Digital superyacht charter platform claims to cut cost and improve service
Lower cost and greater convenience are the benefits claimed for Yotha’s digital yacht chartering platform.
The new digital yacht charter platform Yotha can shave 12 per cent off the cost of chartering a luxury yacht, while making the service to clients and owners faster, more transparent and more convenient. Those are the claims of Yotha’s chief operating officer Carlo Benvenuti.
“During our first summer season in Mediterranean waters this year, we achieved 20 charters,” Benvenuti told Superyacht Investor in the firm’s Monaco office during the Monaco Yacht Show last month.
“Operating on a 100% digital platform, the digital service can cut overall commission from a typical rate of 20% to 8%,” added Benvenuti. “That can make a huge difference both to owners and to charterers. Owners can invest 92 per cent of the charter money [compared with typical rates] into the yacht and not put money in the pockets of brokers.”
If yachts are booked through a broker, a commission of 4 per cent is charged. “That compares with the standard industry commissions of 15% to the broker and an additional 5% to the central agent,” according to Yotha.
All financial transactions are secured and guaranteed under the supervision of FINMA, the Swiss banking regulator.
Swiss banking regulator
The digital platform offers more than 150 superyachts for charter – ranging from the 90-metre Lauren L, and the 55-metre Mustique to 19-metre vessels. There is no minimum level of charter period and the owner and the captain set the dates they prefer. Clients negotiate directly with the owner’s representative, book their trip online and can use a free concierge service, which helps them to create bespoke itineraries.
Before booking, clients can take a full photographic 360-degree virtual tour of the yacht they are considering.
All yachts are chartered with at least one crew member. “We believe it’s better if there’s always a contact point – usually the captain – aboard the vessel,” said Benvenuti.
So far, charters have been confined to the Mediterranean but vessels are available in the Middle East, Far East and the Maldives. Yachts are also available for the end of the winter season in the Caribbean, ahead of the summer season in the Mediterranean.
While the booking system is completely digital, Yotha offers a customer-support team should any party need personal support.
Founded in 2016 by owner Philippe Bacou, the digital platform is designed to attract a new generation to chartering luxury yachts.
“We are keen to explore fresh ways of expanding the charter business and want to form partnerships with investors, brokers and other key industry players,” said Bacou. “We hope to increase the size of the market both in charter volume and services through in-depth industry co-operation.”
“It is an exciting time to be involved in the yacht-charter industry and we hope to improve the experience for everyone involved in the industry: charterers, brokers, agents, captains, crews and owners.”
Bacou hopes that many more owners in the 4,000-strong global yacht fleet will be attracted by “the convenience and simplicity” the digital chartering platform offers.
Yotha’s chief operating officer Carlo Benvenuti.