Over 2 billion nights of opportunity

As a sharing economy platform that connects guests and owners for amazing stays on boats, we’ve always known there’s a huge opportunity in boats and marinas.

Today we revealed the sheer scale of that opportunity as a few exciting activities came together for us.

Firstly, we spoke at the ICOMIA World Marina Conference in Athens, following on from our invitation to talk about the sharing economy in Amsterdam in 2016. Secondly, we’ve launched a crowdfunding raise on Seedrs to support our strategic vision for 2019.

World Marina Conference, Athens

ICOMIA is the voice of the recreational marine industry and the conference is the only one of its kind, focusing in-depth on the marina industry on a global scale. It was hosted by the Greek Marinas Association and opened by Elena Kountoura, the Greek Minister of Tourism.

This in itself showed a connection between marinas and tourism that we at Beds on Board have long talked about, promoting the idea that marinas need to embrace tourism by opening up and welcoming new guests in.

So imagine this…

A young family on board for a weekend break. Mum & Dad tuck the kids up in the pointy end and enjoy a sundowner. It’s a lot more fun than a hotel, they are all together and, without paying for 2 separate rooms, it’s more affordable. A whole family sharing an experience, the centre of which is the boat and its location.

Or a couple staying on a boat to celebrate an anniversary, enjoying a glass of bubbles on the bow.

This is the boating lifestyle we all love and the marina is a key part of the story. When this works, we call them “destination marinas”.

Destination marinas

A destination marina welcomes new visitors, identifies the mutual benefits and exceeds their expectations. A destination marina builds a bridge between the demand for accommodation and the supply of vacant boats.

One topic at ICOMIA was ‘the future of marina design’. If we asked Beds on Board guests what they would like to see from future destination marinas, these are the ideas we’d expect to hear:

- Remove barriers: physical (gates, signage) & psychological (I’m not welcome)
- Turn them around: entering a marina can be like walking into a mechanics workshop, it should be more like a car showroom
- Public access to the water: boat rides, paddling beaches, crabbing piers, paddleboarding
- Make them family friendly: have green spaces, picnic areas, play parks
- Show guests how to take the next step into boating: such as chartering, or meeting brokers

2.5 billion night of opportunity

We have worked with global marine organisations to identify that there are over 8 million suitable boats worldwide and they are used, on average, less than 10% of the year.

This represents 2.6 billion nights worth of inventory that can be used as accommodation.

This availability can help satisfy the demand for city-breaks, family staycations, romantic escapes and event accommodation.

Accommodation from the sharing economy accommodation alone is estimated to be worth £34 billion in 2018 and is popularised by platforms such as Airbnb and renting land-based accommodation options. Our differentiator is our focus - renting only boats, only as accommodation - and we have agreements that exclude other platforms from operating in key locations.

As Jason Ludlow, Beds on Board CEO said, Our vision is to bring the boating lifestyle to the world, working with marinas to open up to new customers and to help grow the boating industry as a whole. There is a huge opportunity here, over 2 billion nights of opportunity, and Beds on Board are in position to unlock it.

These 2.5 billion nights not only represent a huge opportunity, they come from no new building or infrastructure. They do not threaten existing housing supply. They do not take anything from the local community; it’s completely new inventory, unlocked for the benefit of guests, boat owners and the travel economy, including marinas. In fact, helping marinas become destinations is a key part of our strategy as we go into 2019 on the back of our crowdfunding raise with Seedrs”.

Opening up marinas

We see these new customers, entering a marina for the first time, as being in a funnel. A funnel from not being engaged in the boats, to visiting a marina, to staying on boat overnight, to somehow re-engaging with boats (a trip, day charter, walking into a brokerage for the first time).

All funnels need feeding and this is what Beds on Board does, pouring individuals into marinas and into the funnel. Our mission is to pour the right kind of people in but it is marinas, and our industry sector as a whole, that can take the responsibility and embrace the opportunity to convert these people into their own, ongoing customers.

The first step, is opening up.

Marine support for the sharing economy

Our talk was a call to action for marinas to join us in our mission to bring the boating lifestyle to everyone.

We asked 2 very simple questions to the marina owners and managers present in the audience:

(1) Who would like less customers?
(2) Who would like a less active and vibrant marina?

And we saw proof that the marina industry now supports the sharing economy. A poll of delegates asked whether they thought the sharing economy would add to future marina revenues: only 19% said no.

Crowdfunding on Seedrs

We launched Beds on Board to help boat owners and guests. Along this journey we’ve worked hard to make sure that marinas support our vision, because the marine industry needs new customers.

To support this, we are delighted to say that we are crowdfunding on Seedrs.

If you are interested in joining our journey you can visit our campaign page.

Find out more