How to supercharge the on-board experience of luxury yachts

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An exploration of the changes made to digital technology in the superyacht industry…

There’s been a noticeable change in the superyacht industry over the past few years, especially when it comes to digital technology. We’ve seen the transformation of VSAT services from large domed satellite terminals to lightweight flat panel antennas. Those in the superyacht industry have witnessed analog instruments transform into digital sensors and apps to provide real-time analytics as you sail. With changes in superyacht infrastructure, we’ve seen significant improvements in the onboard experience that comes with it.

Superyachts have always been about luxury, but now they’re going above and beyond to make the sailing experience truly memorable. From high-end entertainment systems to innovative communication platforms, it’s important to keep passengers engaged and entertained while at sea in a way that is relevant to them. Whether it be 4K screens, 3D sound systems, interactive video walls, innovative satellite domes or access to the world’s most premium magazines and newspapers, marine technology companies have taken note and they’re taking steps toward catering to the modern superyacht owner, guests, and crew.

It’s all about personalisation. “The very essence of yachting is customisation, and this extends to the provision of content; owners and their guests appreciate a bespoke service,” says Will Matthieson from the Superyacht Group. “It’s very important that everyone onboard gets seamless connectivity and instant access to quality content on their own personal device.”

It may sound complicated, but it’s actually simplifying the daily lives of superyacht owners and staff.

Roger Horner of E3 Systems, the leading company in marine communications integrations, believes that yachts can provide a truly one-of-a-kind experience by “investing in the very best technology in order to receive the very best content, whenever they want it, wherever they sail.”

“Owners, their families, guests, and crew are now understandably expecting the same experience at sea as they do on land. Time zones become irrelevant, so connectivity has to be available 24/7,” says Horner.

Yacht owners and guests are accustomed to an ‘always-on’ society, and they expect that experience to extend into their off-shore lives. A report conducted by The Superyacht Group and Inmarsat in 2018 revealed that, “almost 73% of Superyacht owners are demanding seamless connectivity wherever they sail and speeds that are comparable to home broadband services.”

“Owners, their families, guests, and crew are now understandably expecting the same experience at sea as they do on land."

Thanks to modern innovations in satellites, combined with a willingness from superyacht owners to invest in larger satellite packages, tech companies in the digital media space (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, PressReader, and Amazon) have been successful in getting quality news and entertainment onboard, faster and better. Delivering the most up-to-date content for everyone onboard the way they want to receive it, whether that be in digital form or print, has become a standard for luxury superyachts.

This is why PressReader still offers a print solution along with its all-you-can-read digital platform so that owners, guests, and crew can select their favourite publications and print them on board, on demand. “Physical papers provide a satisfying tactile experience. Holding a newspaper while on vacation evokes a comforting feeling of home ¬– which is exactly what a superyacht is. It’s a home away from home,” says Guy Romarate, Assistant Technical Officer on board M/Y Rising Sun.

It’s all about keeping superyacht owners happy, and providing their guests with services they expect in their day-to-day life. CNN reports that “Instead of offices, owners want spas, gyms, pools, and cinema rooms ? amenities that appeal more to their kids than prospective business partners.” Yachts are becoming more and more a place to relax with families, and less so about conducting business. But, that doesn’t mean owners need to be disconnected from it all. Newspapers and magazines provide a form of relaxation with content that’s highly personalised, for them to stay informed and inspired every day.

Travellers also want “faster gratification and deeper engagement,” Shift reported in January. That’s something that simply can’t be done in the same way without seamless digital platforms. “Our customers always want a choice of entertainment and media that suits their tastes and demographics exactly,” says Horner. “This may well be a home away from home experience such as watching a local TV station live in their native language or reading their newspaper of choice at the same time as those on land. The days of reading two-day-old newspapers are no longer with us.”

How to supercharge the on-board experience of luxury yachts