Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Before & After

(1:00) When a transient boater comes into your marina, do you know where they came from? Do you know where they are going next? This information could be helpful in developing a strategy to draw more transients into your marina.

(0:51) As boaters move along common waterways there will be natural stopping places based on distances, boat speed, amount of daylight, and even services available. These points will frequently develop into patterns and knowing those patterns can provide insights into how to reach more boaters. If you are already well positioned with a stream of transients you will want to reinforce that habit. If you are not filling your transient spaces it could be that boaters are hopping over your location because you are either too close or too far from the last and next stops.

(0:37) Start by asking boaters where they have come from and where they will be headed next. It needn't be an interrogation but can easily be part of a welcoming chat. We all like to talk about ourselves and what we are doing. Write down the responses you get and look for patterns by boat type. Are they coming from a specific marina or from an anchorage? This can help you determine the typical distances they are traveling.

(0:26) Think about the marinas they may be visiting in the days before they reach you and after they have left you. Consider contacting those marinas for some cross marketing. Explore how you might work together to make it easier for boaters to move from one marina to the other. Some possibilities might be offering joint discounts or simply having information about the partner marinas displayed and available at checkin or in your welcome packet. This is especially effective if the before or after marina is similar to yours and will attract the same types of boaters.

(0:13) If you find that you are in a location that is an awkward hop, it's even more important to try and work with other marinas who probably have the same hop issues. Work with them to find ways to entice boaters to change their old habits and try something new.

(0:05) It will take some work, some creativity, and some patience, but the results will be real and long-lasting.

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's no longer 2012...

(1:03) We have been cruising aboard aCappella for 10 years now and during that time we have witnessed many changes. The most dramatic have been in the area of technology. Cruisers are far more technically sophisticated and are expecting certain services when they pull into your docks. When a cruiser comes into your facility they now expect that you will have a good quality WiFi system.

(0:54) A very common question I received just a few years ago was, "Should we install WiFi?" Today it is hard to find a marina that does not offer this service. Unfortunately, too many marinas are treating WiFi as merely a check off item. Boater reviews show that this isn't good enough. If you want to be viewed as a marina of choice you must have good quality WiFi that works consistently.

(0:46) Although this shouldn't be a budget breaker, you do have to spend some money and do it right. Not having reliable WiFi that runs at a reasonable speed is pretty much guaranteed to shave a point or two off of a boater review. You must make this a budgetary priority.

(0:39) One of the things we love about what we do is stopping in to chat with our Sponsor marinas. We use our real life experience and marketing background to help them reach their goals and see things though boater's eyes - we don't hold back telling them what we see and think with the goal of being constructive and helping them to become more profitable. Many want us to look around and let them know what they can do better. It is surprising to us how many are still spending money on outdated technologies such as phone, cable TV, and clubhouse workstations. I do not believe there is a single review for any marina in ActiveCaptain that has mentioned, let alone complained about the lack of these services.

(0:25) Today's cruising boat has 2 mobile phones (at least). Almost every cruising boat has two laptops onboard along with an iPad or two. Boaters are bringing their technology with them and are looking for a way to connect to the Internet. Now is the time to evaluate diverting money from phone hookup and cable TV into a high-quality WiFi setup.

(0:15) Look around your marina at the services you are offering to boaters. Make sure you are focusing on the ones that will bring them in and eliminate the ones that are no longer relevant. Expenditures have a way of lingering long past their usefulness. Make sure you're spending your budget where it counts.

(0:07) We'll discuss some specifics about WiFi technology and things to consider in future Minutes. There are some marketing, branding, and a variety of technical issues that you should know about before enhancing your WiFi access.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What Garmin's New App Means to You

(0:51) It's a good idea to follow the weekly ActiveCaptain newsletter because it tells you what we're telling boaters. Last week we made a news flash about the release of Garmin's new iPad/iPhone app. Garmin's BlueChart Mobile software is a full navigation system which includes support for ActiveCaptain data. This is a killer app that will have a significant impact on your business. If you haven't read about it you can see last week's announcement by following the link below. Tomorrow's newsletter will go into more depth - don't miss that either. 

(0:40) The release of the Garmin application can easily double the number of boaters accessing ActiveCaptain data. We're already seeing a rise in new accounts. This means that more boaters will be seeing your marina details and reviews, your promotional messages, and your Sponsor specials. Make sure you are taking full advantage of this new opportunity to attract boaters to your marina.

(0:31) Examine your marina marker today and make sure that the information presented is complete and up-to-date. If you carry fuel, did you receive and respond to yesterday's fuel update email? If you are not receiving the fuel update, please let me know and I will ensure that your contact information is current.

(0:24) Is your review strategy working? Make sure everyone at your facility is bringing in positive reviews. Need some help improving your ratings or receiving more boater reviews? Check out the Marina Minute blog. It contains all the past Marina Minutes, many of which offer tips and suggestions for obtaining positive reviews.


(0:16) It is now more important than ever to keep your data up-to-date and complete. Think back to the ZMOT discussion and remember that today's consumer expects to find information anytime, anywhere, at the moment they want it. If you don't provide the information, they may move on to your competitor. Check out The Marina's Guide to ActiveCaptain for help: 


(0:07) Don't pass up this opportunity to win more business. Tell the world what you have to offer. And if you have an iPad or iPhone then check out this new app in the iTunes store today - BlueChart Mobile by Garmin.

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