From your Owner Dashboard, click "My boats" to see all the boats you have listed under your account. You can quickly see which ones are active/inactive, how many views each boat has received, if Instant Book is ON or OFF (more on this shortly!), and if you have a boat manager overseeing any of your boats (see “My Boat Manager” on the Getting Setup article).
To edit a particular boat, click the yellow "Edit Listing" button. Please note: If you have more than one boat, you will need to edit each individual boat’s details/availability separately. Editing the calendar/pricing/etc for one boat does NOT automatically apply to all boats under your account.
Premium holiday pricing is available to set you up for success during busy holiday weekends. You have the ability to choose and set pricing for your boat on select date ranges from your calendar. Seeing not-so-ideal weather this weekend? Offer a discount to encourage trips by selecting a particular day or days and using the slider to temporarily adjust your baseline pricing. Maybe Tuesdays are a bit slower in your area, but what if the forecast looks sunnier than usual while the weekend looks rainy? Go back to the slider and bump up your rates for the weekday!
Don’t forget to set your price as early as possible to guarantee valuable bookings.
You can decide what days and times your boat is generally available. For example, should you decide that Monday is a personal day, you may uncheck “Monday” from this section or uncheck the hours that you know the boat will not be available for every Monday. Remember that renters may also specify a particular time when they search for boats. If your boat is even 30 minutes off of the time frame that they search for (i.e. they search for 8:30 AM, but you are available as of 9 AM), your boat will not show up in search. By (inadvertently) minimizing the chances of a renter seeing your listing, you will miss opportunities for renters to at least message you and discuss ways to make the trip work! TIP #3: Cast a wide net with advanced scheduling options, open up your daily availability, and extend your operational hours as much as you can.You miss every shot you don’t take, right?
Guests appreciate flexibility – a majority of all trips get booked less than two days before the start time. To benefit from this booking trend, reduce your advance notice as much as possible and let your guests enjoy trips on-demand. If you are able to be logistically ready for a booking within even as short as one hour lead time, your boat will have greater visibility and a greater chance of being booked. If you can manage more than one trip a day, determine the ideal buffer time you need to turn around your boat and set sail for your next guest later that day.
This may seem slightly obvious, but make sure your boat is in good working order before the rental. Nothing worse than having to tell a renter that the boat is not ready to set sail when the whole family is standing dockside! It is recommended that you dedicate as much time as needed to catching up on maintenance during the off-season or slower days/weeks so you’re ready for peak demand.
Durations & Pricing
You have the option to either allow the renter to operate your boat or have a USCG-certified captain at the helm. Depending on your boat and your personal preferences, you may be more comfortable with one or the other (or both). If the renter will be operating, don’t be shy in asking any and all questions to assess the renter’s boating knowledge and experience. After all, your boat is your baby and you want to make sure it is in good hands. To learn more about captains, skip ahead to the “Manage Captains” section of this guide.
To get a sense of pricing in your area, we recommend doing a quick search to see how other boats are priced. TIP #4: For new owners, try setting your price under market value for the first couple of rentals. Think of a 10% discount on your rate as an initial marketing investment. Remember, you’re trying to start something new and get it off the ground, smart early investments will pay off later. Until you have those first three great reviews, lower rates will help get a few trips under your belt, as renters prefer competitive pricing. It’s worth using your pricing structure to get people on board at first and get those first three great reviews. Smart boat pricing is another tool that may help you understand what the general pricing is like in your area and can be a great way to take a more hands-off approach to pricing. However, feel free to use custom pricing if you feel that the suggested pricing is not what you would prefer for your boat.
Full-day rentals are great and profitable but consider allowing shorter-duration trips, if possible. TIP #5: There may be groups who may be interested in 2, 3, or 4-hour trips because of their availability or preferences, and allowing these options can add up to big earnings in the long run.
In the durations & pricing section, you will also decide how fuel will be handled; will you include fuel in the boat price or have the renter pay separately? If the renter pays for fuel, you can use our fuel reimbursement tool directly through the booking details page. Please note: Fuel receipts need to be submitted within 48 hours of the concluded booking. That means as soon as you fill up, send us those receipts so our support team can take care of the reimbursement.
TIP #6: Think about offering at least three Add-Ons to your boat. Not only do they attract guests, but they also net you a substantial cash bonus – you pocket 95% of what your guest pays. Add-ons can include fishing gear, inflatable toys, snacks, photography, transportation/delivery, and more!
After you get at least one trip under your belt, Instant Book will be an available option for you to activate! TIP #7: Boats that are instant bookable are more likely to be rented; bookings are automatically approved, bringing you more bookings with less work. In addition to the convenience of this feature, the search algorithm will also encourage greater conversion for available boats by placing your boat higher in search results and making you stand out in map view.
