Why should you join the Nicols network?
Nicols has solid experience with its double role as both a builder and charterer of river cruisers. If you join the Nicols network and start operating a base, you will be able to benefit from its 35 years of experience and expertise in chartering river boats in Europe.
- They were designed for tourism
- Minimal air and boat draft
- Designed to look similar to an actual ocean yacht
- Easy to use for holidaymakers with little to no experience in boating
- The long body and even level of our boats with little difference in height offer optimal comfort perfectly suited to our older customers
- Our D category boats are equipped with large glass windows around the cabin offering a 360 degree view around the boat, which is highly popular with our customers
- We deliver our boats ready to use with the full inventory kit (plates, cutlery, bedding, garden chairs, etc) and the safety kit (lifebuoys, fire extinguishers, boat fenders, first aid kit, etc.)
- After-sales service for spare parts: all parts for the original boats are currently available
- Technical support for servicing and maintaining your boats
- Nicols offers a financing option to get you started on chartering a boat. For more information, please contact us or consult our website. Our financial partner offers several types of financing.
- Once you provide your initial investment, we can provide you with management boats to lighten the financial burden from the outset. For example, if you finance three boats, we can provide you with three more management boats. You will thus have an entire fleet with multiple types of boats immediately at your disposal. This will naturally require a study on the competitiveness of the region beforehand.
Marketing via our chartering centre
Nicols signs 5,000 boat chartering contracts each year. By joining the Nicols network, your base will be integrated into our boat chartering catalogue and website. Your new boat chartering base will thus quickly become visible to individuals as well as professionals, such as tour operators and travel agencies. In addition to the supply of boats, joining the Nicols network also comes with the following benefits:
- Appearing in our catalogue (to order one, click here
- Appearing on our website: Nicols.com
- Legal support
- Commercial support: we charter all your boats through our reservations centre
- Thanks to our worldwide travel agency network, your new base will swiftly gain exposure, ensuring that your boats will get booked quickly
- We take care of part of the marketing costs, and we do not charge any fees for appearing among our boat chartering bases, only a percentage of each boat charter Get in touch to find out more.
You will find that by joining the Nicols network, you are no longer alone. You are an integral part of a Group, which is a real advantage. We have the expertise and will be there to assist you. It is in both our interests that your base become a success! Our customers have come to appreciate the comfort of our boats. Nicols is a well-known and recognised company in the world of river boating, and our customers are keen to discover new destinations!
Testimonials from a Nicols affiliate
Where do you manage the base? On which river or canal?
Our base is in Kerkdriel in the Netherlands on the Meuse River. We have been providing Nicols boats for chartering there since 2019. Our first interactions were with Guido Camp in 2018, and he was immediately very kind and receptive. I can’t say that I knew it was going to go well, but after 45 years of being an independent entrepreneur and owning small and large businesses with my wife, you quickly understand who you are dealing with.
In our experience, Nicols is a company that works with you on development. This is a company with years of experience in the boat chartering business, and you can tell by how thoughtfully their boats are designed.
In November 2018, we purchased three boats to get our base started, but this soon proved to be too small a number, so in December of that same year, we acquired a boat from a German base. Nicols and Guido Camp were very helpful in arranging this.
In 2020, we sold this boat and replaced it with a new model. Then, we purchased two more to bring our fleet up to six boats. The goal was to have ten boats at this base, thus optimising our turnover to get the fixed costs down.
Nicols boats are perfectly designed for chartering. Our customers love the large windows and numerous private bathrooms, and the technology used, while simple, is quite sufficient. With just a little technical know-how, the boat is easy to maintain on your own.
Our daily work primarily consists of selling cruisers during the winter months. My wife Gina handles this all year round, working three to four days per week writing welcome letters to customers.She also creates itineraries for our customers with outings and other small touches to make their boating holidays as successful as possible.
When the boats are out, Gina also works to prepare the linen packages and the extras that are sold. In the summer, I work with my partner Peter to prepare all the boats, handle small repairs (major repairs are done by a mechanic), manage check-ins/check-outs and conduct technical inspections when the boats are returned. This helps us to avoid getting calls about breakdowns.
As a novice owner, you have to understand that you will be much busier with your boats in summer than in winter when things calm down and you have time to maintain and polish your boats as well as perform winter maintenance (we sub-contract this work out).
Our customers mainly come from Germany and Switzerland, as well as from countries from all around the world. They usually perform their bookings through the large network of travel agencies/tour operators that Nicols has built over the years. Our Dutch customers only recently discovered us in the past year, and they already represent 20% of our total customers. The advantage of Nicols handling the bookings is that “you don’t have to do anything”. All you need to do is send an invoice after the fact. You can rest assured that you will receive the amount owed for chartering the boat.
On the technical side, Eric Delmas and his team are there to assist you. They respond promptly to any questions you might have, and any after-sales services (parts, etc.) are dispatched quickly. Nicols is always there to help you with any major issues you might encounter. Keep in mind that you are responsible for resolving any minor breakdowns when it comes to the time of deployment. Materials are often provided free of charge or for a fee.
The bottom line is that we would be pleased to have you join the Nicols club and increase our customer offering!