When I fell into the world of yacht sales in the early 1980s, even I was puzzled by the term and title of "yacht brokerage". It seemed to me that the word "broker" caused confusion with the all-powerful clients.
During my few short and very satisfying years in the retail sector, I was taught that the customer is always right. Marketing at that time was widely accepted as a rarefied term for sales, simple and easy. With this in the forefront of my mind, I decided to use the term marketing so as to give clarity to what my company was offering.
Marketing is today seen as the back room science of sales, so making a mess of my original plan. Too late to change now, I'm afraid!!!
I still believe that in the world of yacht sales and chartering, we should endeavour to let the clients know exactly what we are doing. Particularly for the new clients venturing into their first yacht charter or ownership, clarity must be the key. We are bombarded by the word "transparency" in recent years and my philosophy follows this path. I often say I am not the invisible man and my role is quite clear, I am a salesperson. How much more transparency do you need above that?
The Peter Insull's Yacht Marketing that you see in the market place has its origins which pre-date my entry into yachting in 1969. Retail and the simple qualities, ethics and standards that were the norm and essential. This started it in reality.
For five very happy years I "served" as a steward aboard the M.Y. Hedonist. This was the best apprenticeship anybody could have wished for to understand the basics of what is needed. To this day, I endeavour to teach those who work within my company to adhere to simple elements of respect. Respect for all those around you, whether they be clients (in any form), work colleagues ashore and respect for yacht crew members.
The relationship between the professionals who serve aboard yachts and those professionals who work "ashore" is often a story of confusion and misunderstandings of each other's roles and priorities. I know that my own time in both areas gives me a better understanding, which I endeavour to pass along to both sides whenever I have the opportunity to do so.
I elected to base my company in the South of France for a variety of reasons.
Some professional and some private.
The Riviera is the definitive home ground for superyachts, most particularly the motor variety.
I understood that the two major elements of yachting were based on the Riviera, the yachts and the yacht crew. Clients are, in the main, visitors from their base which can be anywhere on the globe. This clinched my view on where I should base my company, so giving me access and availability to two of the three key elements.
By the mid-1970s destiny was to take me into the role of the first yacht crew agent.
This term was accepted by all at that time to describe how crew and yachts could be brought together in a professional fashion not seen before in yachting. A considerable amount of my time was spent convincing captains and owners of the importance of using this service of searching for and vetting crew before they walked up their yacht's gangplank. It was a long road, but proved to be the right road and it is well known that my original "Crew Agency" paved that road for the numerous "crew placement agencies" and associated service companies.
I am particularly proud of the fact that the crew placement agency that bears my name maintains a reputation for service, policed by our own standards of ethics, throughout the yachting world. It is almost impossible to count the numbers of crew, yachts and owners with whom we have worked. I can say, in all sectors, it is many thousands. From the youngest, keen and anxious "yet to be crew" members through to the most experienced of captains, we offer our advice, help and hopefully facilitate their career. We are particularly focused on pointing the newcomers in the right direction, when they need advice the most.
The company became involved in "yacht sales" at the very end of the 1970s, at the time when the present-day superyachting was in its infancy.
It was only in the mid-1980s that the Yacht Marketing image appeared in the form of advertising. The only media form available at that time was magazines, and my start coincided with the Boat International bursting onto the scene.
The style of one yacht, one page and full colour was unseen at that time. Perfect timing for me to utilise this style for the "marketing" of the 123' Van Lent Feadship "Cacique". This wonderful yacht was less than two years old and seen as a very large yacht at that time. A perfect launch for my company that threw me into the front line of yacht brokerage.
I was already deeply involved in the project of building the next Cacique at this time, having signed that contract in 1984. The new Cacique was to be 180', so making it the largest yacht built by the De Vries Feadship yard. The original Cacique was sold by myself within two months of coming to the market. Perfect timing for the owner to be ready to take delivery of his new yacht in 1986.
The coming years forged the position of PIYM in the superyacht sector in sales, new yacht consultancy and charter. Throughout this time the crew agency kept up its high standards of service and continued to grow.
Good relationships with all of the yachting community have been an important factor in the enduring reputation of PIYM. This has enabled the company to have been, and continue to be involved in many of the ever-growing fleet of superyachts.
Selling a wonderful yacht to its new owner is a magical and very fulfilling experience. Working alongside the huge group of people to bring a new yacht through concept, design and building to its new owner is an experience that shouldn't be missed.
I am proud to say that I have enjoyed these experiences on many occasions. I look forward to the next challenge in keeping abreast of this ever-changing yachting world. Again, basics of service and ethics linked to knowledge and experience are paramount.
PIYM is not any one individual but a group of like-minded people who are willing to follow my policy.
I am pleased to have worked alongside many talented individuals who have brought, and continue to bring much to our yachting "industry". A very good number of these people have remained within our walls, and I am very proud of them. Equally, the large number of professionals who have been with us and who now litter the industry are a group of people of whom I feel I can also be equally proud.
History is created every day and I trust that this review of PIYM's place in the industry is to be added to for many years to come.