Variety. Having a wide range of options to cater to traveler’s various interests and desires for their experiences is a great way to have people coming back to your brand. Every trip is different — a customer might want a fancy yacht on one trip, and a pair of kayaks on another. Having a variety of offerings to serve our community helps us to provide all sorts of amazing water experiences to people all over the world.

As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Val Streif.

Val Streif is a Marketing Manager for GetMyBoat. She has worked for the company since 2017, and she has expanded GetMyBoat brand awareness, managed media relations, managed social media presence, and developed overall marketing content strategies. Before GetMyBoat, she worked as an English Teacher in Spain, as an advisor for the AI-networking platform Mentat, and as a marketing coordinator for mock interview platform Pramp.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Yes! I started working in marketing for GetMyBoat in 2017 after I had been living abroad in Spain.

I had spent two years teaching English during the school year, in the summer months I had an internship at a whale conservation foundation, and it was there that I started working as a marketing freelancer for small startups that were exciting, but not in an industry that I was interested in. I was really loving the travel-focused lifestyle and wanted to find a fully remote company that also focused on travel and leisure experiences.

I didn’t study marketing, business, or anything related to what I am doing now. I studied Spanish and Biology, thinking I would eventually go to some sort of medical-related industry. Because I’ve always enjoyed writing, social media, and content creation, I started managing the social media and blog content for the whale watching foundation during my internship, and from there got my foot in the door with a few small startups, which gave me some more experience. Eventually, I found GetMyBoat, I started as a social media coordinator and working my way into becoming a marketing manager. Now I handle PR and other marketing responsibilities for the company.

It all has been a really exciting journey; one I never could have imagined when I graduated from college.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I think the most interesting and exciting story from my career must be working on a collaboration with Disney. In Summer of 2021, we were selected to collaborate with Disney to celebrate the release of their movie, Jungle Cruise, that starred Emily Blunt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

We hosted a sweepstakes and got to have an incredible video created that combined the advertisement for the movie with our brand, showcasing how GetMyBoat enables people to take adventures in their own life on the water. It was a lot of work to pull off the partnership, but it was a fascinating experience for me to work with such a huge, well-known corporation like Disney. Before this, I had almost no corporate experience, and to get to see the inner workings of a huge brand partnership was amazing. It was also so much fun, I still feel excitement watching the video that their team created for our collaboration.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think the funniest mistake (well, it’s kind of funny, but still embarrassing) was one of my first TV appearances for GetMyBoat. I did not know that the reporter was filming for the purpose of using it on TV, I thought we were just conducting a Skype interview she would later use to report a story. Thankfully, I didn’t make any unforgiveable mistakes, I just had a sassy look on my face and made some weird facial expressions that I would not have if I would have known the interview would air on TV.

Fortunately, it aired in Canada so I didn’t have any friends or family who saw it, because they definitely would have called me out on my less-than-stellar performance! From this, I learned that in PR, you should always assume you’re being filmed and that everyone will see the footage! Thankfully, my TV appearances have improved significantly since this blooper of a day.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

While everyone on my team has taught me important things in different ways, I am particularly thankful for my boss, the Chief Operating Officer of GetMyBoat, Bryan Petro. He has taught me a lot in terms of PR, marketing, SEO, branding, and more, and I have developed a lot in my career over the past four years thanks to his guidance. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone — when I first started, I never would have imagined I would be the one appearing on TV as a company spokesperson, and now I’ve done over 20 local news segments, multiple radio show appearances, podcasts, and more. It’s been a great journey and I am thankful to work for a company that believed in my abilities before I did myself.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Sure thing. The key innovation that GetMyBoat is bringing to the travel and hospitality industry is making the joys of boating and water experiences more accessible to everyone — all over the world.

Historically, the boat rental and charter industry has been fragmented and inaccessible to much of the population. It was expensive, exclusive, and analog, with limited options available to the general public. GetMyBoat changes this — we offer our users a huge range of boating and water experiences at different price points. We offer price transparency, secure payments, and a huge variety of boat options that enables travelers to “comparison shop” instead of being presented with a single expensive boat from a concierge service.

