Yacht Class n°16 (march-april-may 2019)

Less than a year after its official launch at the Yacht Club de Monaco, the digital platform Yotha has already come a long way and offers now 126 yachts, all between 24 and 90 metres, with an average above 40 metres. 65 more units should soon join its fleet.
From the redaction – Photos : Yotha, 2018

Philippe Bacou has had several career. A chartered accountant by profession, he was chief financial director in the industry, before becoming the managing director of an international family business. Building on this experience, this yachting enthusiast has undertaken a new challenge by creating in 2016 Yotha, a charter platform intended to be like no other.

What is the concept of Yotha?

Yotha is a digital platform connecting owners, charterers and yachting professionals. It is not a charter fleet catalogue, as there are many of them. It is the only platform that truly allows to see the booking process through, including the payment transaction, in a simple and transparent way. There is even the possibility to consider relatively short and last-minute charter contracts. 

What makes it different from other charter companies?

All the essential elements of the contract can be negotiated online, which makes it possible to rapidly reach agreement, while having a sales department to assist in the finalization of the negotiation. All transactions are also secured and monitored under an agreement with the FINMA (Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority). In addition, our customers have an application, “Yotha on board”, to interactively define the cruise program, in collaboration with the agent, captain, or both. This facilitates communication, traceability and user-friendliness. 

Why did you decide to create Yotha? 

I have been chartering my boats for more than 15 years. But I could not really find the service I thought I was entitled to expect. Today, digital is present in helicopter rental, luxury residences… but not in yachting. A priori, there is no reason why this difference should continue. Seeing that the profession was not evolving much, I thought: “why not give it a try ?”.

What was missing?

The most inadequate was the communication between the owner, the captain and those in charge of the vessel marketing. We often received requests and then no news for days. The uncertainty was permanent. This led us to progressively take over the management, mainly to understand why a request had not been successful. Lack of information, of response? Did the broker favored another boat? This lack of transparency and understanding of mechanisms confuses many owners and charterers. This is complex because there are too many intermediaries. And I think that, in the profession, no one really wondered what services charterers and owners expect, and how to make sure that both are satisfied. 

Who are your customers?

Owners and tenants are our customers. Professionals are more our partners insofar as they play along and consider Yotha as an additional business and not as a head-on competition, which we are not. We have a traditional clientele, the only difference is that the simplicity and user-friendliness of Yotha will most certainly open this market to a younger, more modern audience. Or even, by shortening the charters duration, to those who up to now could not afford charter

The current magazine