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Yacht Charters: Article

By Air & Sea

Now you can get a discount on a yacht charter if you are a Sentient club member

There was a time when airplane and yacht companies had about as much in common as oil and water. But these days, the two industries have been combining forces to provide enhanced services and mutually beneficial experiences to clients. Now, you can get a discount on a yacht charter if you're a Sentient club member or free Marquis plane hours with the purchase of a new boat.

 

 "Our thinking is that people who like to fly planes also charter yachts," says Jamie Edmiston, president of Edmiston Yacht charters in Los Angeles, California. "We felt that having a marketing partner in the private aviation industry is a natural fit." Perhaps more logical than natural is Edmiston's partnership with industry leader NetJets, which has the largest fleet of private aircraft in the world. Combine that with a global yacht company that routinely charters yachts in excess of 300 feet, and the partnership makes sense.

 Edmiston says that, under the agreement, his charter guests can put 5% of the charter fee towards a NetJets flight. On a 350ft yacht, those dollars add up quickly. Though the program is still in its initial stages, Edmiston says that his company is excited about the arrangement. "NetJets is the best in its industry," he says. "And we are the best in ours. This adds credibility to both companies."

 Over the last six months, Sentient Jet has been forming alliances with high-end resorts, and also with the Sacks Group, a Ft. Lauderdale-based yacht charter broker. "We're trying to provide opportunities for our clients that they wouldn't necessarily experience otherwise," says Jill Kremins, Sentient's vice president of marketing. She says that Sentient jet card members get preferred rates on Sacks-organized charters, and preferred treatment on the yachts. "The captain makes sure there's champagne in the room when they arrive," she says. The two groups are also co-hosting yacht charter shows for clients. "We want to give our clients a new level of service," says Kremins.

 Marquis Jets has also formed an unusual alliance with Sea Ray Boats of Knoxville, Tennessee. "We wanted to align ourselves with high-end consumer brands," says Marquis CEO Bill Allard. "So we've forged a relationship with Sea Ray and have helped them create a sales incentive program." The high-end boat builder held its "Take Off for Summer" sales event last February, offering free hours on Marquis/NetJets private jets when consumers bought particular Sea Rays. "If someone bought a 360 Sundancer, for instance, they got a certificate for four hours on a Marquis jet," he says. "For a new 560 Sedan Bridge, it would go up to 24 hours."

 Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs has recently formed a new private aviation division called A&K Jets. This alliance with Flexjet allows Destination Club members to fly the Flexjet network at will, for less than other card programs. "Hourly costs are about the same as fractional ownership," says Rob McGrath, CEO of A&K Destinations, "but significantly cheaper than the other membership cards."

Like Flexjet's fractional owners, A&K Jet members get the same perks and quality customer service on the new Bombardier Learjet and Challenger fleet, but without the initial front-end investment. There is one catch, however. A&K requires membership in its Destination Club, a $250,000 fully refundable fee that gives members free access to multimillion dollar mansions and resorts worldwide. McGrath expects current Destination Club members to use the new A&K Jets service, but also foresees members of other card programs turning in their cards for his club. "We think a combination of the financial incentives and luxury of our destinations makes a very compelling proposition," he says. - Michael Verdon

More Stories By Michael Verdon

Michael Verdon is a freelance writer living in Rhode Island. He contributes regularly to Worth, Robb Report, and Unlimited magazines.

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