Following the recent boom in the boat rental sector, a highly competitive landscape has begun to develop and expand. Many of those who turned to boat hiring due to travel restrictions discovered it to be a new holiday favorite.
Whilst many international tourists were lost as a result of restrictions, this didn’t damage the boat hiring industry. The loss of international customers during the coronavirus pandemic was more than recuperated by those opting for a ‘staycation’.
This emerging pool of potential customers means that more companies than ever are vying for the top spot. Despite the competition, Borrow a Boat has established itself as the UK’s number one, offering the best selection at the best price.
Revenue growth of 300% for the company was seen in 2018-2019 showing the extent to which the industry is growing.
Follow this link to access over 45,000 boating options across 65 countries. With vessels that vary in size and design, there is inevitably the perfect rental boat available for any keen customer.
Canal boat hiring is particularly popular amongst residents of the UK with over 4,500 miles of canals and rivers to enjoy. This is perhaps the best way to enjoy the greenery and nature that such waterways allow thriving.
Another huge advantage of boating is how it can be used in conjunction with other activities, especially water sports. For those wanting a more relaxing experience, fishing and snorkeling are some more relaxing entertainment options.
The Mergers and Acquisitions of Borrow a Boat
The industry reached a pivotal point during and after the pandemic, where the market perhaps had the most potential for growth. Borrow a Boat proved most apt at attracting and retaining customers and currently ranks as the UK’s leading chartering marketplace.
Borrow a Boat has been able to maintain its trajectory and position at the top through sensible and profitable business decisions. One of these was the acquisition of Helm, a high-end charter brokerage firm.
As well as increasing what can be offered to high-end clients, the mergers also increased the number of luxury vessels for hire. The physical assets offered by the merger are supplemented by extensive industry knowledge and experience offered by Helm’s founders.
Other acquisitions that have helped cement their position include Barqo and Beds on Board.
Barqo, based in Amsterdam, has added 5,000 boating options for customers as well as bringing 100,000 registered customers itself. Whilst a slightly smaller company, the acquisition of Beds on Board brings with it 5,000 boats and 30,00 customers.
Why Borrow a Boat Leads the Industry
Having a different business model has helped the company become the leader in the industry.
Borrow a Boat finds boats for its customers through potential charter companies in addition to peer-to-peer listings.
As a result, Borrow a Boat has a larger selection for customers than any of its competitors. Rentals are available for canal and riverboats, as well as sailing boats, motorboats, catamarans, luxury yachts, and even superyachts.
This choice extends to hiring time and options include day hire, weekend hire, or longer periods spanning weeks.
Boat owners are so keen to work with Borrow a Boat as their focus isn’t solely on personal profit. A key focus is identifying how the owners themselves can generate as much as possible from their vessels.
Owning a boat is far from cheap and BoB offers help to reduce the price of maintenance and marina fees.
Professional and high standard eligibility criteria for boat owners ensure customers only receive the highest quality of service.
Other services launched by Borrow a Boat include ‘Plus’ and ‘Experiences’. Whilst ‘Plus’ caters towards luxury clientele, ‘Experiences’ offers trips with an itinerary, both enhancing the experience offered to their respective demographics.
Historically, boat hire has been an incohesive market were accessing a wide pool of boats usually meant extensive internet searching. With customers harder to find, hiring was not only more difficult but also much more expensive.
Borrow a Boat is aiming to make boating more accessible, affordable, flexible and inclusive whilst making the hiring process simpler.
Crowdfunding refers to raising funds from a large number of small donors, typically via internet campaigns that often go viral. Crowdfunding is an ideal method of raising funds in a short space of time and offers vital market research.
One of the ways in which BaB has amassed funding is through this method. Their current effort, with Seedrs, amassed over £1 million in investments in 24 hours, easily surpassing their initial £750,000 goal.
The amount raised currently stands at over £2.8 million, a testament to the perceived strength and potential of the business model. Previous campaigns with Crowdcube have raised £950,000 and £1.4 million and crowdfunding has consistently and reliably benefited Borrow a Boat.
It’s as a result of this that Build a Boat has been able to rapidly expand the number of vessels it offers. The huge success of BoB crowdfunding campaigns could have set a future precedent for the industry.
Through multiple successful crowdfunding campaigns, Borrow a Boat has quickly risen to the top of the UK’s boat hiring industry. A business model that prioritized reducing costs and benefiting the boat owners themselves has allowed them to cement their position.
This is part of an overall goal of streamlining and expanding the hiring process.
The founder of Borrow a Boat, Matt Ovenden, has commented on his wish to be the number of yacht charter platform globally. With the direction the company is heading and ample recent success, this wish may soon be coming true.