European boating digital platform Click&Boat will open an office in Marseille this month, kickstarting its expansion plans.
The Paris-based company will hire more than 50 new employees over the next 18 months, recruiting from all over the world, including the US, the UK and other European countries, to staff this outpost in Southern France.
More offices may be launched in major European markets such as Italy, Spain and the UK over the next few years, the company said.
Opening an office in Marseille is the first step in the company’s plan to consolidate its position in the European yachting market by being closer to its customers (boat owners and renters), including many UK yacht charter companies operating in the French Riviera.
Edouard Gorioux, co-founder of the company, said: “An office in Marseille is a no-brainer for us, as it brings us closer to some of our key markets. But it’s only the first step towards further development in other markets where there is increasing interest in boating, such as the UK. We are literally testing the waters.”
Global expansion has been an integral part of the company’s strategy since its launch in 2013. Last year, the company saw an increase of 189 percent in international, non-French bookings.
Seven out of ten sailing enthusiasts who have rented a boat via the platform are based out of France (primarily in Europe and North America), while 8 percent are UK-based.
To successfully implement its global strategy, Click&Boat has hired an international team that is rapidly growing. Currently, three out of five members of staff hail from a range of countries other than France, including the UK, the US, Poland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Croatia, Russia, Greece, the Netherlands, India, Brazil and Argentina.
For a European boat rental company, all roads lead to Marseille, as the city is a major yachting destination in France and Southern Europe, attracting five million visitors per year, said Click&Boat.
Strategically located close to the French Riviera, Marseille serves as a hub linking some of Europe’s biggest boating markets: Costa Brava, the Balearic Islands (including Ibiza), Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Liguria and Tuscany.
Click&Boat said last year it saw an increase of 140 percent in bookings by UK renters in the French Riviera and by 150 percent and 275 percent in Costa Brava and the Balearics respectively, while UK bookings in Corsica and Sardinia rose by 188 percent and 156 percent.
Currently, Click&Boat has more than 500 boats listed in Marseille. The company aims to benefit from the city’s “strong sailing tradition, as well as its immense talent pool,” it commented.
The new office, just a stone’s throw from the city’s old port, will be staffed by 20 new hires by the summer of 2019, rising to 50 by the end of the year.
Jeremy Bismuth, Click&Boat co-founder and born and raised in Marseille, said: “When I was a kid, I spent hundreds of evenings fishing with my grandfather at Pointe Rouge (a popular beach on the east side of the city).
“That has motivated me to make yachting more accessible to everyone. With its prime location, boating tradition and vibrancy, Marseille can help Click&Boat accelerate its growth and maintain its leading position in boating in Europe.”