Barrett Wright last sat down in front of the Superyachts.com cameras during FLIBS 2019, and this year reflected on the difference in atmosphere following a turbulent couple of years for the industry and world.
“It’s packed!” says Barrett. “This year I think people have not been in front of clients for a long time. Last year it was a little quieter, it wasn’t nearly as full, and now it’s a very popular place to be. This year was a big boom, everyone is excited for it to hit the ground running again.”
Hill Robinson has long been at the very forefront of delivering specialised, bespoke yacht management services globally. In the American market, Barrett explains, things need to be executed with a different approach.
“American owners like everyone who is going to be involved, to really be involved. Captains run the ship, the owners speak directly to the captains.
“In other places, it is very much the owner to management to captain. Here, that doesn’t work. Here, we emphasise more that we’re here to support, to make you look good, and to essentially be your insurance policy.
“Achieving the extraordinary through creative solutions. That’s something we do on a pretty regular basis, and when things seem insurmountable, we are able to achieve pretty remarkable things.”
On North American soil, Hill Robinson has been focusing its efforts on enhancing its management services for superyacht refit and maintenance projects.
“We are trying to rebuild our refit management side over here,” Barrett explains. “We’ve done some great projects here with both fleet boats and external clients, which is a great nod.
“We’re developing relationships with the likes of Savannah, and telling them to gear themselves towards the big boats to encourage them to come over.
“We’re also trying to establish relationships with shipyards in the Bahamas, understanding that there is a charter fleet over there – keep the boats there so they don’t have to come back. We’re trying to work out ways in which we can all help each other.”
These relationships are the backbone of Hill Robinson’s bespoke services, providing a distinct advantage for clients.
“The clients benefit too because any request we have may be pushed to the top of the pile due to the relationships. When any client joins the fleet, they become part of the family. All of those advantages become theirs. That’s a huge value added for refit management but also any of the other services. The industry is all relationship-based, and we see every day that those relationships can move mountains.”
Looking ahead, Barrett raises the potential impact of the Euro and how that may encourage American-based owners to venture further than before.
“I’m really curious to see what next summer is going to hold depending upon the Euro. If it is going to be low, whether or not a lot more of the Americans say ‘you know what I’m going to go over and do it’. Americans might go further afield on things.”
Barrett also shares her experience on clients becoming more ‘liquid’, taking more consideration to explore their options rather than be directed by price bracket or availability.