TWO best friends who turned an old canal boat into a luxury Airbnb as a side hustle now see it rake in £3,000 a week.
Harry Rix and Erin Short, both 28, designed their own 70-foot canal boat with the idea to create a unique, millionaire yacht-style stay.
The Vatten Hus ranks among the top-rated Airbnb's in Manchester and is marketed as a "floating penthouse".
But the luxurious floating accommodation was simply Erin and Harry's side hustle before hitting the big-time.
In the middle of the pandemic, the business partners took the plunge into a new market after noting the boom in staycations.
The pair wanted to create a rental unlike any other and compete with the best city centre stays.
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The Vatten Hus currently boasts an impressive 4.83 rating on Airbnb and has received 5-star ratings from 90 per cent of recent guests.
Erin told the MEN: "Whilst everyone was staying put during Covid, we realised that staycations were becoming more of a thing. Harry and I are both entrepreneurs and so we just decided to differ into this interesting market
"Harry has a background in boating and as Manchester's got a lot of heritage with canals, we decided that a canal boat would tie in with the whole idea.
"I personally had no experience with any rentals before, so it started off on a bit of a whim as a fun side business for us."
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The pair designed the wide beam canal boat from scratch with help from interior designer Claudia Chez to give it the utmost luxury feel.
Accommodating up to six people, the canal boat has a range of guests from couples enjoying a romantic break to hen dos and birthday parties.
Erin continued: "We went for the largest size at 70 foot, that's the biggest size you can physically put on the water.
"We went to look at lots of boats that people lived on and and then we started adapting things to make it the best version of a narrow boat that we could.
"It's a kind of modern take on a traditional boat and I would say we completely turned what a canal boat is meant to be on its head."
The whole process from designing it to completion took almost nine months and the total cost was around £220,000.
And their popular staycation spot is now been valued at around £300,000.
There are some incredible hotels in Manchester but we stand out because we’re that bit different."
"We spent three months negotiating and getting all of the design elements together and then we started with the build, which took probably six months to get right," Erin added.
“We’ve got around £3,000 worth of flowers on the boat, the kitchen top cost around £5,000, the beds are almost £1,000 each and the linen is around £1,000, so everything we kitted the boat out with was expensive and done to a high standard.
"When I think of how it went from building the shell to what it is now, it’s amazing."
The boat boasts two luxury king-sized bedrooms and a spacious open plan kitchen, living and a VIP outdoor area.
Giving a tour around the boat, Erin described: "We find that guests expect it to be a lot smaller than it is, but it’s huge.
“When you first step onto the boat you have the outdoor deck with some seating which is lovely for drinking cocktails in the summer or hot chocolates in the winter.
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"When you go down into the boat you’ve got a living kitchen area which has a large pull-out sofa bed and a smart TV. Then we have a big kitchen island which is great for socialising and celebrating.
Erin added: "You really do forget that you are on a boat when you’re on it. There are some incredible hotels in Manchester but we stand out because we’re that bit different."
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