Philippe Bacou is the CEO & Founder of YOTHA. After 15 years of chartering his own yachts, and having participated in the creation of several successful broker agencies, Philippe had the desire to offer an innovative platform to facilitate the chartering process and setup the company in 2016.
- Why did you create YOTHA?
After chartering and owning yachts for 15 years, I was convinced that the introduction of digital technology could enrich the charter market. So, in 2016, I recruited a team of yachting professionals and technology experts to create YOTHA. Our intention is to bring trust, transparency and convenience to the charter market to attract more customers to the luxury yacht world. We launched a beta version last year and now, in 2019, we have launched worldwide which we are really excited about.
- How does the concept of YOTHA work?
We offer an end-to-end online charter meaning there are no lengthy conversations of fiddly papers to sign. Everything is done digitally. Visitors to the YOTHA platform start by taking a 360-degree virtual tour and browsing extensive partners, then using the live availability feature they pre-select a yacht and negotiate the charter price directly with the owner or his agent under the supervision of our 24/7 customer care team. Transactions are 100% secure and, once the reservation is complete, our guests benefit from an exclusive concierge service in association with our luxury concierge partner, Quintessentially.
- Is the platform primarily designed to benefit charterers or yacht owners? Or both?
Both of course! The platform has been designed to benefit not only the charterers but also to give the owners more options to easily make more capital from their key asset: their yacht. Through our digital platform, charterers can simply select the dates they wish to charter, the geographical region and their price range. A list of available yachts that match the criteria will then be displayed and can be requested to charter in a couple of taps or clicks. We are just making it easier for both sides of the charter experience. That’s our main aim.
- How does YOTHA differ from other services like this out there? Are there any hidden costs?
One of the key pillars to the business is to put the customer at the heart of everything we do and to make sure they are cared for. If we make sure that we are doing our jobs correctly there, then I believe that will truly distinguish us from competitors. YOTHA is the only platform where charterers can negotiate directly with the owner or his agent online, and design their own custom adventure with just a few swipes of a mobile app. The app also allows the charterer to chat with the captain before arriving onboard, as opposed to the traditional method where a broker would send a guest’s wish list back and forth risking information getting lost along the way. I think that feature really sets us apart from the rest.
There are no hidden costs at all. Transparency is key. The app makes the whole process more fluid and clearer, right down to the guests being able to keep track of their expenses as they happen whilst aboard.
- What geographical regions will YOTHA cover?
Yotha is now truly worldwide from 2019. From the French riviera, across the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and to hubs like Dubai in the Persian Gulf, wherever you would like to charter yachts registered on our platform you now can. We have really set our sights on expanding the horizons of yacht charter outside the usual destinations and allowing access to yachts that may be available to charter in Dubai, Hong Kong or Fort Lauderdale.
Our guests are now coming from all over the world – from India, China, Russia, the US and Europe so it is imperative that we make sure we provide access to yachts that are available to charter wherever they may be at the current time.
- What are the plans for YOTHA’s future?
We are continually adding more yachts to our platform and we expect that many more owners in the 4000-strong global yacht fleet will be attracted by the convenience and simplicity we offer. In the long term, we plan to extend this user-oriented philosophy into other sectors of the yachting industry. I really do believe that the future is for the industry to work together and incorporate technology to make the entire process easier for the charterers and owners so we can all benefit.