There has been a growing demand for a quick and simple boat booking service in coastal regions, especially among tourists who are used to extremely quick Uber taxi services. When on holidays, we often plan various activities that require hiring a boat: go sightseeing, do water sports, try local cuisine or visit remote areas. Because that's what holidays are for.
At the moment, everyone would agree, it’s a bit of a mission. I fyou are one of those advenurous tourists, you probably found yourself skimming through the internet for a local captain that can communicate with you in your language, calling foreign speaking companies, wait for them to check the boat’s availability and get back to you with a quote.
Those with a greater taste for risk will go straight to the pier looking for an available boat and end up being deceived or, even worse, being unsafe.
Thankfully, there is a new app for those who wish to add a touch of comfort and luxury to their itinerary. Tender was launched in Montenegro as a solution for all the existing problems. An extention of MWT (Montenegro Water Taxi), it overcomes the language barrier and connects you directly to the captain whose boat has been checked and insured, so you know your trip is secure. The price is fair, service is quick and the app is easy to use.
Ikon London Magazine spoke to the founder of the new app called Tender, Maria Serebryanskaya.
Q: Safety is a big concern for tourists in a foreign country. How can you guarantee their safety and desired level of service?
A: All Tender boats are thoroughly inspected against our quality standards and supplied with a GPS system. We regularly check the safety equipment on board and captains’ licenses. As a result, every boat gets an internal star rating. Then, once they arrive, our customers also rate their trip, boat and the captain himself. So, there are several levels of checks. If a captain or his boat falls short of our standards his privileges are taken away. On top of that, we insure every trip for that extra peace of mind.
We are working to create a uniform service and meet our clients’ expectations while supporting the local boat businesses.
Q: Does Tender actually own the boats?
A: The boats are owned by boat management firms, charter companies, captains themselves, or individual owners that are happy to rent them out when they are not in use. This allows us to offer a much wider choice to our customers and make the service affordable as more vendors compete with each other on price.
Saying that, we do inspect every single boat and rate them against our quality and safety standards. So our customers get a unified and consistent level of service when booking through Tender.
Q: Is your app catering mainly for tourists? Can local residents benefit from this service?
A: Tender is for everyone. Yes, tourists benefit greatly from our service simply because we offer popular activities in their language and with guaranteed security. However, many of our customers are actually local residents that live in remote areas and require a reliable and quick water taxi. We also have families looking for a day out doing water sports, history lovers wishing to visit remote islands and places of interest, couples looking to escape for a day to a romantic beach to watch a sunset... We even have demand for an airport to hotel transportation!
Q: Maritime transportation is traditionally seen to be for the elite, how are you making yourself more accessible for the wider audience?
A: As the saying goes – time is money. Using boats is a bit more expensive than taking a car due to them burning more fuel and costing more to maintain. But it saves you a lot of time. And if you take a larger boat with a group of people you can split the fare and have a pleasant journey at the price of a cab while enjoying unforgettable views! This experience is truly priceless.
Q: What makes Tender stand out among the competitors? What makes you different?
A: There are many companies offering traditional rentals. However it’s difficult to maintain and keep up to date such a large database. Monitor boats’ whereabouts and update fleets’ availability online in real time manually is a challenge. Making sure they are fully functioning and have all the licenses and insurance is nearly impossible.
Our intuitive app keeps both customers and boat owners happy: it shows all the available boats in a specific area together with all the relevant information: what make and capacity it is, what amenities it has and what services it offers, prices and availability- all in real time. It even shows local restaurants, historical sights and popular activities based on your interests – it already knows your preferences based on the choices you made at other destinations. Traditional rentals cannot provide such a seamless, time-efficient and reliable service.
Q: How do you see the future of Tender in the next 5 years? What are your goals and aspirations?
A: I believe the future of any business lies in making services and products easily accessible, cutting out the middle man and overcoming the language barrier.
Internet space is inundated with articles and blogs on how to book a boat, how to make sure it’s the right one, numerous rules on what to do and not to do when hiring a yacht or charter. I want to make it simple, secure and time-efficient for everyone.
I would like to see Tender to be automatically associated with the most reliable on-demand boat service, like Uber is associated with cabs. For us to be the first choice for maritime transportation- both for the individuals and businesses. I see Tender becoming a household name for travellers and locals alike.