Here are the main problems that guests looking to book a boat face today:
- Guests do not have any information on who their skipper is until they meet him/her on the boat – even if they have booked the boat six to nine months in advance
- They have no means of selecting their own skipper – based on past clients reviews. The selection of their skipper is done by a boat manager or charter agency. This selection system causes a lot of stress on the client.
- They do not have access to data from marinas on free berths
- They do not have easy online access to all marina and mooring prices
- They have no easy way to reserve a spot in the marina online or via a mobile app
- They can’t access details on the condition of the boat – all they see are a couple of pictures, which are very often manufacturers’ stock photos. So guests are not even able to realise, if a boat is 10 years old.
- They’re not able to post and view reviews on boats, skippers, hostesses and fleet operators. Posts and reviews can only be found on Tripadvisor and on fleet operators websites where they can be easily modified.
- They have no way of securing their payments: What if a boat is in a bad condition? What if their skipper is not doing their job well?
- They are required to put down a big sum of fiat money as a security deposit for a chartered boat. Security deposits range from 1.000 to 5.000 EUR. The majority of them are in the region of 3.000 EUR.
- Boat owners and boat managers are fragmenting the price. The majority of them list the price for the boat and then charge customers many extras for services like final cleaning, outboard motor, water toys like stand up paddle board, snorkelling equipment, fishing equipment, kayaks, … This puts a lot of stress on inexperienced guests while they search for a suitable boat within their set budget.
The majority of boat bookings is done by guests through website portals (OTAs) and charter agencies upon submitting a quote form online, sending an email inquiry or telephone call. Website portals and charter agencies then search for an available boat for their client/guest through fleet operators that manage boats for boat owners. So in a way website portals and charter agencies are also customers and they are facing the same problems as stated above.