On the GetMyBoat platform, we bring together owners and captains who want to rent out their boats and build their boating businesses and people who want to rent boats. Renters who do not have any boating experience can book themselves on a captained charter to experience the fun of being on the water while staying safe. Most travel destinations around the world are near a body of water — whether it be a lake, river, or the open ocean. Water activities enable travelers to see their destination from a new perspective and have a lot of fun in a way that they might not be able to when they are back home.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

The biggest pain point we are working to address at GetMyBoat is the inaccessibility of boating and water experiences by making them easy to find and book, with our desktop website or our mobile app. This disrupts the status quo because it is transforming future generations of boaters, it’s democratizing boating experiences. Historically, boats, yachts, and other water recreation was very expensive and exclusive — not available to the average person. It was hard to find a rental — you’d call the marina, and the phone would just ring and ring, since everyone was out on the water! Digital platforms were limited in their offerings — you wouldn’t be able to search thousands of locations, filter by activity type, and see various features all in one place on your phone. By aggregating thousands of options and creating an easy-to-use, inclusive platform, we’re helping to bring the joy that people feel when out on a boat to more people than ever before.

As everyone knows, owning a boat is very expensive, and even boat club memberships are not cost effective for most people who want to enjoy boating once or twice a season, since they usually have very high fees to join. With GetMyBoat, people can rent what they want, when they want it. We pride ourselves on helping people to find the ideal boat, yacht, or other watercraft to rent or charter for their desired duration of time. Providing options to people and making it easy to communicate with the captain or owner, and book seamlessly right on the platform is a way we are disrupting the traditional boat rental industry. We take the lowest booking fees in the industry and we’re always working to find more owners and captains to increase the variety of boating experiences offered on our platform, so renters of every budget level can find a great boat.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

With the changes brought on by the pandemic, it’s no secret that now people want more exclusive, small-group experiences, as well as the opportunity to connect with and support local business owners. I think travelers want more meaningful experiences with the people they love and are more open to booking a trip to a lesser-known destination and skipping over the well-beaten path of touristy, “Instagrammable” destinations. Travel and hospitality companies can help to meet this demand by providing a range of experiences with local tour operators and business owners, and helping to facilitate these smaller, intimate travel experiences.

I also think a crucial thing for travel and hospitality companies to understand is that flexibility and empathy toward a traveler’s changing circumstances is now very much expected as the norm. Companies that go above and beyond to be accommodating — like having flexible cancellation and refund policies, will stand out against those who may be tempted to go back to old ways of stringent rules. It’s hard because travel and hospitality companies have gone through a lot in the past two years but staying committed to accommodating to travelers in the long run will be essential to maintaining trust with consumers.

One thing that may be tough for spontaneous travelers (like myself) in the coming years is the need to make plans in advance, and to plan more thoroughly than ever before. Staying updated on travel restrictions, country regulations, and making sure you have adequate travel insurance and other coverage has become paramount. Accommodations and flights book up quicker now than ever before, as people are starting to book their trips and are feeling confident in the ability to travel the world again.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

My perfect vacation experience is a balanced mix of adventure and relaxation. I want to see something new, explore a new culture, try a new activity, and learn something. But I’ve learned also to not overschedule myself on a vacation — making sure there is plenty of time to relax, sit by a pool or on a beach and read, and enjoy a few nice dinners with my travel companions or partner is a must. Plus, by not having every single moment scheduled, you can give yourself wiggle room to allow for making changes — i.e. if the weather is bad on the day you planned a hike, you can enjoy it the following day instead when it’s meant to be sunny.

Another component of my perfect vacation experience is at least one “super local” experience — I love finding a bar where no tourists would ever go, or getting an intimate, behind-the-scenes tour from someone who has inhabited a city I’m visiting their whole life. I think locals can provide a look at a city unlike anything you’d read about in a guidebook or learn about on the generic tours offered by the big companies in the city.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

At GetMyBoat, we have a lot of experiences that can contribute to a traveler’s overall well-being. Wildlife tours that take them on adventures to connect with nature, kayaking trips for some outdoor exercise, relaxing sailing cruises, and even stand-up paddleboard yoga are options available on our platform. Wildlife excursions — boat tours to take people out to see whales and dolphins in the wild, are reported to be incredibly transformative, I think there is something extra special and serene about being on the water and seeing these amazing marine animals in their natural environments.

