Use What Edgartown Learned to Your Marina's Advantage
As one of the most popular boating destinations in New England, Edgartown Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard has its hands full managing thousands of dock, slip, and mooring reservations. To quote Forbes: Enter Dockwa. Since coming aboard last May, Edgartown has made the most of our reservation management software: they increased transient reservations, drastically reduced office work, and made the booking process easier, faster, and more transparent for their guests.
One key strategy that Edgartown Harbor employs in its booking process is an “opening day” policy for requesting reservations.
Before implementing Dockwa, Edgartown's opening day went like this: On March 1st of each year, Harbormaster Charlie Blaire and his team battened down the hatches and prepared for hundreds and hundreds of reservations to roll in over the course of just a few hours - all over the phone. As you might imagine, the phones rang off their hooks as the employees scrambled to collect contact info, date information, and everything they needed to begin the back and forth communication process for each and every reservation. It was chaos.
For the 2016 season, Edgartown Harbor made the switch to have their entire reservation system on the Dockwa platform, and with the new technology, came a number of changes to the process:
Why then, amid all these changes, did Edgartown decide to keep their opening day policy? And more importantly, why should you do the same?
First, it helps generate hype and demand. Think about a big concert or other ticketed event, rather than roll out several ticket sales over a long time, the organizers will put every ticket on sale at a certain time and date and use marketing to hype the drop. More often than not these types of events sell out in minutes. The same thought process applies here as well. If a boater wants to ensure they have a spot on a popular weekend like the Fourth of July, they will be on the app ready to book on March 1st, instead of just whenever the thought of booking occurs.
Second, it gets the majority of the work out of the way early. Boaters most often book their reservations between 50-100 days in advance of their arrival, so a reservation placed on opening day could be for almost any day in season. And a reservation booked today is one you don’t have to book tomorrow. At Edgartown in 2016, over 40% of all reservations booked between March 1st and June 20th were booked on opening day. There is a lot of work that goes into running and maintaining a marina, and while using Dockwa makes the booking process faster and easier, maximizing your bookings on day one is another great way to use your time more efficiently.
- Michaella Gaines, Edgartown Deputy Harbormaster
Michaella Gaines, Edgartown Deputy Harbormaster, shared her Dockwa experience with our reservation management software on Capterra. Her succinct title “Stay Hip & Jump Ship, to Dockwa!” illustrates one reason more than 250 marinas have already made the move to Dockwa: Edgartown is staying current, leveraging our cutting-edge reservation management system to make the most of their summer. While doing so, they're making Martha’s Vineyard accessible to more visitors. According to Michaella, “Dockwa has made a tremendous impact on the operations management of Edgartown Harbor and I look forward to utilizing its ever-improving features as product development continues to progress at an accelerating pace.”
The acceleration wasn't solely on the Dockwa side: Edgartown Harbor put the pedal to the metal in their first season. Dockwa's reservation system empowered Michaella and her team to stay on top of reservations requests all summer long – and found their new system so efficient that they decided to extend their season by a full month, resulting in a 20% increase in reservations. 2015 was Edgartown Harbor's most successful year in history, and 2016 revenue through the month of June have already beaten 2015's numbers by 10%!
The real power of the Dockwa platform comes not only from simplifying the booking process, but from how it can help you use your data to generate new bookings and maximize your revenue. With Dockwa, you can see how many boats will be in your marina on any given day of your season, as well as other details like how many boats fall into your specified size groups. In one quick view you can see your entire season, and it is immediately updated with each new reservation.
This information is not just good to know, but is immediately actionable from a marketing perspective. In the marina industry, every empty mooring or vacant foot of dock is money missed out on. There are always up days and down days, but with the knowledge of exactly when those times are comes the ability to buck the patterns. You see that your marina is only half full on the weekend of the 20th? Our marketing team can help you run a discount or promotion to get more people in, and tie up more revenue that otherwise would have sailed you by.