The role of a charter manager goes far beyond booking beautiful holidays on beautiful boats. They have to know the available yachts by heart and also keep on top of trends and destinations on behalf of superyacht owners and guests.
Pat Codere at Fraser also highlights the vital role of a yacht's crew and the importance of first hand knowledge to deliver the experience clients are looking for.
How did you start out in the yachting industry?
Well this is a long story. Like most people, I didn’t set out to be in yachting. I didn’t even know it existed. Following a dissolved marriage I realized I had to get a job after years of being a stay at home Mom, a job I loved. I had a lot of boating knowledge from living on the south shore of Long Island, NY. I had also done a little bit of travel agency work, so when I learned about a job booking bareboat charters and airline tickets, it was a good fit. I stayed one year then moved on to work for the Catamaran Company as charter manager and charter broker.
When did you join Fraser and how did it come about?
I worked at the Catamaran Company for five years and got to know some people in the industry, as you do. I was asked to come and interview for Fraser Yachts 14 years ago!
Pat on Coco Beach, French Polynesia
Has the role of a charter manager changed over the years?
When I started at Fraser, charter managers and charter brokers worked together but separate. We now have one goal: to book the boat, so we work more in unison for that goal. It’s not as easy as it was years ago. Today we have VAT matters and many more regulations to work around. Also years ago knowledge was power and you kept your cards close. Nowadays there is a greater need to share information among peers.
Have you seen a shift in the nationalities or age range of your clients over the past 10 years?
Yes there are more younger families chartering. Many more families in general with young children.
Are you seeing a change in the type of experience clients are looking for?
Not really. Some charterers want historical trips and some want adventure, but most want a really nice vacation.
Fam trip with fellow charter brokers
Where there’s a choice, is the client’s priority the yacht or the destination?
The destination would be the priority, then you choose the yacht.
How often does a yacht’s crew sway the final choice?
I would say more often than not. If the crew isn’t part of the experience there isn’t one!
Which emerging destinations are owners and charter clients keen to visit?
Well Cuba of course because it’s a time capsule. The Adriatic is also becoming more popular.
You’ve just returned from a discovery trip in French Polynesia – what was your impression as a destination for superyachts?
French Polynesia has it all. Cosmopolitan and provincial restaurants, beautiful vistas and sunsets, gorgeous ocean, guaranteed observable sea life, private beaches, 5 star hotels, and all the amenities and niceties one could want.
Getting the crew view onboard MY Askari
How much influence do you have in persuading a yacht owner to explore or base their yacht in a new destination?
A charter manager can suggest but only if the owner is thinking about that destination. French Polynesia, for example, is a distance from anywhere. It is a big commitment; the owner has to want to go there. But if they are thinking about it I’m prepared to share all the benefits.
What are the most common concerns from an owner’s point of view?
The most common concern from the owner is the distance for them to get to their yachts as they don’t want to have to travel too far to board their boat.
And for captains?
Captains can learn of new destinations from managers or other captains. If they think the owner might be interested they will often suggest it to the owner.
What trends have you seen in terms of charter clients’ food or lifestyle preferences over the past 10 years?
The typical trend is the next new fad diet!
Pat on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Have you noticed a greater concern for the environment among yacht owners and their crew?
Some yachts do try to promote a cleaner environment such as reducing bottled water. It’s a difficult subject because yachts are not energy free or environmentally friendly! Some do try to recycle but facilities are not always available at every port.
With more information and more choice online are clients more inclined to try and negotiate rates?
There is greater choice of yachts but there are many more charter clients too. In 2007 negotiated rates were the norm, but not any longer. The good yachts don’t reduce; the good brokers don’t sell a reduced price, they sell the product. There are still some negotiated rates but not to the extremes we have seen. Most charterers like to get a little consideration nonetheless.
Are you a member of any industry associations and how do they benefit your professional role?
I’m a member of MYBA (The Worldwide Yachting Association), AYCA (American Yacht Charter Association), and IYBA (International Yacht Brokers Association). I do gain knowledge from my associations and I meet people that can help me down the road. I hope that I am helpful to others as well, it's got to be reciprocal.
On the way to MY Askari in Tahiti
What's the most important thing you’ve learned in your job?
Having a sense of humor, writing an effective email, attention to every detail, even keel under pressure, and lots of geography!
What would you change if you could?
The 24/7 “I need it now attitude.”
Who do you most admire in the world of yachting?
The entire industry. I always say it’s a nice place to work. For the most part everyone is civilized, kind and respectful.
What was your greatest experience on a boat?
Watching the Royal wedding while docked in St. Tropez. Pathetic I know! But then there is cruising in the Seychelles and Thailand.
Which is your favorite yacht and why?
That’s like asking ‘who is your favorite child’. No comment! But I will say I like ASKARI since I was just aboard in Tahiti. The crew are the best and the location is too.
Which is your favorite destination?
Right now, French Polynesia. I’ve been there three times and I just love it. I can picture myself living there. I also love Alaska; it’s amazing. I love a lot of places.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I exercise, garden, play racquetball, sleep, and visit my seven granddaughters and two grandsons.
Which three objects would you take to your desert island?
Reading glasses (I sound so old), a knife, and a blanket.
What is your motto?
Anything in moderation.