At the dawn of the 21st century, luxury yacht brokers and their offices were largely confined to the major yachting hotspots, such as the French Riviera, Palma de Mallorca, and Fort Lauderdale. In those early days, the superyacht industry was still fairly small and relatively unknown, yachts were promoted via glossy brochures mailed out to VIP clients, and a 50m yacht was considered very big indeed.
The superyacht industry has transformed dramatically since then, as luxury yachting rapidly became the ultimate vacation option of the international elite. Soaring demand has led to a veritable explosion of new yacht brokerage offices across the world, and brokerages have also moved online to further expand their offering to the world’s ultra-wealthy. Superyachts are now very much a global business, with clients and yacht brokers stretched across the globe.
How yacht brokers took over the world
New international offices and yacht shows drive yacht sales.
Many different cultures have flocked to enjoy the superyacht lifestyle over the last two decades, and the market continues to grow today. Along with Americans and Europeans, Russian and Middle Eastern elites were among the early adopters of luxury yachts, chartering and commissioning ever-larger vessels, while more recently, burgeoning interest from Asia has driven yacht brokers to open offices in far-flung locations such as China and Japan.
As more of the world’s wealthiest citizens seek to own and charter yachts, glamorous new yacht shows have launched in exotic destinations such as Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, and Dubai, driving yacht sales and expanding the glittering reputation of superyachts in those regions. The more well-established yacht shows of Fort Lauderdale, Cannes, and Monaco have only grown in size and grandeur with the passing years, and have become the yachting epicentres for anyone buying, selling or chartering yachts.
New cruising grounds require regional support
Superyachts are now also travelling further afield, with owners and charterers driving a new trend for exploration in exotic destinations. Yacht owners are increasingly setting off on epic journeys such as from Alaska down to the South Pacific, or discovering new superyacht cruising grounds in places like Japan and Indonesia. Looking for diverse experiences away from the yachting hotspots, owners and charterers may wish to take their yachts up the Thames during Wimbledon and to explore the British Isles in the summertime, or dream of navigating the fjords of Norway or New Zealand. All of these adventuring yachts require the support of their yacht brokers, whether that be to book local charters or offer logistics support in the case of managed yachts.
While the famous yachting playgrounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean remain perennially attractive to the superyacht set, there’s a new breed of yacht owners and charterers who want to set a new course, as well as different nationalities wanting to explore their own region on their yacht. As such, yacht brokers are having to expand their office locations to offer local knowledge and personalised service across different regions.
Online yacht brokers offer international reach
Yacht brokerages have also brought their offering online over the last two decades, which has profoundly changed the landscape of yacht sales and charter. Buyers and charterers can now browse the entire global superyacht fleet for their dream vessel, before deciding on a shortlist to view in person. Yacht brokers now curate superb lists of yachts drawn from around the world, while also offering the traditional in-person experience at yacht brokerages in Fort Lauderdale and other yachting hubs. The best yacht brokers offer their clients an attractive combination of local expertise and international reach.
Today, you’re just as likely to find a yacht broker in London as in Monaco, in Croatia as in Cannes. Yachting has changed enormously in the past 20 years as its appeal has gone global. And 50 metres is definitely no longer the largest yacht in port.