Boating Industry

February 2016

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February 2016 | Boating Industry | 23 [ Destination: MARINA ] The virtual tour "continues to show people what it's all about, espe- cially in the winter months. It's not all green and plush and alive like it is in July and August, but to be able to have somebody go into your website and walk around like it's the middle of July … that is a huge impact on our customers," said O'Hara. WIFI KEEPS CUSTOMERS HAPPY … IF DONE RIGHT If you plan to offer WiFi, understand that it is a big expense. A weak bandwidth at a marina that is spread out across multiple acres can quickly become frustrating to customers. All it takes is one person streaming video to slow down the signal for everyone else. "WiFi at the marinas [is] a challenge unless you invest the money and start putting in a lot of equipment," Kukuk said. "It's going to get better over time when technology gets better, but right now it's just too spread out. The marinas are so big that in order to get the signal distributed, it's very diffi cult. Plus, you've got to have a good source coming in." (For more on the growing trend of WiFi in marina design, read our Market Focus on p. 36.) Candlewood made the decision not to offer WiFi across its entire facility, but it does offer free WiFi at the restaurant and conference center. It was an amenity the marina could offer its customers when it chose to create a WiFi-based POS service in the restaurant, where orders are fi lled via iPads and iPhones. Candlewood set up the WiFi to split between two bandwidths: a free network for members and a secure for private use. EMPLOYEES SELL THE MARINA. Everyone says "hire the right people," but when selling the lifestyle, it is a vital component. If you want your marina to be a destination and to sell the life- style to your clients, your employees have to exemplify that lifestyle and level of customer service. Therefore, they should be your biggest capital investment. And, from a competitive standpoint, it is the one amenity a competitor can't duplicate. "The thing that I always hear fi rst [from members] is how great the employees were," said O'Hara. "The employees that we have are making our facility special. You can spend all kinds of money and do all kinds of things and have all kinds of fancy stuff, but if your employees aren't there or you're not spending the money to get the right ones, it's a refl ection [of your business]. It's that interaction [members] are getting with the employee and staff that makes [them] either want to stay or go." If you plan to offer WiFi, understand that it is a big expense. 8 lifestyle, it is a vital component. If you want your marina to 9 10 11 12 13 14 Boating Industry .com For fi ve more ways to turn your marina into a destination, visit A virtual tour helps showcase the beauty of any marina destination, like the 360-degree tour offered on Candlewood East Marina's website.

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