For our newest product, we want to create a smart solution to connect the world to the yacht. As explained in the interview we formed a team and started to create and design a total new product solution, based on our ideas. Kim stated in the interview: “As humans, we are of course blind to certain aspects, especially when you are caught up in the enthusiasm of something you believe in." So how did we know if we were on the right track with our product development? Is the main value of the product for us, the same as the industries? Time for some market research!
The moment our Minimal Viable Product (MVP) was finished, we started online interviews with crew members to gain market knowledge. Aspects as profiling our users, life on board, day-to-day routines, communication and sharing information where discussed during the interviews. The results provided us with great insights.
First of all, we discovered a great difference between charter and private vessels. On a private vessel, the owner is very proud of his yacht. He is very involved, and has often more of insights about his yacht and the crew. Private vessels also get used as second homes for the owner and his family. On charter yachts on the other hand, guests are only for a short period of time on board. These groups want to see as much as possible. The crew working on charter, have limited time to really get to know the guests which are on board and inform them about all facilities & amenities. It is therefore important that time is spend very efficient.
Another great insight we had were the challenges regarding sharing information. This is a challenge for charters as well as private vessels. Onboard of a vessel all communication is often direct. Guests can easily ask a chief stewardess for any kind of information regarding the yacht and journey. And the crew can walk to guests and share anything relevant. Crew does often answer the same question over and over and sometimes even write it down on paper in the end. This of course is part of the onboard service; however, it could use improvement in efficiency. Where the real challenge begins is when guests leave the vessel without crew. Guests walk around with 2-way radios or they receive the contact details so they can phone / message the vessel. It doesn't really matter in how much detail the technique is explained, it often goes wrong. However communication with the vessel becomes very important! From a crew perspective, they would like to know if guests are okay or need any assistance. While owner and guests expect the same service onshore as onboard, and want to be able to direct communicate with the vessel.
The final important aspect is safety. As stated earlier an owner uses his yacht as a second home. He expects everything to be perfectly fine and ready. So, he and his family & friends are safe and able to enjoy the journey. The crew is responsible for everyone on board to have a splendid time while being safe. On charters, this brings an extra element of stress. Here the crew needs to be prepared for any kind of group. And make sure all guests are safe when they take off on a tender or jet-ski.
So, we ended up with a lot of valuable information about the onboard life, communication, safety and service from a different point of view of multiple groups in the yachting environment. We also received the first feedback on our MVP where we discovered that elements we thought were very valuable for users, are actually less important. And features we rated as nice to have, became key elements in the solution. Now the real challenge begins. Back to the drawing board and rethink the focus of the solution. Together with the software and hardware team, but also with marketing and sales it is time to start the storytelling!
Up next: The release of our innovation and inside information how it helps everyone in the yachts environment to be connected with the yacht and each other!