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Beds on Board: Could your boat provide floating B&B accommodation?

It’s only just launched, but already Beds on Board has grabbed the travel industry’s attention. Positive press coverage praises this innovative boat sharing website which connects owners with accommodation seekers who fancy staying on a luxury yacht or cosy narrowboat. It allows guests to rent a cabin or a whole boat for overnight stays at prices that compare favourably with traditional B&Bs. Boat owners enjoy the chance to earn an income from otherwise empty vessels, and we think this is a fantastic way to offset the cost of boat ownership!

We caught up with co-founder and co-owner Tim Ludlow (above) to find out exactly how the scheme works, and what boat owners can do to get involved and start making money. 
 
Beds on Board offers ‘another way to stay’. How exactly does it work?
Beds on Board allows owners to rent out their boats as accommodation. It gives the owner a new income and the guests alternatives to hotels and B&Bs.
 
What can people enjoy about staying on a boat?
A sense of relaxation, of being away from it all as well as a sense of adventure, of just doing something different. Of course some may simply enjoy the convenience or the choice. We are also excited that our community will get a different view on places that they wouldn’t get from staying in a hotel.
 
What kinds of people do you expect to use the service?
On the owner side: those looking to earn a bit of income from their boat without the commitment and costs of chartering. On the guest side: anyone wanting another way to stay.
 
What kinds of boats are best for the Beds on Board service?
Any safe and comfortable boat, old or new, sail or power, large or small. Staying with Beds on Board is as much about the location and the experience as the boat. 
 
Where in the UK are you hoping boats will be available?
We already have boats in locations such as Jersey, Staffordshire and The Solent and we hope to see that diversity continue. We are excited by the City Break potential so boats in major cities is something we will be working on.
 
 
How can boat owners sign up to the scheme?
It’s simple and free to list. Owners just visit bedsonboard.com, sign up with an email address and then select “List my boat”. The listing process can be taken in stages so it’s really easy to get started and details can be added over time. 
 
We would strongly recommend some great photos of the boat as these are key in guests decision making. Listings are the owners own shop front to try to attract guests.
 
Briefly, what do they need to do before they can be accepted?
To have a safe and comfortable boat with walk-on access, an email address and 10 minutes to complete the listing. 
 
What standards of accommodation do they have to offer on their boats?
Safety is key, followed by an understanding of what will make an enjoyable stay for their type of boat and the guests they expect to stay. We already have many different types of boats and guests and allowing them to connect and ask questions is what the service is all about.
 
 
How are safety and security issues addressed?
Our community are all verified members and we encourage as much communication as needed to establish trust.
 
Owners must make sure their boats are a safe place to be at all times so we are not asking them to do anything different. They must be covered by their boat insurance. We work with Amlin Insurance who offer this cover for no extra premium.
 
As some guests may have no boating experience we advise the owner to make the systems on the boat as simple as possible and to produce a “how to” guide for staying on board. 
 
How much money could boat owners make from getting involved? 
It’s free to list your boat and communicate with potential guests without any commitment. When an owner accepts a booking we deduct 5% of the nightly price. There is also a charge to the guest. 
 
The income for the owner would depend on the price they set and the availability of the boat but we want to help owners offset the cost of ownership, perhaps helping to keep their boat, or keep their mooring. Or maybe it pays for the winter maintenance!
 
 
Apart from getting an income from providing accommodation, what other benefits are there for boat owners joining the scheme?
Keeping the boat aired and maintained but more importantly we want to help expand the boating economy and make sure people are engaged with boats, marinas and the associated community.
 
These are things we are discussing with the British Marine Federation and The Yacht Harbour Association and we look forward to seeing what we can learn and offer here.
 
What other locations around the world will be added to Beds on Board? 
Wherever owners decide to list! We will be very active in all areas of the Med as well as major city destinations across Europe and the US is a huge and exciting market for us and our community.
 
You can list your boat for free today at www.bedsonboard.co.uk.
 
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Photos: Beds on Board
Article: Alison Clements