Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Welcome Wagon

(1:01) I'm often asked what it is that transients are looking for when they are planning their destinations. Specifically, what should a marina include on a marina's website?

(0:55) For most transients, your marina and the surrounding area will be unknown to them. It's your job to provide them with the information they need to plan their stop. Think back to a time when you moved to a new and unfamiliar place. There were many things you needed to discover from the nearest grocery store to where to get your haircut to the best restaurants. Some of us are old enough to remember the Welcome Wagon. This was an organization that would knock on the door of someone new to the neighborhood with information about the businesses and services available. Think of your website as the modern version of the Welcome Wagon.

(0:42) Make sure that you have accurate approach and docking information. Include the maximum LOA, beam limits, and depths on the approach and at the dock. This is not the time to be optimistic. It is better to send a boat away if the draft will be an issue than to have the boat sitting on the bottom at low tide (while writing a 1-star review). Trust me, I've seen it happen many times.

(0:32) Offer information about the approach and don't fail to let them know if there are shoaling areas or tide and current issues. Again it is better that I am prepared and can plan accordingly than for me to have a problem. A problem during a boater's approach or docking will set the tone for their stay, how they remember your facility, and what they tell others.

(0:24) Let them know the amenities you offer at the marina and what is nearby - showers, laundry, a pool, groceries, medical and veterinary care, rental cars, restaurants, hair salons, and banks are just a few of the things that a cruiser might need. Consider having an events calendar with festivals, fairs, or other functions that might attract a boater to your marina.

(0:16) Don't worry if you don't have every service possibly desired. Not every stop requires all services. Highlight what you do provide whether it is a one-stop place to get it all done, a tourist destination with much to do, a quiet spot with natural beauty, or a quick overnight for cruisers on the move. Each offers something. The key is setting realistic expectations and following through.

(0:08) And remember to keep all of this information up-to-date in your ActiveCaptain marker as well. For many cruisers this will be their first encounter with your marina and the place where they will click on your website link. Give them a reason to check you out.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.