It has been so refreshing and inspiring over the past two years to read reviews from our renters. Many of them share stories of how their boat rental or charter with GetMyBoat was an amazing way to relax and spend time with family and friends, sharing special moments like proposals, anniversaries, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, and so much more. Our renters have shared stories of how their captains and boat owners went above and beyond to give them a great tour of the local area and providing them with recommendations of local things to enjoy once they are back on land. These connections are awesome to see, and we’ve cultivated a community of many renters who rent repeatedly with the same captains and owners when they return on a vacation.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Inclusivity and accessibility. Let’s face it, we all want those luxury, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences like sleeping in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives or taking a luxury safari in Africa. While there is nothing wrong offering these types of travel experiences as a company — they are exactly what they sound like — “once-in-a-lifetime.” It’s not realistic to expect people to come back again and again for expensive and exclusive experiences. Travel brands and companies offering travel experiences who want repeat customers should always be looking for ways to make their offerings more inclusive and accessible to a wider population. More and more people are becoming interested in travel, tourism (especially as the pandemic subsides) is gaining in popularity at a rate never seen before in history. People want to get out and see the world, but they want longevity in their travels. They want to see many places and experience many things.
  2. Variety. Having a wide range of options to cater to traveler’s various interests and desires for their experiences is a great way to have people coming back to your brand. Every trip is different — a customer might want a fancy yacht on one trip, and a pair of kayaks on another. Having a variety of offerings to serve our community helps us to provide all sorts of amazing water experiences to people all over the world.
  3. 5-star customer service. This is essential for any brand to keep bringing people back for more. GetMyBoat has an amazing customer service team — they go above and beyond to help resolve all issues and go the extra mile to help our users enjoy a seamless experience. Without our amazing customer service team, we wouldn’t have the solid foundation that we have today. Our users know they can count on us to make their boat day happen.
  4. Easy-to-use tools. Having a user-friendly platform is a must. Our developer and design teams at GetMyBoat have done a great job addressing concerns and working hard to create the most user-friendly app and platform for finding and renting boats. There are so many websites that are confusing, difficult to use, or don’t offer what the user needs. We’re always striving to provide the best boat rental platform that exists for all our users.
  5. Real stories. The final thing that I think GetMyBoat does well that keeps people coming back is the sharing of real stories. After their boat rental or charter, renters have the chance to write a review where they can share as many details as they want about their boat rental experience. When you can read about the experiences from a previous user, you feel confident in booking an experience or anything for that matter in travel. We all read the reviews of a hotel or Airbnb before we confirm our booking. We look for testimonials and other stories that give us an idea of what to expect. This has built trust in our community and helped us to cultivate a feeling amongst our renters and owners that their experiences are valid, and they know what to expect before they head to the docks.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Speaking on behalf of GetMyBoat and how we’ve used our success to bring goodness to the world — it’s been truly inspiring to read so many amazing stories from our renters and owners who take the time to write out the story of their experience after their boat day. We’ve read stories from people who celebrated their wedding on a boat charter after having to cancel it in 2020 due to the pandemic. We received video footage from a happy mom of an autistic son, who got to experience tubing for his first time on their boat rental. On the owner/operator side of things, we’ve been inspired and humbled by stories of how our owners were able to weather the pandemic and grow their boating business on the platform, transforming a side-hustle into a full-time job for some, and earning enough extra income to grow their fleet of boats. It’s been so inspiring and humbling to have this community of people who all share a common interest — a love of being on the water and the desire to share that joy with others.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 😊

I would love to start a movement that would encourage people to do something at least once a year to take care of their local water systems. Whether it’s a trash clean-up day with friends at a beach, adopting a river system, or participating in local politics to advocate for the preservation and conservation of our amazing oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams. Activism around water protection on this planet is so important.

I want future generations to be able to go scuba diving on the coral reefs I have, to sail on the gorgeous blue seas, and to be able to enjoy the water, wherever they are, to the fullest potential while taking care to preserve its natural beauty for generations to come.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Check out GetMyBoat on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn and SnapChat. We are always posting fun travel and boating content to help encourage you get out on the water. We also feature our top owners and captains, host video and photo contests for our users to win prizes.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you so much for having me!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.