My Elite Rentals Business in Dubai Makes $12 Million/Mo

Published: May 18th, 2024
Luxury Yacht Rent...
from Dubai - United Arab Emirates
started February 2017
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, I am Kristan de Graaf, the co-founder of Elite Rentals Dubai. I started the luxury yacht booking business with Julian de Graaf in 2017. We are a prominent luxury yacht rental company based in Dubai, known for its extensive and exclusive fleet of over 50 private yachts.

We are one of the few companies that offer Lamborghini yacht rental in Dubai and make $12M per month. Our main focus is the VIP yachting industry, so most of our fleet consists of Category A yachts. We take pride in offering the highest level of luxury and sophistication with Diamond Yachts.

Based on services and regions, we have divided our business into two more companies: Lamborghini Yacht Dubai and Lamborghini Yacht Ibiza. In addition to these, we run Elite Rentals Dubai for Car Booking to offer customers a more customized opulence travel experience.

Our average rate is around $2,000-$4000 USD for 4 hours per yacht daily. We serve more than 25 VIP charters per month, and each charter makes about 16K USD. That’s without including the rental revenue of our 96 supercars.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I come from a family who loves tourism. But I always had a knack for luxury cars, traveling, and the sea. So, once I got the chance and got lucky with the inherited money, I didn’t hesitate to invest in the yachts.

I had visited Dubai and knew that people love renting luxury boats. So, I did some research on the market gap and indulged myself in statistics to analyze business opportunities. People still don’t believe me when I say that I talked to other yacht booking businesses (my competitors) as a traveler to get professional insights.

I discussed the legalities and paper work with the financial advisor beforehand

The crux of my findings was that the UAE is becoming a top tourism destination. Travelers want to feel special whether they are on a honeymoon or traveling with their partners. The two things that they want to try out are luxury cars on the roads and Diamond boats when they are visiting beaches. And we are offering both right now!

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Honestly, I was planning to invest as a solopreneur in this venture. But then I discussed the ideas with Julian, and he showed interest. In fact, he became more keen and enthusiastic than me. Together, we invested $50 million for the initial setup of Elite Rentals Dubai.

Kristan and Julian are planning a $50 million investment for Elite Rentals Dubai

Now, you may be thinking that’s a lot of money, but it isn’t much for buying a luxury yacht fleet. The average cost of a luxury yacht was 5 million dollars and we only ended up buying 10 yachts in total.

The View of the 63 Lamborghini Yacht sailing on the sea


Obviously, our next step was to hire labor for the yachts to go functional. So, we contacted a recruitment company to hire experienced ship captains, engineers, deck crew, and security personnel for us.

To ensure customer satisfaction and top-rated services, we also hired chefs and entertainers to organize events and lead activities onboard.

The hiring process is always tiresome but we made the right choice by outsourcing it to the recruitment company. This gave us time to focus on the initial marketing activities, such as advertisements and online paid campaigns.

My advice to new entrepreneurs is to refine their ideas and get marketing insights from target audiences. Do surveys, pay attention to your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, or get demos of your competitors (if you are a SaaS developer) to analyze their products.

Describe the process of launching the business.

It took us some time to launch the business as the hired staff needed some time for training. We hired a third-party company to craft brand values and company culture. The staff was then trained on those guidelines and we judged their politeness, mannerisms, and professionalism as these are the key aspects of the tourism business.

Meanwhile, we outsourced our marketing campaign to a local company because none of us knew how to fetch high-ticket customers. Fortunately, the leads came pouring, and we had 17 bookings in the first week of the campaign.

Our main goal was to target people already in the UAE or Dubai on a visit visa. So, the company targeted such people by partnering with car rental services and luxury hotels. Brochures were printed with different yacht rental packages for couples, families, and parties.

Within a quarter, we were making a buzz in the market, thanks to our Diamond yachts, lavish services, and exceptional customer care. This may sound modest, but we were still far from our goal. It took us another quarter to reach the break-even point, which came a few days before our first business anniversary.

The next step was to invest in digital marketing and social media management.

