Hotelboat holidays booking up, a business opportunity?

Hotel Boat holidays are again very popular with lots of new ideas and cruises. Like to run a hotel boat?

2016 was a very busy year on the hotelboats and many operators are reporting encouraging prospects for 2017 with repeat bookings and many enquiries. See our sister website for details of boats and cruises and late booking hotelboat holidays.


Ali Ashton, owner of narrowboat pair Duke & Duchess (above at Fradley Junction in 2016), told us that they have had a great year, with an increase in foreign visitors from various countries. She also said that – although their passengers are generally from the older age group – they are starting to attract younger people.

James Scowen of Tranquil Rose said that they are up on last year again with a good number of repeat customers, running at around 70%, so we must be doing something right. He has also been a surprised at their increasing number of foreign guests; which he attributes to ‘Mr Google’ and the ability to find them via the Internet. Walking holidays which they run in the Spring and Autumn on the Thames Path and on the Wey Navigation have proved a great success.

Hanna Rees-Jones of Bywater Cruises and chair of the Hotel Boat Operators Section of British Marine Inland Boating said that the feedback from most companies was very positive and that her company was fully booked before the season started. She went on to say that the Hotel Boat industry has diversified considerably in recent years. It was once dominated by traditional narrowboat pairs but now there are luxury wide-beam, hostel, camping and vegetarian retreat boats. It’s great to see different people putting their own stamp on this unique enterprise and making the most of the growing interest in our waterways.

If you are considering starting a hotelboat business, or already running one, why not come along to the Hotelboat Operators Spring meeting to meet and network with others in the business? There is no need to be a member, and no pressure to join. Just email Hanna for details.

Thanks to Harry Arnold and Waterway Images for information and image in this article.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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