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How the best yacht payment and expense solution can improve guest services

Whether your yacht carries charter passengers or the owner’s family, whether you manage a single superyacht or a fleet, you need captain and crew empowered to respond quickly and efficiently to every demand.

In this new blog series, we list some tips we’ve learned from clients around the world. Today, we’ll look at guest services.

1.  Use multi-currency cards with high limits

Captains often use cards for their yacht’s daily operational expenses, to pay for passengers’ requests from a charter APA or for both.

To empower your people to quickly respond as opportunities or issues arise, you should ensure your card solution is up to the job.

Firstly, check that your card solution has transaction and balance limits that are high enough for your needs.

For example, the Centtrip multi-currency prepaid Mastercard has the highest balance and transaction limits on the market, allowing you to:

·       Hold up to 15 currencies, up to £350,000[1], on a single card

·       Spend up to £150,000 in a single point-of-sale or online transaction

·       Withdraw up to £4,000 daily from 2.1 million ATMs worldwide*

·       Instantly transfer up to £200,000 per day to one or multiple cards*

Secondly be sure to use multi-currency cards so that you avoid (or at least minimise) foreign currency transaction charges and the poor exchange rates that card issuers often levy.

Consider issuing multiple cards to each key member of crew. Not just the captain but heads of department like the chef, chief steward and anyone else who needs to spend on behalf of yacht or guests.

Multiple cards also make it easy to keep charter clients’ funds segregated, even when managing consecutive, short-term charters. For example, key crew members could have cards for “APA Account 1”, “APA Account 2”, etc. – as many as you need for flexibility and control.

To simplify and speed support from the shore-based team, consider a solution that gives head office real-time visibility and control across multiple, independent accounts from a single interface.

“For charter APAs [advance provisioning allowances], we have a separate card in the captain's name. Each card has its own separate, real-time reporting so it's easy to match that up to our charter accounts. And it's super quick. If we switch a boat from private to commercial and need an additional charter account, it’s set up and the cards are sent out within two days to wherever the boat is in the world. It's all very easy.”

Rob Dolling, Director, Verpeka Dolling

2.  Look for expense management tools

Make it easier to service and track last-minute requests.

An expense management solution like Centtrip’s includes mobile phone receipt capture and coding. That means you can pre-code transaction types to your chart of accounts. Cardholders can take a picture of receipts at the time of spending, add any notes and everything gets instantly uploaded. No more lost receipts. No more unclaimed (or uncharged) expenses.

“Centtrip’s prepaid Mastercard gives owners greater control over yacht expenses. The Centtrip app is really light-touch and makes it easy to reconcile card expenses. In the superyacht world, this kind of simple-to-use technology is not very widespread.”

Lee Madgewick, Chief Operating Officer, Sarnia Yachts

Read Sarnia Yachts Lee Madgewick's full Centtrip Story here

3.  Make multi-currency payments quickly and efficiently

Time is precious, whether you’re managing operations for a private owner or juggling fast-turnaround charters for a succession of clients. But sometimes the necessary preliminaries are painfully slow. International payments are often a cause of delay. They can be expensive too, with high bank charges and poor exchange rates.

The most common way to send international payments is by SWIFT. UK banks typically charge between £25 and £40 per transaction and exchange rates are often between 2% and 5% over the live-market rate. On top of that, SWIFT payments can take three to five days or longer to arrive, depending on the processing bank and system at every stage. That’s not ideal if your yacht or its passengers are on a tight schedule.

Other options like SEPA, which operates across the European Economic Area, are both faster and cheaper, but tend to be national or regional in operation.

To improve the speed and cost of international payments and receipts, ensure your payment processor automatically offers you the best route. Some simply default to SWIFT.

Also, consider a provider that offers free and instant, on-network payments. CenttripNow, for example, allows users to make instant, fee-free payments across the Centtrip network. If a yacht owner and its management company, or a charter client and charter broker, are both on Centtrip, payments can be made instantly between accounts, helping to speed the overall process and supporting the broker or management company in providing a more efficient service to its clients.

“Having payments all in one place is much better for the client. Using Centtrip as an operational account, instead of a bank, provides greater flexibility and it’s cheaper for the client. We can pay supplier invoices and payroll from the account and transfer funds instantly to cards for the captain and crew. We make payments all over the world and Centtrip can handle it.”

Lee Madgewick, Chief Operating Officer, Sarnia Yachts

4.  Ensure excellent 24/7 support

One of the soundest ways to improve your own operations is to ensure that the partners you rely on provide the expert service you need, when you need it.

Questions to ask include:

·       Can you easily speak to a human being whenever you need to, wherever you are?

·       Will they be experts who can quickly understand and resolve your issue?

·       Will they understand your world and the unique challenges of yacht management across international boundaries?

·       Are they proactive, anticipating and raising potential issues before you’re aware of them?

·       Are they supporting a system that was specifically designed to meet the needs of the most demanding customer scenarios?

“Speed and service are paramount within the yachting industry. The client support team at Centtrip are second to none, always on hand to make our lives easier and subsequently our clients’. The technology platform that Centtrip has, is clear, fast and effective. It’s great to have a financial partner that is not only trustworthy and competent but that also has an in depth understanding of the luxury yachting space.”

Phillip Holden, Management Director, Bluewater Yachting

Enabling world-class yacht operations

These are just a few ways in which choosing the best payment and expense management solution can help you deliver world-class yacht operations.

In our next post, we’ll look at issues of security – critical in the high-net-worth world of superyacht management.

In the meantime, you can read more about how Centtrip supports its marine clients at centtrip.com/marine.

[1] Higher cash withdrawal levels, card balances and transfer limits are available upon request subject to status.

Want to know more?

Whether your yacht carries charter passengers or the owner’s family, whether you manage a single superyacht or a fleet, you need captain and crew empowered to respond quickly and efficiently to every demand.

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