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Monday
Jan302012

Catering to your marina's customers

This article, by Dennis Kissman, was published in Marina Dock Age – November 1997

Not all marinas are created equal.  As a marina consultant, I usually have the pleasure of visiting three or four new marinas a month.  Almost without exception, marina owners tell me how different their marina is from others.

Yet most owners try to emulate what the marina down the street is doing.  If you believe that, your marina is unique, and then makes it unique.  Just because an amenity looks nice, somewhere else doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you need.

In recent years, the trend has been to try to provide a total boating experience for the customer.  The emphasis has been on providing amenities for the entire family.  I do not disagree with this approach, but it won’t work everywhere.  I have visited marinas that could never become a family attraction—nor should they.  Families are not that marina’s customer base, and trying to change it would be a financial disaster.

Marinas have a tendency to cater to a segment of the boating market.  If your customer base is fishermen, you should consider selling live bait.  Rather than spending $10,000 on a playground, picnic area or pool, that money is better spent on installing a live bait well.  But do not forget to plan to open the store at 6:00 A.M. to accommodate those fishermen.

If you look up the word "service" in the dictionary, you find a definition that reads something like this: work done for others as an occupation or a business.  My definition of service for the marina industry is: Service is fulfilling the needs, wants and desires of customers for profit.

Dennis P. Kissman, president of Marina Management Services Inc. in Boca Raton, FL can be reached by phone at 561-338-5800 or via e-mail: dennis@marinamanagement.com.

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