Luxurious Magazine Interview with Tim Johnson, Founder of TJB Super Yachts

Luxurious Magazine Interview with Tim Johnson, Founder of TJB Super Yachts

Founded in London a decade ago by Tim Johnson, TJB Super Yachts is today a world-leading boutique yacht brokerage with offices in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Greece, Sweden, India, Australia and the US. Simon Wittenberg caught up with Tim to find out more.

Luxurious Magazine: Can you please explain to our readers the services that TJB Super Yachts offers?
Tim Johnson: TJB Super Yachts is a forward-thinking brokerage that speaks to the evolving needs of superyacht purchase and charter clients. We operate an independent, boutique and impartial approach, meaning we’re able to offer the world’s most spectacular and state-of-the-art yachts for acquisition and charter, as well as an extensive selection of off-market yachts not listed elsewhere.

An aerial view of the Aquila Yacht on a calm sea

We’re seeing increased demand from younger and first-time clients who trust us to make superyacht charter a reality and guide them through the process – an experience that was once so elusive. We have a passionate team of skilled brokers who assist from door to deck – from itinerary curation and concierge to VIP access to exclusive events and offbeat locations, meaning no two TJB Super Yacht charters are the same.

Behind the scenes, we’re proud to employ the most advanced industry technology and intelligence to ensure we can share the most up-to-the-minute market insights with our clients. We launched our new website in June 2023, featuring innovative and intuitive online tools for users to explore the charter and sales market for themselves, discover new destinations and build their own itineraries.

TJB Super Yachts serves as a content-rich platform that gives clients the ability to compare yachts, create favourite lists, and explore superyacht charters in an approachable way.

LM: What are some of your career highlights to date?
TJ: A significant moment certainly has been leaving my corporate job to go on two tours with the Army – this was both an incredible character-building experience, as well as a true privilege that gave me skills and memories which I’ll value the rest of my life. Following this, starting my career at Net Jets in 2002 unlocked a love for private charter. This led me to start TJB Super Yachts in April 2013.

As a passionate sailor, it felt like the natural next step for me, and I see it as a true milestone in my career. We opened our Fulham office in November 2017 – which I am also hugely proud of. Since then, we’ve continuously grown, and in June 2023, we launched our Palm Beach Office, expanding our global presence.

LM: You have just opened a new office in Palm Beach, Florida. What were the main drivers behind this?
TJ: Over 50% of the TJB Super Yacht clientele is USA-based, and it’s continuing to grow exponentially – last year, we completed over 215 charters to USA clients alone.

Superyachts, tethered side-by-side in a marinaThere is no doubt that Palm Beach is the epicentre of the USA superyacht industry – the location is a great gateway to some of our most desirable charter destinations, such as the Bahamas. It is home to the iconic Palm Beach International Boat Show, a key event in the annual yachting calendar which our team have attended for the last decade.

Furthermore, the area shows a future of increased economic growth – in 2021, the Town of Palm Beach Marina underwent a USD$40 million transformation and now provides 84 world-class, state-of-the-art slips, which allows TJB Super Yachts to meet the demands for larger yachts from an exclusive marina.

Although we’ve always had a presence in the USA, we felt that this year was the right time to cement our positioning there. Nicole Haboush is our Senior Charter Broker in the USA – she is widely recognised in the industry and has been a resident of Palm Beach for 15 years, so her knowledge of the area is unparalleled. We’re excited about what it has to bring!

LM: What is the profile of your main clientele, and is it only high-net-worth (HNWI) individuals that you deal with?
TJ: As a yacht brokerage, we have the privilege of working with a diverse clientele that extends beyond high-net-worth individuals. While they remain an important segment for us, we also serve other types of clients. For example, we specialise in event charters where companies are our clients.

We understand the unique requirements of corporate events, conferences, and special occasions organised by businesses, and we provide tailored yacht services to meet their specific needs.

In addition to companies, we collaborate with travel agents and third parties. Travel agents play a vital role in the luxury travel industry, assisting individuals and organisations in planning and booking their trips. We work closely with these travel agents, offering them a range of yacht options to recommend to their clients.

By partnering with third parties, such as concierge services, event planners, and luxury travel companies, we expand our network and reach a broader audience.

Our commitment to serving a variety of clientele reflects our versatility and dedication to meeting the needs of different customer segments. While high-net-worth individuals are an important part of our business, we pride ourselves on being able to provide exceptional yacht services to companies, travel agents, and other third parties.

This approach allows us to create meaningful partnerships and establish ourselves as a trusted and comprehensive yacht brokerage in the luxury travel industry.

A luxuriously appointed upper desk on a superyacht with a spa pool

LM: What are the main superyacht trends that have emerged this year, and what are buyers looking for?
TJ: The superyacht industry is currently a very exciting space with growth in first-time charterers and a younger demographic of guests. Greece remains the top charter destination – the region is easily accessible, and we see consistent demand throughout the charter season from May to September.

Having said this, we’re seeing a growing interest from adventure seekers for a new, more boundary-pushing type of charter. Explorer yachts are therefore upping their standards of luxury, enabling clients to visit more far-flung destinations whilst experiencing world-class on-board hospitality.

There’s also high demand for elevated, more holistic travel experiences – adding a new dimension to superyacht charters through the incorporation of land experiences too.

