Looking Ahead: Charter Forecast
10 Sep 2021
As a successful summer season comes to an end, the Ocean Independence yacht charter team are taking time to reflect and discuss what trends lie ahead for the upcoming winter season and beyond.
Collectively, the industry was holding its breath to see what summer 2021 would bring. The Monaco Grand Prix, which traditionally marks the start of the Mediterranean season, had everyone waiting until the last moment to know whether the event would take place and what restrictions there would be. Thankfully, the event did go ahead, although Covid regulations meant that the party atmosphere was slightly subdued compared to usual.
When summer arrived, thankfully so did further easing of restrictions. While the team was aware that the situation could change at any time, the outlook remained largely positive. Testing was provided for charter guests and crew, health certificates were obtained and protocols put in place, with brokers coordinating flexible arrangements where necessary. A huge thanks is needed for the hard work from all involved – from crew to brokers and beyond – which led to a successful summer season and proved that superyacht charter remains the ultimate luxury holiday. As Ocean Independence Senior Charter Broker Hanneke Maljaars notes, “Our charter team quickly adapted to Covid restrictions and prioritised safety of guests and crew by making sure everyone was equipped with the correct travel information, allowing safe boarding on schedule.”
In general, summer 2021 saw high demand across all locations, with postponements from 2020 having a major impact on the supply of yachts available. While last-minute bookings were a common trend, many who did not book in advance had to be flexible with their requirements as availability was extremely limited. In addition, while pre-pandemic charters trended towards shorter and more frequent holidays, summer 2021 saw an increase in both the average length and value of yacht of charters. Late season demand was once again higher than historical averages, although it has not reached the same level as 2020. In contrast to 2020, only one percent of Ocean Independence charter bookings this summer were impacted by Covid-19.
One charter guest highlighted just how much a family getaway meant this year, stating, “Thank you for all your help in coordinating. All was fantastic... I don’t think there was a dry eye amongst all of us when leaving.”
Nassau is the single most popular port of embarkation so far in 2021, showing that many North Americans once again chose to stay closer to home. In the Mediterranean, travel restrictions didn’t prevent the French and Italian Rivieras from maintaining their status as the most popular summer yachting destinations.
Looking ahead, a steady flow of charter bookings for the Christmas and New Year’s period has already begun, and early booking for all winter dates is recommended. The Caribbean and Bahamas continue to be the most popular destinations for winter yacht charters – while travel restrictions for most islands are still changing regularly, it is anticipated that most will continue to accept yacht charters throughout winter. Your Ocean Independence charter broker can advise on the best Caribbean destinations, including all travel restrictions, and can work with you provide flexible options should your location need to change. In addition, many charterers are exploring new locations in Central and South America, with Costa Rica and Belize showing high levels of interest.
After the unprecedented demand of this past summer, it is predicted that early booking will once again be key to securing your preferred charter yacht for summer 2022, with many yacht owners already happy to commit to charters. Maljaars states, “Travel confidence is slowly returning with the lifting of global restrictions, and postponed charterers – as well as those who missed out this season – have already secured their charter slots for both the ’21 Caribbean winter and ’22 Med peak season.”
While the West Mediterranean is sure to remain popular, Greek restrictions on foreign flagged vessels and limited yachts available in Croatia mean that early booking is also recommended in these regions.
For more information and assistance booking your next charter getaway, speak to your Ocean Independence yacht charter broker or contact us today.