Hargrave’s Sassy — By Diane M. Byrne
|Hargrave Charter Fleet|
As America’s businessmen have been saying since the days when they first sold their wares at county fairs: You’ve got to get ’em in the tent—then keep ’em there.
Such is the philosophy behind the new Hargrave Charter Fleet, created by the boatbuilder to help owners put their yachts into charter without having to work through other companies. “The decision is being driven by the shortcomings in the charter industry,” says Mike Joyce, president and CEO of Hargrave Custom Yachts. “We’re not doing this because we think we can make a lot [of money] in the charter industry. Our customers have told us they’re not getting what they were told they would get when they put their boats into charter. It came back to us as a problem. We’re trying to solve the problem.”
To begin that process, Joyce hired Lynette Hendry as director of charter operations. Hendry, who previously held top positions in charter management with the much-larger Camper & Nicholsons International and Bob Saxon & Associates, says she expects the Hargrave fleet to be small and therefore manageable in terms of quality control.
Joyce expects to have about ten boats in the fleet, most in the Bahamas and Florida—and none more than about three years old. He intends to create a separate charter division for older models, to preserve the new fleet’s image. “No dinosaurs in this operation,” he quips.
Rates will be all-inclusive with at least three levels of service priced accordingly, from five-star to family-style to captain/mate only, Joyce says. At presstime, he was in negotiations to purchase an eight-passenger, twin-engine airplane to help facilitate one-way charters and further the all-inclusive package options.
Joyce hopes the in-house charter operation will help to maintain and even increase Hargrave’s 40-percent repeat client base in new-yacht construction—getting more people into the Hargrave tent and keeping them there as they move up in the line. “The definition in the future is going to be, Tell me what you can do besides sell me a boat,” he says. “And you’d better have a good answer.”
You also had better offer the same good service for the people buying a week of charter, Hargrave owners or not. We hope to have a firsthand look at that side of the equation soon. —K.K.
This article originally appeared in the July 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.