Now we’re on the other side of summer, creeping closer to Christmas and the winter festivities, it’s time to reflect on what has been a fantastic few months for UK canal users, as more and more people have begun to experience the beauty of our canal networks from their own boats, and holiday boat rentals.
It’s been a big summer for the industry, which as you all know has been so needed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It feels so good to be back!
Since the start of the pandemic, boat sales specifically for holiday rentals have boomed in order to keep up with the growing demand for holiday boats from holiday makers in the UK. The boom has been led by two key changes in our behaviour thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, firstly many people are now choosing to holiday in the UK as a way to get past the very complicated international travel restrictions that have been in force. Secondly though, because of the lockdown more people have had the chance to escape to local beauty spots and to experience just how many wonderful places there are close to UK canals. A combination of the two has had people flocking to our waterways and it’s fantastic to see!
According to BBC News:
“Boat hire firms say that bookings across the country's 4,700 miles (7,500km) of navigable canals and rivers have swelled since the pandemic. ABC Leisure Group provides narrow boats for hire from 15 inland marinas across England, Scotland and Wales. Managing director Carl Onens says that sales this year and last are 40% higher than in 2019 - despite losing the 15-20% of annual bookings it used to get from international customers.”
Mr Onens has added:
“We were seeing strong demand till March 2022, and then the pandemic accelerated it with lots of new customers coming in. New customers is what we've worked on for a long time, although we would not have chosen a global pandemic. The booking office has often been dealing four to five times with same bookings, as a result of changes in the rules. It's been interesting. We have refunded about £1.6m in total - it was the fairest thing for our customers. But as it happened we've resold holidays as fast as we've refunded them.”
Now as we move towards the autumn and winter season, we can’t wait to continue to sell stunning canal boats, narrow boats and barges to new boat owners who have also discovered the freedom and beauty of our canal networks.
If you’re interested in buying a boat, why not visit our online narrowboat brokerage?