Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How It's Done

(1:24) Marinas often ask us how boaters choose a marina. The question comes in various forms:
Will more reviews help?
If I add amenity XYZ, will more boaters come?
What should I include on my website?
(1:19) You should understand the process a typical boater goes through before calling for a reservation. This can help you decide where to put resources and what kind are needed. Here is how we make our marina decisions on Red Head.

(1:13) First, we decide on a general area or an event we'd like to attend. It could be a city or town we had heard about but not visited or returning to an old favorite. There might be a boat show or a festival we'd like to attend. It could also be an area based on distance as we're moving along to get to another destination.

(1:04) It is key to have general marketing of your area and events. If there is a Chamber of Commerce or other similar organization, make sure you are working with them. Encourage them to promote aspects that are of interest to boaters. Use our Pro-Op message to highlight these directly to boaters who are looking at your marina. Give me a reason to come to your area and stay.

(0:55) Next, we use ActiveCaptain to check out the general area. What marinas are there? Anchorages or mooring balls? The approach, depths, and other navigational issues are looked at. We use the Details to determine what amenities are offered. Some may be requirements - fuel or groceries - and some may be a bonus - a pool or good restaurant. This generally narrows it down to 1 or 2 choices.

(0:44) It is important that your data is accurate and current. List all available amenities, including those available nearby. You never know the key one that's needed by the boater at that moment so list everything. And don't fret about those services you can't offer. My needs are not always the same. I'm happy to visit a quaint out-of-the-way location with few services if my galley is full.

(0:35) Include all pricing. Daily, weekly, monthly, and fuel prices should be current. Don't tell me to "check your website" or, worse yet, "call for pricing." You only make me wonder what you are hiding and if the boat next to me got a better deal. Be transparent about this key criteria. Always list weekly and monthly pricing - having that is what often makes us think about staying longer, especially if the prices are attractive.

(0:23) Then, we'll check out the reviews. This gives us an idea of what it's really like. We look at the overall rating, how many there are, and typically read the most recent ones. Never stop asking for reviews.

(0:18) Finally, we'll use the website link to go to your website. Here we're looking for pictures - make sure yours are current. Website quality gives a branding feel - make it match the feel you have. You should note from this process that your website will rarely be where I initially find you but it can be where you close the deal.

(0:06) Providing what a boater needs at each step of the process will help lead them to your marina. And that is good for business.

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