Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where are the pay phones?

(1:08) I often write about how technology has changed the way consumers and businesses interact. These changes have been quite dramatic as digital technology has caused the rapid decline of paper media and consumers become more demanding in the type of information they desire and how they wish to receive it. If you're new to the Minute check out the ZMOT series on the blog:


(0:57) But it isn't just promotional messages that have been impacted. Pretty much every aspect of our lives has changed. And this goes for some of the amenities that transients have come to expect. Last December I talked about WiFi service:


(0:50) This is still a topic every marina we visit wants to discuss. Invariably it moves to a discussion about costs, how much to pay, whether to spend money upgrading, etc. What we've found is that many marinas are hanging on to expensive, out-of-date technologies such as cable TV and even phone hookups when this money might be better spent improving their WiFi.

(0:43) When we began cruising over ten years ago it was common for a marina to promote that they had pay phones. Many cruisers used PocketMail to receive their email. A pay phone allowed them to do that and call home. But try and find a pay phone today, anywhere.

(0:35) Today's transient cruisers have multiple cell phones, sometimes from multiple carriers to ensure they can always phone home. They have satellite domes for TV anywhere, even offshore. Many watch movies and their favorite shows via the Internet. And they use Skype to call and video conference with their family.

(0:28) So looking at all the communications technologies that a marina might have where does it make sense to invest more money?

(0:24) If you still have cable TV and/or phone connections on your docks, now is the time to evaluate the expense of these services verses the return. Then consider how funds spent on these could be better used. We've found that many marinas can vastly increase the quality of their WiFi at a fraction of what they are spending for these other services.

(0:16) Talk to boaters to find out what services they are actually using. Ask if they would prefer cable TV on the dock or faster Internet. Determine if it makes sense to continue services, stop them, or simply just stop spending money to upgrade them.

(0:09) Just like your need to evaluate whether your old ways of promoting your marina still make sense, make sure that you are investing in the services that will bring boaters in and lead to positive reviews.

(0:04) Give boaters what they want and your business will increase.

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