In this blog post, I will explain what was going on in season 2012 and what can we expect in 2013 when it comes to Croatia gulet cruises.
You will also learn what some gulet owners are saying and why gulet Croatia Cruise holidays have bright future.
GULET CRUISE CROATIA: COMPARISON SEASON 2011 VS 2012!
– 85% of gulet owners said that season 2012 was better than 2011
– Early booking season took off and 65% of the weeks were booked until 01st of February 2012 for the upcoming season.
– After that, there was a huge drop in bookings until April when reservations started to flow in again
– Last minute was good but the discount frenzy was much lower as most of the gulets were already booked quite well.
– You could get a good discount but not even close to what was going on before. 40% or 50% changed to max 10 – 15% maybe 20% if you got very lucky.
Owner of Gulet Krila 7 – Mr. Marič
I don’t exactly know about other gullets but our 2012 was a bit better than 2011. There were few more repeating guests, all in all, it was better than 2011.
Owners of Gulet Gardelin – Vanessa and Alen
For us, the season 2012 was similar to 2011 (a bit better). We made a continuous booking standard with travel agencies that have good cruise programs for a year ahead. In the winter season, you could already see that the season will go well. This is very important for us as then is no waiting, no last-minute promotions, we can get ready and prepare for the season earlier and in more quality fashion and clients are happier because of this also at the end. If the gulet owner is not booked at least moderately until 01st of March it is hard for him to invest in the gulet and then the deluxe category becomes luxury and luxury becomes standard and standard becomes economy and so on…
EXPECTATIONS FOR SEASON 2013 FOR CROATIA GULET CRUISES!
– 85% of gulet owners expect the season 2013 to be either the same or a bit better then it was in 2012
– Early booking started well again but till now the bookings for 70% of gulet owners are a bit down in comparison to last year.
– The Last-minute season will be stronger but it will not be on the same scale as it was in 2010 and 2011.
– People who cruised in Turkey before got really used to larger discounts in Turkey. That is why lots of people that wish to go to Croatia discover that prices are not so flexible and then they go back to Turkey.
What Ivica Benič – Owner of gulet Dolin is saying:
Generally i”m expecting a better season. For Croatia Gulets I believe, that many people still don”t know that cruising with these boats you can see much more than on a classic small passenger ship. Why? Well simply because first of all its a smaller, mostly private group, where the guests all know each other, & that we can cruise the same route like the passenger ships,( with much more guests on boars), but we always stay away from them & never come into the ports like 10 boats tied up side by side, also the guests are not in a situation where there could be 3 nationalities & 3 aged generations on board. Altogether a Gulet cruise is much more interesting like you have all the places just for yourself.
Goolets projections for the 2013 season!
Till now it looks like there are less booking made as they were last year (as most gulet owners are saying). There is around 25% growth of inquiries (which is good news) but there is also a 20% drop in bookings (which is bad news). This means more people are shopping around and still searching for the best discounts and not the best VALUE FOR MONEY, which is wrong.
We are still trying very hard to educate the clients that the percentage of discounts is the same as the percentage of reclamation and that lowering prices means cutting corners. Cutting corners means saving on services. And saving on services means unhappy clients.
If the client gets a 50% discount it is a 50% chance he will not be happy.
The mentality is still a bit off. If clients book a gulet for 20.000 € but they pay only 10.000 € they are still expecting 20.000 € worth of gulet AND SERVICES.
And most of the time this is not what happens on the gulet.
Owners that get paid 10.000 € can only provide 10.000 € services (which is most of the time logical but it is not right – and it is only hurting entire industry).
I personally believe that every year in Croatia will get better and better and that people (clients) are getting smarter and smarter also. It is much harder to sell a gulet charter based on discounts only.
In the past, if you said this gulet costs 15.000 € and here you have a 40% discount – it worked!
Now people are not “buying” this anymore. They check the big picture and if they see a gulet that has a “normal” price and offers good VALUE FOR MONEY (meaning you can show the client why the gulet is worth the price) you can also make the deal with no discounts. But the price has to be realistic in the first place.
In the long run, this is very very good news.
WHICH SEGMENT OF GULETS WILL HAVE THE BEST SEASON IN CROATIA?
– 60% of gulet owners are not really sure which segment was the best. They think every segment has its own base of clients so the gulets with good services are making good business – no matter which “category” are they in!
– 40% of gulet owners are saying that maybe the LUX and DELUXE gulets were selling a bit better than standard gulets.
– for the future the projections are similar. All gulets in Croatia that have good services and lots of repeated clients will sell OK.
Marina Trgo from ship Barbara!
he most problems is the quality of services on board, food, an organization of entertainment ashore, and maybe the main problem is missing of professional staff on board. We need to include a certificate of excellence in this kind of tourism.
Perica Kisić – Owner of gulets Bonaventura and Nostra Vita:
I think the biggest problem is the lack of credible categorization from agencies that are not organizing gulets by quality but according to the alphabet, which is crazy. And then they do not understand why some gulets have prices of 35.000 €/week and are booked very well while others can not make a week for 10.000 €/week. gulets should be categorized in a better way so clients would know better what they are paying for.
