Expert piece by Brian Faerber, Director Service & Refits from VBH. This expert piece features in our Expert & Ethics edition of Superyacht Technology digital magazine.

How VBH tackles the growing need for ‘no hassle’ state of the art service solutions

The art of entertainment is to give your clients an ultimate experience of luxury, safety and excitement… without showing them how much effort it takes to realise! In fact, they should be completely unaware of the magic that is going on behind the scenes and the team of professionals who are creating this experience.

VBH‘s Managed Services is taking a leading role in fulfilling this magic behind the scenes. We are dedicated to astonishing yacht guests with incredible technology that always works. Working as part of a team, consisting of the crew and yacht management, our ultimate goal is to help our clients enjoy their yachting experience to the fullest and exceed their expectations.

However, this is easier said than done. The yachting industry has changed. These days owners only accept exceptional quality in their products and services. In my experience, they are willing to invest extra funds into the operation of their yacht if it results in a significantly better experience. Today’s yacht owners buy their superyachts at renowned shipyards, acquire high-quality products through experienced suppliers and service providers and seek professional management for the operation of their yachts. They want the best and are willing to pay the price for it.

The industry is finally getting more professional. But there is still some way to go and it is imperative that we keep continuing developing. In recent years yachts have grown bigger and bigger. Creating these ships is already very complex and challenging: look at the size of shipyards that build them. These yards have professionalised their processes over time. But how do we ensure that owners receive the same level of professionalism after the boat is delivered?

More and more yachts are run as commercial vessels. Or to put it differently, they have the requirements of a commercial vessel. There are very high demands for functionality and reliability; 24/7 Audio, Video, IT & Communication. This means that today’s engineers need to be highly specialised and trained. And it’s not just engineers who must know their stuff –  yacht crew also need to be trained and experienced, just in case anything goes wrong.

The IT infrastructure on a yacht is particularly important in ensuring its safety. It also facilitates communication on the vessel: both internal and with the outside world, using voice and data. AV is another feature which is very crucial to the experience, with today’s audio and video completely digitised and IP based. Guests often do not care if an engine is not working, but if they cannot watch a movie, watch TV, listen to music or they do not have access to the internet they become unhappy in an instant. So, we need reliable technology. We need systems not to break down. And we need instant support when things do go wrong.

We cannot expect a crew technician to be a specialist in all these systems, but just like an IT system in an office, an AVIT system needs constant maintenance and nurturing. An ETO or AVIT Engineer can do a lot, but because of the number of different systems onboard they need to be a generalist, and so can only know so much. As such, they need to know that they have the support of a professional company that specialises in support and service. If a yacht does not have an ETO on board it is almost impossible to run an IT system reliably without maintenance and support from a company like VBH. We recommend that our clients use our support from the day they take over the responsibility of the yacht.

To be able to provide the required service and support and to keep the behind-the-scenes magic alive, VBH has a service department of 30 dedicated professionals spread over three offices: Antibes, Fort Lauderdale and Amsterdam. It has a 24/7 helpdesk with first and second-degree service lines which are immediately available, and a third line service available within 24 hours.

Whenever an incident occurs VBH SLA clients are guaranteed a response on the phone within 4 hours or a specialist on the plane within 24 hours. We also train our client every 6 months or 12 months, depending on their requirements and how much staff turnover they have in their personnel. This is all part of the idea behind a fully Managed Service.

Owners should be able to feel the magic on their yacht. To enjoy incredible movies, listen to beautiful music, browse the internet and share their experiences on social media, whenever and wherever they want to and without any disruptions. They should be able to forget that anything is going on behind the scenes, with guests never made any the wiser. And we believe that a Managed Service is the best way to achieve this.

 Visit VBH 

“I appreciate a magazine dedicated to technology in yachting. I also like the interactive design of the site and the fact that you use a lot of large images. The ratio of text to images is attractive. The use of multimedia content is attractive for a reader.”  – Brian Faerber 


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