The yacht is no longer the destination – our clients want to spend time in the locations they visit. We’ve recently launched TJB Private Travel to cater to this market, enabling our clients to enhance and extend their charter with the inclusion of exclusive on-land offerings – from the most sought-after luxury hotels to unique in-destination events.

LM: Are you seeing a greater number of purchases being made in cryptocurrency?
TJ: No, we have not seen many payments made in cryptocurrency. While the idea may sound appealing, we have found that accepting cryptocurrency payments is not practical for our business. The main reason is the volatility of the cryptocurrency market, which can introduce a significant level of uncertainty and potential problems.

Crew members readying the Heesen Amore Mio yacht

LM: We have had the pleasure of personally experiencing some rather cool toys, such as the SEABOB, aboard the Heesen Amore Mio yacht. What are the “must-haves” these days for ultimate enjoyment on the water?
TJ: Luxury toys are a key pre-requisite for our charter clients, as they enable them to make the most of their time on the water – whether it’s skimming across the sea on state-of-the-art jet skis, being propelled into the air on an E-Foil, flying above the water on a Jet Pack, or walking on water in a Zorb.

Personally, I recommend the Mako Jetboard – it’s great for adventurous guests who are beginners to watersports but are keen to get to grips with surfing and offers a little more control than traditional surfboards. TJB Super Yachts is founded on the principle of “luxury without limits”, so we’re constantly seeking out the latest equipment available – it’s great to see the innovation of greener, luxury watersports, with many new electric toys available.

LM: How is a greater focus on sustainability changing the superyacht sector?
TJ: Energy Efficiency: One of the primary focuses of sustainability in the superyacht sector is improving energy efficiency. Yacht builders and designers are incorporating advanced technologies and innovative engineering solutions to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

This includes the use of hybrid propulsion systems, lightweight materials, energy-efficient systems, and hull designs that minimise drag. Energy-efficient practices not only reduce environmental impact but also lead to cost savings for yacht owners.

Alternative Fuels: The superyacht sector is exploring alternative fuels as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells, and electric propulsion systems are gaining attention and becoming more viable options for powering superyachts. These technologies offer lower emissions, reduced noise pollution, and a transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly yacht industry.

Eco-friendly Materials: Sustainable materials are gaining prominence in yacht construction and maintenance. Yacht builders are incorporating eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or recyclable composites, sustainable woods, and low-emission paints. By selecting environmentally conscious materials, the superyacht sector aims to minimise the ecological footprint and promote a more sustainable approach to yacht building and maintenance.

The Luisa superyacht travelling around an island

LM: How do you see the industry evolving over the next five years?
TJ: Increased Focus on Sustainability: The emphasis on sustainability is expected to continue growing, with stronger integration of eco-friendly technologies, alternative fuels, and sustainable materials in yacht design, construction, and operation. Yacht owners and operators will likely prioritise energy efficiency, reduced emissions, and responsible waste management to align with environmental goals.

Advancements in Technology: Rapid technological advancements will continue to impact the yachting sector. This includes improvements in propulsion systems, onboard automation, navigation and communication systems, safety features, and entertainment amenities. Enhanced connectivity options and digital innovations will further enhance the yachting experience and streamline operations.

Customisation and Personalisation: Yacht owners increasingly seek unique and personalised experiences, leading to a rise in customised yacht design and construction. Yacht builders and designers will continue to offer bespoke solutions tailored to individual preferences, ensuring that each vessel reflects the owner’s lifestyle and desires.

A beautiful wooden dining table on the rear of a superyacht moored in calm turquoise seas

LM: What are the core areas of focus for TJB Super Yachts going forward?
TJ: Global expansion of TJB Super Yachts is always high on the agenda as the business grows. We’re also really excited about strengthening the TJB Private Travel offering to meet the demand for clients who would like a sea and land offering. Our third key area of focus is continuing to be leaders in technology and innovation. It’s always been part of the TJB Super Yachts philosophy.

LM: TJB Super Yachts supports the Blue Marine Foundation, a UK-based charity. What is their role, and how have you helped this organisation to date?
TJ: As a superyacht brokerage, we are a team of people passionate about the sea and our beautiful oceans. Many of our brokers have sailing backgrounds and have grown up on the water. We recognise the importance of conserving our oceans and the crucial role that humans play in this.

This is why we support the Blue Marine Foundation in their effort to restore the ocean’s health – the team uses a combination of top-down intervention to improve governance of the seas and bottom-up project delivery to help local communities at the front line of ocean conservation that facilitates support from all levels, whether that’s industry individuals or larger corporations.

We’re in a sector of HNWIs that carry a lot of influence, so wherever possible, we strive to lead by example and show them ways in which they can support ocean conversation.

LM: Thank you for your time, Tim, and it has been a pleasure speaking with you.

TJB Super Yachts – Where and How?

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Two white bean bag chairs on the deck at sunsetLuxurious Magazine Interview with Tim Johnson, Founder of TJB Super Yachts 2

Simon Wittenberg

Senior Editorial Contributor

Born in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and now based in London, Simon Wittenberg is the senior editorial contributor to Luxurious Magazine® reporting directly to Paul Godbold. A specialist in the automotive sector, he has now expanded his repertoire to encompass all aspects relating to luxury and lifestyle. Simon has worked with some of the world’s most iconic marques such as Lotus Cars, Ferrari and Tesla Motors. His passions include luxury goods, motorsport, fine dining and travel.

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