When we entered the online marketing world, we were already popular on Instagram. And thanks to our satisfied client base, we already had enough UGC (user-generated content) to establish our online brand presence. I am also active on Instagram and have a good understanding of the platform’s algorithm, so it was easy for me to handle it.

In August 2021, we decided to build the website to attract organic leads from the internet. The same recruitment agency helped us hire the digital marketing team, which includes a WordPress developer, an SEO specialist, an outreach expert (off-page SEO), and two content writers.

Website -


We immediately ran Google Ads (PPC) to generate quick leads and test our website performance.


Google Ads also helped us strengthen our online presence as our organic leads continued to grow. We gradually reduced the PPC budget, and since the fourth quarter of 2023, we have solely relied on organic SEO.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

As I mentioned earlier, we are making $12M per month. Our average rate is around $2,000-$4000 USD for 4 hours per yacht daily. We serve more than 25 VIP charters per month, and each charter makes about 16K USD. That’s without including the rental revenue of our 96 supercars.

We are also making extra bucks by upselling products such as food items, drinks, seafood, and services like spa, massage, and theme parties, which customers can order when onboard.

To give you a rough idea, sometimes we get lucky with big customers who quickly spend 10k-40k dollars on additional amenities like jetski.

Right now, we are trying to increase our website traffic and generate organic leads through SEO. The results are promising, and we are experiencing significant growth.


As the traffic graph shows, our organic traffic has increased from a few hundred to 10,000 visitors per month.

As far as our future goals go, we are trying to expand our luxury yacht rental business to other cities within the UAE. So far, we have around 50 yachts, and considering the customer demand, we are thinking of doubling it. However, for this to happen, we are trying to generate leads directly from other countries, such as the US, UK, Europe, and Canada.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The biggest lesson I have learned so far is to never fear taking big steps. We took a bold step of investing in the luxury boast and it turned out to be a great success.

To this day, I prefer investing in yachts, products, and services that are expensive because these are the ones that can make big bucks for you. I bought the Lamborghini yacht for my own sake but it has become a hot cake among customers.

But I still regret that we did not pay attention to digital marketing for years. We were late to the party and had to invest in Google Ads to make some space for us. Still, we are on the first page of Google for many keywords, such as “Dubai Yacht Booking” and our team is working well.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We are using Hootsuite to schedule posts and manage content across different social media platforms. WordPress was our first choice as a content management system because it's SEO-friendly. We are also using the Yoast SEO plugin on our website to optimize content for search engines. To further improve performance and strengthen data security, we are utilizing Cloudflare.

The digital marketing team uses SEMrush for keyword research and competitor analysis. We also use Teamup to manage clients, track statuses, and ensure seamless connections between different teams.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I'm a fan of the podcast How I Built This, where Guy Raz explores the journeys of other entrepreneurs. The Tim Ferriss Show is another favorite. It offers valuable insights into the strategies of accomplished individuals, with each episode providing actionable tips.

My discovery of "The E-Myth Revisited" by Gerber came at a pivotal moment in my business growth journey. It sparked a realization of the importance of systemization and automation in streamlining business operations.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My advice to new entrepreneurs is to refine their ideas and get marketing insights from target audiences. Do surveys, pay attention to your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, or get demos of your competitors (if you are a SaaS developer) to analyze their products. This is what I did and it helped me better serve my customers.

In my view, putting customers first, rolling with the punches of the market, and welcoming new tech are super important. But what really unlocks success is cooking up a business plan that fits your wallet and upcoming marketing schemes.

To stay strong for the long haul, businesspeople need to examine what went wrong and what went right to improve their strategies.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Not right now, but if you are in the yacht industry and have some interesting ideas or products, I'd love to hear from you. The luxury travel industry is a place for innovations, and you can always try something new or bold.

Where can we go to learn more?

We are active on LinkedIn, and Instagram to assist businesses. You can read more about Elite Rentals Dubai on our blog, YouTube, and Facebook, email us at [email protected], or Whatsapp at +971504258131.


Marina Moon Tower، Pier 7 - Marina Promenade - Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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