You might surmise that chartering a glamorous motorboat to impress your clients might be impractical but, according to our current charterers, the cost-effective allure of living life on the water’s edge makes good business sense for those with business to make and clients to keep.
Trying to find great value on a corporate entertainment budget slashed by half can leave your head feeling nothing but a dull thud. Individual hospitality prices for Wimbledon centre court start from £899, Ashes cricket at Lord’s from £279; even two hours in an executive box at a QPR football club home match costs £170. Most corporate hospitality seems designed for a more prosperous and profligate age.
But don’t despair; there is still at least one headache-easing bargain around. Look towards the south-coast of England to find Seafin – a classic English motorboat – cruising into Port Hamble, near Southampton, and waving a flag for serious business fun on a modest budget. A perfect day out in a delightful setting can cost less than £150 a head.
Hamble Point Yacht Charters has been offering hospitality days aboard its elegant, 75-foot motor yacht for more than 10 years and have had the following comments from customers over the years:
“Once we analysed the costs, we found that other hospitality events were expensive. We used to take our advertisers to Henley, Wimbledon and Test match cricket, but once we analysed the costs we found they were amazingly high compared to Seafin,”
“It’s one of the most cost-effective ways of entertaining clients and being able to discuss our business with them informally, people are very disappointed if they aren’t invited.”
Seafin is equipped – and licensed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency – to carry 30 passengers around the Solent, which makes it suitable for any company keen on generating and maintaining business during choppy financial waters.
Charter rates start at £3,000 for a whole day onboard, with 30 of your most valued customers wined and dined by Seafin’s diligent crew. The set up allows you plenty of one-on-one time with all your guests on a sunny top deck, on land by the quaint village pub at the picturesque Buckler’s Hard, and on the water – courtesy of the on-board jet-skis and stand up paddle boards.
“We booked a year in advance and I certainly don’t regret it now the recession has arrived,” says one customer. “Some of our clients survived the previous recession and realise that if they do nothing, they achieve nothing. If you don’t do marketing you get less business and we’re aware that there will always be someone around the corner to snap up ours.”
He says the day includes plenty of fun activities for all age groups. “Seafin allows us to bomb around on a fast motorboat on the Solent and to use hired RIBs to let our clients get to a nearby island if they wish to go shopping.”
“We struggled to find any other boat that gives us what we want – right down to constantly filling people’s glasses with Pimms and feeding them all day”
But how does the vessel compare with others available for hire? “We struggled to find any other boat that gives us what we want. Right down to constantly filling people’s glasses and feeding them all day, Seafin does things the way they should be done.”
“When people climb aboard for the first time, you can see their absolute joy and wonderment that they’re on a great big motor cruiser where people are serving them food and drink all day.”
“Seafin is a venue with an atmosphere conducive to big business deals. Indeed, apart from the sparkling service and beautiful destinations – “Buckler’s Hard is a wonderful place to visit in its own right, it’s the business brokered on board that keeps clients re-booking year after year.”
“Once aboard, there is a huge amount of cross fertilisation and business brokered”
Apart from affordability, great service and fun, Seafin travels to “some very characterful places” “There’s a choice of Buckler’s Hard on Beaulieu River, Cowes or Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight in the morning, before anchoring down to set the jet-skis in the afternoon,”
“It’s nice to operate in a fairly large group in an environment that’s still small enough to enable us to give everyone personal attention,” “We only got three hours on the Thames boat compared with an entire day on Seafin.”
“The vessel is beautifully looked after and was recently refurbished, so it’s perfect for entertaining” “Let’s face it, there’s no greater environment to get to know someone than sitting on a boat, soaking up the sun with a beer in hand.”
Seafin has three levels on which to sup that beer. The top deck fits 30 people, the middle deck is designed for comfort, with an open gallery to eat food, and the lower deck houses four cabins with power showers to help guests warm up after riding the jet-skis.”
Seafin is roomy with plenty of space. Our guests have the full run of the boat and can find somewhere to relax by sitting on deck outside or reading a magazine on the comfy sofas inside – and there is enough indoor space for everyone if it rains. Guests who want to take the wheel can do that too, with supervision from the skipper Fred, who, with more than 30 years experience, takes any little hiccup in his stride.
Chartering Seafin also means that you can pass off every inch of the vessel as your own to impress deserving and disparate clients. We encourage our clients to welcome their guests with their own banners and flags. We help to create the illusion that our boat is theirs on any particular day – very useful for maximising marketing exposure during Cowes Week or other Yacht Regattas.
“We need a vessel for spectator purposes. Seafin has a fantastic viewing platform … and is fast enough to follow the yachts around”
The boat also makes for a fabulous viewing gallery. “She is very comfortable, with lots of areas to watch the passing races,”
“With other corporate hospitality, it can be quite hard to quantify what the total cost will be – and you have to make certain arrangements yourself, but Seafin offers the complete package and it’s very easy to arrange.”
“In the current climate, some entertaining budgets have literally been halved,” “On Seafin, you can entertain a decent amount of people for a very extended period of time, in favourable conditions. It helps us to build a great impression and relationship with our biggest clients, many of whom spend in excess of a million pounds in advertising.”
For all that, he says, “£3,000 is great value”.