How to build a sustainable sailing charter business

yacht from pixabay Safety always comes first

As an operator of a sailing charter, it is your core responsibility to your crew and guests to ensure their safety while they are on your boat and at the same time protect the surrounding environment. 

A regular boat care and maintenance check-up, and annual service can maintain the overall health and seaworthiness of your vessel. Taking care of your boat involves several checks and procedures from hull polishing, checking for wear and tear, to engine service and each one is vital in keeping your boat safe out on the open water.

Of course, it’s not enough that your vessel is in tip-top condition but you should also have a competent and qualified captain and crew who take round-the-clock charge of the safety and well-being of your guests. Each one must be properly equipped to handle shipping operations and have basic safety training which may comprise basic firefighting, Personal Survival Techniques (PST), and First Aid & CPR. It’s also good to have Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities (PSSR) training which covers topics like emergency procedures, application of safe work practices, marine pollution prevention, and observance of positive human relations. 

Safety is an integral part of sustainability because when your guests feel safe and at ease during their sailing trip, they are likely to give you a positive review and recommend you to their family and friends. It is also a good reason for them to avail of your services again.

Getting the best team 

marine environment from pixabay

An excellent team is the heart of a successful sailing charter business. When you have a knowledgeable, skilled, and dedicated captain and crew who exhibit steadfast work ethic, then you have an advantage among your competitors. 

A great captain and crew go beyond their duties in operating the vessel and know how to anticipate what your customers need such as food and drinks, equipment for various water activities, entertainment, and so on. They go the extra mile to show your guests the beauty of your natural surroundings and give them an unforgettable experience.  

Reviews that mention exceptional customer service is a big come-on for travelers looking for a private charter. People invest good money on their vacation and it’s only natural that they want to get their money’s worth. Employing good people is important because travelers would often compare sailing charters and go for the one that has the best customer feedback. 

Caring for the environment  

Sustainability goes hand in hand with taking good care of your surroundings and as an operator of a private sailing charter, one of your core missions should be ensuring the health and well-being of the reef and marine creatures that inhabit the waters where you go sailing. Environmental sustainability involves navigating carefully around marine life and their natural habitat and embracing eco-friendly practices during marine life interactions. It also requires a deep commitment to use your resources efficiently, dispose of your waste responsibly, and reduce your impact on the environment through sustainable practices. It is also your social responsibility to educate your staff and customers about your environmental conservation policies so that they can apply them wherever they go. 

Adapting to the changing market

The ability of your sailing charter to change and conform to the latest standards and developments in the industry as well as market preferences are not only vital for sustainability but will also help your business stay relevant and competitive. 

Stay attuned to your audience and know what they long for when creating your tour packages. The activities that you may have been offering your customers for the last few years may have lost its appeal because of new and innovative activities. Consider spicing up your itinerary with fresh and exciting sites and activities to entice old and new clients to book a tour with you.  Pay attention to your competitors and observe if the things that they are doing are clicking well with their customers or not. Keeping up-to-date with your rivals including industry trends is a good way to improve and grow your business. 

Putting the pieces together

Think of these things as pieces of a puzzle – you need every single one to complete the whole picture.  A sustainable sailing charter is all about providing a safe and environmentally-friendly experience enhanced by the excellent service of a winning team. 

Giving your customers the best possible service the moment they board your vessel until they disembark will leave a lasting impression on them that they can pass on to their family and friends. Word of mouth is a valuable source of marketing; in fact, according to a study conducted by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of their family and friends compared to what they see, hear and read on advertisements. Satisfied customers can also come back to use your services again and eventually become loyal customers. 

Imagine a snowball effect … You welcome a group of people on board and make them feel at home and safe in your company. When you impress your guests with your safety protocols and impeccable service, there’s a chance that they will rave about your sailing charter on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Before you know it, you’re getting inquiries and bookings from people who read the good reviews about your sailing tours on social media. 

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