How a superyacht concierge can facilitate elite levels of service on board
Last updated: 23/06/2017
Often offering guest services over and above that of a yacht agent, a yacht concierge is perfect for those looking for a more tailored service that’s dedicated to the VIP demands of the guests on board, making them the shore-side extension of the yacht crew, and a crew member’s best friend.
With superyachts themselves acting as moving seven-star resorts, Yachting Pages explores superyacht concierge services, looking into the ways that they can facilitate the elite levels of service to ease pressure on the yacht’s crew.
What is a superyacht concierge?
A superyacht concierge can lend a hand supporting the day-to-day running of the boat with knowledge of local supplies and duty-free fuel, but they really come into their own when they are left to devise and organise shore-side trips, excursions and hospitality for yacht owners and charter guests as they travel new destinations around the globe.
Ross Lewry of The Yacht Concierge said, “The primary reason for any individual to buy a yacht is enjoyment: It provides a means of escaping everyday stress and embracing that unique sense of freedom. With that being said, managing a boat can be incredibly time consuming. Many larger superyachts may therefore opt for a specific management team, but a yacht concierge can become invaluable to the yacht’s crew alongside, as the owner’s demands can all be dealt with with a brief phone call, allowing them to get back to work safe in the knowledge that they are in capable and reliable hands.”
Why do I need a concierge?
Taking care of small things from reserving tables in the best restaurants at short notice and securing tickets to sold-out events, to arranging the hire of private islands in some of the world’s most exotic locations, flying in the local entertainment and international provisions to make each trip a truly memorable experience - but how does a superyacht concierge go above and beyond to facilitate truly elite levels of service? Why should you enlist the help of a concierge over that of a yacht agent or other shore side professional?
What to look for in your superyacht concierge for elite service
Heather Grant of Erika's Marine Services explained, “Yacht owners and crew have high expectations of their concierge service providers, and so they should. For a crew that has not visited a particular country before, a concierge service can be a lifesaver: Local knowledge combined with contacts can make the difference between a highly successful trip and a mediocre one.”
She outlined the main service points that a superyacht concierge should possess:
1. Local knowledge: Anticipating requests
While a yacht agent may get to work arranging the berthing for the yacht and clearances for the crew ahead of its arrival, the concierge will work in advance to anticipate the requests of crew and guests on board once they arrive, ensuring that there is availability and that guest’s expectations meet reality to avoid disappointment.
Heather explained, “The concierge service sometimes begins weeks before the yacht arrives with us in the Grenadines. We may be assisting the yacht’s crew with itinerary planning while the yacht is further north in the Caribbean or even in Europe.
“If a schedule is tight or strict, then it is important to ensure that each day is used to the guests’ maximum benefit and enjoyment: The crew must determine exactly what is available on each island, the time it takes to move from island to island, as well as anchoring or mooring possibilities - and marry expectations to reality. We must anticipate requests and be proactive in sending updates to the crew, for example if there is a new regulation that will affect the activities of a guest, or a new enterprise or excursion that the owner might like to experience.”
2. Delivering demands: Quick turnaround and global service
In the superyacht industry, guests may not be in one place for too long, yet they still expect to experience all that each new destination has to offer – and often at very short notice.
With guest requests and cruising itineraries changing at the drop of a hat, a quick turnaround is always expected. This is where a concierge can help to pull in favours to get things in place for the guests.
Heather said, “Local (and international) knowledge combined with contacts can make the difference between a highly successful trip and a mediocre one. Being able to respond swiftly to a guest’s request for a tennis game with a pro, a Thai massage or a hiking trip to an isolated waterfall makes for happy guests. After all these guests definitely expect quick responses.”
A concierge with global transport links and an established network of contacts and suppliers will help greatly in sourcing the requested items of your guests, especially when in remote locations.
3. Discretion: Working on a need-to-know basis
As superyachts are likely to have the rich, powerful and/or well known on board, it is recommended that a VIP concierge with a proven track-record of discretion is sourced. Any reputable concierge should not divulge the names, itineraries or preferences of anyone on board regardless of their status, or any details of the yacht, apart from to those who need to know.
4. Record keeping: Keeping track of guest preferences
As a superyacht concierge, part of the job involves keeping track of (and closely guarding) the small to extravagant preferences of each superyacht; what its owner likes and dislikes, what its current charter guests seem to prefer, and how its crew likes to work.
Heather said, “We frequently have the same yacht visit several times in one season, so we get to know the owner preferences. We remain flexible, but understand those that always like a private SCUBA instructor or particular spa reservation. The crew appreciates our understanding, as it saves their having to explain everything to us on each visit. This is usually done by keeping an electronic record of all of the orders, documents and requests of each yacht or client – all kept in the same place for quick reference.”
Heather continued, “Of course, many of a yacht’s requests are dependent on the owner/guests, so in the case of a charter yacht, the preferences will change and could be completely different from the last time the yacht visited our waters.” And, even if it is a privately owned and operated superyacht, the guests on board can change their mind or their company in the blink of an eye.
5. Experience: VIP service
Finally, Heather recommends to look for a concierge with experience in handling the needs of some of these more discerning (and demanding) clients, as this concierge will ultimately answer the above points. She said, “Look for a proven track record of accomplishment with superyacht clients of similar size and the rest will follow. Yachting Pages is a good place to start!”