Megayacht owners wishing to increase charter income and luxury vacationers looking for new options have a promising solution: CharterBid.com. It’s an online auction house that aims to fill open cruising weeks and reach beyond the current pool of recurring charter guests.
CharterBid.com’s founder, Sean Ewing, has both a financial and megayacht background, helming private-equity and hedge-fund firms as well as currently serving as chairman of Pinmar. Ewing spent the past two years researching what worked and what didn’t work in yacht charter, speaking with several megayacht owners and industry representatives. According to CharterBid.com, more than 8 million people worldwide have in excess of $1 million in disposable income, with 500,000 of them being potential charterers. (In the private-banking world, a high-net-worth individual is defined as someone having at least $1 million in financial assets, excluding primary residences.) While CharterBid.com does not cite a source for its statistics, the numbers may be accurate. The World Wealth Report, published by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, states that in 2011, there were 10.9 million high-net-worth households globally.
Regardless of the figures, the fact is that the charter industry presently does not reach the full potential pool of charterers. CharterBid.com pledges to reach more of those potential customers and help fill empty weeks on megayachts’ schedules: last-minute openings, and especially shoulder season, a.k.a. the period between high and low seasons.
Here’s how it works. Upon registering as a user, you can review the various megayachts available for charter. Presently there are 16 megayachts from 92 to 269 feet (28 to 82 meters) on CharterBid.com. The yachts include both power and sail, and photos, videos, downloadable brochures, and specifications are available. Destinations are indicated as well, ranging from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. Decide what suits your desires best, and place a bid in the live auction. Some auctions are as short as one week. Alternately, you can purchase at a set price or “Buy Now” option, ensuring you get that particular yacht and her auction therefore ends.
CharterBid.com also plans to add members’ reviews after charters are concluded. Based on a star rating, the reviews will be created after interviews conducted by CharterBid.com’s staff.