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January February 2019 Marina World

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CONFERENCES & EVENTS Relevance, competitiveness and training A big picture address on consumer trends and the need for marinas to maintain relevance and competitiveness in a fast-changing world headed up the Global Marina Institute (GMI) special networking seminar at Metstrade last November. Ben Martin, associate principal at HKS Advisory, encouraged attendees to think about external factors that could affect the industry, such as geopolitics, economics and the change in weather patterns. Many of his key points are summarised below. Demand trends We live in a world of disruption, and demand trends are shifting. We need “to recognise the impacts or potential impacts and plan tactical and strategic responses.” Demand trends include: • the expansion and diversity of cruise itineraries – we should “explore opportunities to expand our market into emerging destinations and market transit berths.” • a strengthening influence of crew in itinerary and over-wintering decision making – we should “critically review the quality of crew facilities as happy crew = happy owners.” • themed charters are on the rise – tactical marketing needs to be explored and larger scale events could be hosted. • superyachts are magnets and this means we should look “to provide the facilities required to attract a vessel – others will follow”. • governments are recognising the benefits of marine leisure to the tourist economy making ‘destination marketing’ a priority. • static charters are on the rise, which will lead to increased occupancy and associated visitor throughput. This presents the “opportunity for a ‘dormitory marina’ that gets us away from the fact that boats are only used 10% of the time.” • everyone is a superyacht owner – “your ‘red carpet’ has to be permanently rolled out (everyone has to feel loved and valued)”. Supply trends It is important to recognise what you are – “be good at what you stand some chance of succeeding at – smart marketing and pricing.” Take advantage of drystack and focus on car parking, which continues to be a problem “and will continue to be key until flying cars are a real thing.” Boat ownership The profile of the Ultra High Net Worth Individual (UHNWI) is shifting east and a correspondent shift in boat ownership is forecast. Fractional ownership is also becoming more popular. This will lead to “increased vessel utilisation, [and provide a] foot-in-the-door with new users but [requires] some sensitivity in promotion.” Profile of vessels Beamier boats and the increasing popularity of catamarans may lead Ben Martin to some reconfiguration of berth infrastructure; a trend to be monitored. “This is especially true in the Caribbean. Square metre pricing could be important for the future.” It is also only a matter of time before autonomous yachting takes hold. The requirement for professional crews may reduce and new markets may open up. Technology Social media is here to stay and is ripe for destination marketing – “design ‘moments’ into your marina as this is fantastic for social media – people will take photos and share them.” Connectivity is “the pulsing life-blood of a modern marina – invest in the best and provide support – then repeat, then repeat, then repeat.” The customer now has control with selfbooking – “lead, don’t follow. Gocompare is going to be huge.” Security Strike a good balance as marinas are a target and risks have elevated especially in resort settings. Environment There must be awareness of the need to future-proof design of pontoons and structures for potential sea level rise and prioritise prevention of in-water pollution, particularly plastics, in environmental management plans. Pricing The market is becoming increasingly price sensitive and it’s important to monitor new competition and talk to your customers. Remember that owners are able to quickly compare rates. Final word “With uncertainty and disruption comes opportunity. But few take time to think beyond the chaos of the everyday to anticipate, plan and engage with change. Let’s raise our eyes, look ahead and decide to make a difference.” Ben Martin has spent 23 years in resort consultancy. E: Top level concierge skills Steve Sammes of Mulpha’s Sanctuary Cove Marina, Gold Coast, Australia introduced a new Marina Concierge training initiative to GMI seminar delegates. The programme, developed by Mulpha, utilises its hotel and resort staff training expertise. Each course lasts for one or two days and is held in a hotel owned/operated by Mulpha. Students receive guidance on communication skills; customer service skills; dealing with conflict and customer complaints; personal Steve Sammes presentation; working in a team; and delivering an exceptional customer service experience. All participants interact with hotel concierge and reception staff during the sessions. A pilot course, being planned on the Gold Coast, will be organised by the Mulpha Marina Division. Sammes says “it has great potential and a great future” and is happy to discuss further. E: 46 - January/February 2019

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