No matter where your charter is based and how many charter boats you have, it is time to explore and expand to new markets. The charter market is being saturated as more charters are joining the sailboat industry. Yes, it is true that charter companies are not all the same – some have a better-equipped fleet, some have only catamarans, some offer only bareboat, while others are completely crewed. There is something out there for everyone, and the offer is truly extensive.
However, this should not be the only way to differentiate yourself from others. There are other factors which you need to explore, think about, and lean towards too.
One of them is to explore new markets and expand to them with your brand and fleet. Here are 5 reasons why reaching out to new markets should be one of your companies strategic moves in 2019 – to make new bookings for 2020.
More international guests – Looking at your booking statistics from 2018, how many of the weeks were made by international guests and how many by domestic? You already know for a fact that a large amount were international guests. If a large number of your weeks were booked by international guests, isn’t this a good enough reason to explore more new markets and get even more international guests? You could have had guests from Germany, Austria, England, USA, Russia… There are many more countries which could be on your booking data list if you decide to present yourself in a new place.
Be ahead of your competition – There are not many charter companies who are actively exploring new markets. Let’s be honest, if what you are doing now works for you, there is a little chance that you will be trying something new. Why change something if it works perfectly fine? This is where you are wrong – it is always a good idea to explore something new and stay ahead of your competitors. If the majority of charter companies have the mindset of staying with what works and not bothering to make anything better – then by exploring new markets, you will for sure have an advantage over others. Its your advantage to have a larger portfolio of nationalities in your booking data.
Respond to international market demand – Everyone knows that the Mediterranean has beautiful places and is on most people’s bucket list. Travelling today is no longer considered a luxury and it is available to almost everyone. Far destinations are closer to us than ever before. That is why the United States, Japan & Middle East are easily accessible and should be explored. Those nationalities have a high interest in travelling to Europe. People who love to sail from those ‘far’ countries also have the time and money to come to Europe for their holiday. The demand is there, you just have to come and grab it before it’s too late.
Brand awareness – Since not many charter companies are actively exploring new markets and investing in them, there is still a very good chance that your company brand will be the only one present in the new market if you put your efforts there. Being the only charter company (or one of a few charter companies) from a country on the Mediterranean increases your brand awareness among that international community. Wouldn’t it be great if your company name was a synonym for sailing in your country when discussed among the community? Having your brand logo, name, customer experience and word of mouth found and heard of in new places – it’s a win!
New types of customers – Each nationality and country has a ‘different type’ of community. In general, it is impossible to say which nationalities are the best, or the most respecting of the fleets they rent etc. but charter companies, have a feel of which kinds of customers they prefer, with which they have had a better or worse experience with. By exploring new markets, you introduce your products and services to a new community, which could be the right type for your charter company. Some nationalities prefer only crewed boats, some only bareboat, some prefer early bookings and some wait until the last minute to reserve their boat. The general behaviours of certain nationalities can help your company create a specific strategy towards them as well.
Whether it is now a priority for your company or not, exploring new markets is something you will have to do in order to stay afloat and be profitable in the long run.
Start to explore new markets, invest, be present at various boat shows and online too. You will have your first results visible already in 2020!