Fraser Yachts Worldwide distributed its monthly e-newsletter yesterday. Only three paragraphs were devoted to the charter market, but they were three compelling paragraphs that included statements such as, "Most charter rates are now stable again after a difficult 12 months where we saw prices tumble on all but the most sought-after yachts."
The company is predicting a 2010 summer season in the Mediterranean that includes offers for extra days onboard and zero delivery fees--"but to a much lesser extent" than was seen in 2009.
Simultaneously, Fraser is predicting that a good number of summer charters will be booked at the last minute.
That's interesting to me, since last-minute bookings generally put charter clients, not yacht owners, in the stronger bargaining position. If clients are offering to book only at the last minute, it would be logical to assume that owners would be pressured to offer at least as many incentives as they did last summer.
Time will tell. The real news today is Fraser's statement that charter prices have stabilized, a claim based on advance bookings that the company says it already has completed for the Mediterranean. I haven't heard the same from any other prominent management company, and I actually heard the opposite from two major management companies just a couple of weeks ago at the Miami International Boat Show. One longtime charter fleet manager who is a competitor of Fraser's told me, "Every rate, and everything, is negotiable right now."
That's about as opposite as you can get from "charter rates are now stable again." It will be interesting to see what discount offers actually materialize during the next six weeks or so, as the Mediterranean season draws near.
As always, I'll post all discount offers to this blog as I receive them. Stay tuned.