Change on the Waterfront
marina business isn't what it used to be. Traditionally, marinas
have been family owned and operated businesses with as many flavors
of operating styles and policies as the owners themselves.
was a time when a sleepy 50 slip marina with bait and fuel in a
sunny spot could provide a family with a moderate income and comfortable
waterfront lifestyle... that is before waterfront land prices skyrocketed
out of hand; appraisal values and taxes escalated to exhorbitant
rates and a quality insurance policy became unfordable or in some
areas, unobtainable at any price.
addition to the dramatic changes that have occured on the real estate
side, every other aspect of the recreational marina economics has
changed dramatically as well.
Today's technology savvy customers
are much more sophisticated and expect more than they ever have.
Superior service and quality product offerings are
beacons for our modern society.
Since the Great Recession, a tremendous portion of the mid-size market (30'-50' boats) has been decimated and will take at least a decade to recover and may never be what it once was again. Most of what is returning as part of a boating industry recovery are smaller, more economical boats. This is not necessarily a bad thing as modern boat building processes allow a
spectrum of people and incomes to participate in recreational boating.
is fierce - and there's no room for complacency. 20 years ago you
didn't have to worry if a visitor had one bad day at your facility...
because they couldn't tell 50,000 people about it in less than a minute with a 15 word Tweet.
Today, with over 80% of all travellers starting their travel
bookings online it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out
how quick even a great reputation can be tainted or even destroyed.
the past 10-15 years there has been a significant push by a few leading
marina groups who understand the new paradigm very well. They have been acquiring
and branding marinas, transforming their properties to provide the
same quality experience and consistent level of service at each
location. They are doing for the marina industry what the Hilton's
did for hotels.
you have 10 marinas or 1, it needs to run like a well oiled machine
and marinas must strive to provide every customer a consistent quality
marina operators must now be hospitality professionals as well.
They need to provide more than a friendly smile and a place to tie
up for the season. There are dozens of opportunities for almost
every marina to improve customer experience, quality, service and revenue.