While the attention of observers focused on the partnership that Dream Yacht Charter signed with Zodiac Nautic to accelerate the development of the Dream Boat Club, BoatIndustry.com wanted to broaden the reflection. We asked Loïc Bonnet, founder of the leader in boat rental, our questions about the company's strategic choices in the short, medium and long term.
You are one of the largest buyers of boats in the world. Do manufacturers ask you about new models? How are the purchases planned?
Loïc Bonnet: Our fleet plan is being built within 3 years. We have completed 2020 and we are working on 2021. So we buy the boats that will be built in 3 years and those that will come out in the meantime, according to plans. But what interests the customer who rents our boats is above all the year of construction of the boat, not the year of launch of the model.
We are seeing the development of tools for remote tracking and monitoring of boat parameters, such as NautiConcept or SailSense. Is Dream Yacht Charter a customer for this type of connected box?
Loïc Bonnet: We are already working internally on our maintenance digitalization system. It's a program that started a year and a half ago. The connected box is only a small part of the device. This should also allow us to integrate the ordering of parts, their storage... We will set it up in the first Dream Yacht Charter bases next spring. The deployment is planned over 3 years.
The market for more sporty catamarans is growing, with the arrival of brands such as Excess. Some see it as a niche for rental. What do you think about this with the experience of Régis Guillemot and his TS42s that you recently acquired? Is Dream Yacht Charter interested?
Loïc Bonnet: I don't believe it. If it were so good, there'd be more. On the same basis in Martinique, a Lagoon brings in 50% more than a TS42. As for Excess, they are not trying to sell us their boats.
The Dream Yacht offer is growing rapidly, from Boat Club to online and offline rental, as well as distribution. What future activity could you develop? Can you imagine managing marinas for example to secure places for your boats?
Loïc Bonnet: In the short term, we will launch the Dream Sabbatical offer for long-term rental at the 2019 Boot Düsseldorf. In a future vision, it seems logical to develop an insurance and financing offer that complements distribution. In terms of foresight, there are also the shipschandling offers. As for marinas, we may be interested in tourist areas such as Florida, for example, as Freedom Boat Club and Suntex Marinas have done. On the other hand, not in France where public management is complicated.