Fuel expenses cost as much as charters, but Borrow a Boat remains confident

Despite some charter holiday expenses costing as much as the charter itself due to rising fuel costs, demand has been strong for yachting holidays and crewed charters, reports Borrow a Boat.

“Demand is strong,” says Matt Ovenden, the company’s CEO. “We’re taking bookings into 2023, and hoping the superyacht end of the business won’t be impacted.”

He’s positive about the tourism bounce back that his company has experienced over the last 12 months and says it’s already ahead of where it was last year for bookings into the next year.

In fact, his forecast for 2023 to double revenue – again. And do more.

The past 12 months has seen Borrow a Boat triple its team size, raise another £2.5m in capital (taking the total to £6.4m) and develop its group of brands while attracting new customers to the market. Currently it’s in 65 countries with a whopping 45,000 boats to borrow.

“2022 saw a bounce back of travel,” says Ovenden. But he’s witnessed the changes which the pandemic made. One example he gives is people spending more on holidays and going upmarket (the company offers, for example fully crewed superyachts to charter) which Ovenden reports has seen increased take-up.

The US is also a growth area with massive potential. Customers from the US come on crew charted holidays with their friends, says Ovenden. “They love crew charted holidays in Europe and as such the average order is higher in the US.”

As for Europe, Borrow a Boat is also looking to move the thriving market for day hire in the Netherlands to seven or 14 day holidays, building on its acquisition of Barqo, to cement its recently launched superyacht hire in France and to race against its click ‘n’ boat competitors like Germany’s Zizoo. “How this plays out remains to be seen,” Ovenden says, “but we’ve got the fullest range of boats. Other competitors don’t do superyachts or crews as well as day boats.”

Ovenden says there are lots of areas to go now, but he’s aiming for it to happen organically, although he’s not ruling out more acquisitions. “We will always keep an eye out for them,” he says.

The Borrow a Boat team is exhibiting at SIBS 2022 (J154).