The Antigua Review 2014
Last week saw the close of the 2014 Antigua Charter Yacht Show, which once again, took place at the Nelson’s Dockyard Marina in English Harbour, the Falmouth Harbour Marina and the Antigua Yacht Club. Long established as the key charter event for the Caribbean, Global Services’ Oli Tuckett was on site for the week to catch up with current clients, identify potential growth areas and spread the word about the company’s capabilities and services — as well as deliver the odd Christmas card.
With approximately 90 boats exhibiting at the show, the ACYS felt a little quieter this year, noted Oli: “Difficult Atlantic crossings and/or charter bookings meant that 27 vessels were unable to attend. As a consequence, there didn’t seem to be quite the same quantity of brokers; it did, however, give me a lot more time to speak with crew!” It was a great opportunity to thank existing clients for their business, discuss their future needs and also to present our portfolio to new departments or inactive boats, he added.
It was an important event for Global Services to attend because, even in this digital age, being able to have face-to-face conversations with crew is very important, not just to maintain that personal touch, but also to learn about what’s important to them and to let them know about the additional services we can provide.
“A number of our clients only use our services when they are in Europe. This is probably because they aren’t aware that we can actually ship to the States and the Caribbean very competitively, often beating prices from our US competitors to the same locations. This is very important for our clients to know, as they then can take advantage of having the continuity of our service worldwide whilst utilising the strong relationships they’ve built up with their account managers at Global Services.
Oli also commented that many people in the industry associate Global Services with the Engineering and Deck departments. “They don’t realise that we can also help the Interior and Galley departments. It was very useful to discuss this with Chief Stewards and Stewardesses during the show. Having a dedicated Interior team in our offices is definitely of interest to a lot of crew members."
Despite the decreased number of charter brokers, most boats are convinced that attending the Antigua Charter Yacht Show is a positive and beneficial experience. It gives the crew sector an invaluable platform to demonstrate their expertise and professionalism, and is the perfect opportunity to showcase both the yacht and its crew to the charter market.
It’s also a forum for feedback and finding out how suppliers like Global Services can provide an even better service in an ever-changing industry. “Part of my mission in Antigua was to explain that value doesn't always come in the shape of physical goods,” says Oli. “The amount of time that crew spend shopping for specific items all adds to the overall cost, which is why our clients enjoy using our services. We can alleviate the pain and react quickly to whatever requirements they might have.”
“Of course,” he admits, “we’d never be complacent enough to think we do everything perfectly. But, during my discussions with crew, I was to able find out what makes them choose one supplier over another. As a supply company, we have to be flexible and ready to adapt.”
Fortunately, our feedback was very positive. Our customers like the fact that we’ll go the extra mile for them as we understand the pressures they’re under when chartering. As one crew member said to me at the show: “We have to adapt to our charter guests’ needs, so why shouldn’t supply companies?” Crew are definitely under more pressure to get the best value for their owners and, luckily, we enjoy the challenge!
Apart from a slightly bumpy landing at Gatwick, Oli feels his time out of the office was well spent. “We’ve learnt a great deal about how and where we can make improvements to ensure we win further business and, personally, I’ve realized that speed is very important to heads of department.”
Possibly exacerbated by the fact these boats are charter vessels, they have very busy schedules and rely on companies like Global Services to react quickly and come up with a solution. “Crew are trying to juggle many different things and when they know we’re working on their request, it gives them reassurance. We’re almost like another member of the crew!” he said.
Now back in the UK, it’s all down to capitalising on his attendance, staying in touch with the contacts we made and making sure that when they need support, they know we’re here to help. Said Oli: “I’ve already had several enquiries from new clients, which is great! It helps reinforce the fact that this is the best show in the calendar for talking to key decision makers on board!
One final note, don't forget to enter the 'Where's Oli' competition, details can be found here
For more information please contact:-
Oli Tuckett - Business Development
Tel: 0044 (0) 1392 354 300
Mob: 0044 (0) 7917 181 881