How to get the best from your yacht concierge service
Last updated: 29/01/2020
In the superyacht industry, a VIP concierge acts as the appointed shore-based crew for any superyacht as it arrives in a new port on marina.
Yachting Pages spoke to Heather Grant, founder and owner of Erika's Marine Services in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 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 is a yacht concierge?
A yacht concierge is much like the concierges that you would find in an exclusive hotel or member's club, offering shoreside support to superyachts as they travel the world.
Working at the request of the captain, chef, purser or chief stew, it's a yacht 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.
What services does a yacht concierge offer?
A yacht concierge is a huge resource for any vessel, with invaluable connections and a thorough local knowledge of the native 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:
- Arranging exciting excursions and local tourism experiences
- Securing exclusive tickets to unmissable events
- Arranging on-board entertainment with a difference
- Undertaking event management for five-star parties and occasions
- Sourcing weird and obscure foods from across the globe
- Securing luxury villa rentals, hotel reservations and accommodation at short notice
- Last-minute laundry demands
- General guest care and wellbeing
As well as the main services of any local yacht or port agent:
- Yacht berthing, customs and immigration
- 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, has little to do with supply, advice and facilitation, however. 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 great concierge will also be able to help with the unexpected.
Heather told us of an incident that Erika’s was recently 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 yacht concierge
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's best to think locally. Local produce will be quicker and easier to source, and it'll 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.