Tuesday, February 28, 2017

All's Well That Ends Well

(1:15) This title of a Shakespearean play spawned a common adage. Research has shown the saying to be true.

(1:12) Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman's research on experience vs memory led to the “peak-end rule.” The peak-end rule states that an event makes its mark in our memories more by what happens at two moments, the peak and the end, than at any other point. The peak of the experience is the point in the interaction that varies the most from what is viewed as normal. The end is the final touchpoint. The effect occurs regardless of whether the experience is pleasant or unpleasant.

(0:58) For the typical marina, defining the peak moment could be very difficult. However, it's important to recognize that a single very bad or very good moment will impact the whole experience. Figuring out the end point is far simpler.

(0:53) My own experience is that the end moments are often ill-defined, occurring by happenstance rather than design. What this research is telling you is that not controlling that moment is a huge mistake.

(0:48) It is worth taking the time to consider what is typically the end moment of a boater's experience at your marina. Then consider how you can take control of the end moment. You do have the power to define and impact what will be the last moment of a boater's experience.

(0:41) I worked with a popular marina that was delivering a terrific experience as boaters came into and stayed at the marina with some of the best dockhands we have experienced and a popular restaurant. Unfortunately, there were no dockhands available in the mornings as boaters left, often in tricky circumstances. Review after review complained, ignoring the other positives and focusing on that final moment.

(0:31) The marina added dockhands in the mornings and reviews turned around immediately.

(0:28) Think through the typical sequence of the experience for boaters at your marina. What is that final moment? If it is hard to define - some boaters get fuel, some leave before the marina opens, etc. - then what can you do to redefine it?

(0:22) Ensure that all possible end moments are good. Have qualified friendly dockhands at the fuel dock. Make the checkout and payment process fast and easy. Offer undocking assistance to every boater, even if they are leaving in the off-hours. Don't hesitate to provide advice about current, tides, etc. that will make the experience more enjoyable.

(0:13) Consider creating your own end moment. Follow up with a personal email of thanks or a hail on the radio wishing safe travels and a speedy return. Years ago I was handed an envelope as we left containing a handwritten thank you. It also contained a photo of our boat approaching the dock with me and the dogs at the bow. It was priceless.

(0:05) Ideally, every moment of the boater's experience will be positive. Making sure that happens right up to end can reap you big benefits.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I Need To Clarify...

(1:07) Last week I wrote about the broad reach that the ActiveCaptain data has through the many 3rd party apps and chartplotters that support ActiveCaptain. If you are unfamiliar with the apps your can see a list here:

(1:03) My Minute generated many questions. That's positive because it means I got you thinking. It also means that there are unanswered questions. Today I'm going to address some of the most common ones. If you still have questions or need additional information please contact me.

(0:57) There is nothing additional to pay to be listed in all the 3rd party navigation products. If you are an ActiveCaptain Partner your Pro-Op, Cross Promotion, and Co-Op messages will be displayed in the 3rd party apps and your icons will be larger and have 1st Choice and other status. It is all included with your annual Partnership fee.

(0:50) Boaters must periodically sync their 3rd party apps with the ActiveCaptain database to ensure the data is current. We often remind the boating community but find that some still fail to do this. When this happens, you may find boaters asking why your fuel price, slip price, etc. are different than what they are finding in ActiveCaptain? What's the best way to handle this?

(0:41) Find out how the boater is accessing the ActiveCaptain data. If the boater says they are using a smartphone or tablet, there's a very good chance they need to update their ActiveCaptain data. Have them check the date of the pricing. All prices are dated in the ActiveCaptain database. In addition, we automatically purge all fuel prices older than 30 days and we send you emails reminding you to update your pricing. If the boater is showing you old pricing, suggest that they sync the ActiveCaptain data and point out the date listed next to the price, even in the navigation apps.

(0:25) Several of you asked if you should be doing something different because of the navigation products. If you are keeping your data current and making good use of your Partner messages then I would say, keep doing what you're doing. The key is to reach out to boaters with meaningful messages, measure the response, and adjust.

(0:19) However, if you've let a month or more go by without changing your messages, you are missing a bigger opportunity than you may have realized. Your Partner messages allow you to stand out, offer attractive specials, and even reach beyond your marker.

