Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Marketing Downtime

(1:02) Many marinas have an off-season. It's a time for taking care of all those things you just never found the time for when your season was in full swing: dock maintenance, equipment repairs, upgrading amenities, and other tasks. You know these tasks will ensure that you are ready for the seasons to come. But don't forget to use this downtime to do maintenance on your marketing plans as well.

(0:52) The end of a busy season is the perfect time to stop and look at the boater data you've collected because I know you've been following my advice and asking every boater what brought them to your facility. Start by looking at where you are spending your marketing dollars. Stop wasting them on programs that aren't working. Start thinking of new and different ways to use that budget money to bring in boaters.

(0:44) Examine the different specials and offerings you may have used to determine which ones were winners, which were losers, and which need to be tweaked a bit. Brainstorm and come up with new ideas. It's a great time to set up a list of special offers. Think about the various situations you face where a deal or special could help. Your slow day of the week, the shoulder seasons, or upcoming special events are just a few possibilities.

(0:30) Take a hard look at your promotional messages. Remember, most transients are doing their cruise planning 3 to 6 months before they actually pull into your harbor. It is critical that you have the information they need when they are deciding where they will travel. Keep in mind that the information they are looking for during their early planning is likely different from what they need to know when approaching your marina.

(0:17) Consider modifying your messages to include events and attractions that might bring boaters to your harbor or town. When a boater is in early planning mode, the most important competitor might be a nearby town rather than a nearby marina. Make sure everyone knows why coming to your town is the best choice and how you can offer them the best experience once they get there.

(0:06) Some pre-planning in your downtime when you have more time for reflection and brainstorming can pay off when your next season kicks in.

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