by Kim Kavin
The global economic recession has had several lasting effects on the crewed yacht charter industry. One of the most significant is that weekly base rates have adjusted downward and are now often 10 percent to 15 percent lower than they were in 2008. Another is that yacht owners are offering incentives beyond competitive pricing to entice clients back into booking.
Introductory rates are just what they sound like: temporary rates that are lower than a charter yacht’s regular weekly base rate will be. Introductory rates are sometimes offered on new yachts, but more often are offered aboard yachts that are new to a company’s charter fleet. New yachts generally garner the most demand, while yachts moving from fleet to fleet are usually at least a year or two old. The introductory rate is a way for the new management company to promote the yacht without focusing on its age.
There is no across-the-board way to gauge introductory rates. If you see one, it’s probably at least five percent below the regular rate. Introductory rates by definition have a deadline. Often you have to book within a few months, but you can take your charter vacation anytime within the year.
Bonus days are another incentive that more and more charter yacht owners are now offering. Typically, yachts are chartered for one week. Some owners will give you eight days for the price of seven, or 16 days for the price of 14, or some variation on that concept. The value of each bonus day depends on the yacht’s regular rate.
Many yacht owners like bonus days because they help to keep weekly charter rates high, at least publicly. When you receive a bonus day or two, you are in effect receiving a discount on a longer charter. But on paper, the yacht’s weekly base rate remains the same. Many owners consider this rate preservation important for when the global economic recovery moves into full swing.
Introductory rates and bonus days can be great ways to stretch your charter-vacation dollars. Often, bonus days can be negotiated even if they’re not advertised, so make sure you ask the charter broker if a yacht owner is open to making such deals.