Sipping a chilled flute of champagne, from his seat on one of the comfortable cushions scattered artistically on the deck of a 60-metre motor yacht, Tom was unaware of the noise of the Formula 1 cars roaring within metres of the stern.
So near yet so surprisingly unbothered by the din, Tom was protected from the deafening sound of the vehicles speeding around the Monte Carlo Grand Prix track by the hi-tech headset loaned to him by the attentive crew on board the luxury superyacht his directors had chartered for the weekend.
Tom is just one of a growing number of employees whisked away from their day jobs to the South of France for ‘team-bonding’ or ‘incentive’ corporate yacht charters each year.
Once the domain of super-wealthy individuals looking for the ultimate summer holiday in the Mediterranean, superyacht charters are becoming increasingly popular with companies as a means of rewarding their workforce by bringing them along to key social events along the French Riviera.
In fact, late spring-early summer is the busiest period for brokers responsible for yacht charters along the Cote d’Azur, such as Burgess, currently offering the magnificent 60-metre motor yacht CLOUD 9 for charter and for sale for €34,900,000. Luxury yachts are also being used as alternative accommodation and party venues for companies heading to the French Riviera for events such as MIPIM, the world’s largest real estate exhibition. A spokesman for Edmiston & Company said: “Corporate charters see some of the world’s true mega yachts open their decks to companies looking for a way to entertain clients; reward employees, or host business activities.
“Far exceeding other corporate travel accommodations and venues, yacht charters grant each individual on board a completely fresh experience, with the freedom to develop new ideas and inspirations to take back to the workplace.”
Every year, more than 10 million people arrive at Nice Cote d’Azur airport, many to attend any one of the business exhibitions hosted in towns such as Cannes, Nice and Monaco, all within an easy 40-minute drive. Renowned for international events such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Côte d’Azur ranks as one of the world’s top ten destinations for business tourism.
One in every five visitors comes for business, with approximately two million business trips being made to the region every year. Almost 20 percent of all visits are for a congress, seminar or exhibition, representing more than 500,000 non-resident participants per year. The region is hugely popular for corporate events due to its favorable weather, first-class venues and excellent transport infrastructure.
But instead of reserving rooms in any one of the plethora of first class hotels, many companies are now choosing to charter a yacht during events. One boss offering corporate charters to his deserving employees is Andrew Yarrow, director of an international property company. He said: “The cost of organising a corporate yacht charter in Cannes is, believe it or not, favorable to putting up all our teams in a hotel of a comparable standard. And what’s more, they are massively private, secure and discrete.”
Yachts can be deceptively large, with areas such as the upper decks providing the perfect venue for any entertaining, and with a fully professional crew on board, guests can expect first class service from morning ‘til night.
Corporate charters can offer more than luxury accommodation, however. A short jaunt on a yacht, particularly a sailing yacht, can offer the perfect ‘team- building’ expedition.
Michael Romeling, Captain of Lord Jim Sailing, a yacht proving hugely popular with corporate charters, said: “To build a successful team takes many, many years. Some training sessions perhaps suggest it can happen instantly. But individuals and small leadership teams can achieve success in boosting performance by being taken out of their day to day environment to create change. I have appreciated that taking people away into an environment where I can control possible external influences allows individuals to reflect, think and act in a different way.”
Whether to allow for the best experience or simply to stimulate a better performance from the workforce, corporate yacht charters are never more in demand than at this time of year in the South of France.
Here is our list of top five events for which to book your luxury corporate charter in 2015:
• Cannes Film Festival, from May 13-24
• Monaco Grand Prix, from May 21-24
• Cannes Lions, from June 21- 27
• Cannes Boat Show, from September 8-13
• MIPCOM, from October 5-8
Corporate yacht charters can run for a variety of time periods, from a single day to a weekend or week-long charter. Yachts are usually fully staffed with first class chefs and hostesses, allowing all guests on board to concentrate on getting on with business – or simply having some well-deserved fun!