Latest Early Booking Trends in Yacht Charters for leading Destinations



Every year the tourism industry is especially curious about latest early booking trends. The experience
shows that earlybird’s behaviour is allowing a good estimation about how a destination will compete with
other regions. In order to contribute insights for the European boat charter market, I evaluated boat
reservation data of the last 3 years from 2017 until 2019. The data is based on yacht charter bookings
done via the YachtSys Reservation Platform, which lists nearly 5,000 charter yachts worldwide.

In the graph below you can see the percentage of pre-bookings (in relation to whole booking volume)
for leading destinations since 2017. Notice: As pre-booking we consider a charter reservation that happens
at least 5 months before the travel begin.

The bar charts show the Early Booking Trends at the end of January 2019 for the leading destinations for
boat charter: Croatia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Germany and Turkey. End of January is an ideal due date for
such an evaluation, becasue it marks the expiration of the majority of Early Booking discounts for the
European summer’s boat rental destinations.

A view on the graph above reveals, that since three consecutive years, early bird bookings are slightly
decreasing for Croatian and Spanish destinations, even though these are leading charter countries. For
the Balearics this deficit could be expected because the customer’s demand was a bit weak during summer 2018
– probably due to relative high costs compared to other Mediterranean regions. The drop of 8 % pre-booking
volume for Croatia since 2017, very likely the revitalization of Greece as charter destination, was causally.

Early bird reservations for Italy were more or less constant on a level of 12 – 13% of the market volume during
the last years. In a January’s statistic about pre-bookings in Italy, there is missing the big potential of Italian
customers, which almost never book their boats more than 3 months in advance.

Greece, by far the country with the highest share of Early Bookings (over 30%), faces in 2019 a slight decrease
from 38% to 36%. Maybe this loss of earlybird potential helped to improve the trend for Turkey, which showed the
first time since years a positive pre-booking tendency of + 2% (3 – 5%).

Interesting are the figures in Germany. The very positive early bird trend for the Baltic Sea and Interior waters,
which was announced already by charter providers during a symposium at the BOOT in Düsseldorf, is significantly
represented through the 10% bar value for 2019 (+ 7% compared to 2018). Charter company owners confirmed that the
exceptional good climate during the summer 2018, encouraged boaters to book in advance, in order to get their
favourite boats reserved.

Summary: It can be stated that the early booking trend follows the tendency of the previous years 2017 and 2018
with lower demand for Spanish and Croatian yacht charter destinations. The exception are Greece, Turkey and Germany.
Turkey shows increasing demand for 2019 that costed the Greek market already some charter bookings. Germany is
benefiting from the sunny and dry summer of previous season.

We are all curious how the booking statistics for the leading boat rental destinations will evolve during spring
and summer 2019.


by Felix Wolf