How to get the best from your yacht concierge service
Last updated: 10/08/2016
A yacht concierge is the shore-based crew working on behalf of the superyacht owner and charter guests on board a yacht as it travels the world.
At the request of the captain, chef, purser or chief stewardess, it is a concierge’s job to search the local markets to find the luxury goods and services needed for any superyacht and its guests. This often involves searching locally, nationally and internationally for food and provisions, yacht flowers, table decorations and even Christmas trees, as well as arranging all reservations, entertainment and excursions requested by the guests on-board.
Yachting Pages spoke to Heather Grant, founder and owner of Erika's Marine Services, about the services a superyacht concierge can arrange, and how to work with them to get the best out the concierge service for a smooth trip.
What services does a yacht concierge offer?
A yacht concierge is a huge resource for any vessel, with invaluable connections and a thorough knowledge of the local markets, services, sights and sounds, making a yacht’s passage through any new region a delight for yacht owners and charter guests alike, all the while providing a stress-free solution for the crew who serve them.
With notice, a yacht concierge can provide an almost endless list of goods and services, sourcing and delivering right to the yacht’s passerelle. At the request of the yacht’s crew, a concierge can ensure that the yacht owner or charter guests are surrounded by delicious local foods, exotic provisions or the cuisine of their native country, no matter where they are in the world.
To entertain guests, a concierge can ensure that crew and their guests are equipped with the local knowledge to truly see and enjoy their chosen destination, with first-class reservations in the best restaurants, hotels and spas, and tickets to the most exclusive shows.
The main services of a superyacht concierge include:
- Villa rentals, hotel reservations and on-shore accommodation bookings
- Travel arrangements, tickets and excursions
- Yacht berthing, customs and immigration
- Event management
- Food and provisioning
- Health and beauty services
- E-mail, Internet, telephone and communications
- Postal services
- Rentals – cars, boats, bicycles, watersports equipment and more
Heather said, “One of our principal services, however, has little to do with supply, advice and facilitation. That service is ‘discretion’. Your ship, its plans, its guests, its needs are shared only with those who need-to-know to provide the service. We respect the privacy of our clients and shelter them from prying eyes.
”A constant challenge for yacht crews and their concierges is finding ways to excite, impress and entertain visiting guests. We are here to help; we can plan excursions, we can arrange events and can even arrange deserted islands for private use, we are a resource for the ship’s crew to add excitement for bored guests and to ensure that the charms of the islands are fully explored.”
Besides helping with the ‘traditional’ services expected of a concierge, a good concierge will also be able to help with the unexpected.
Heather explained an incident that Erika’s was enlisted to help out with. She said, “We once had to post a missing person’s report for a guest who had mistakenly boarded the wrong yacht in the night. The yacht, not realising that they had an ‘extra’ guest, departed the anchorage. Suffice it to say, a helicopter was involved in the rescue and return of the guest to his rightful place on the correct ship.”
Serving VIP guests: How to get the most out of your concierge service
Heather provided her three top tips for crew who are hoping to get the most out of their concierge service:
1. Keep your concierge informed: Tell your concierge about your plans, your objectives, and as you know more about the client’s needs and idiosyncrasies, let your concierge know too. She said, “The best clients are those who give us the most comprehensive information about the guests, even down to food preferences, itinerary and length of time in the area.”
2. Give as much notice as possible: Let your concierge know as far in advance as possible. This is key when it comes to provisioning and food preparation, but it also applies to interior staff. Heather said, “Give us as much notice as possible as it can take time to obtain and transport some supplies to a yacht. Give as much detail and background as possible when asking for goods and services - the more we know about guests’ likes and dislikes and the yacht’s itinerary, the more efficiently we can deliver the right service and product in a timely fashion.”
3. Think local: Although it is possible for your concierge to source a wide range of exotic fruits, vegetables, flowers and more, from around the globe, it is best to think locally. Local produce will be quicker and easier to source, and it will be fresher, too! Heather finished, “When it comes to provisions and services, try to be realistic about what is and isn’t possible in regards to your destination. A concierge can manage small miracles from time to time, but there are limits - even for Erika’s!”
Remember, communication is key; your concierge is a fountain of untapped knowledge. Talking to your concierge can help you to understand what is and isn’t possible.