Be First in Line this Season with IGY Trident

By Sam Watson
28 Feb 2024

Since its launch in Miami in May 2022, Trident membership has become the most elegant way for a superyacht to jump the queue. For vessels with ever changing schedules and owners with high expectations, Trident is now a captain’s best friend as the surest way to be first in line around the world.

Conceived as a solution to the relative scarcity of slips as the global fleet continues to grow, Trident offers guaranteed or priority dockage across IGY Marinas’ network, with further benefits curated for the individual vessel and its crew.

Gili Wojnowich, VP of Operations and Yacht Services for IGY Marinas, shares his insights and how the exclusive Trident program continues to evolve to satisfy the top 2% of the market.

What is the current status with Trident membership 18 months on?

Initially we offered membership on a complimentary basis to our in-house fleet, which at the time was the Fairport fleet, and having experienced the benefits firsthand, roughly a third of these yachts purchased a membership, which was a great result.

We still offer two levels of membership: Collective membership includes guaranteed dockage at IGY marinas along with a substantial 25% dockage discount, while Club membership is more of a priority berthing arrangement putting you at the front of the line, with a 10% discount.

Currently we have a higher number of Club members than Collective members, but we’re very encouraged by the level of success we’ve had over the past 18 months. We’ve also learned a lot in terms of how to fine tune and craft our approach but, as you can appreciate, every vessel, every owner and every captain is different, so we have to tailor the membership to their individual operation and cruising style.

Is there an obvious separation in the types of vessels attracted to Trident Collective or Club membership?

We have come to understand that Club membership is most appealing to yachts looking for a meaningful economic advantage. Club membership can be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the size of the vessel, and the conversation is usually based on potential savings.

For example, a captain might be about to book three months of dockage with IGY Marinas, and the quick math tells them that this program gives them an economic advantage, along with a range of further exclusive benefits.

Captains do appreciate the fact that they are prioritised, and several IGY facilities have really demonstrated this over the past few months. A great example is Yacht Haven Grande Miami which hosts the superyacht display during the Miami Boat Show, retaining the other half of the marina for clients. This means that all our vessels have the potential to be displaced for the duration of the show, but we offered dockage to Trident members first, before opening it up to our annual clients and the wider industry.

We did a very similar thing during Art Basel in December last year, and for the Cannes Film Festival in May, and we hope to exploit this advantage across the entire IGY network, demonstrating that as a Trident member you have a clear advantage.

For Collective members, we’ve learned that the primary appeal is less about economics and more about peace of mind in having guaranteed access to our network, especially in popular destinations in the Med. Miami is also a hot spot right now, for many reasons – we have captains with a boss who lives and works in Miami and wants their yacht right here so they can entertain on board, or they just want to be able to see their yacht from their office or condo. They quickly understand that Collective membership affords them that status, so while they do appreciate the economic benefits, it’s more about guaranteed access.

As another example, we have a 50m vessel that is usually based in Florida and the Caribbean but the owner decided to take it to the Med for the first-time last year. It was also the captain’s first time in the Med in over 20 years, and he was a little apprehensive about dockage in high season as the owner’s itinerary tends to change at short notice. Collective membership was an ideal solution assuring him access to a berth anywhere within IGY’s network.

Are there any distinctions in terms of size, cruising grounds, or nationality?

Typically, Collective members are between 50-70 meters and so far they have all been private, which is something we didn’t anticipate, but it does suggest that the owner understands the difficulty in getting into a desirable marina at certain points in time. Club membership is more mixed, but it still leans towards private.

When we created Trident, we expected the greatest interest to be among vessels between 50-70 meters, transatlantic and heavily for charter. Most of these vessels are transatlantic, or they are migratory to the point where they spend part of the year in the Caribbean, part of the year in Florida, and part of the year further north. In terms of nationality, most Trident members are American – since the majority of owners today are American – but as we expand the Trident Support Team in the Med, we’re hoping to gain traction with more vessels based in Europe.

How do you and the team approach membership sales for Trident?

As we know, the superyacht industry is built on relationships and trust, so most Trident members are already known to IGY, whether the starting point is the owner or the captain. However, our focus remains very much on the captain and their support network, explaining what Trident membership is, the benefits it offers, and the fact that they will be treated differently compared to the other yachts in the marina. We’re proud of that and we want Trident members to feel that way.

We also promote Trident in traditional ways and try to create brand awareness among captains when they are in one of our facilities, but it’s still very much dependent on word of mouth and the observation that Trident members enjoy special conditions. We believe that positive results transcend up the chain and hopefully captains will become our best advocates.

What are some of the other benefits available to Trident members?

Our partners in the Trident program are BWA Yachting, Forbes Travel Guide, and World Fuel Services. Each affords significant benefits in terms of priority service and savings, but it requires members to take advantage of what’s on offer so, for example, when we know a Trident vessel is planning an Atlantic crossing, we remind them of the potential discounts available on fuel.

We also stage exclusive gatherings for Trident members, creating unique opportunities for captains and their support teams during high profile events. Examples include Art Basel where we offer a number of VIP tickets to Trident members, Monaco Yacht Show where we host the annual 007 party with an exclusive member area, and Miami F1 where we invite guests to our hospitality suite to enjoy trackside viewing.

What are some of the benefits specifically for crew with Trident membership?

For our Collective members we organise fun activities for the crew, and we’ve had a few exciting ones recently. We have a 50-meter vessel that’s currently wintering in Barcelona, and we took the entire crew on a hot air balloon excursion. We wanted to give them the best possible experience, so we arranged all transportation to and from the boat, and when they landed there was a light champagne picnic waiting for them. We have some amazing photos and videos of them up in the sky, they had a fantastic time. Looking after the crew is very much a part of the whole Trident experience and hopefully the owner appreciates this too.

We did something similar in Miami where we took an entire crew to a Miami Heat basketball game. It was very last minute as the captain gave us 24 hours’ notice that the crew had a free evening, but we wanted to do something special as we know how precious a night off can be.

Earlier this month we hosted our ninth Forbes crew service training session in Miami which was a huge success, and the feedback was fantastic. After each session we send a follow up communication to the owner and in some cases, they weren’t aware of it, but they are very thankful that we are taking care of their crew.

How important is it to keep expanding the IGY Marinas portfolio?

I think any location that can accommodate a superyacht expands the horizon of possibilities. Sindalah has been sort of a buzzword in the industry for a while, and putting aside the current geopolitical situation, it’s a region that people find intriguing and exciting, and it’s easily accessible from the Med.

Earlier this month we also announced the addition of Savannah in Georgia – it’s not the epicenter of yachting activity, but it’s an important stopover for yachts cruising the northeast coast and Savannah also has strong shipyard activity. So yes, wherever possible we’re keen to extend the possibilities for Trident members as well as clients.

What have you and the team learned since Trident launched?

Just a year ago, Trident was very much a concept, but we have numerous examples to prove that it’s now a reality and we’re increasingly confident that the product works.

Naturally we are paying close attention to the metrics to evaluate how the programs are working and to ensure our pricing is correct and remains attractive. Over time, as the membership base strengthens and we get to the point where we’re having to be more selective or start capping membership, prices might change, but right now we’re focused on getting it right and being consistent.

It’s not a secret that we’re showing favoritism to a very small group of vessels who have invested in this program and in return they deserve to be treated at an elevated level. Across both Collective and Club memberships, we’re really aiming for just 2% of the global fleet, so Trident membership will forever remain a very intimate, exclusive group.

For further information about the benefits of Trident membership please visit our website.