By Tim Johnson, Founder and CEO, TJB Super Yachts and TJB Private Travel
As the world becomes more accustomed to luxury, the superyacht industry has been surging ahead with a wave of bigger, bolder and more beautiful superyachts. The trend towards larger yachts is coupled with a desire for eco-friendliness, as discerning travellers look to minimise their impacts on the ocean’s ecosystems.
Simultaneously, technological advancements have made waves in the superyacht world—automation and smart systems are becoming more prevalent, offering a level of convenience and luxury once thought unimaginable.
The luxury-property rental market is also on the rise as more and more people seek out exclusive and luxurious homes for their holidays. Luxury properties that are unique, bespoke and fully equipped with the latest technologies are in high demand, as travellers crave tailor-made experiences that are set apart from the rest.
Rising demand for custom-built superyachts
The demand for new and pre-owned superyachts remained high in 2022, and it is rising even more for larger superyachts in 2023, with several shipyards now building yachts that are more than 100 metres in length. The market for superyachts longer than 50 metres is anticipated to continue expanding over the next 10 years.
Customers are increasingly choosing yachts built to meet their exact requirements and specifications. The market for brand-new yachts has been the most impacted, with demand swamping shipyards. The pre-owned yacht market is also growing as more buyers look to purchase yachts that have already been built rather than waiting for a new one to be constructed. The market is still recovering from the sales boom experienced in 2021, which was reflected in the reduced availability witnessed throughout 2022.
The wealth and number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) with assets worth more than $30 million is expected to grow, expanding the pool of individuals able to afford a superyacht. Similarly, demand for bespoke private travel among UHNWIs will increase activity in the luxury travel sector. When you combine this with remote work and the availability of more time away from the home and office, owning a superyacht is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Buying a superyacht allows the purchaser to combine luxury living with the appeal of life on the sea. When it comes to superyachts, there are virtually limitless options in terms of design, size, style and performance. The sky is the limit, so if the boat of your dreams isn’t currently available, you can have it custom-built. Whether buying a pre-owned boat or building one from the ground up, the process may be lengthy, so having a professional and experienced yacht broker help you through the process is critical.
Top superyacht-charter destinations
The superyacht-charter trends are similar to the overall superyacht industry’s trends but with a focus on how people are using these large luxury yachts for holiday and leisure purposes.
The best time to book a superyacht charter for the summer will vary depending on the guest’s preferred destination and the specific yacht he or she is interested in chartering. With all the travel postponements of the past few years, the market for superyacht charters is becoming very competitive, and the most popular yachts and the best destinations tend to book up well in advance, especially for peak summer months. So, it is recommended to start planning and inquiring about the desired superyacht as early as possible. Some guests book yachts up to a year in advance.
Another option is to book a superyacht charter during a shoulder season to enjoy popular destinations without peak-season crowds and premium rates. Often, charter rates during the festive seasons of Christmas and New Year are 60 percent higher than low-season rates. The shoulder seasons in the Mediterranean are May to June and September to October, while in the Caribbean, they are January to March and August to October.
Regarding regions, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean remain the most popular destinations for superyacht charters. We are already noticing many charter bookings in Greece, Croatia, Italy, France and the Bahamas for 2023. But there has been growing interest in other regions, such as Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
With more people chartering superyachts, there’s been a trend towards visiting off-the-beaten-path locations. This is particularly true for adventurous charter guests looking for something more unique and remote, such as Antarctica, the Galápagos Islands and the South Pacific.
Younger buyers entering the superyacht market
The superyacht industry has undoubtedly started to see an influx of younger clients entering the market. This should come as no surprise, given estimates from Knight Frank suggesting that as many as 21 percent of UHNWIs are under 40. The Millennial generation is more tech-savvy and conscious of its environmental impacts. We expect growth in the Millennial market to drive innovation and more sustainable practices in the superyacht sector.
Rise of technology, connectivity and innovation
As in many other industries, technology is increasingly important in the superyacht industry. From virtual reality (VR) tours of superyachts to online platforms for chartering and purchasing, technology is making it easier for consumers to research and book superyachts. Moreover, superyachts are now equipped with increasingly advanced technologies to optimise navigation and control, energy-efficient propulsion systems and onboard smart systems to enhance guests’ experiences. The same applies to the luxury rental market. Properties are offering amenities such as high-speed internet, smart-home technology and home-entertainment systems to appeal to tech-savvy renters.
A renewed need for sustainability
With environmental concerns on the rise, there has been an increase in demand for yachts that are equipped with environmentally friendly technologies and follow sustainable practices. Eco-friendly yachts, which include technologies such as hybrid propulsion systems, solar panels and energy-efficient lighting, are gaining popularity. We anticipate a strong shift toward sustainability and tighter emissions-related regulations in the years to come. This will pressure shipyards to create more sustainable technologies in tandem with the increase in the number of younger, more ecologically concerned consumers. There have already been several instances of the yachting industry adopting more environmentally friendly practices.
Many private-property rentals on the market are designed to be environmentally friendly and blend in with the local surroundings to minimise the impacts of tourism. Our collection includes properties such as Over Yonder Cay in the Bahamas, powered by wind and solar energy, and Islas Secas in Panama, an eco-resort powered entirely by solar energy. Additionally, Thanda Island in Tanzania is designed for eco-conscious travellers and is powered by renewable energy.
Sea + Land: a different way of travelling
Booking a yacht charter along with a luxury holiday rental can provide a unique and versatile luxury travel experience, combining the best of both worlds. Additionally, this combo can also include add-ons such as private jets to transport guests from one place to another, with everything pre-arranged and coordinated for a seamless experience. This type of holiday is appealing to travellers looking for unique and customizable holiday experiences as well as to those who want to combine different types of travel for well-rounded and versatile trips.
More families are making travel plans to bring their family members, including multiple generations, together. These reunions may involve a villa rental, a private-yacht charter or a combo. This allows them to create their own itineraries and plan activities that cater to all ages and interests.
The superyacht and luxury holiday-property rental markets are constantly evolving, offering an ever-expanding array of options for those seeking the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity. With every passing year, these markets are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, from larger and more opulent superyachts to luxury holiday homes that rival the finest resorts.
As technology and environmental concerns continue to shape the industry, we are seeing an increasing focus on sustainability, smart systems and innovative designs. The world of superyachts and luxury-property rentals is adapting to meet travellers’ changing needs and desires, providing them with experiences that are not only unparalleled in luxury but are also in harmony with the planet. The future of luxury travel has never been brighter.