Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Welcome Packet - Start at Home

(1:14) I've urged every marina to have a Welcome Packet. I believe it is a grossly underutilized marketing tool. I want to begin exploring what to include because a poor Welcome Packet is as bad as no Welcome Packet.

(1:08) Most Welcome Packets I've seen give the impression that the staff simply threw in whatever was lying around the office. I've received maps that were years out of date and glossy brochures that had nothing to do with my needs. What you include will obviously vary from marina to marina but every marina must start with what's available right on your site.

(1:00) The first component that should be in every packet is a welcome - after all it is a Welcome Packet. There should be a brief letter from the marina manager, harbormaster, mayor, or owner welcoming the boater to your facility and stating that your goal is to offer first class service. Ask them to contact you if there is anything you can do to make their stay better. Then provide a reliable way for the boater to contact you if needed.

(0:50) A common complaint I hear from marinas that have received unfavorable reviews is that they never knew there was a problem. It is your job to make it easy for boaters to contact you with a problem so that you can address it before they write that review.

(0:44) Include a detailed, accurate map of your facility so that the boater is aware of the amenities that are available and doesn't need to wander around. Make sure everything is covered from the basics - the office, bathrooms, laundry - to the extras - jacuzzi, tiki bar, fitness room. Remember to provide the information I need to access your services - the WiFi password, codes to access secure areas, hours of restaurants or shuttle bus service.

(0:33) And don't forget the events that might be happening while the boater is there. But this is a much larger topic and will be presented in a future Minute.

(0:28) At a minimum offer the marina map to me dockside with the most important services highlighted. As I've discussed before, docking the boat is often the most stressful part of my day. Waving an arm behind you while saying "The marina office is over there" will often be forgotten by the time I've finished securing my boat, shutting down the systems, and setting up my power and water. So a map with the office highlighted would be useful.

(0:16) Finally, make it someone's job to review this facility information on a regular basis, perhaps once a month, to ensure it is still accurate. Make sure to include new services and adjust hours-of-operations as needed.

(0:09) If you follow these suggestions you will be well on your way to ensuring that the boater's experience is the best it can be.

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