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Fraser CEO Raphael Sauleau sees a bright future for the superyacht market

Leading superyacht brokerage Fraser is preparing for European summer – whatever it may look like in a COVID-19 world.

Fraser, OHANA

OHANA, available for charter with Fraser

Global travel and superyacht charters may be on hold for now, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Hopeful yet confident, Raphael Sauleau, CEO of superyacht brokerage Fraser, is beginning to see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.

“We started the year in a very positive position. Late March was when our charter business began to slow down, followed by sales,” he recalls.

“Now, we’re receiving a steady stream of enquiries and inspection requests, but it won’t be business as usual until travel bans and restrictions are lifted.

“When that happens, I don’t think people will waste any time in getting out there and making the most of the European summer.”

Raphael notes that the US and Asia are two markets that appear to be rebounding faster than others, despite the fact that US coronavirus cases are still climbing above 3.1 million.

Founded in 1947, David Fraser’s humble venture has grown into a world leader in yacht chartering, brokerage, yacht management and new builds.

In 2016, Fraser’s search for a CEO with UHNW expertise and an ‘out-of-the-box’ approach to luxury yachting came to a successful conclusion when Raphael became only its 5th CEO in a history spanning more than 70 years.

Since then, he has not only ensured Fraser continues to buy and sell more luxury yachts every year than any other provider, but he has also overseen the exponential growth of its Yacht Management fleet, opened five new offices, and increased its skilled workforce.

“Life is filled with uncertainty. It is part of being alive. It is something we all share together,” Raphael explains.

“If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can always change and improve the way we do things.

“For example, buying a yacht doesn’t have to involve going to see the yacht in person. We’ve seen an increase in our audience’s use of digital tools and media that allows them to virtually tour the yacht and, in some cases, even meet the captain and crew.

“These digital tools will become more prevalent in our industry and it’ll change the way we do business moving forward.”

Above all, Raphael says the past few months have given him and his team a renewed sense of purpose.

“The current pandemic has given us the opportunity to slow down, reflect and think about what really matters,” he explains.

“It has reminded us and our customers how important it is to appreciate our nature and our landscapes, spend quality time with family and loved ones, and truly enjoy what this world has to offer.

“It’s something we’ve all taken for granted – until now.”

Throughout the pandemic, Raphael has focused on Fraser’s marketing strategy to stay in touch with owners and customers to keep them informed of developments.

“Obviously, our message has changed over the last three months. To navigate through this crisis, we’ve had to adapt and take new actions to ensure we come out stronger on the other side.

“We’ve been working to improve our digital tools and media, introduce new green technologies, enhance our existing CRM and adopt new communications strategies to reach out to clients online,” Raphael explains.

“We’ve noticed that an increasing number of clients, especially on the charter front, are now looking to travel to more remote destinations that are less crowded and closer to nature.

“Of course, there will be a reinforcement of all on-board cleaning procedures to ensure the safety of customers and crew.

“It has been a challenging few months for Fraser and the yachting industry as a whole, but it’s encouraging to see that our customers are eager to get back on the water and make the most of what the world has to offer.”

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