Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rendezvous Marketing

(1:07) Each fall we linger on the Chesapeake Bay speaking at different boating rendezvous and events. It's the perfect way to start our winter cruising as we spend time with fellow boaters, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. This week's Krogen rendezvous reminded me that hosting a rendezvous is a terrific way to reach out to customers, both old and new, and fill up those empty slips.

(0:57) As I've written about before, it is common for boaters to fall into habits, stopping at the same places year after year. Attending a rendezvous pulls boaters away to a place they might not have visited before or haven't been back to for some time. And for new boaters, it suggests future habits for their cruising destinations.

(0:50) A rendezvous can be a terrific way to really show off what you have to offer the cruising transient. Rendezvous last multiple days so the boater can experience your docks and staff and other amenities. They typically make good use of your facilities letting them know what is available for a return trip.

(0:43) If you have exceptional services, take advantage of the captured audience to let them experience those as well. I've attended rendezvous that featured the local cuisine, tours of marine museums, discounts on shopping and services, visits to the spa, and other encouragements to make me want to come back again when I have more time.

(0:36) The typical rendezvous has a series of talks or lectures on topics of interest to the boating community. It might be about unusual and exciting destinations, boat maintenance, boating skills, or a variety of other areas important to boaters. There is no better way to attract new customers than to give them information they want. Try to get involved with the rendezvous program because you have a tremendous amount of local knowledge to supply.

(0:26) We attended a rendezvous a few years ago for a specific boat brand. A nearby boat yard gave a talk about the potential problem areas for the electrical systems for that boat along with ways to fix most of those problems. Now some boat yards might tell you he was giving away the secrets and it's true that there were some in the audience who likely used that information to do their own repair work. But the rest of the attendees came away with an honest understanding of the issues and why it was important to fix them. Many don't have the time, desire, or ability to do the repair work themselves. The boat yard owner told us that this one presentation resulted in ten's of thousands of dollars of service work.

(0:09) I believe a rendezvous can hit that perfect sweet spot. You can reach out to a group that is large enough to make the time and effort invested worthwhile, yet small and focused enough that you can get your message across. That will lead to more business for you.

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