Things to note:
- Instant Book lets renters enter their credit card information and reserve your boat automatically, without speaking to you prior to approval. Payment is collected at the time of booking and the trip goes into the approved state. This means you will not be prompted to approve or decline the booking.
- Because Instant Book minimizes the need for renters to message you, it’s important for you to keep your calendar up-to-date.
- If you would prefer to communicate with renters prior to payment, especially if you are wary about just anyone operating your 60-foot luxury yacht, it is best to leave Instant Book inactive for now. This will also save you from canceling more bookings than you would like and hampering your overall success with Boatsetter.
- The Instant Book lightning bolt icon will also be placed over your boat listing so you will stand out among the search results for renters.
- Instant Book can be enabled or disabled at any time.
Remember, renters may Instant Book your boat, but you can still message them with questions and ultimately decide against the renter; you will then have no choice but to cancel the booking. Consider the logistics of your boat and personal situation when deciding to enable/disable Instant Book to minimize the number of potential cancellations and lost revenue, as excessive cancellations may lead to poor long-term performance on Boatsetter.
To be successful on Boatsetter, you need to imagine yourself as a small business competing with other businesses (boat owners) in your area, especially if you are in an area that is “boat dense” (i.e. Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, etc). Your listing may consistently show up when searching on Boatsetter, but your boat views might not be as high as you would like. What factors determine whether a prospective renter will actually click and view your listing to learn more? People usually spend less than 5 seconds scanning a particular boat before either clicking or moving on to the next boat and they will focus on the limited information they have while they sift through search results - your title and your cover photo; this is the bait that you must use to hook someone’s interest. TIP #8: The most successful owners are the ones who make their title and cover photo enticing enough to warrant a click.
Your listing title is your first shot at describing what sets you and your boat apart from the competition. Being as straightforward as possible in your listing headline is the best way to attract as many renters as possible. Simply put, people want to know (right away) what they’re getting. Adding words as an attempt to attract renters can be very tempting, but believe it or not, adding fluff can do just the opposite - by overwhelming renters and sending them to the next boat owner. You can always update your title to ensure that you have the most competitive, descriptive, and relevant title possible (i.e. mentioning an upcoming event in the area, highlighting a particular boat upgrade you recently made, etc).
TIP #9: Make the title less about the boat itself, and more about the experience that people will have on board. Remember, people scrolling through the listings may never have heard of a Sea Ray, but they do know that they want to go on a romantic cruise or enjoy some birthday festivities; make the title about what they want to do. Try to write a title that evokes a feeling in the people who read it. Think of titles such as “Sunset Cruises”, “Creating Family Memories” or “Wakeboarding Boat of Your Dreams.”
To write simple listing headlines make sure to:
- Keep your listing title at 50 characters maximum.
- If you’re including things like fuel, place it at the end.
- Highlight one feature (no more than two).
- Don’t use emojis. Although emojis are a fun way to style our messages and express ourselves, they don’t do as hot in your listing title.
- Good examples: Easy to Drive Sandbar Pontoon, Boat in Style on the Pretty Lady (Fuel Included), Family-Friendly Boat (Add-Ons Available).
- Avoid writing in all caps. We’ve all met someone who wrote their texts in caps or received a text message in caps – not only is it discouraging to read, but it’s also harder. You don’t want to encourage renters to skip your listing, so avoid writing your headlines in caps. Instead, write in sentence case, as renters are more likely to stop at your listing and read what you have to offer. Plus, writing in sentence case makes you come off as friendly and approachable.
- Use adjectives to your advantage. The great part about adjectives is you only need to include a good one to really make your listing shine. No need to overdo it! Here are some strong adjectives to help you describe your boat or an experience: Adventurous, Comfortable, Charming, Crystal clear, Easy, Enchanting, Elegant, Lively, Modern, Scenic, Spacious…
Your title and photos did the trick and your boat just got a view! Now the renter is deciding if your boat is THE boat for them; your description is what needs to convince them to take the next step and actually move forward with a booking request. So what are some ways to make your description convince someone that your boat is what best meets their needs?
TIP #10: Continue with the strategy you used for your title and describe the experience on your boat and not just the boat itself. Try not to make your description sound like dealership specs, but rather mention your boat’s strengths, favorite places to cruise in your city, and other relevant information that could be useful to potential renters. You may wind up talking about:
- Where can your boat go on the water?
- What can renters bring on the boat?
- What makes your boat special?
- What activities, events, and attractions can the renter partake in on the day of their trip?
- Additional extras (jet ski, wakeboarding, etc).
- What guests usually book your boat for (e.g. visiting local attractions, going on sunset cruises) to inspire trip ideas.
- How your boat enhances the guest experience (e.g. spacious, quieter engine, smooth ride, shower/restroom/kitchen, enhanced technology, etc).
