In our latest edition of The Superyacht Group’s Digital Dialogues, Martin Redmayne is joined by Richie Blake, Managing Director at Döhle Yachts, to discuss the topic of expectation management within the yachting industry.

Blake joined Döhle five-and-a-half years ago and has seen the company grow from strength to strength ever since. With superyacht management being such an interesting and evolving marketplace, Redmayne starts the conversation by asking Blake what he considers to be the most frustrating thing about this industry.

“I'm a born optimist, so perhaps I’m the wrong person to ask that question to, but I think the things that frustrate me are, for example, where you see organizations going for a quick win. In my opinion, there's no such thing as a quick win. If you win quickly then someone's lost quickly,” begins Blake.

“We have to look at the long term. We have to try and build relationships to understand our clients’ needs and what they want to achieve from this amazing thing that we call yachting, to come into the heart of managing expectations. If we can just get to the back of that then we can better serve [our clients], and they are the best ambassadors we are going to have. They're going to bring more owners and bring more potential,” adds Blake. 

Blake recalls being involved in a project where they had picked up a client that had previously been poorly serviced, and part of the underneath decking had become rotten. While this was not pleasant news to deliver, Blake emphasises how important clear communication is and being honest about what will create additional costs both in terms of time and money. “These are intelligent people we’re dealing with, so let's just be honest. Let me openly speak to the owner's rep and say, look this is the reality of what we've found,” he explains. 

Redmayne then asks Blake why he thinks the industry is sometimes not as open and honest as it should be with owners or owner’s representatives in situations like the above. “There is no such thing as ‘the yacht owner’... Every yacht owner has a different motivation be it privacy, security, amazing access to fabulous places. They want to see art, they want to see the glaciers, they want to go down the coast of South America or dive at the Great Barrier Reef - whatever it may be there are a million reasons to want a yacht, so to try and say ‘the yacht owner’ is nonsense before you begin,” clarifies Blake. “But many yacht owners are obviously very wealthy people and they know their own mind. Perhaps there's a degree of reticence, maybe a degree of fear in some parts of the industry about just saying ‘look, I know we said it's going to cost four million, it’s actually going to cost eight. I know he said we'll take three weeks, it’s actually going to take 10,’ but I think the owners respect that degree of honesty." 

Blake believes that this honesty should also translate into the relationships within the industry, across all different sectors. “People should be being honest with each other and be willing to bring other teams in. Our team is very, very good at what we do, but we're not scared to bring in other teams. We accept the fact that there are people in the world that are better at understanding the transmission of noise and vibration across a ship's hull, so perhaps when you're looking at noise and vibration if you bring in an expert to help you get the right answer, this will ultimately be beneficial to the owner,” adds Blake.

When asked by Redmayne how Blake ensures he gets the right people in the right job for a project, Blake raises another key area of focus which is the encouragement of new, skilled and talented people into the industry. “We have brilliant young people coming out of our ears, whereas every other industry seems to be struggling to attract these young people. We’ve got them in spades. When you listen to them, give them the opportunity of a career path,” comments Blake.

To hear more about Blake’s methods of encouraging and nurturing new talent within the industry, and the priority that he feels should be placed on adequate training budgets for these individuals, watch the full interview here

The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.  

You can view the ever-growing archive of Digital Dialogues here.

 

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