family members they couldn’t see or hug and grew closer to those they shared every day with, bringing them into 2021 with the hope of reuniting all generations for some rest and relaxation during their vacation times. Providing a private, safe and nurturing environment – with exceptional back drops and service that is second to none – is something a superyacht is ideally placed to do. From a multi-generational perspective, a yacht has many advantages for keeping all guests amused and together. Young children will love being near the water and can play safely with supervision from the crew. Older kids can revel in higher octane water sports and kick back indoors with many yachts offering a media room, games tables and cinema set up. Parents and grandparents then have the option to take life at their preferred pace, all the while enjoying spectacular cruising, the finest cuisine and the pleasure of having all the family together. FAMILY FRIENDLY CHARTERS
2.Explorer yachts will continue to rise in popularity
There are currently more Explorer yachts in build than there have ever been. The advantages of having a go-anywhere, autonomous yacht are clearer when faced with travel restrictions and the closure of cultural and social allures ashore enhance the need for a cocoon to escape to, at sea. In previous years the design and function of explorer yachts fascinated many people, but the reality of yachting was still firmly centred around destinations with plenty to offer on shore. The knock-on effect of the Covid-19 pandemic may well be a more pronounced rise in less shore-centric cruising. 2020 has given owners, buyers and charterers food for thought when choosing their next yacht and Explorers are increasingly seen as a more flexible option due to their long range, construction for more varied sea states, layout, storage space and equipment geared to spending longer periods on board.
3. Prioritising one big charter over several smaller charters
With 2020 and the start of 2021 pretty much a no-go for travel, there’s no doubt many of us realised how much we took for granted before. The travel market is anticipating a new trend for long, meaningful trips rather than multiple shorter holidays, as in the past. In 2021 and 2022, travellers will aim to make their vacation an exceptional experience with no holds barred – something that has always been synonymous with yachting. This shift is expected as travellers, joyous at the prospect of visiting places new and old and making the most of their travel time, are still going to be cautious when encountering airports and highly populated places and may seek to limit exposure as well as simply optimising the opportunity to travel again to the full. A great charter itinerary can be tailored to include everything guests desire. First-time charter clients may dip their toe in the charter experience looking for a new way to travel that is reassuringly private or they may be ready to book the trip of a lifetime to feel free again after the many lockdowns. With practiced charter clients, we could see the duration of their charters lengthening which, with the additional new norms of remote working and potentially less activities on shore, will allow them to serenely sail on for weeks at a time. LONG TERM CHARTER
4. The yacht will be become a must-visit destination in itself
If the trend towards private vacations continues then yacht charter should see a rebound faster than other areas of tourism. The ability to control your environment, ensure everyone in your holiday bubble is tested, and likely in the coming months also vaccinated, will make yacht charter ever more alluring. Information and communication will remain key and flexibility will be a principal factor for both yacht owners and charterers in terms of final itineraries and safety nets. Tracking vaccination rates and changes in health and travel protocols for each country will help to predict to some extent where people can travel from and what destinations will be open to them throughout 2021. It’s possible we might see charterers shift towards authorities with lower VAT rates. CHARTER
5. Refurbishments are on the rise
Superyacht sales remained strong in 2020, with a fall off in activity during the first major confinements and a rebound after the summer all the way through to the end of December. The industry as a whole closed only 15% down on the number of sales from 2019 and around 20% in terms of average asking values. Going into 2021 we are feeling the positive energy, with Owners seeing the value in marketing their yachts now, many of whom spent 2020 taking care of maintenance projects ensuring their yachts were in great condition coming into 2021. SALES