|Broker Interview: Ben Sutton of Boatbookings|
Ben Sutton is the newest retail charter broker at Boatbookings. He recently attended the charter yacht shows in the Virgin Islands and Antigua, and I got a chance to sit down with him there, as well as to follow up in a telephone interview. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.
Did you grow up boating?
I grew up traveling. I am from Yorkshire, England, and my parents loved to travel. So growing up, I’d been everywhere from Indonesia and Thailand and Singapore to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the United States. All around Europe as well, the South of France, the Amalfi Coast. I’ve done a week’s trek to Machu Picchu, snorkeling in Egypt—I was very lucky to have that childhood, and I loved the traveling.
How did you get into the yachting industry?
I always loved the water, and I went to one of the top U.K. universities, so I’m trilingual in English, Spanish and French. As a sort of apprenticeship, I applied to Boatbookings in the Cannes office as a charter assistant to the worldwide brokers. I think it was my second week, I helped a client charter a large sailing yacht, and it just went from there.
Did you earn degrees that will help you in the world of charter?
My degree is in business, French and Spanish, and now I’m going to the boat shows to learn more. I came to the United States for the Fort Lauderdale show, I went to the BVI catamaran show and then to the Antigua show to keep up to date with the new yachts, the new places to go, to get to know the cruising grounds better. In all the places, I went out on boats. I was on a Lagoon 520 from Tortola to St. John, then in Antigua, I was on a Palmer Johnson called Temptation, just stunning with a fantastic crew. I think one of the most important things is being able to tell clients exactly what they will see and what the feeling is like on board, and the shows are great for that.
Given your travel background, are you going to book charters worldwide?
We have offices worldwide, and we have an Asia specialist based in Singapore and Thailand. He knows the area extremely well. So I focus my charters in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Bahamas. I think Croatia is really exciting, and Turkey is somewhere a lot of people don’t think of going that’s really fantastic—so much culture and history.
What’s next on your schedule?
I’m going to have a very busy spring. I’ll be at the Palma show, and the boat shows in Antibes, Greece and Turkey. I’m coming into the industry at a great time. Knowing the boats and knowing the destinations, I can really share with my clients how their holiday is going to end up. It’s just a great time.
Is there anything else CharterWave readers should know about you?
I believe in sustainability and giving things back. We have an internship program at Boatbookings, one of the only ones in the yachting industry. That’s where I came from originally, and I’m a big advocate for it. We’re always looking for people who can make a difference. Also, green chartering and offsetting carbon emissions to help the environment. We have a partnership with a company that can give back, so we can sort that out from the original booking. I think those are things that set us apart.
Contact Ben Sutton through the Boatbookings website.