As the name suggests, our main point of interest is yachting, or to be more precise, the yacht charter sector. Initially, we aim to revolutionise the charter sector in Europe which is estimated to be worth around €6 billion.
While the majority of boat owners comes from Nothern Europe (especially from Sweden and the Baltic States), the Mediterranean Sea alone attracts 70% of the world charter demand. The sector is dominated by five companies (Sunsail, Le boat and Footloose that are owned by TUI Marine, Dream Yacht Charter and Kiriakoulis) which cover about 80% of the European market.
Marinas realise a turnover of almost €4 billion and employ approximately 40,000–70,000 people. Like the charters, there is a strong seasonal influence on demand and turnover. Marinas are subdivided into privately and publicly (municipality/regionally) owned marinas. There is a trend towards private owners that operate a chain of marinas or marinas that are organised as a network (clusters). Most of the marinas are located in a limited number of Member States (SE, FI, UK, NL, DE, FR, IT, GR, HR).
The charter sector in the EU is a strong one with high demand within EU territories, particularly in the Mediterranean. A handful of international providers capture a large share of the market supplemented by many small local providers. The charter industry is profiting from a trend towards fewer boat owners and more rentals. This has also helped the sector during the crisis period following the year 2008. The EU charter sector is also profiting from a beautiful sailing area, which has the potential to be well connected to hinterland activities. New business models following the trend of higher charter demand such as cruise style chartering or skipped charter offer opportunities to further develop in the future.
On the other hand, remaining regulatory uncertainties and difficulties for cross-border operation such as professional skippers licence requirements, flag state rules, and so on, risk hampering the development of the sector. Threats to the industry are reduced demand for second — hand boats, which make it more challenging to replace older boats in the fleet as well as high capital demand.
The demand trend is attributed to the phenomenon that today’s users of boats appear to be less willing to accept long preparation of their boating trips, constant maintenance or dealing with future problems, leading to decreasing tendencies to own a boat and an increased growth demand for charters. They want to go to their preferred destination, have a boat ready and everything functioning throughout their holidays. In the past, boat owners took all these issues into account when using their boats. In the last years, sales of boats decreased, but chartering increased, even though periods of the charter have shortened. This trend confirmed through interviews with boating associations and charter companies. They stated that consumers spend less and less time on the boat and that renting is gaining popularity. Recreational boating is gaining popularity as a new way of spending vacations. Chartering, therefore, endured the crisis rather well; however, smaller companies faced difficulties.
In the last ten years, the average size of boats has been growing. This trend partially reversed during the economic crisis; however, the size increase trend is back again due to the demand for larger (charter) boats (currently about 13m average length).
The type of charter clients are categorised by 51.7% as friends, 25.1% family, 15% couples, 5.3% colleagues and 2.8% others. The average age of the youngest charter crew members is 31 years, and that of the oldest charter crew members is 51 years. The peak of the season in chartering is July (22%) followed by August (19.2%) and September (18.6%).
Based on interviews with charter companies and marina operators, excellent service on the boat and in marinas, including rental of crew and skippers are gaining importance. The survey confirms that unique and personalised services, as well as attractions in and around marinas, play an essential role. In addition, safety and price are also vital.
Yachtco is a platform that joins the entire yacht charter industry under one roof. It is an ecosystem and a marketplace that allows all users to connect, plan sailing holidays efficiently and quickly, save money and participate in a dynamic community.
Let’s make some waves!