Boating Industry

February 2016

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22 | Boating Industry | February 2016 [ Destination: MARINA ] parents coming up to the restaurant and the kids out still playing on the lawn, waiting for the movie to start," said O'Hara. "Those were all good things that add more value to the whole boating experience, if you will, than just a ride around the lake." GATHERING SPACES PROMOTE THE LIFESTYLE Offering a space for a large group to gather has helped ma- rinas promote the boating lifestyle while providing a needed amenity to its customers. Candlewood's club house includes a conference center, which is of- fered to members for small functions such as anniversary parties, birth- days, graduation celebrations and small weddings. "People want to bring their family and friends to the lake, and this al- lows them to have a party like that right on the spot," O'Hara said. Nestegg Marine built a 20' x 40' pavilion for its marina, which sits on a peninsula surrounded by bulkheads with a long section of piers at the ends. The pavilion has allowed the marina to host several outdoor parties for groups of up to 250. "It's a great venue because of its location and the scenery," said Jon Kukuk, owner of Nestegg Marine. "People just like to go where there's a hub of activity." BOATING CLASSES ENGAGE KIDS Among Candlewood's members- only offerings are its kids' boating classes. These classes, called Kids' Camp, are clin- ics to introduce kids to water sports beyond tubing and cost $25 a session. These classes revolve around the Nautique brand, which Candlewood sells in the dealership compo- nent of its business. "We've defi nitely sold a few boats off of that avenue, where those kids become so active and involved that the parents can then justify purchas- ing a new boat or getting a different type of boat that's now providing more than just a ride around the lake," said O'Hara. An additional component to these camps is the Surf Sundays, which are free and offered to the parents of Kids' Camp attendees. The surf days offer a low-pressure environment to try wakesurfi ng or wakeboarding. "To make these big investments in these water sports boats, if they can do some of it behind the boat as well, then the chance of getting that sale starts to really increase," O'Hara said. CLEAN MARINAS ATTRACT CUSTOMERS Nothing helps sell the club lifestyle more than a well-groomed facility. One way marinas can help keep their grounds in pristine shape is to become a Certifi ed Clean Marina. "I thought it was going to be a great marketing tool to show our customers and other people that we take the environment seriously, as we do with everything we do here," Kukuk said on why he became certifi ed. "We've cut our waste costs drastically by doing separation. We've started to meet some of the [requirements] that are really safety- oriented that I think we were doing before but really never recognized it." VIRTUAL TOURS SELL THE BUSINESS As web traffi c becomes the front door to any business, it is important for ma- rinas to make sure their website sells the des- tination appeal of their facility. The Candlewood website includes a 360-degree virtual tour of its marina, show- casing the atmosphere it is selling. Being a Certifi ed Clean Marina is a competitive advantage for Nestegg Marine. Offering a space for a large group to gather has helped ma- 4 Among Candlewood's members- 5 facility. One way marinas can help keep their grounds in pristine 6 As web traffi c becomes the front 7 Laurel Marina expanded its music season to include more entertainment on Saturday nights, which helps keep customers at the marina.

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