Women on the Water
- August 13th, 2009
- in Yachting
Spending Time – The fact that Dana Candel-Waters of Blue Seas Yacht Charters has reprioritized her life, focusing on time with her family by working from home, makes her the perfect person to advise potential charter clients how to get the most quality time out of their vacations. Sitting across from me on the deck at the Royal BVI Yacht Club with her auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail, Dana is confident, open and genuine. And relaxed. This, she assures me, is a result of the recent changes she’s made in her life.
Dana works from home, something almost unheard of in the BVI, allowing her the flexibility to work anytime, day or night. “I get to go on every single school field trip. That’s the reward because I can work at nine o’clock at night if I need to.” She manages to maintain a separation from her home life and her work life, even though they take place in the same location.
“I have really great kids. They do understand.” She beams and adds, “My four year old says, ‘My mommy works from home now, and she has her own computer that I can’t touch and a big, fancy chair.’”
Dana describes situations when clients call while she’s with the kids and how her daughters have learned to entertain themselves as she addresses the customer’s needs. She can afford to put her clients first for those occasional moments during the overlap of family time and work time because otherwise she wouldn’t be there at all—she’d be behind a desk in an office building. And when her children are at school, she’s working, not taking care of household chores. “I don’t want my clients to get the feeling that I’m doing the dishes while talking with them.”
Dana made a choice to work from home, but she acknowledges that others are starting to work from home as a result of being laid off. “It’s sad that something like this had to happen for people to realize it,” she says. “People are reprioritizing work time and home time. You’ll see a lot more people trying to find something else—my reward is personal. I’m doing what I love to do. I’m doing what I’m good at.”
I ask Dana what changes she’s seen in the charter industry since she first arrived in the BVI thirteen years ago. “Ten to fifteen years ago, people used to be sailors.” But now her clients are generally non-sailors attracted to the idea of a private, moving condo surrounded by changing views of mountainous islands, pristine beaches and blue waters. The change from mostly monohull to mostly catamaran yachts has also made a difference in the clientele.
“It’s a brilliant holiday. It beats a cruise ship every day,” Dana says. One reason being the fact that the passengers’ time is not scheduled. If they’re enjoying the Baths at Virgin Gorda, they can stay as long as they want, or they can move on to Anegada or any of the other islands.
Another difference, she adds, is that at this time she sees owners more agreeable to offering discounts on their boats for charter vacations. In the past, the price was set and non-negotiable, but now, owners are willing to bargain a little. This allows Dana to get the best boats at the best values for her clients. She also plans to offer a selection of budget-friendly yachts in the near future. “Your bed linens might not be changed each night. You might not have lobster dinner, but you’ll have good food and good company with people who really want to do it.” With the current economy, creativity is a must.
A chartered, crewed yacht is a creative vacation, especially now when there’s even more pressure to get the most quality time for the money.
“Sometimes potential clients are scared to tell me how much they have to spend, which can make it difficult,” she says.
I reply how that makes sense and mention shady encounters with car salesmen and antiques dealers who aim to swindle the most money off the customer.
“But I want to find the best possible boat for them. I want to give them the most for their money, not the least. I want them to come back.”
And they do come back. Dana has many repeat clients or new clients referred from previous charter customers. At a recent boat show, one of the yacht owners told Dana that he’d asked a client why they had booked with Dana over the other charter agents they could have used. The client replied, “Because she was the first one to phone me.”
By prioritizing quality time in her life, the smiling and animated Dana Candel-Waters knows the importance of every moment and doesn’t want to waste her client’s time. In fact, she wants them to have the best time of their lives.
BVI: (284) 541-6389 | USA: (954) 309-0967