Jen is a talented yacht broker now working for SuperYachtsMonaco.
Meet Jen Howarth – a charming superyacht broker who works in both in charter and sales. Born and raised in Poole, U.K., one of the world’s largest natural harbours, Jen has been around boats and water for as long as she can remember. Always keeping the sea close to her heart, she then studied politics in college. It was after she had completed her studies and gone travelling that she began working on boats. As such, Jen has only ever worked in the yachting industry and knows it inside out. Prior to being a broker, she was also a successful charter manager. In order to better understand what one can learn from such an experienced broker, we decided to interview Jen.
What are the most important aspects of a deal to keep in mind for a deal to go smoothly?
I think communication is really key. As a broker, that’s a core part of our job: we broker a deal, after all; we’re not working for ourselves, we’re working for our clients. For a deal to go smoothly, you need to understand your client’s main objective, whether they want their yacht built with specific features or whether they want something as simple as not wanting their salad to fly away when eating outside. For example, I recently had a boat that was perfect by all metrics, except that it was missing a walk-in shower, which was a deal-breaker for the client, so I could not present them with this option. I think it’s also important, as a broker, to show that we have already done the hard work by pre-selecting yachts so as not to drown the client in options.
What are some things about being a broker that you did not expect?
For me, there wasn’t anything like that because you come into it having observed the industry for a long time. I was a charter manager for a long time and was able to see what yacht brokers did, so I wasn’t really surprised when I became a broker. I’d say that maybe if I’d have done something before yachting then there might have been surprises. But when you’ve done something your entire life and it’s all you’ve ever known, you anticipate all the challenges.
Is there something that clients often forget to consider when picking out a yacht?
Especially when chartering, one thing to look out for is matching your guest composition with a yacht’s cabin arrangement. So, if you have a composition of different families, different couples, or a different set of guests, for example, single friends, you would need a yacht with flexible cabin accommodation. You might have, say, 5 double cabins, but if 2 of the guests are single, they would not be comfortable sleeping in the same bed. But if you had twin beds or Pullmans, then this would be possible.
Another thing to look out for is that charters can’t really be reserved at the last minute, especially in busy places like Greece or Italy. I’ve had it happen a few times where clients would try to reserve a charter 3 months in advance only to find out that there were very few yachts in the area that were available. Ideally, guests should try to reserve a year ahead of time.
What do you think are going to be the next hottest destinations this summer/winter?
The Bahamas and New England are definitely going to be popular again this year because European countries are still imposing quite a lot of restrictions on travel. Restrictions aside, though, I think the most flexible destinations in the Mediterranean are going to be Croatia and Greece. More and more charters are being offered in other parts of the world too; I think people are developing this mindset that they want to go and explore since they’ve been locked up in their homes for so long.
Is there a certain type of client you prefer?
I think I like all clients. They all have different preferences and requests, and part of being in this industry is choosing to accommodate these preferences. In fact, I quite like challenging myself and making clients happy who have quite specific needs. I’d say that the most rewarding part of the job is seeing that smile on the client’s face and receiving their thanks. So long as I can make them happy, that’s what I care about!