So many Canadians who discovered Le Boat over the past two years of ‘staycations’ have come back as loyal customers, says Le Boat’s Marketing Manager, North America, Lisa McLean.

And this time, knowing how great the product is, they’re smarter about booking longer sailings. “The first year of COVID-19, people said they’d ‘give it a try’ and booked maybe three or four nights,” said McLean yesterday in a desk side interview with Travelweek. “Then at the end of the three or four nights many were calling us asking if they could book more nights, they loved it so much.”

Rideau Canal at night

Now they’re booking a week, 10 nights, even multiple weeks, she says. “This year we have a lot of 3-week bookings. People are treating it like a cottage.”

Already popular in Europe for years, Le Boat launched on Rideau Canal in May 2018, with 16 boats. Now in 2022 Le Boat has 30 Horizon vessels sailing the Canadian waterway. Vacationers can choose from 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom models, all the way up to a 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom option that sleeps 12. The big double cabins and ensuites are two big selling points, says McLean.

While the pandemic was devastating across the board for the global travel industry, there were glimmers of good news for some companies, especially a company like Le Boat here in Canada. While the luxury houseboat concept was gaining traction with Canadians pre-pandemic, bookings really took off in this market when staycations were, by necessity, the only option.

Canadians looking for vacation options in their own backyards quickly got over their hesitation about steering their own ship, so to speak. Anyone taking the helm of a Le Boat cruiser doesn’t require any special licenses or experience. “Everyone is nervous at first but they quickly get the hang of it,” says Le Boat’s Global Sales and Marketing Director, Andrew Le Duc.

New markets found Le Boat over the past two years too. While previously in Canada the company’s typical demographic was 55+, in 2020 and 2021 “we saw a huge increase in families,” said McLean.

Le Boat has also seen a huge uptick in bookings from the trade. The company hosted more than 35 webinars

for travel advisors over the past year. Commission is 10%, with the potential for overrides.

Le Boat’s flexible cancellation policy allows for full refunds, future cruise credits or rebookings. This year’s sailings on the Rideau Canal started Victoria Day weekend and run through Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

While the Rideau Canal is still the option on offer, Le Boat is also a couple of years into a look at Ontario’s Trent-Severn Waterway as a possible new market.

If this summer is too soon for some clients looking to try Le Boat, there’s always next year. But book sooner than later, say Le Duc and McLean. Already sales from the Canadian market are up 138% for 2023.

More details can be found at leboat.ca.



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