Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Time(ly) is Money

(1:03) Marinas that carry fuel should be receiving a fuel update email every Monday. Using this email is the easiest way to keep your prices current. As I've discussed in previous Minutes, keeping your fuel price up to date is an important way to bring in more business. I dedicated a Minute to the topic a year ago:

(0:55) It was discussed again in May of this year:

(0:51) Based on feedback from boaters and marinas alike, we have implemented several new features to make finding fuel easier while giving boaters greater confidence in the pricing data presented.

(0:46) The first is a second weekly email which goes out now on Thursday mornings to provide an additional reminder to update your fuel price. It offers a second opportunity to modify your price and/or date. So now you should be receiving a fuel update reminder on Mondays and Thursdays.

(0:39) Remember, updating your fuel pricing is not just about the price. The date associated with the price is equally important. It is the date that tells boaters that your price is current. This is so important for providing boaters with reliable fuel data that we have implemented a new feature - fuel price expiration.

(0:32) Every night the ActiveCaptain database searches for fuel prices that are more than a month old. When found, these entries are removed and an email is sent to the marina's contact. Some of you may have received these emails already. Included with the email is a link to your fuel update page making it easy to bring your pricing up to date.

(0:24) The final enhancement is a new Fuel List page:

(0:20) The Fuel List page is a quick way for boaters to see a list of marinas that carry fuel in a selected area along with their pricing information. It allows the data to be sorted by marina name or by fuel price. We are seeing a lot of use already.

(0:14) And there's more coming. A future enhancement will allow boaters to mash their route with the fuel prices in the database. This will allow them to better plan their fuel stops along their intended path. If your fuel price is not up to date, it will not be included in their analysis.

(0:07) Make sure you are providing boaters with the critical information they need when making their fuel purchase decisions. If you are not receiving your update emails please let me know.

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Management Response - Build Confidence

(1:09) It's been a month since we implemented the Management Response feature for Sponsor marinas. If you missed the announcement you can find it on the blog:

(1:04) Since then, I've been hearing from marinas looking for advice on how to best utilize a Management Response. It's a powerful feature but like all powerful things, if not used well it can hurt as easily as it can help. So I turned to some of the biggest names in the review world to see what advice they give. I found a great piece on TripAdvisor that discusses the single most important thing your response must do: build back confidence. I've pared the article to fit the Minute but you can find the full text here:

(0:53) When reviews surface an issue, it can open questions in travelers' minds. The unknown answers can weigh heavily on their planning and cause them to lose confidence in your property.

(0:47) The good news is that you have an easy way to remedy this uncertainty - by writing a Management Response. There's no better place to address the unknown and rebuild traveler confidence than to write a confidence-building response. Below are four questions to help you craft a confidence-building response:

(0:40) 1. Who am I writing this for? Businesses often respond to the reviewer. Keep in mind that your real audience is the wider population. Don't forget to consider how the specific details in the review apply to the average boater, what their concerns might be after reading it and the additional questions that this review might raise

(0:32) 2. Am I addressing their core concerns? Respond to the concerns in the original review in a way that appeals to the larger group of boaters and answers as many of their questions as possible. Concentrate on the concerns that have the biggest impact for future customers. If you've already remedied the problem or have a plan in place to address it, be sure to include that in your response.

(0:23) 3. Am I showing that we care? Every boater has different preferences but they all want to know that you care. When they read reviews, they are putting themselves in the shoes of the writer. If you didn't quite deliver during the original boater's stay, talk about the specific changes you're making so you'll do even better in the future. Readers will see your commitment to service and their confidence will build.

(0:14) 4. Are we truly sorry? A well-placed, heart-felt apology is never wrong and shows empathy to past and future guests. The key is to really mean it. There's nothing worse than the "We're sorry, but..." That "but" negates everything that comes before it and casts doubt on your entire response.

(0:07) Remember, boaters are looking for patterns. If the same issue keeps coming up in multiple reviews, it's more important than ever to tell a full customer service and problem-solving response.

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Keep Your Message Fresh

(1:06) This week’s Minute is a repeat of an early Minute. Given some of the dated Pro-Ops and websites I’ve seen lately, I felt it needed another viewing.

(1:00) Paper, the printing press, digital publishing, the World Wide Web: these are all advances that fundamentally changed the way we communicate and even live. It is a common mistake when faced with new and radically different technologies that we fail to take advantage of what is new and different and simply try to use the new technologies in old ways.

(0:51) So we see website content that never changes. Banner ads that mimic an outdated print ad. And other static messages appearing on a medium where the power lies in it's dynamic nature. To fully take advantage of the Web's power you need to keep your content and messages fresh and dynamic also.

(0:42) Give your customers a reason to visit your website again and again by having timely, useful content. Include upcoming events happening in your area, any news about your facility, recent photographs, and anything else that boaters will find helpful.

(0:33) If you are using the ActiveCaptain Sponsor Pro-Op/Co-Op/Cross-Promotions, make sure that you are updating your messages to reflect changing seasons, upcoming special events, special offers, or simply to experiment with the message you give. You can modify your messages as often as you wish. This allows you to try something new, different, innovative, and measure the results. Then try something else to determine the type of messages that attract new business. You should update each of these message types weekly or monthly, don't let them become stagnant. This will generate interest and freshness and attract boaters to come see what's new electronically.

(0:08) Success today requires effectively using every tool at your disposal. Don't waste the power of the Web. Work its advantages and you will see more business.

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Power of Words

(0:21) This week's Minute is quite different from any I have done before. For starters, it will take you more than a minute to get through it. The video link below is 1:48 minutes alone. I promise you will find it worth your time.

(0:15) In the past I have written about the impact of the words you choose to present your message. How you state something is as important as the message itself. I did a Minute about a year ago on two marinas who had less than welcoming signs giving a hostile and unfriendly feeling to transients. One chose to put up a new sign stating the same message in a friendly tone. The other, well, chose a different path. You can find that Minute here:

(0:06) I think the YouTube video below presents my message in far more powerful ways then I could ever hope to. It gave me chills. I hope it will make you think as well.

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