Based in Boston, Carol specializes not just in vacations, but also corporate day charters.
President/Owner, Carol Kent Yacht Charters
Date interviewed: January 2008
How did you get started as a charter broker?
In 1986, I began working for a yacht charter company in Marblehead, Massachusetts, that specialized in bareboat and skipper-your-own charters in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was brought on to develop the crewed charter segment of the business.
What kinds of boats do you typically book?
Carol Kent Yacht Charters evolved from my arranging bareboats in New England and running a fleet of private sailing yachts out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. During this start-up phase of my business, I worked with both the New England and Caribbean charter yachts, attending the industry-only boat shows and keeping on top of all the new and changing yachts and crew.
Today, my business is primarily arranging crewed yacht vacations on boats that are 60 to 100 feet long, or even bigger. (That’s me in the photo above, onboard the 228-foot motoryacht Sherakhan in St. Maarten, late 2006.)
I also have an Event Division that arranges corporate and leisure day charter events in Boston, Massachusetts; Newport, Rhode Island; New York City and Miami, Florida. For our corporate clients, we coordinate all the details for “team-building” events that can last from four hours to a full day on the water.
In addition, I have an Exclusives Division that handles bookings for vacations that start at $25,000 per week. The main areas this division of my company handles are New England, the Caribbean, Greece and Turkey.
What are some of the best charter destinations you’ve personally visited?
Since my interest in traveling is discovering the history of people, food and cultures, I find that Turkey is one secret place that one can explore without lines, ropes and hordes of people. It is a magical place!
What is the first thing you ask a new charter client?
How did you hear about our services?
The answer to this question gives me an idea of what is working in my marketing and advertising efforts. Most of my clients are actually referrals from friends and colleagues.
Describe a previous booking where you worked “above and beyond” for a client.
Mutual respect of our captains and crew is essential in creating a strong partnership, and this partnership allows our clients to receive the best experience for their vacation dollars (no matter what budget they may have).
I choose to work with flexible and willing “can do anything” crew so that I can meet all the unique requests we receive.
What are a few of your favorite charter yachts, and why?
The 72-foot Bonnie Lynn is a classic sailing yacht, and the crew are folks you could cruise with for extended periods of time. They have such great experience, and the stories of their transatlantic travels are impressive. The boat is so great that if you want to get onto their schedule, you have to book early for the winter and New England summer, when they generally sail from the coast of Maine.
I also like the 103-foot motoryacht Lady Frances, which now has the most incredible crew. Capt. Jackson has been in this industry for more than 20 years, and he is still a kid at heart. Everything that’s new and exciting to his clients, you can be assured it will be just as exciting to him. He has amazing enthusiasm and love of the charter industry. Plus, the chef won a competition in St. Maarten this year, and I had the privilege of dining onboard. What a great meal!
What makes you different from other charter brokers?
One thing is my Event Division and the unique niche market I cater to in terms of corporate entertaining. This is not limited to North America; it also includes the Grand Prix and Cannes Festival in Europe, which are the ultimate day party events!
I’m also one of the relatively few brokers who works with American Express, which helps clients who don’t want to transfer large sums of cash.
I am an active member of a variety of professional organizations that give me international connections I can use to my clients’ benefit when arranging vacations around the world. These organizations include the Charter Yacht Broker Association, of which I’ve been a member since 1989 and on whose board I currently serve. I’m also a member of the International Association of Travel and Tourism Professionals (www.skal.org), and of the Boston chapter of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (www.onecaribbean.org/home/), where I’m also a past board member.
What else should CharterWave readers know about you and your business?
My background education is in social work, so I can skillfully guide people in a direction that will lead them to the best vacation experience.
My clients trust this experience and knowledge, which is why I’m able to say that I’m celebrating 20 years in the yacht charter business.
People deserve value in their vacations, whether they take one or five vacations a year. I help my clients get what they deserve.
How can CharterWave.com readers contact you?
Through my new website, www.CarolKent.com.