Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Welcome Packet - Check Out the Neighborhood

(1:10) Unless you are a marina that caters exclusively to overnight transients, boaters will be drawn to your marina by what is available in the area. Cruising is about experiences and new places. Once you've covered what you offer on site at your marina you need to branch out and look at what is offered outside the marina.

(1:03) Think of yourself as a host with out of town visitors looking for something to do. If you are in or near a city or very populated area you need to direct them to where they can find a variety of shops, restaurants, museums, etc. You can offer a few suggestions for popular, unusual, or unknown places. We love finding out where the locals go. If you are more remote or in a less populated area you may simply list the businesses that are accessible. In either case make sure to include how to get there, a walking map, information about courtesy cars, cabs, or public transportation, etc.

(0:52) But don't stop there. Include information about all the services a boater may be looking for. These may include drug stores, grocery stores, hair salons, churches, medical services, hardware stores, veterinarians, rental car companies, and more. Don't forget fitness options such as gyms, yoga studios, even walking/biking trails.

(0:45) If you don't provide repair and maintenance services in-house, do you have a list of approved or suggested providers? Or if you are not comfortable recommending someone, consider a rack or bulletin board where local businesses can leave information.

(0:38) Provide boaters with a map, ideally suitable for someone who is walking, that can direct them to specific businesses or business areas. Highlight the best routes taking into consideration traffic, safety, and visual appeal. I would rather walk through a lovely neighborhood with little traffic than down a busy highway. Help me to understand the options that are available - and the place to do that is in your welcome packet.

(0:28) Seek out resources in the community to assist you in creating your welcome packet. Many communities have Chambers of Commerce that may have maps, pamphlets, or lists including businesses in the area. Work with them to compile a pleasing mix of materials.

(0:21) Finally, don't forget when you are providing your local knowledge to include critical information about safety. Are there areas boaters should avoid going to? Is it safe to walk after dark or should I take a cab? Consider what you would tell a friend or relative who is visiting. I know some will balk that it could make your marina look unwelcoming. Not so. A good marina will warn me of a shoal area on the approach and this is no different.

(0:10) Assuring that boaters have an enjoyable stay is the best way to bring them back and to ensure they tell other boaters. A good welcome packet can help. A great welcome packet can get it done.

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