- Convenient perks such as being close to a sandbar, being pet-friendly, offering free/discounted delivery, or specific discounts.
What ultimately seals the deal for some renters is how they feel about the owner (you). Should someone be comparing more than one boat, a dealbreaker may be how the boat owner presents themselves and communicates via their listing page. TIP #11: The most successful owners are the ones who make the renter feel excited about the boat and comfortable with the owner, so be sure to include:
- Your strengths as a host (e.g. responsive, accessible, flexible).
- Your passion for boats and how much you love sharing your boating knowledge and experience with other guests.
- The rush of satisfaction you get when a guest leaves a review praising you for your excellent customer service.
Set your trips up for success. If your photos show the boat on a trailer, is the pickup/drop-off explained? Is the location somewhere landlocked? Does the address/map make sense? Set yourself up for successful trips by giving your guests the info they need. Holidays in particular mean parties, fireworks, music, dancing, eating, and much more! Prior to your booking, be sure to discuss what is and what isn’t allowed on your boat with potential renters. You can edit your boat’s description and preferences and explain all of the details or simply communicate the guidelines in your messages. Setting expectations prior to the trip will guarantee renters, and yourself, a stress-free booking. TIP #12: Keep in mind that boat listing descriptions with over 100 words or 625 characters rank higher in search results!
Be sure to specify all the features your boat offers and utilize the description to give renters a sense of what to expect while aboard. Does your boat come with a deck shower? Does it have an epic sound system? Don’t leave anything out, renters are searching for that perfect boat! TIP #13: You invested good money in a good boat, so make sure you show off all of its assets. Guests often filter for specific features when they search, so you can amp up your listing’s search results simply by adding what you’ve already got.You can highlight specific features on your listing such as its refrigerator, WiFi, fish finder, etc.
Proven statistics show that boats with good photos get more boat rental requests. Photos give the first impression to the renter and boats without high-quality images often get passed by. This is possibly the most important step you can take to make your boat rental listing more attractive to potential renters. On Boatsetter, listings with ten or more photos could receive up to 50% more views compared to their less photogenic counterparts, so make the first impression count. Having high-quality photos and a multitude of them is an important way to keep potential renters hooked. Once a renter comes in contact with beautiful boat photos, it will be hard for them to move on to a different listing, as they are less likely to keep scrolling and sifting through pages once they find a potential match.
- Have at least 10 high-quality photos.
- Take photos in landscape mode to capture as much of your boat as possible. Portrait photos don’t transfer well to your listing.
- Boats look best in natural light. Avoid using flash. Take your pictures sometime after dawn, before dusk, or at high noon.
- For interior shots, make sure the boat is clean and avoid extreme close-ups and extreme distance shots.
- Use a high-quality camera. If your smartphone doesn’t have a great camera, use a digital camera instead.
- Show different angles on board.
- Show people on the boat having fun and doing what the boat is made to do. The people in your photos don’t have to be supermodels. They can be your friends and family. If nothing else, simply look at your boat manufacturer’s website for photo-staging ideas, and then copy them.
- The public can gauge the size of the boat by seeing how big a person is in the photos, versus seeing the words “54-foot cabin cruiser.”
- Give renters a glimpse into your boat! Ask yourself - what are your favorite amenities onboard and then photograph them. Bathroom? Check. Forward console seating? Check. Accessories and electronics? Check. We recommend adding different angles so they’re able to get a full-picture glance at the vessel before booking.
TIP #14: Sell the experience! Renters are less familiar with boating than you are and great photos help educate them on the right vessel to rent for the type of day they are hoping to have with their family or close friends. Renters love to see the different experiences they can have onboard. From fishing and bachelorette celebrations to watersports and anchoring at the sandbar, your photos have the ability to tell a story that will bring in those booking requests. If you happen to have photos of past rentals or personal time spent on the water, don’t hesitate to add those to your listing as well.
It’s a good idea to include the option of having a captain on board for boat rentals. Depending on your boat, you may even prefer to require a captain for added peace of mind. For renters under the age of 25 or for those who have little or no boating experience, having a pre-assigned captain for their boat will be a key factor in their boat rental choice.
If you have a valid Merchant Mariner Credential, be sure to upload your information under the "Manage Captains" section and you may be eligible to captain your own boat (only on trips with 6 passengers or less) as well as other boats on the platform. If you know a US Coast Guard licensed captain and would like to assign this person to your vessel, have them create a Boatsetter captain's profile by going to boatsetter.com/captains and following the on-screen prompts. Onboarding is free and takes only 5-10 minutes. Don’t know of any captains? No problem! If you need to be matched with a captain, Boatsetter will provide a list of qualified captains in your area and you can personally vet each captain to ensure you are confident in their abilities to lead your boat.