1) When was your business founded?
Marinanow was founded in May 2012 and was the brainchild of Alessandro Sestini, who had worked for a year as a skipper and noticed the difficulty that there was when trying to book a berth. This was causing problems both for the sailors who couldn't find places to moor as well as for marinas who were losing money from not being able to manage the requests coming in or from no shows.
2) How has Marinanow developed over the years?
The business started as a type of bookings.com for all your nautical needs. If you want to book a room in a hotel, you go to an online portal, enter the dates you want the room for and any other details and find the hotel that best suits your needs. We do the same thing but for berths in marinas, offering instant and up to date access to 100s of marinas throughout the Mediterranean. You can book instantly or we will contact the administrators directly and sort out everything for you. We also now also offer the same service for booking boats and allow our users to rent out their boats as well as just the berths. We give anyone the ability to add their own boats or berths to our site for free.
3) What makes you different from your competitors?
We started out as a bookings.com for the nautical world but have now expanded to become an Airbnb: where individuals can make money renting out their boats and berths. This allows us to have the largest and cheapest offers possible. On top of this we only take money from the customers if we are 100% sure that there is availability and it's free for the user. We have seen other sites take the money first and check for availability later.
4) Are you working on any new developments at the moment?
It's a really exciting time. We've just finished our first full season and are looking to tweak a few parts of the site following client feedback and signing contracts with a few luxury brands. It's all a bit hush hush for now, but there will be a few changes coming soon.
5) Who is your key target audience?
We are targeting the whole nautical industry. We've had people renting spaces for a small boat for one night and people booking annual places. People have chartered rubber dinghies for a day as well as superyachts for a week.
6) What are the biggest challenges that you face in the superyacht industry at the moment?
We've seen that people are, more than ever, looking for last minute deals and the best prices possible. As we expand our offerings we are able to help our clients find the best prices, but we are also trying to make it easier for them to bargain with the providers.
7) How is business? Have you been affected by the recession?
Business is going really well. We've just raised a seed round of nearly half a million dollars and have just come off the back of a really busy summer. The recession has definitely affected the market though and our ROI was down from last year largely due to the feeling of austerity.
8) What are your top tips for how to select a home berth?
We show all the services that the marinas provide and in a lot of the cases are showing nearby restaurants and businesses. Don't always think you have to go for the big names though: we can save you money if you berth just down the road from your first choice.
9) Are you attending any upcoming boat shows?
We're going to be at Genoa Boat Show (1st to 6th October) and boot Dusseldorf (17th to 21st January).
10) Who would be your dream client?
We’re happy to work with small berths and big boats, whoever wants to join! The ideal client is someone who does their own set up, but we have a great team of support staff who can do the set up for them if they need.
For more information visit MarinaNow.