People are tired of the constraints they had to put up with during the pandemic. On the whole, today’s travelers want luxury, and companies are making that happen. Airlines are once again offering amenities, and we are starting to see a variety of drinks being served on yachts in addition to the usual water and sodas.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Harrington.

Robert Harrington is the US Country Manager of SamBoat and has been an avid boater for over 25 years. Robert takes great pride in his role at SamBoat, the leading platform for online boat rentals. SamBoat was born in 2014 when two boating enthusiasts decided to connect local boat owners and yachtsmen in France and has since grown to over 50,000 boats that have welcomed more than 350,000 novice or experienced sailors in every major sailing destination across the world. The global boat rental platform aims to allow everyone to easily access a boat, with or without a skipper, for a day, a week, or more. Since their integration into the Dream Yacht Charter group, they continue to innovate and increase their boat offerings. SamBoat set themselves a clear course of action to ensure safety and respect for the environment.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I came to this career path largely because of where I grew up. As a child, my parents lived between Cape Cod in the United States and Southern France, both of which are boating hotspots. As a child, I spent every free moment of my summers sailing.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I returned from France and began working in the boating industry in Miami. While asking my new boss about an incoming lead, he responded, “Dale!” I thought he was telling me that the lead’s name was “Dale,” but I knew for a fact that it wasn’t. Little did I know, as a non-Spanish speaker, he was saying “Let’s go” in reference to the sales lead. Living in South Florida, I have now picked up Spanish and won’t be making that mistake again.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Not to sound unoriginal, but you have to love what you do. Yachting is actually an extremely small world that companies like SamBoat are trying to expand. You see a lot of the same faces time and time again. For this reason, it’s critical to cultivate good relationships and build trust. Far too many are in the business simply for the money, and clients catch on to that pretty quickly. Love what you do, and the rest will fall into place.

In terms of avoiding burnout, I would suggest working for a global yacht company. Think about the pilots and flight crews who work for regional airlines. They fly the same routes every single day. Global companies are more exciting because they allow you to do business with people from different countries and travel around the world.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I lived in France up until the age of 25. After graduating, I took a job at a local cosmetics company but never found it enjoyable. I decided to make a career move, and yachting was my objective. Never having been to South Florida, I decided that was the right place to be. I emailed every yacht brokerage company in South Florida that I could find on Google. I wrote to about 15 or 20 of them, but only Nick Athanassiadis of Florida Yachts International responded to me. He gave me a chance, and we started working together online. When he invited me to the Miami Yacht Show, I asked if he had a permanent position. He made me an offer, and I moved to Miami. Upon arriving at the company, he taught me everything I needed to know about boats and how to succeed in the yachting industry. If he hadn’t given me a shot, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

We’ve revolutionized the process of renting a yacht. Unfortunately, the boating world has been lagging behind in terms of ease of access and affordability. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Doctolib in France are revolutionizing access to ridesharing, travel, and healthcare. We saw the opportunity to bring this accessibility to yachting and opened a wide variety of boats around the world to sailors. More importantly, we’re able to connect those sailors directly to the boat owners themselves.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

Affordability. We offer a wide variety of yachts to sailors. Some can be rented for $50/per hour, and some for thousands per day. We make boating affordable by offering smaller boats at prices that fit into anyone’s budget. We also provide luxurious yachts at a lower price point than any of the other boating marketplaces.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

Gone are the days of exorbitant prices like $2000 for a half day on a Sea Ray in Miami. In addition, forcing people to pay high fees before leaving the dock has been standard practice in our industry, but things are changing.

Marketplaces like ours are making the process of renting a yacht affordable, understandable, and easy. Our platform is clear and straightforward. It allows people to read reviews, compare prices, and get the best possible product.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

First and foremost, people long for normalcy, and we’re finally returning to it. Pre-Covid, many of us took travel for granted and never thought we’d see a day when we simply couldn’t travel. Travel companies are experiencing a surge in interest as people rediscover the job of exploring the world around them.

Second, people are tired of the constraints they had to put up with during the pandemic. On the whole, today’s travelers want luxury, and companies are making that happen. Airlines are once again offering amenities, and we are starting to see a variety of drinks being served on yachts in addition to the usual water and sodas.

Third, travel companies and luxury yacht charters are becoming increasingly aware of their client’s desires. These companies are moving away from a standard product towards something more personal. For example, we are currently working with a yacht charter company in Newport Beach, CA, that is offering a personalized lunch onboard at no extra charge. That’s something clients have wanted for a while but something we haven’t typically seen until now.

Fourth, the travel industry is moving toward upfront pricing. Along with Covid came inflation, and people want to cut down on unexpected costs and junk fees. SamBoat is committed to setting the bar for this in the yachting industry.

Finally, health consciousness is still a big concern today. And while not everyone needs to wear a mask, we are sanitizing our hands more often and avoiding large crowds. This is something a cruise cannot offer but a private charter can.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

In my opinion, the perfect vacation experience is bespoke. That means that I want a vacation tailored to my expectations and desires.

The perfect experience for me would be a yacht charter in the Bahamas for a week. I would want to choose the islands we sail to, the food served onboard, the alcoholic beverages available during the charter, and 7 of my closest friends or family members to join me on the journey. All of this is possible through SamBoat.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

The beautiful thing about SamBoat is that we offer all types of experiences on the water. Whether sailors envision a 25-guest capacity yacht in Cabo San Lucas with an open bar and DJ equipment or a catamaran in the Caribbean with a gourmet organic chef, SamBoat can help.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

In regard to making our world a better place, SamBoat has done a fantastic job. As the biggest boat booking platform in the world, we’ve partnered with Coral Guardian, an NGO that protects coral reefs worldwide. The planet’s coral reefs are an essential part of the marine ecosystem and are under a significant amount of stress due to rising water temperatures.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement would center around preserving the environment. No matter what side of the political aisle we’re on, we will all need to take care of mother nature because she will fight back if we mistreat her. I am particularly invested in protecting the water, as it’s over 70% of the earth’s surface and one of our most fragile ecosystems. Never mind the fact that if there’s no clean water, there is no boating industry. Specifically, I would love to have all boat owners, manufacturers, and captains join me in making boating safer for manatees in Florida, seals in the Northeast, and sea lions in California. Boat propellers leave these animals scarred and even kill them. There’s got to be a way to cover the propellers so animals are no longer hurt. It’s their home, not ours. Let’s respect it and allow them to live.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.