Nikša Glunčič – Owner of gulet Anđeo:
I think every segment of gulets has its own clients. Our family owns a lower category vessel as well as DELUXE category gulet and I see there is work for both of them. All you have to do is decide which segment of people you wish to service 100% and then deliver on your promises and you will do fine. Different people need a different kind of cruises.
WILL THE CLIENTS ASK FOR BIGGER AND BIGGER DISCOUNTS OR THIS TREND WILL NOT CONTINUE?
– 65% of gulet owners are saying clients are asking for discounts but they are also more and more able to recognize the quality.
– 50% of gulet owners believe travel agencies also make this problem bigger as it is lowering prices and competing only on discounts, which is very bad for services and quality on gulets later on.
Owners explained this point in the best way.
Owner of gulet Gideon – Antun Protič:
Several agencies can’t be explained they added value and they only ask for bigger and bigger discounts which they are saying are being passed on to clients. But this is not a good solution. The owner can’t provide the same level of services anymore, agencies have a smaller commission and are less motivated to assist the client…and the client gets the worst overall experience. Gulets are a very interesting product and agencies and gulet owners should work together for better common results.
Vanessa – the owner of gulet Gardelin:
Lots of times Turkey and Croatia are being compared but this is impossible. Sure the type of gulets is similar but the concept of the gulet cruise is completely different. Croatia has more islands and a better coast while Turkey has immense history and a different mentality.
Turkey has 500 gulets and everybody knows about Blue Cruises there, while Croatia has 40 gulets and is not yet so well known in the World as Turkey when it comes to gulets.
People like to compare the countries also when it comes to discounts and prices but the concept is different and it is not possible to compare it.
Sanela Rački – Gulets Morning Star and Queen of Adriatic:
Clients are always looking for a lower price, but they want better (luxury) service. It is not possible!
Jere Gacina – Owner of Gulet Aurum:
Discounts are not a solution for sure. If you give clients high-quality service, boat and crew then you do not have a problem with discounts because on our boat they understand that quality must-have for the price.
Dinko Biočič – Owner of gulet Andi Star:
OUR CLIENTS ARE VERY SATISFIED WITH QUALITY OF OUR SERVICES, IN GENERALLY THERE WERE NO BIGGER OR GREATER DISCOUNTS IN 2012 IN COMPARISON WITH 2011. If you can explain your value and standard of services, the discounts are not so important anymore.
Stevica Čeko – Owner of Gulet Blue Nose:
Clients got used to getting discounts even if this is not a good idea. Huge discounts and price dumping only make services go down and at the end clients loose – as well as the clients. Clients should concentrate more on getting more for their money and not just look at the size of discounts. I think however this trend will continue for a couple more years – until they realize on their own this is not the best.
Goolets Projection for 2013 and for the future in CROATIA!
The last-minute season will be a bit bigger again in 2013 but the season will be similar as in 2012. Clients will be smarter and smarter. I think that the issue in the future will not be any more “who is giving higher discounts” but it will be more on “who can give me more for my money“!
And I think this is the only way to go forward.
The facts tell us a lot:
– Turkey has 1.000 or more gulets and they can survive and be booked well. So Croatia with 40 vessels should do fine also.
– Croatia is investing tons of money in the promotion of its tourism and cruises are becoming a very large part of this promotion. So the trends will go up.
– Several gulet owners are booked incredibly well (with very high prices) which shows that the most important part in the biz is providing perfect services for the clients.
– Gulet owners that we’re giving away the highest discounts had the biggest problems with complaints and with bookings.
– More and more travel agencies are starting to notice Croatia gulets on the Blue Cruise map so the bookings should only go up.
We (Goolets) will make a bold projection about Blue Cruise prices and what will happen in the next 5 years in the market!
1) The number of gulets in Croatia in the next 5 years will double!
2) The bookings will go up A LOT.
3) The lever of services will be incredible as people will realize this is the only way to survive in the business.
4) The general prices of gulets will go down due to more competition, but so will the size of the discounts.
5) Gulets will finally go in 100% different direction as classic motor sailors and will be recognized as more LUXURY part of travel.
6) Official categorization of gulets will be made which will create order in comparison to prices & quality being offered.
7) Gulets that will offer good support towards travel agencies will make lots of bookings!
So what are the final thoughts on Blue Cruise Trends we expect for Croatia?
Here we go. Trends for 2013 for Croatia.
1) Season 2013 will be similar to 2012 (which was very good).
2) The last-minute season will be a bit larger but not drastically.
3) Gulet owners that will provide the best services for the money will not have any problems with bookings no matter which category of gulets.
4) Lots of clients will book Turkey instead of Croatia due to a bit higher prices but this will not show as a big problem (especially in the future)
5) More gulet owners will start working together instead of giving each other hard times which is very good for long term business also.
We at Goolets agency are very optimistic about gulets in Croatia.
The destination is amazing.
The gulet charter concept is even better.
People are getting tired of mass tourism, classic hotel holidays and are always in search of something new.
I would like to give special thanks to all of the gulet owners from Croatia that participated in our survey and for giving us their unlimited support in this market for so many years. Keep up the good work.