Repeat clients are always a sign of a company that offers exceptional service. At Virgin Island Sailing®, repeat clients are a major part of the business, with the company’s expert brokers helping people book yacht-charter vacations of all kinds throughout the Virgin Islands and greater Caribbean.
“Once we get clients on board and get them past the label of broker—they worry it’s going to cost more money—they see how easy it is, and we have a lot of repeat business,” says company owner Melody Delgado, who has been chartering in the Virgins herself since the 1980s. “What sets us apart is that we’re not focused on a specific product. We’re focused on the service we’re offering.”
That service is giving clients a broad overview of their options for booking charters, and then helping them to make a choice that is an ideal fit for their desires and needs. Unlike companies that offer boats only within their own charter fleets,
Virgin Island Sailing® has connections with numerous companies that operate charter powerboats, sailboats and catamarans. The Virgin Island Sailing® website was recently updated to give clients in-depth search capabilities for yachts, rates and travel planning, and the company has a team of brokers with decades’ worth of industry experience who get to know each crew and boat personally, right down to things such as each chef’s specialties, as well as itineraries throughout the islands for everything from fishing and snorkeling to scuba diving and paddleboarding.
All of that industry knowledge is used to help clients determine which boat, crew and destination are a perfect match for their dream vacation. The Virgin Island Sailing ® team can help clients book a perfect boat that they find on the website after searching themselves, or can guide them through various options until they find “the one.”
“We are unbiased in what we are recommending, and we only offer boats that we know are well-maintained with good crew,” Delgado says. “We can use our industry relationships to help you pick the best boat with the best rate for your experience.”
The booking process at Virgin Island Sailing® starts when clients have a conversation with a charter broker to determine the vacation’s budget and client’s wishes—in specific detail, including must-have items such as child-size water skis or a vegan chef.
Next, the charter broker sends a personalized proposal to the client. It includes a selection of three to five yachts. Prices are noted from the start, so clients will have no surprises, no matter which charter yacht they choose.
Once the client selects and books a charter yacht, Virgin Island Sailing® provides a package that is unique within the yacht-charter industry. It includes a substantive cruising guidebook that is several inches thick, and that contains all kinds of helpful information about the specific charter location’s snorkeling sites, moorings, navigation tips and more.
Clients also receive an online vacation planner—again, specialized to the locality and type of charter—with detailed information about travel information, hotels, restaurants, provisioning, packing suggestions and more.
“It’s constantly updated,” Delgado says. “If we find out there’s a really good new gourmet meal service, we put it in there. Our philosophy is to be proactive. We want to give out information so people don’t have to ask questions.”
Each charter client is also assigned a Virgin Island Sailing® concierge, who reviews everything and follows up to ensure that all paperwork and travel arrangements are complete. Clients receive timely reminders about things such as provisioning for bareboat charters or filling out preference sheets for crewed charters. And, if there are changes to things such as government travel protocols after the charter has started, the Virgin Island Sailing® team ensures that the client has all the most up-to-date, necessary information for a smooth travel experience.
In addition, once the charter vacation is underway, the Virgin Island Sailing® team stays in communication with the client to help resolve any problems. Again, the company’s industry relationships are key. While individuals booking a charter yacht can sometimes find it challenging to get answers to immediate questions, the Virgin Island Sailing® team can act as a valuable go-between with relationships already in place.
The team can also follow up after a charter ends to make sure that any loose ends with contracts or payments are handled professionally and promptly.
All in all, Delgado says, the booking process at Virgin Island Sailing® is organized to help clients feel empowered, no matter how they like to choose a vacation. If they want to do most of their research online themselves, the company’s website is available 24/7/365 for that purpose. If they would like the expertise of a charter broker from the start, that level of service is available too, at no extra cost.
“We suggest talking to a broker to save time, but if you want to do your own research, we are set up for you to do that,” she says. “Our website has a monster search engine that helps you see rates, deals and seasonal promotions, and we are always here with our expertise to provide any additional assistance you need.”
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