On a sailing trip in Marseille, at the height of the Airbnb boom, two French boating enthusiasts had an idea to take the concept to the water.
Click and Boat has now consolidated the peer-to-peer boat market by buying out its main competitor Sail Sharing and raising €1 million of investment for its planned global expansion.
Primarily operating around the Med, with Marseille, Côte d’Azur, Nice and Monaco its hub, boats and yachts can be hired from €50 per day.
The listings site, which employs 20 staff at its boat-based office on the Seine in Paris, works along the principles as Airbnb and launched in late 2013.
It now turns over around €10 million a year, recorded 22,000 rentals last year from 8,000 available boats moored in 362 harbours in 22 countries.
Owners can list their boats specifications and availability and hirers pay on the guarantee that Click and Boat has assessed the owners for safety and security.
Vessels include anything from sailing boats to catamarans, yachts, motorboats and RIBs.
But unlike Airbnb, there is an extra level of customer service. Click and Boat staff call their customers to ask what they are interested in doing and then make recommendations.
The boat owners are also encouraged to get involved, giving advice based on personal experience on how to operate the boat and what to do in destinations.
Aptly-named Marina Kopić, Click and Boat’s country manager for Croatia, said: “The founders of the company, Jérémy [Bismuth] and Edouard [Gorioux], are really passionate about sailing.
“They have sailed since their childhoods and Edouard went across the Atlantic to Brazil.
“They were in Marseille for a trip when they realised how many boats were not being used. There were more in the marina unused, which they thought was such a shame.
“After some market research, they realised regulation is fairly relaxed. Airbnb was booming so they tried to copy the model of Airbnb, and here we are.”
One of the key selling points to owners is making enough money to pay for “expensive” renovation costs, Marina added.
Click and Yacht has since become a separate entity to Click and Boat because of the luxury aspect to yachting holidays.
The boats, in many cases, can act as accommodation – aimed at those who want an alternative to a hotel, and perhaps want to moor somewhere else. Click and Boat will contact its partners in nearby ports who can advise hirers of what activities they can do.
Global expansion is now on the cards, following a €1 million boost from Parisian Investment company Olma Fund.
Big announcements outside of Europe are expected in March, and Click and Boat is also looking to establish itself in more European ports this year.
Kopić told Travolution that the ultimate goal is to have boats in “every port in the world”.