Interview With Gulf Craft CEO Erwin Bamps

Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft

As Gulf Craft prepare for the press unveiling of the all new Majesty 155 Erwin Bamps the CEO of the Dubai based builder tells us how establishing trust is key for brands in the world of luxury. Here he answers our questions

Us: Tell us a little bit about Gulf Craft

EB: Founded in the United Arab Emirates in 1982, Gulf Craft is a major manufacturer of luxury yachts and fiberglass boats and one of the world’s top 10 superyacht builders (as listed in the 2014 Global Order Book). Gulf Craft has built a distinguished reputation as a manufacturer of a wide diversity of vessels, ranging from fishing and family boats to sport cruises and semi-customized luxury superyachts.

Us: How prolific are you as boat builders?

EB: With an annual production capacity of around 400 craft and expertise built over three decades in the business, Gulf Craft has a presence in all boating markets globally through its Majesty Yachts, Nomad Yachts, Oryx, and Silvercraft brands. In addition, Gulf Craft provides worldwide maintenance and re-fit services as well as advisory on all aspects of boat ownership

Us: Who are your customers?

EB: They come from a wide base around the world and increasingly we are seeing a significant number of UHNWI’s drawn towards us when for example we launch yachts like our new 155

Us: How is dealing with UHNWI’s any different from dealing with other customers?

EB: “Because UHNWIs, representatives from luxury brands become consultants, and to do so, they must first gain the trust of customers through authenticity, and a genuine interest in the welfare of the customers,”

Us: How do you go about establishing that trust?

EB: Engaging and selling successfully to ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) is not possible without first taking time to understand their needs and desires, and then to establish a trusting, consultative relationship, says a top regional CEO.

Us: What is really important when handling this type of client?

EB: “We have often seen that our customers’ requirements change through time as they become more seasoned yacht owners. At Gulf Craft, we play the role of advisors from an early stage to ensure that our customers are satisfied with their acquisitions many years after their investments.”

Us: Is brand important?

EB: A brand can build on a strong relationship based on respect with customers through continuously exceeding their expectations. I feel this is not necessarily only achievable through offering additional products or features, but more importantly, through over-delivering in the area of customer services.

Us: But what about building the relationship?

EB: “Traditional technology and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are not sufficient in the luxury segment. It is important to develop strong personal relationships with customers; however, care must be taken not to cross the fine barrier between understanding customers, and invading their privacy.”

Us: How do you grow that customer base?

EB: There is nothing more genuine than satisfied customers as they can validate any sales efforts, and become brand ambassadors. The customer acquirement in the luxury industry is about being at the right place, at the right time, and creating conversations about the company’s offerings. While one school of thought is to target those with high spending power, at Gulf Craft, we believe everyone is a potential customer, and we grow when our customers grow.”