Children are the future (of yacht sales and charter)
Luxury travel is recession proof. That’s the view of Geordie Mackay-Lewis, co-founder of luxury travel company Pelorus – and probably the view of most people in the yachting industry.
In the aftermath of the pandemic and lockdowns, there’s no shortage of clients hungry to travel the world, either by buying yachts or chartering them. But Pelorus, along with travel trend forecaster Globetrender, believes the industry is missing a trick if it’s only focusing on its current (adult) clients.
Speaking at the launch of a joint report on Luxury Travel and Yachting Trends over the next five years, Jenny Southan, founder and CEO, Globetrender, said: “We think there’s no better time to be catering to the elite and their offspring.”
The offspring in question, known as Gen Alpha, will be the industry’s future clients. According to the report, Gen Alpha is one of the seven main trends that will steer the industry over the next five years. And their spending won’t just affect the market in a decade – they are driving decisions now, too.
Southan said: “Not only are Millennials the most travelled generation, but a large proportion of them are now exploring the world with their children.” She adds that travel will include educational trips for the children – the Gen Alpha generation. “Companies have a huge opportunity to recalibrate their offerings to better cater to their youthful demographic.”
The youngsters could also end up influencing the destinations of chartered superyachts. Pelorus co-founder Jimmy Carroll says that more clients are asking for experiences catered to children, such as educational treasure hunts that turn yachting hotspots into classrooms-on-the-sea. “We’ve now gone to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Indonesia for these yacht-based treasure hunts,” he said. He added that parents are looking at their children’s curriculum and trying to link it up with their travels, “so they’re learning at school and then they go away and reinforce that”.
Gen Alpha will eventually take the wheel when they become the market’s primary clients. And what they’re looking for will be a more sustainable and green industry. Pelorus found high-impact conservation to be one of the seven key trends that will continue to grow, meaning more yacht travel dedicated to ocean exploration and conservation and research activities. Ocean exploration will also be a trend driven by Gen Alpha, which is likely to see an increase in travelling by explorer or expedition yachts, to more remote places such as Alaska rather than the typical hotspots in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
But for the environmentally conscious future generation, perhaps the biggest trend that will affect the industry will be clean tech expeditions. Without cleaner, more sustainable ways of travelling on yachts, the industry could lose its potentially highest-spending customers.
Companies need to invest in these trends now, so they are ready for their future client base – like Austria’s Silent Yachts. The manufacturer launched its first dedicated electric tender this week, the Silent Tender 400.
The investments will be worth it. After all, Gen Alpha, alongside its predecessor Gen Z, is set to generate a big influx of cash into the luxury goods market in future years. The spending of the two generations is set to grow three times faster than other generations until 2030, by when they will make up a third of the market, according to Bain and Company’s report on the luxury goods market.
“As every parent knows, if your children are happy, you’re happy,” Southan said. And it looks like this could be the case for the future of the industry too.