How to Start an Online Boat Rental Business in Europe & North America

How to Start an Online Boat Rental Business in Europe & North America

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Experience economy is increasingly seen as something of a bulwark against the rampant rise of internet and mobile technology. The notion that experiences are much more valuable than material items has gained wide currency off late. To prove our point, we want to shift the focus to the Boat Rental Industry, which happens to be a major contributor to the experience economy. The US boat rental market is forecast to surpass US $19.7bn by 2030, as the appeal for leisure boating and luxurious sailing experiences continues to move skyward.

The industry was even able to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic by emerging as a safe and reliable means of leisure and travel, keeping the occupants far from crowded places. Boat rental businesses started handling bookings with the help of online rental software, providing a 100% contactless booking experience.

Bryan Petro, the COO of GetMyBoat, a boat rental marketplace claimed that during the pandemic, it felt like many people discovered boating for the first time.

According to him, there was “a 3900% increase in demand” for boat renting during the pandemic.

With significant profit-making potential in the online boat rental industry, the entrance of several new players is highly anticipated. In this blog, you will learn about the existing players of the boat rental industry, the working of a boat rental website and many more aspects to help you launch your own boat rental business.

Table of Contents

Key Players in the Online Boat Rental Industry

As of 2021, following are the most popular businesses in the boat rental industry:

Boat Rental Businesses in North America

Types of Rental Boats and Their Target Audience

Several types of boats are rented out on a boat rental website. The ones with highest demands are mentioned in the graphic below:

Types of Activities

The major activities driving the demand for recreational boat renting operations are:

1) Cruising

Cruising is a major recreational and holidaying activity in several developed countries. According to statistics, 50% of all cruise passengers in the world reside in the United States, followed by Western Europe and Asia. You can see their exact numbers in the figure given below.

Boat Rental Market Share

2) Watersports

Sailing boats, jet skis and speed boats are largely used for watersports. Moreover, powerboat racing and jet ski racing are some popular watersports activities that do not require much experience in boating.

3) Fishing

Fishing has always been a recreational activity since time immemorial. In various countries, it has strong cultural significance for people. Both these reasons lead to an increasing demand for family fishing spots throughout the globe, which further substantiate the demand for rental boats for varying fishing activities.

Types of Rental Agreements

Below are the major types of rental agreements that the popular boat rental companies use for conducting successful and profitable business operations:

Basic Rental Agreement

Smaller boats that do not require much crew support are often rented out for a period of a week or less. As there are no specific terms on the attendees of the boat, the renter can himself be the captain or choose to hire one. However, this also means that the renter is primarily responsible for any damage or maintenance. Rationally, luxury and spacious cruises are difficult to manage through a basic rental agreement.

Charter

Charter agreements involve renting out boats for longer periods of time such as for several weeks and months. These agreements can be divided into following three types:

  • Bareboat Charters: Bareboat charters are exclusive of any captain or crew. The renter is solely responsible for carrying out daily activities and maintenance of the boat.
  • Cabin Charters: Cabin charters only involve renting out a cabin on a fully crewed boat. The renter might need to share the boat with other passengers as well. 
  • Crewed Charters: Crewed charters involve renting out a boat with the captain and crew. The rental fee is inclusive of the salary of the captain and crew.

Planning to Build Your Own Boat Rental Marketplace?

The following trends are shaping the trajectory of the boat rental industry:

Demographic Trends

In the boat rental industry, the median age of customers is 50 years, indicating Gen X population to be the highest participant in boat rental activities. This also implies that the Millennial generation is expected to surpass Gen X in the near future. The racial diversity in boat rental customers is also increasing with the Hispanic population taking the lead in recent years.

Green Boats

Green boats are environment friendly and fuel efficient. They are also preferred by consumers for various other reasons, such as, for producing less noise and being available in electric, solar and wind powered variants. Like Tesla’s electric cars, several green boats also support a self-drive feature.

Safety Switches

Two safety switches, which are the ‘kill switch’ and ‘man-overboard’ alarm are high in demand in rental boats. While kill switches disconnect the engine from the power supply in case of an emergency, man-overboard alarms alert the crew and nearby boats that an occupant has fallen overboard.

Increase in Demand for Medium Sized Boats

Consumers are reported to rent boats measuring between 28 to 45 feet long the most. Second in place are small size boats that are up to 28 feet long. Although large boats that are longer than 45 feet are less in demand, their high rental fees makes them a lucrative option for any boat rental business. 

Family-Oriented Industry

The entire boat rental industry is family-oriented, which is a trend that is expected to continue. Despite this fact, there’s significant participation from unmarried population and solo travelers, which cannot be ignored. 

Increase in Online Operations

The remote booking experience and easy access to all necessary information on boat rental websites have made customers more accustomed to digital services. In case of any inconvenience, customers find it easier to find customer support on the website. Additionally, the secure payment methods and SSL encryption make online boat rental operations more convenient and reliable.

How Does a Boat Rental Website Work?

How a boat rental website actually works and earns money can be explained in three parts, which are the workflow of the website, the revenue channels and features. Let’s begin with the workflow.

Workflow of a Boat Rental Marketplace Website

Note that the following workflows are only for demonstration purposes. The actual workflow differs from company to company, which means you may need to make minor adjustments in the workflow before adapting it for your business.

Boat Rental Business Model

Revenue Channels of a Boat Rental Website

Owners of a boat rental marketplace can earn through various channels:

Boat Rental Revenue Channels

Key Functionalities of a Multi-Vendor Boat Rental Website

Unlike regular eCommerce websites, boat rental websites have additional functionalities, such as a booking calendar to search or book boats for specific dates and duration. Similarly, invoicing and price calculation is more complex on a boat rental website in comparison to regular eCommerce sites that display a static price for selling products. 

