2020 winter and summer sailing seasons were predicted to be some of the best in years. Everyone had done his part and a common feeling of excitement was in the air. Shipyards busy with developing and producing in time brand new yachts, operators and crews organizing boats and itineraries, brokers working hard on reservations, old and new charterers getting excited to experience a new destination and try a different boat.
In our B2B and B2C expos, nothing was predicting an industry crisis and we were all just happy to meet and plan together with the next coolest sailing experience!
However, February 2020 already started giving signals of uncertainty and March forced the yachting industry to face an unprecedented challenge. Global travel restrictions and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lead to massive cancellations requests and a storm of e-mails and phone calls.
I have to say, I am rather proud of both my partners and clients as both ends from the first minute not only didn’t panic but have joined forces to come up with alternative plans that would protect and benefit each other.
While in other industries affected i.e. short term apartment or hotel rentals the cancellations lead to financial risks and disappointments among the contracting parties, the yachting industry due to the nature of its people who love to travel and respect the traveler, responded in a split second with a change of their own cancellation policies to help their guests. A well-coordinated wave of support and alternatives has smoothed the tsunamis of initial worries and pretty soon all parties involved enjoyed the well known “sailors simply adjust their sails” philosophy.
Humanity prevailed and all cancellations for reservations of April and May where either refunded or rescheduled. Reservations that were not completed with the balance payment and couldn’t reschedule for 2020 or couldn’t provide dates, were given a voucher which means that their down payment was secured and valid as a down payment for any rescheduled reservation either in 2020 or 2021!
The fact that both, sailors and owners, showed concern of the well being of the other side proves in action what we were all secretly admitting for years. People who sail are a unique kind of travelers and yachting entrepreneurs don’t just run businesses, they share a love and a passion!
As a charter broker, I am going through it all with serenity and proud of you all!
Ionian Breeze, has experienced not a single cancellation, our esteemed clients have instantly worked with us to find the best alternative plan for them and our partners rose up and joined forces like the pros they are!
Thank you all, this too shall pass and we will have another “storm” story to talk about on our cockpits or seaside little tavernas and bars.
Keep smiling, life awaits!