As the saying goes, when you see something happen twice it might be a coincidence, but the third time makes it likely that you're seeing a trend.
Such is my thinking this morning after seeing an announcement on the Northrop and Johnson Twitter feed about the 161-foot Trinity motoryacht Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, which is offering a whopping 50-percent discount off the second week of a Mediterranean charter if you book a week at full price for this summer. The first week is priced at a base rate of $245,000 (the yacht's published high-season rate, according to management company International Yacht Collection), and the second week is being offered at a base rate of $122,500.
Now, this is the same yacht that, at this time last year, offered a straight 20-percent discount off its $245,000 weekly base rate for summer charters that were booked before May 1 (details about that were posted on the International Yacht Charter Group specials page). The new discount offer is decidedly different, seeking to fill two weeks on the yacht's calendar instead of one while simultaneously maintaining the yacht's published weekly rate for future charters.
Think about that: The new discount structure can be characterized as an attempt to preserve the yacht's "true" weekly base rate for when the economy fully rebounds.
A similar deal was available earlier this month for summer Mediterranean charters booked aboard the 160-foot Delta motoryacht NewVida, which is part of the charter fleet at Fraser Yachts Worldwide. (That's NewVida's lovely boat deck seating area in the photograph above.) She was offering 50 percent off the second week of two-week charters if the first week was booked at full price.
And just yesterday, a fleet manager at Fraser Yachts told me that another one of her company's yachts, the 111-foot Inace motoryacht Sudami, is offering the same discount structure on steroids. Anyone who books a charter in the Bahamas, Florida, or the Caribbean before July 31 can pay the regular weekly base rate of $68,500 for the first week, a 50-percent discounted rate of $34,250 for the second week, and a halved again base rate of $17,125 for the third week.
It will be interesting to see whether more charter yachts offer this structure for discounts, as opposed to straight 20-percent-off deals. The trend on this point might be an indicator not only of whether the upcoming summer season will be flush with deals, but also of whether yacht owners and management companies feel that weekly base rates have truly bottomed out from the recession and need to start being shored up for future charter seasons.