(0:14) The Pro-Op message can highlight your unique features, inform boaters of events and attractions, and give your marker a more personal feel. Your Co-Op's let you offer special deals and discounts when you need to drive more business. The Cross Promotion message reminds boaters to consider your marina when they are browsing other marinas in your area.

(0:05) Make sure you are taking advantage of all the ActiveCaptain capabilities so that you can win more business.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Location, Location, Location

(1:03) It's true in real estate and it's true in your marketing. What use is a masterful message or a terrific deal if boaters never see it? What use is it if they only see it when they're not ready to act?

(0:57) Traditional advertising talked about the number of exposures a customer needed to act on a product or service. Then came the digital world and the internet and everything changed. It became possible to more finely target your customer which raised the question of how to best do that.

(0:50) I'm sure you've had the same experience I have where you are looking to buy a widget. You search online stores, read reviews, and make your selection. Then for the next 3 months, ads for widgets keep popping up on Facebook, search pages, and everywhere else! That's wasted advertising.

(0:42) Imagine this. What if you could present your message at precisely the moment a boater is exploring his next destination, creating a route, and then executing that plan? All that is possible today using the many 3rd party navigation apps and chartplotters that support the ActiveCaptain data.

(0:34) You probably think of the website when you think of ActiveCaptain. After all, that's where you interact with your Partner page, read reviews, and modify your data. But did you realize that only about 20% of boaters access your information that way? Yet our website traffic still blows away the competition.

(0:25) The vast majority of boaters use the ActiveCaptain data through other apps and charts. Unfortunately, I find many marinas confused about what this means. That's my fault and I hope to fix that now.

(0:20) The ActiveCaptain website is a great tool when a boater is dreaming. When the boater begins planning, they will typically turn to one of the marine navigation apps or use their chartplotter. This is where the rubber meets the road. It is your final chance to make sure you are in their plans.

(0:12) ActiveCaptain is the only place where marina, hazard, and other critical data, along with your Promotional messages, specials, and other content, are provided to boaters throughout the entire process. As we all know, boating plans change, a lot. If you are not there at every step then you're missing the opportunity to project your message at the perfect moment in time.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Did You Dazzle?

(1:10) If you want boaters to write and talk about you, you have two choices, you can either provide a poor customer experience or you can provide a great customer experience. Provide simply a good customer experience and it will be forgotten. Offering good experiences is what a boater expects which creates a neutral and highly forgettable experience.

(1:01) To dazzle the boater you need to provide a perfect experience and then deliver something extra. Accomplishing this is the best way to create loyalty and repeat business. And study after study shows the huge benefit of retaining existing customers verses winning new ones.

(0:53) If a boater is merely satisfied with the experience at your marina, it does not make him especially eager to continue the relationship, nor anxious to terminate it. But let the boater find something he perceives as better and he will switch. That's what happens when he is merely satisfied with the experience you offer.

(0:44) How can you exceed expectations and dazzle boaters?

Whenever possible tell the boater "yes". I wrote about one of my favorite "yes" experiences in my Minute titled "Finding Yes."

Ask boaters about their experiences with your marina. Follow your reviews to find out if you are meeting and exceeding expectations or falling short. Listen carefully and act on what you learn.

Create relationships with boaters and the boating community. One aspect I have noted in many highly successful marinas is the ability to make boaters feel like family - coming to the marina feels like coming home. A sincere greeting, remembering personal details, offering assistance are all acts that contribute to a sense of belonging.

Keep the level of quality high and inline with what you are charging. Too often I see reviews complaining when the boater feels he has been charged a premium price for a standard marina.

Let every boater know that you appreciate their business. Make sure to say thank you. Offer loyal boaters something special, a free drink at the bar or a discount on their return. Throw a party.

Offer something unique. Stock Island Marina has an on-site dog park. Great Harbour Cay Marina offered classes in Bahamian crafts and cooking. Brunswick Landing Marina throws free cocktail parties. Providing something new and unique will make boaters remember you.

(0:05) Find a way to dazzle boaters and you'll see more positive reviews. That means more business for you.

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