Reshaping Superyacht Crew Strategy – Time for a Shakeup is Now
– by Pamala Baldwin
Superyacht and Racing Yacht crew selection strategies have remained constant yet the world around us has changed…that was then, this is now. Crew recruitment agencies have stagnated. For the most part, the agencies boast of their massive data base of talent; each firm promotes themselves as the ‘best’. This does not mean that they are not successful, but there is room for improvement that will benefit you and your team. Many provide various yacht services in addition to crew placement. To be at the top of one’s game, a firm specializing in a niche market is effective.
‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ no longer applies to our industry, catering to HNWI exclusively.
Given that a Monaco Yacht Show captain poll estimated crew turnover to be between 10-30% per annum,
A recent survey by the Superyacht Group showed that as many as 25% of crew are not being in yachting for the long term with 10% citing yachting as a short-term job;16% being undecided.
ROI for hiring crew is prohibitive given lack of retention.
Crew moral issues are a constant.
New hygiene protocols are here to stay – your crew must learn and abide by new standards.
One crew who is not a team-player can destroy the entire onboard atmosphere.
Time for Innovation
At sea and on land, your professional crew reflects directly on Owners, Skippers and Captains. You have two choices: stick with the status quo and suffer the consequences, or ‘rethink and innovate’.
During the mid-1980’s John Scully was vice-president and president of PepsiCo, until he became the chief executive officer of Apple Inc. He was a forerunner of Consumer Package Goods executives exiting the industry and entering high-tech, finance, hospitality, and luxury services with solid business acumen.
Paradigm Shift Solutions
Consider the added value of hiring those who have worked for private ultra-luxury resorts, celebrities, royalty, private jets, global business leaders, private lavish estate owners, socialites and wealthy (often elusive) private island owners. These professionals have years of practicing the highest standards,
They are accustomed to confidentiality and being discreet; they are polished, well-groomed, proactive and anticipate owner’s and guest needs. Transitioning to the maritime industry (once prerequisite
Seamanship certificates are garnered) is not only a natural career move for them, but for you, it is a win-win.
Your recruiter must have the innate ability and track record of separating the wheat from the chaff (Sort the valuable from the worthless); to instinctively know who will thrive and who will fail in your environment. Your executive search consultant should be considered a ‘partner’ – the more information
shared about the boat, the owner(s), personalities onboard, your expectations and vision—the more expeditiously the most suitable candidates will be identified and retained.
Crew morale is reported to be the key reason for turnover. Perhaps a crew boss can be trained to address this issue, or, a Stewardess with Human Resource training. You do not need to have a greater number of crew, but the benefit of cross-talented crew is trending now in the hospitality industry, resulting in a more effective operation, loyalty, and cost saving.
Privacy, high-tech and high-touch are the new luxury norms.
Minimize Touch Points between Crew, Owners and Guests while maximizing personalized guest experience. Given COVID and uncertain difficult health circumstances, if possible, designate a Medical Clinic onsite supplied with testing equipment/ Install Mist Sanitizers / Disinfectant units in all areas. Consider retaining a professional Health, Hygiene and Environmental Manager with proper training and a sharp eye for detail. New maritime hygiene protocols are available. Think SMART YACHT as we have come to understand Smart Homes i.e. each guest has a dedicated smartphone for onboard use exclusively.
Above all, a satisfied crew insures ultimate guest/owner experiences. Change is in the wind.
About the author
Pamala Baldwin successfully campaigns her racing yacht with a crew of 11, during the Caribbean Regatta season and is managing director of www.caribsearchltd.com catering to ultra-luxury Hospitality and Yachting industries.