Power House Caterina Oliviero Acquera Yachting
Caterina Oliviero from Acquera Yachting is the incredibly talented, extremely passionate and driven Commercial Director. Born in Venice, she has worked in all areas of the yachting agency business, from VIP concierge services to immigration and customs. Not only that but she is also a fully licensed ship agent and highly experienced in working with Captains to deliver over and above what yacht owners require. Caterina was kind enough to give us insight into her role at Acquera and what it’s like on the management side of the fence. Oh, and did we mention she is also multi-lingual, speaking Italian, English and Greek?!
Caterina, you have been working for 18 years in the yachting industry, could you tell us about your background and how you originally got into it?
When I first started, I didn’t even know what a yacht was, and it was at a time when a 30m was about as big as they got! At the time I was working in the shipping industry in my home port of Venice and simply thought to myself that it might be fun to try out the yachting industry for a season. I never looked back and I became a licenced ship agent in Venice for yachts.
What is your main goal at Acquera Yachting?
I’m Commercial Director but I’m still involved in the Venice operational side. We know how difficult it is for Captains and crew during the season, and our main goal is to offer a seamless experience, and take away the stress so that they can concentrate on looking after the owners and guests. We have 23 offices in 11 countries across the Med, and it’s paramount that each country offers the same top level of service that our clients expect no matter where they are.
What are the biggest difficulties faced by yachting agents today?
I think that Captains and Charter Brokers really underestimate the complexity of local formalities and berthing logistics surrounding the yachts. You have to think that every charter yacht is different, and if we aren’t on top of European tax laws and charter legislation, it could have disastrous results. It isn’t helped by the fact that it is extremely common for local authorities to have their own interpretation of EU law and given that we operate in multiple destinations and countries, this is a huge endeavour to ensure that we are 100% on top of things.
Between concierge, immigration and customs, logistics, provisioning etc, which is your favourite and why?
That is such an easy question! I absolutely love the concierge side of the business. I’m a complete perfectionist and I just love organising experiences and events, where it all comes down to attention to detail. Even if it is just a simple restaurant reservation, I always request the best table, or one that has a particular view that I think the guests will like, I like to see if they can do a specific menu based on the guests’ preferences etc. I think the secret to my success is that I’m really flexible, and always available and I strive to always go the extra mile for our clients.
How do you think relationships between crew and agents can be improved?
Call me old-fashioned, but I am a great believer in forging personal relationships via phone calls and personal meetings. The majority of our work nowadays is done via WhatsApp, and we are in the throes of launching our digital platform AcqueraPro which will be a game changer in regards to how crew and agents work together. I always underline to our clients that they should see us as an extension of the crew, but onshore. Just like them, we are working 24/7 towards the common goal of a successful cruise.
What is the hottest destination this summer?
After a couple of challenging seasons post-Covid, I think that the Balearics have reclaimed their position as the hottest destination once again.
What has been the most challenging request you’ve ever received?
When I get this type of question, it always takes me a while to think, because I am so used to getting challenging requests, that it has become the norm for me! So, I would say private transportation by water limo for pets, opening up a restaurant when they had closed for holidays, buying live crickets for an iguana, as well as special events organised on board. Every day is a challenge, but that is what I love about my job.
What changes do you hope to see in the yachting industry?
I really hope to see our industry become more transparent, more sophisticated from a digital standpoint and more invested in sustainability and oceanic research. The world has moved so quickly in the last couple of years, and the next generation of yacht owners have very different values, and we need to ensure that we are up to speed.
And finally, what is next for you Caterina?
To be perfectly frank my only objective at the moment is to survive the season!!!! After that, a well-deserved break to clear my mind before preparing for the 2023 season with all our country offices. I think that being a yacht agent is vocational, you have to love what you do!
With her skills and experience, we can safely say that Caterina will not only survive but surely thrive during the season. We are so excited to see the development of AcqueraPro and hopefully have the privilege of working alongside such an amazing individual one day!