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An Idea to Boost Charter Bookings









Yes, I know the photo above is not of a charter yacht. It’s of a house, a 6,000-square-foot house outside of Annapolis, Maryland, to be exact. It has six bedrooms, four and a half baths, a gourmet kitchen, and an exercise room. And it’s currently being raffled off at a price of $50 per ticket.


That’s right: This home’s owners decided that because of the slumping U.S. real estate market, they would raffle their home off instead of trying to sell it the traditional way. They’ve sold 21,000 raffle tickets so far, at $50 a pop. That’s a million dollars-plus, and the drawing isn’t for another three weeks. The owners have nearly achieved the price they originally wanted–despite having not a single traditional buyer in the real estate market–and some lucky raffle contestant is going to get the house for a measly fifty smackers.


Am I the only person who thinks this type of deal might also appeal to potential charter clients as worldwide bookings continue to slump? Are there not 20,000 people in the world who would pay $50 apiece for the chance to take the weeklong vacation of a lifetime?


Heck, even if there are only 10,000 people who would pony up the $50 per raffle ticket, that’s still a total of $500,000–plenty of money to cover the weekly base rate plus expenses for a lot of the biggest, nicest charter yachts in the world. Knock the price per ticket down to $25, and those same 10,000 contestants would still get a shot at a $250,000 week of fun in the sun. Not too bad in the odds department, to my thinking. Smaller crewed yachts could sell chances at $5 or $10 and still cover their weekly base rates plus expenses.


It sounds strange, I know, but it’s working for these Annapolis homeowners, who are being featured everywhere from CNN to The New York Times. Can you say free publicity in addition to a fully-paid-in-advance charter booking? Any open-calendar yacht owner or industrious charter broker, it seems to me, would be smart to try the same exact tack. Heck, I’d gladly give over some primo space here on CharterWave (complete with its 50,000 annual readers) to help promote a reputable yacht owner or charter broker who gives a raffle a try.


If you want to learn more about the $50 house, including how these folks set up their raffle to include a charitable donation and stay on the right side of gambling laws, check out their website. The drawing is scheduled for January 23, if you want to follow along and see how things turn out.