If you’ve ever spent a holiday on a boat or a yacht, you know it’s an amazing experience… unless it was marred by an unscrupulous boat rental company. Thankfully new technology is reaching the world of boating, so instead of squabbling in some port, customers can choose their perfect vessel with the click of a mouse. Just log onto Boataround, a service into which Miton has invested over half a million Euro.
Booking.com has forever changed the way we book hotels, and now Boataround offers a similarly effortless way to book boats. The comparison to Booking.com is fitting for another reason, as the founders of Boataround, Pavel Přibiš from Czechia and Jana Escher from Slovakia, met while working for Booking.com. Pavel and Jana founded Boataround with the goal of building a global service, and now they are well on track to achieving their aim.
“The market for booking yachts is crying out for change. Presently it’s full of providers who are not very transparent, so customers are paying more than necessary. And then there is often shoddy service,” describes Pavel Přibiš the problems Boataround seeks to address. “That’s why transparency is the key principle guiding the development of Boataround. All photos of boats and yachts are up to date – some we have even taken ourselves. We guarantee money back if a customer is unhappy, and thanks to our direct relationship with the owners, as well as the volume in which we work, we are able to offer the best price,” outlines Přibiš the benefits of Boataround.
This year the company is planning to facilitate boat bookings valued at nearly 20 million Euro. Miton’s investment comes at a time when yacht-booking inquiries have grown by a dizzying 500% from the previous year, and it has become nearly impossible in Czechia to find an available boat for the remainder of the summer holiday season. But this isn’t the reason why Miton has invested in the company – in fact, the decision to invest was reached back in late 2019. And soon after, it seemed like no one would embark on a seaside holiday anytime soon.
However, the past few months and the current global uncertainty have fundamentally changed people’s ideas of what this season’s holiday might look like. Although yachts are usually booked by people with prior experience, this year there are many newbies. “In the current situation customers are appreciating the privacy yachts offer, where they can have a boat for just themselves and their friends. They are also appreciating the value of this type of holiday, as a yachting holiday in Croatia for a group of eight ends up costing less than 20 Euro per person per day, especially as many people choose to cook on the boat.”
For Czechs the most popular destination for booking boats is Croatia, but there is also a lot of interest for domestic holidays. All sailboats on Lipno Lake are booked out through the season, as are boats for sailing on Orlík and Slapy Dams and for navigating the Baťa Canal.
Miton’s investment, which has resulted in a minority share in Boataround, will be used for further growth. “Thanks to my personal experience, I know how much Boataround’s service is needed. In addition to our financing, we are bringing know-how in international marketing and the opening of new markets,” describes Miton’s partner Milan Zemánek this latest investment. Boataround received earlier funding in two rounds from private investors on the Crowdberry platform.