Franz Schilinger: The most important success factor is that you are 100% focused on the customer
Founded over 30 years ago, Master Yachting company from Austria is today a representative of world renowned brands such as Benetau, Lagoon, Frauscher and Aquila. At the head of the company, since 2011, is Mr. Franz Schilinger. The company’s results are constantly improving in various markets of our region, so we asked Mr Franz, Master Yachting CEO, how they manage to do so
You sailed into the nautical world in 2009, when you joined Master Yachting. In 2011 you bought the company and since then you have made a big success. Can you describe your progress in this industry in more detail?
As a matter of fact in 2011 I asked a former colleague, with whom I worked in managment a long time ago, to buy the company together with me. My expertise is in marketing and sales, whereas my partner Peter Schmid is a financial expert. My goal was to focus on sales without worrying about employing a CFO – I needed someone who I could trust and rely on 100%. The success we have earned is a combinatin of our skills, our work ethic, the trust between Peter and I, and of course the trust between our partners, the dealers, fleet-operators, service providers and last but not least the shipyards.
Today you are official representative of several renowned brands BENETEAU, LAGOON, FRAUSCHER and AQUILA. What are the most important factors that lead you to success and achievement of your goals?
Recognizing market trends is one factor, but being 100% customer focused is the most important factor to success. Thinking in the shoes of your client results in the best possible consulting. That was always my credo and will always be!
Although 2010 and 2011 saw a decline in the yacht market worldwide, afterwards the statistics changed over the years and by the end of 2018, sales of catamarans almost tripled. Your company generates as much as 10% of the total sales of Lagoon catamarans and this year you have been declared the best distributor in the world.
With about 10% of the European sales, Master Yachting has been the top Lagoon distributor in Europe since 2015 and with 5% of the worldwide Lagoon sales we became now the biggest Lagoon distributor in the world! Especially in this industry the demands are very high. As a yacht dealer you have to understand the needs of each individual client and your consulting has to be targeted to the benefit of the yacht owner. Sailing catamarans were definitely the biggest success in the past 10 years, especially for yacht charter investors.
Are you satisfied with the demand for Aquila catamarans? Which model would you particularly recommend to future clients?
Aquila is the no 1 manufacturer of Power Catamarans in the world and the trend towards power catamarans is on the rise. Power Catamarans will be the future of the charter industry and therefore, will also be very interesting for yacht charter investors. Catamarans in general offer much more comfort and space than monohulls (motor or sailing). Power Catamarans are also easy to handle, much easier than sailing boats. Space, comfort and easy handling, that’s what the pleasure cruiser is looking for today. The top model at the moment is the Aquila 44, which is available with 3 or 4 cabins. This is an ideal yacht to spend at least a week on. The Aquila 36 and 32 are very fast daycruisers with lots of space for a bigger party crew.
Recently, in Palma de Mallorca, we had an opportunity to sail together from Port Adriano and see the true values of some of the Frauscher models. What would you recommend as the most interesting choice for the markets of Serbia and Montenegro?
When we talk about Frauscher, we talk about exclusive design, lifestyle and image. The model depends on the use; if you want a sportive, James Bond style of boat to go from Porto Montenegro to Kotor or to the hot spots in Herceg Novi, the Frauscher 858 Fantom with 430 HP is the right choice.
For the deeper pocketed client, the Frauscher 1017 GT with 2 x 430 HP and a top speed of 60 knots is definitely the Gentleman’s Racer to arrive in style at any of the Beach Clubs, Marinas and Restaurants in the vicinity.
If you want a smooth ride, no matter the weather conditions, to places like Budva, Dubrovnik, Ston or even farther away the 1414 Demon is the ultimate days cruiser for the millionaire. 14 meters of sheer sensation, ghost like appearance and a lot of power. Every other boat will go unnoticed when you arrive with the Frauscher 1414 Demon.
Charter market is more and more developed. In addition to rental of vessels for private purposes, Master Yachting is also well positioned in the field of Yacht Charter Investment.
In 2012, we sold 50% of the yachts to owners for private use only. Today, 90% of our yachts sold go into charter. Most of our clients see it as a pure investment where they can use their yatchs for personal use for a couple of weeks in the year. We have tailor made programs for everyone. It is very simple, a yacht in a good charter management is always well maintained and at any time is ready to cruise. The return of investment is 10% on average, depending on the model, program and owner use.
You have lived in Germany, Montenegro, Canada, Austria … Each of these countries has specific qualities that distinguish it from the others. Food is seen as one of the key factors, because it tells us about the history, tradition and mentality of every nation. Which country best suits your taste?
I will never forget my roots and, therefore, will always return to Austria. I have family there and I love the high level of cultural life, but when it comes to food, Montenegro as melting point of several cultures is very interesting and when we speak about seafood the Adriatic region suits my taste the best.
Today, as your job requires, you live on the Austria-Croatia route. Where do you see yourself in the future?
Vienna, Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Herceg Novi, Kotor, and Budva. I wish to also visit Novi Sad and Belgrade more often.