WHY USE A CHARTER BROKER?
Maybe it's the recession and the primal urge to get a better deal, but yes, we're back to this discussion again. Reason being that customers calling in to the office ask us more frequently: "are you the owner of the boat?" When the answer is "no, we don't own any boats, we're brokers...." I sense serious disappointment at the other end of the line almost as if we let the guy down in some way, like proposing to cheat him out of some hard earned cash, like we suddenly morphed into a middleman carpet merchant, or perhaps "gee, if we'd only called the right people we'd be getting a better deal" kind of thought process.
I guess I'm writing this blog to assuage my feelings of guilt almost as if I got guilty by phone osmosis. Anyway, enough of this sentimental garbage. Here are some real good reasons to use a broker: number one, try calling 4000 boats by yourself. (then do a comparative price/value analysis on an Excel spreadsheet...!! How do we assign points to the crew...??) Hmm, perhaps not - better call a broker.
No, seriously, we do perform an added value function in the industry but certainly from my perspective, this added value is, very simply, knowledge. The career track of most good brokers takes them through the ranks of chefs, mates, stewards, captains, and owner-operators of charter vessels. sometimes also through the ranks of the yacht management companies, clearing houses, yacht sales brokerages, and then finally they break out of the mold, start their own business and become charter and/or sales brokers. Then, and this is important, they travel around the world looking for the best boats and the best locations so they can share all of this with their customers; wow, this is valuable stuff. Here's my premise: this accumulated knowledge can only benefit you when you take your annual yachting vacation.
The broker can advise you where to go, choose the best boats and the best crews for you, tell you what the weather will be like and the probability of winds and sea states; where and when the special deals are going, what's the best time of year, what you should wear and how to save money on airline fares.
Here's the best part: it doesn't cost anything - this vast depository of knowledge is free for our clients to take advantage of. Using the analogy of mortgage brokers, realtors, and sales brokers, the sellers, in this case the boats themselves, pay us a fee to sell and market their products while they do what they're doing best - actually running the boats and looking after customers 24/7.
I guess I don't feel guilty anymore.