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2016 July August Marina World

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July August 2016 Marina World

COVER STORY: SUNTEX

COVER STORY: SUNTEX MARINAS York River Yacht Haven is a Southern Chesapeake Bay landmark and sits in a 14- acre natural hurricane hole. Chris Petty Chris Petty, principal and head of operations for Suntex Marinas, talks to Marina World about company practice, goals and challenges: Q: Why has Suntex opted to invest exclusively in marinas as opposed to other types of property? A: Supply demand dynamics, barriers to entry, inelasticity of the income stream (recession resistant) and a passion for the lifestyle. Q: What are your primary considerations when deciding to acquire a marina? A: Location and size. Q: If you refurbish a facility what are your priorities? A: We reposition the assets to meet high quality modern manufacturing standards; improve and increase customer services, retail and boat club/rental; and improve repair and maintenance facilities. Q: What do you see as the benefits of offering a marina brand? How have you developed this brand? A: A brand makes for consistency of quality and service while retaining the character of the marina destination. We have a passion for hospitality and a commitment to creating quality experiences, and aim to introduce everyone to a lifestyle while providing access to boating at levels that meet various financial and time commitments. Our brand makes us accountable to the guest at all levels. Q: How much control do you retain over any upland development? What elements, if any, of your marinas do you franchise out? Chandler’s Landing Marina, one of two Suntex facilities on Lake Ray Hubbard in East Dallas, offers scenic views and plentiful amenities. A: We control all upland development within our fee or leasehold interest. However, we generally lease restaurant space to accredited and reputable third party operators. Q: Do you intend to expand your business outside of the USA/ Caribbean? A: There are tremendous opportunities within the continental US and Caribbean, and that is where our core focus lies today. As we grow, there will likely be some consideration for expansion outside of these locations. In addition to offering slips for all boat sizes, Lake Cumberland State Dock in Kentucky runs a popular houseboat vacation business. 22 www.marinaworld.com - July/August 2016

COVER STORY: SUNTEX MARINAS Q: What are the aims of your Club progamme? A: Our goal is to provide everyone the opportunity to have access to boating. We have paddle boards, kayaks, personal water craft, pontoons, runabouts, wakeboard boats and houseboats, all of which are available to rent for the day or week. We also have a tiered annual membership programme that gives members access to a fleet of 240 boats in six states. Q: What do you see as the major challenges facing marinas and the recreational boating industry and what are you doing to help meet these challenges? A: Our consumer base, like the general population of America, is ‘greying’. Our rental and club programmes introduce the entire population to boating. This offers an opportunity Liberty Landing Marina is located on the River Hudson across from the lower tip of Manhattan. It thus enjoys a prime New York position and includes many transient slips in its 520 slip total. One of the most versatile and elegant mixed use marinas in the Caribbean, Yacht Club de Port de Plaisance Marina in Sint Maarten has plenty of space for superyacht berthing. for those who are not ready to make the commitment to boat ownership to participate in the lifestyle. We have been successful in converting renters to club members to eventual boat owners. In addition, today’s consumer demands a higher quality experience. We are addressing that through improvements to assets, attention to customer service, improved and increased service, and an overall commitment to quality. Q: What are the company goals for the future? A: To create an enterprise marina brand consistent with the highest quality while sharing our passion for the boating lifestyle with the world. Marinalife members offered Captain’s Club membership As Marina World closed for press, Suntex Marinas confirmed a new partnership with Marinalife to offer its coastal customers a one-year complimentary membership to the Suntex Captain’s Club. Available to transient, annual and seasonal boaters, the programme gives complete access to thousands of discounts and specials for dockage, fuel, services, restaurants and hotels, as well as specific offers exclusive to Suntex Marina properties. Every customer also receives a personalised profile that holds existing reservation itineraries, reservation history and a logbook for notes. Marina reservation services are available for the USA, Canada, Bahamas, Caribbean and Central America. Pre-planned itineraries as well as customisable cruises tailored to any boating lifestyle are stored and include popular cruising grounds throughout the Great Loop, Intracoastal Waterway, the Bahamas, Caribbean and Florida. To keep boaters on the move, there is also a Fuel and Service & Maintenance Locator that allows members to identify ethanol-free gasoline and high-speed fuel pumps, as well as obtain fuel dock hours and locations. Captain’s Club membership comes with a free ticket to any Show Management Boat Show, a one-year subscription to Marinalife magazine and a choice of one additional one-year subscription to a leading boating publication – either PassageMaker, Yachting, Southern Boating or Cruising World. The free Marinalife Mobile App gives users access to a database of marina and travel related information on Apple mobile devices including up-to-date listings and NOAA charts. Online information resources are available such as: Ask the Captain for tips from local captains; Navigation Alerts that give boaters time-sensitive email updates for the particular cruising region; customised weather and tide forecasts from Weather Routing, Inc, and Featured Harbor Reports for expert advice on what to do and where to eat. www.marinaworld.com - July/August 2016 23

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