- January 31st, 2009
- in Yachting
Sailors will sacrifice almost anything to get their annual sailing ‘fix’ in the British Virgin Islands. You might argue that this is a bold statement but from what Horizon Yacht Charters are seeing…it appears to be true. People want, more than ever, something to look forward to so they are willing to give up small luxuries on a regular basis in exchange for their annual vacation. Vacationers want to escape the daily doom and gloom of the economy saturating the headlines and affecting everyone’s sense of well-being…and who can blame them!
In the BVI, we are lucky to be able to offer such a unique product, right on the doorstep of the USA. Here, we can guarantee that people will truly get away from it all and the memories that they make will be priceless. The term ‘life is for living’ applies in the truest sense here.
This is the mindset Horizon is seeing more and more from clients – “…had to get away”, “…life is too short after all!”, “…getting back to basics once again and just relaxing!”
Charter guests are realizing that they can have their cake and eat it. Horizon Yacht Charters has seen an increase in groups of friends and family chartering together. It makes sense. Chartering within a group is a cost-effective way to enjoy a holiday. When you think of the cost of a yacht or catamaran and split it between everyone in a charter group, it works out to be much cheaper than a mediocre hotel room, and there is the added advantage of changing your scenery every day.
So why is Horizon so positive considering the wavering condition of the Global Economy? Horizon has focused strongly on market research and responded to what clients want and what is most important to them. Clients want first-class service, choice of packages aimed at pleasing all sorts of tastes, ease of travel options, value for money and meticulous yachts!
“We have always had a strong repeat client base due to the first-class service and superb yachts we offer. At Horizon all our staff will go that extra mile and it makes such a difference, essentially the difference between a client feeling as though they are on a conveyor belt and clients feeling as though they matter very much” comments Sylvia Driver, Director of Horizon Yacht Charters.
Horizon has responded to holiday makers wanting more during their vacation by offering a diverse number of packages and discount cards that appeal to a variety of markets, from the sailing enthusiast to the landlubber needing a little pampering – Stay & Sail, Sail & Dive, Racing Masterclass with Peter Holmberg, Go Green and Cats & Kids! Lots of shore-based establishments are also doing amazing offers to entice people to the BVI.
When certain air carriers significantly reduced their service to the Caribbean this resulted in potential problems for the entire tourism industry of the BVI. Horizon continued to receive enquiries daily but clients were experiencing difficulties in booking flights to the BVI. No available flights means a dwindling charter Industry in the BVI. Horizon, however, got around this obstacle by partnering with Del Airways, a private charter company, to ensure clients could get to the BVI from anywhere in the Caribbean. If you can’t beat them… join them!
Although Horizon is seeing an increase in last-minute bookings, it is not unexpected as people have been waiting for the dust to settle. Soaring oil prices in the last quarter of 2008 affecting travel costs, the crashing global economy, the Presidential elections and so on caused a lot of uncertainty in the market.
The BVI charter industry will survive as we are recognized as the sailing capital of the world. We need to continue to work with the BVI Tourist Board, ensure we constantly improve upon our standards, respond to demands in the market and make a lot of noise – exposure is crucial. At this moment in time, “out of sight, out of mind” is a phrase that could not be more appropriate!