- GetMyBoat, the self-proclaimed "Airbnb of Boats," has been seeing rising demand for boat rentals.
- This demand started before COVID-19: the company's gross bookings grew nine times from Q1 of 2019 to 2021.
- Founded in 2013, the company now expects to accommodate over one million boaters this year.
Boat sales skyrocketed during COVID-19 while other forms of leisure travel like international flights and cruises stayed docked.
One startup, GetMyBoat - the self-titled "Airbnb of boats" - is riding that wave of high demand and says it's seen a massive increase in rental bookings ahead of a projected summer travel boom in 2021.
The company first started in San Francisco in 2013 and has since grown into what it calls the "world's largest boat rental and water experience marketplace," serving 184 countries. But it's not just about expensive luxury yachts.
GetMyBoat's website operates similarly to its home rental counterpart, Airbnb, and a bevy of travel sites like Outdoorsy or Expedia. Customers search where and when they want to rent the boat, a preferred hourly price, the number of passengers, and the type of boat they're looking for - whether it be a jet ski, powerboat, or yacht.
Outdoor travel has remained a popular leisure option since the start of the pandemic, and GetMyBoat's gross bookings grew 3,900% from April 2020 through July 2020. Like most outdoor travel options, there was a slowdown, but GetMyBoat says things returned to the green by July 2020.
That growth only continued into 2021. From January 2021 through April, GetMyBoat's gross bookings grew 700% compared to the same time last year, the company said, passing its previous record set in July 2020.
By the end of the year, GetMyBoat had served 178,000 customers, up from 60,500 in 2019, according to marketing manager Val Streif. In 2021, the company expects to accommodate one million boaters. That could translate into $158 million worth of bookings, despite continued travel restrictions that keep the company from "tapping its full potential," Bryan Petro, GetMyBoat's chief operating officer, said in a May press release.