Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Would've Been a 5 Star But...

(1:04) I frequently notice reviews with some version of "I would have given them 5 stars but" followed by some criticism. If you receive one of these, do not ignore it. They are usually pure gold. This is a boater telling you that you are a terrific stop along with specifics on how you can be even better.

(0:56) Examine your reviews for these and look for any patterns. Then form a plan to address the issue(s) to ensure you are a 5 star facility.

(0:52) There will be complaints that will be completely in your control and ones that are outside of your control. Obviously, if the issue involves a less than attentive dockhand, showers that need a scrub, or some other less than perfect aspect of your facility, address it now. Consider responding to the review with your own review thanking them for bringing the problem to your attention and stating how you addressed it.

(0:42) If it is something beyond your direct control (no restaurants or grocery stores nearby, or lack of a pump out, as examples) look for ways to mitigate the problem. More and more marinas in the US are providing boaters with transportation to services that are nearby but too far to walk. It could be loaner bicycles, a shuttle service, or a courtesy car. A courtesy car is guaranteed to add a star or two to any transient review as long as the procedures are reasonable to use the car.

(0:30) Make sure you are aware of services offered in the area that can address boaters needs. If you can't provide pump out is there a pump out service that would come to your facility? You may not have a pool or workout room but is there a gym or hotel nearby you could work with? Become familiar with what services are available around you and how you can make them accessible to boaters. Then get the word out, on your website, in your ActiveCaptain data, and in your welcome packet.

(0:18) If services are not nearby then focus on what unique features you do have. I have said several times that boaters are not looking for the same things every time they pull in. Sometimes all I want is a good grocery store, sometimes I'm ready to be a tourist, sometimes I just want a quick fuel up and place to spend the night, and sometimes I'm looking for just peace and quiet. By their very nature most boaters want diversity in their lives. We live on a boat and travel from place to place - most of us don't need nor want each stop to be the same.

(0:05) The real key is to appropriately set each boater's expectation and then deliver more than you promise. That is what makes a 5 star marina.

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