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2020 September October Marina World

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BOATSHARE CONCEPTS American surge in P2P rentals Premier brings Agapi club concept to the UK UK marina group Premier Marinas has partnered with Agapi Boat Club of Sweden to introduce a subscription boat club. The venture was launched in August at Premier’s Swanwick Marina during the 2020 British Motor Yacht Show. Agapi Boat Club boasts a network of 13 centres in Sweden, Finland, Crete and Spain and attracts new boaters, corporates and ‘born again boaters’. The Premier Agapi Boat Club will offer its members the option to access these overseas Agapi sites, its own marinas at Chichester, Southsea, Port Solent and Gosport, and Swanwick, the home of its first club. Premier offers a variety of membership packages enabling customers to select a fee plan to reflect their choice of boat models, level of usage and service requirements. First arrivals in the Club’s fleet will include the award-winning Agapi 950 motorboat (above) and the smaller but no less speedy Agapi 800 (above inset). Further models will be added in 2020 and 2021 when the fleet is also expected to include an electric boat. Premier Marinas business development director, Andy Mills, said the company had undertaken research into a number of boat models and operators before finding the right fit. “Agapi not only offered the kind of club we aspired to run and the cutting edge service systems to back it, but they also provide the premium boats that we require to fit with the Premier brand. But, as importantly, we found that there were shared values between our two organisations including a requirement for professionalism, respect for customers, staff and suppliers and a deep understanding of what delivering a first-class service means,” he said. Agapi CEO, Peder Asplund, responded: “We are a fast growing company looking for growth – but in the right way and with the right partners. Premier’s cultural values mirror those of our own brand and we particularly value Premier’s ambition, commercial agility and respect for the environment. We could not have chosen a more fitting partner to bring the Agapi Boat Club concept into the UK and we look forward to the success of the Premier Agapi Boat Club.” Agapi Boating AB was founded by Alejandra Levinas Asplund and Peder Asplund in 2006 to create a new type of boating life focused on freedom, simplicity and environmental sustainability. They launched the first Agapi boat in 2010 and, in 2013, a variety of different business models based on the sharing economy. Boatsetter, the leading peer-topeer boat rental platform in the USA, has announced a 270% increase in traffic year-on-year. The platform currently has over 19,000 rental listings in over 600 cities worldwide. The service recorded its highest ever number of bookings to date for the month of June, with an increase of 74% over June 2019. It also reported a 40% increase in listings as owners seek new ways to help offset the overall cost of boat ownership. The dramatic surge in bookings came amid the ongoing pandemic, during a time when long periods of isolation and social distancing halted most forms of travel and recreational activities. The recordbreaking numbers strongly indicated that consumers in the northern hemisphere shifted their summer travel plans towards staying close to home. Boatsetter’s user behaviour survey revealed that customers were looking for outdoor activities with limited contact and that they sought booking flexibility. Last-minute bookings increased, made easier by the ‘Instant Book’ facility, which enables consumers to find readily available boat options that offer flexible booking and cancellation policies. Data indicated that 51% of renters interested in boating wanted to rent locally for family outings and small group excursions. The remaining 49% wanted to rent a boat when on vacation. As 95% of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a navigable body of water, Boatsetter’s expansive inventory of rentals available in communities near rivers, lakes and oceans across the USA makes boating more accessible as it does not limit consumers to renting solely in larger metropolitan cities or top boating markets. – September/October 2020 53

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