Princess Yachts’ Kiran Jay Haslam on how “the world is reorienting itself around environmental impact”
Princess Yachts’ chief marketing officer shares his insights in the Tempus British Luxury Review 2020
2020 has been a year of new challenges but the future is bright for lovers of luxury. In our first ever British Luxury Review, Tempus asks experts from 12 of the UK’s most prestigious brands to shed some light on a year of seismic change and, in doing so, discovers a luxury landscape more focused on meaningful storytelling and fine craftsmanship than ever before. Here, Kiran Jay Haslam, chief marketing officer of Princess Yachts, tells us why they are more focused on preserving the oceans than ever before…
How do you define luxury?
At Princess we have always defined luxury in two keys ways: the first is with the philosophy of simplicity in design. It is very complicated to make something look simple, and very simple to make something look complicated. As a boat builder that has designed, built and delivered over 18,000 yachts since 1965, our products have always had a functional purpose first, a reason for being that way, and then we jump into resolving surfaces and the details. The details are what we relish, nuanced profiles and organic curves – a very difficult design philosophy to manufacture.
Secondly, our clients’ appreciation of comfort is key to our definition of luxury. Princess owners really enjoy all of the space onboard, with many going for a dip in the sea, then jumping back on board, grabbing a towel and a drink, and sitting on a sofa in a beautifully appointed and practical space. They are in luxury because they are truly comfortable, and not fearful of actually using the yacht. That kind of luxury is now even more in focus due to the pandemic – the safest place for people to be right now is at home, and we design luxury homes that just so happen to be yachts! >>
Has sustainability become more important through 2020?
Indeed, it has. The world is reorienting itself around environmental impact, and industries and governments are now taking great leaps in the right direction. Princess made a commitment that within the next 24 months we will reduce our carbon emissions in manufacturing by over 20%, and this is in conjunction with many other aspects of sustainability that we are committed to, such as abolishing the use of single use plastics across all of our events back in 2016 and being the first luxury yacht company to officially partner with the Marine Conservation Society, to preserve the Eddystone Reef off the coast of Devon, as well as protecting sea grass beds with innovative mooring solutions.
Our clients are totally behind us on this approach, and more and more requests are coming our way for alternatives to conventional boat building materials and propulsion systems. The timing of this feels right, so internally as a business we are very excited to see the next phase of manufacturing, legislation and industry support that will be needed to truly make a difference.
What has been your biggest challenge in 2020?
The biggest challenge is uncertainty. Whether via Covid-19 or Brexit, we are still trying to behave strategically, but like every other business in the UK right now, we are finding ourselves having to be reactive instead. In relation to Covid-19, we managed to implement new Covid-safe processes. These were recognised by the government as being benchmark, and that is down to our exceptional employees who defined them, implemented them and now abide by them.
Currently, we are seeing continued record sales, however, in our industry boat shows play such a significant part in our sales process. Unlike many other luxury products, luxury yachts are sold during local boat shows and international shows, such as boot Düsseldorf or Cannes Yachting Festival. In the absence of some shows, we have re-invented the way in which we interact with clients all across the world by getting the right degree of intimacy and personalisation into virtual interaction. We have adapted really successfully to this change, however, we are hopeful that in 2021 we can travel with our products across the world and bring clients to Plymouth, and remain optimistic that a greater feeling of safety returns to us all.