5 Marketing Tips for Boat Rental Businesses to Get and Retain Clients

Boat rental businesses, from a standard peer-to-peer boat rental to tours to luxury cruises, are expected to grow with a CAGR of 6.0% between 2019 and 2027 (after accounting for the global COVID pandemic).

However, just because it’s a lucrative industry with a lot of growth, it’s also a very competitive industry. Thus, finding a way to make your business stand out and get noticed by your customers can be quite a challenge, and you’ll need to carefully plan and implement a highly targeted and comprehensive marketing strategy.

Below, we will discuss some of the most effective marketing tactics you can use to promote your boat business, and without further ado, let us begin.

Boat Rental Businesses

Sell The Experience, Not Just The Boat

In marketing anything in this modern era, it’s crucial to understand that people don’t actually buy your product or service (and in this case, rent your boat), but they are buying the values and benefits they’ll get from the purchase or rental.

Thus, when marketing your boat rental business, don’t just focus on selling the boat. Instead, you should try to sell the entire experience. Clearly communicate the advantages of renting your boat, even if it’s just as simple as “fastest delivery”.

Throughout all your marketing materials, promote the overall experience using high-quality photos and videos, and take your time to write an engaging copy that describes thoroughly what your customers will see and experience.

Establish a Strong Online Presence

In this digital and post-COVID era when most of your audiences are active on social media and familiar with online shopping, it’s crucial to establish a strong online presence, or else your prospective clients won’t notice you.

Focus on building a strong online presence in four key areas:

Professional website

Your website will often be the first impression to your prospective clients: if it’s attractive and informative, then it may attract them to actually book your service. On the other hand, if it’s obsolete, not mobile-friendly, and loads slow, they’ll simply move on to your competitor.

Nowadays, building a professional-looking and functional website is fairly easy and affordable with platforms like Wix, Weebly, and even WordPress (that’s totally free). There’s simply no excuse not to have a well-designed and functional website with an online reservation function (more on this below)

Social media presence

It’s only obvious to promote your boat rental business on social media where your prospective clients are active.

Yet, with seemingly everyone promoting their business on social media, how can you get noticed among all the noises?

Creativity is key, but here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Post regularly and be consistent with your content both in terms of quality and quantity
  • Actively interact with your audience
  • Invest in relevant paid options (i.e. Instagram Ads) when your budget allows. Don’t forget to audit results
  • Pay attention to customer service. Make sure prospective and existing clients can easily reach out to you on your social media accounts and provide a timely answer to questions and concerns. Treat your social media accounts as extensions of your customer support department.
  • Partner up with relevant influencers so they can help promote your business to their followers.

24/7 online reservation

Consumers nowadays simply expect the convenience of 24/7 online reservations. Many online appointments for local businesses, including boat rental services, happen after business hours. So, if you don’t offer a reliable 24/7 online reservation service, you may potentially miss out on these prospective clients.

Fortunately, with services like Bookeo’s boat reservation system, it’s very easy and affordable to integrate a 24/7 boat booking system into your website. You can start accepting 24/7 boat booking on your website in no time.

Local SEO

It is important for boat rental businesses to ensure their business is listed on Google Maps’ top results for the area, which we can achieve via local SEO.

3. Ask For Positive Reviews

Building social proofs is key in today’s business success: your clients will check online reviews before choosing to book your service, so online reviews can literally make or break your boat rental business.

Encourage existing clients to leave positive reviews for your business.

Sometimes, all it takes is just to ask them at the right time, but you can also incentivize them, for example by offering discounts in exchange for positive reviews on Google Maps or mentions on Instagram.

4. Build Your Email List and Start Email Marketing

Email marketing can still be a very powerful marketing channel to market your business, and if you’ve integrated online booking solutions like Bookeo, they will also automatically capture your clients’ email addresses so you can easily build your email list.

The basic approach of email marketing is to send a bi-weekly or monthly email newsletter to remind them about your business with high-quality, relevant content. However, you should also incorporate personalization into your email marketing campaign, for example by sending special offers according to each client’s behaviors and preferences.

For a boat rental business, email marketing can be quite effective if you want to increase rental bookings for certain seasons (i.e. holidays).

5. Maximize Customer Retention

Acquiring new clients is one thing, but the secret to keeping your boat rental business profitable is to retain existing clients and give them reasons to keep coming back. In most cases, people won’t rent your boat too often, but it doesn’t have to be a one-time thing.

You can:

  • Offer more flexibility and let your clients customize their experiences. For instance, you may want to offer multi-day packages with a different type of boat each day.
  • Regularly add new types of watercraft to your inventory and encourage clients to come to try something new
  • Offer discounts and special offers on your follow-up email so clients will be encouraged to come back for more.
  • Connect with clients via social media and email, and build lasting relationships with them. This can help your business stay top-of-mind when the client needs another boat rental.

Closing Thoughts

While there are certainly other marketing strategies and tactics you can try to get more clients and grow your boat rental business, the 5 we’ve shared above can be a solid foundation you can use to build your boat business marketing strategy.

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