Moreover, on a multi-vendor boat rental website, the set of features required is more advanced and diverse to support multiple seller operations. Due to this reason, a usual eCommerce software cannot be used to launch a boat rental website. It should have the following features in order to fully support boat rental operations:

Features for Customers

  • Multi-faceted search: Various search options such as location, activities, duration, motor type, number of passengers, etc.
  • Multiple payment options: Boat rental is expensive. It is advisable to offer customers multiple payment options so that they can avail various benefits provided to them by banks, credit card companies or online wallets. You can also provide a financing option for charters. 
  • Multi-currency support and multilingual: Both these features will assist you provide better services to tourists and immigrants and will also help if you plan to make your business international. 
  • Gift cards and vouchers: In the experience-economy, gift cards and vouchers are proven to be very profitable products. They add up to your revenue streams.
  • Detailed Invoicing: The invoicing during checkout should include the number of days the boat will be rented, any added services, cancellation charges, insurance fees, etc.

Features for Boat Owners

  • Comprehensive boat owner profiles: The details can include response time, reviews, owner location, listings and number of fulfilled orders. 
  • Fleet management: The fleet management options should include the rental buffer period, boat availability, details of renter, remaining rental period, and a send alert option for returning the boat.  
  • GPS tracking: GPS tracking will assist you in tracking the boat for security purposes and preventing thefts. 
  • Rental income calculator: An entire section dedicated to informing the boat owners the estimate of their average annual earnings.

Features for Business Owner

  • Analytics and Reports: The website should also have analytic features such as sales and tax reports to help the business owner measure the business progress.
  • Third-party integrations (TPIs): Some third-party integrations such as AirBnb and Tripadvisor are beneficial for boosting boat rental bookings.
  • Discounts and Promotions module: A module with the help of which the business owner can effortlessly create and promote discount coupons.
  • Multi-user CMS: With this CMS, the owner can create multiple sub-admin accounts and handle the website more efficiently. 

Miscellaneous

  • 24/7 Support: The boat rental business can also offer various support channels such as email, IVR, chatbot, live chat, and social media pages for an all-inclusive 24/7 support.
  • Multiple-signup options: Providing easy signup options such as via Google or Facebook improves the user experience.
  • Mobile-friendly design: The website should be responsive or developed following a mobile-first approach to improve the browsing experience on mobile.
  • How it works section: For startup boat rental businesses, this section will help both customers and boat owners understand how the business works for them.

Build Boat Rental Website with Yo!Rent

How Yo!Rent helps in Building a Multi-vendor Boat Rental Website?

Yo!Rent is rental marketplace software developed after keeping in mind the specific needs of various online rental businesses. It is a readymade software, which means it supports all basic features required to start a boat rental website and also has advanced features like:

  • Product comparison
  • Rental income calculator
  • Value added services
  • Rental buffer period
  • Subscription management module
  • In-built chat system
  • Reviews management

With unlimited product listings, user profiles and multiple admin accounts, Yo!Rent is a highly scalable software that grows with your business. It is also fully customizable to support any additional functionalities and features. Moreover, Yo!Rent is available at a one-time cost through which the owner obtains a lifetime usage license for the software. Our team also provides one-year of free technical support to resolve any post-deployment problems.

FAQs

– How has pandemic affected boat rental industry?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers considered private vehicle rental activities, such as boat rental as comparatively safer. Due to this, the boat rental industry was able to evade a market downfall. With the relaxation of government regulations, the industry is expected to see a surge in various regions of the world. 

– Which licenses and permits are required to launch a boat rental business in the USA?

Boat rental businesses may need to comply with several state and federal regulations, including various types of licenses and permits. For a better idea, visit this page or consult a licensing agent. 

-How profitable is an electric boat rental business?

Electric boats are a leading technological advancement in the boat rental industry. Some customers prefer them over their diesel-based variants, so having a small fleet in your inventory would be a unique value proposition for your business. However, this will also come with overhead expenses on charging stations. 

– What are some alternative outdoor adventure businesses for regions with no water bodies?

Entrepreneurs wanting to step in the outdoor adventure industry and be a part of the experience economy can also launch online bike rental, RV rental and outdoor gear rental platforms. In some ways, these are similar to boat rental businesses but the profitability varies from region to region. Click on the business names for more information. 

– How can I customize Yo!Rent for my boat rental website?

Yo!Rent is a ready made solution to build a variety of rental websites. So many of the features needed to perform rental operations online are already available in Yo!Rent. Having said that, the solution is fully customizable to support additional features/design requirements. Please discuss your customization requirements with our sales team. After thorough analysis of your requirements, our experts will share an update about the time and cost estimate.

– Can I use Yo!Rent to launch a website like BoatSetter and GetMyBoat?

Yo!Rent as a software supports several types of rental operations, including boat rental. You can use it to develop a website like BoatSetter, GetMyBoat and various other boat rental marketplaces. 

– What is the cost of developing a boat rental website?

The cost depends on various factors such as customizations, design changes and additional third-party integrations. To get an accurate quote, kindly fill in our contact form.

– What does one-year of free technical support include?

Our one-year of free technical support includes server side scripting bugs and errors, logical and calculation related bugs and errors, and connection and API related issues. 

– How is Yo!Rent better than BigCommerce and Shopify?

Yo!Rent is a readymade software with all essential features to start a boat rental business. It supports unlimited listings and has no cap on annual sales transactions. All transactions on Yo!Rent are free of processing fees and the software itself is available at one-time cost. Moreover, Yo!Rent also supports all popular APIs like MailChimp, AfterShip, Google Maps, PayPal, etc. that are available on SaaS solutions.

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise - the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by FATbit on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.



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