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Building a yachting destination

By Tom Mukamal

It is truly amazing to see the evolution of the marina industry today. Yachting venues such as Yacht Haven Grande and Rodney Bay Marina have transitioned from mere nautical equivalent parking and storage locations to luxurious vacation destinations in some of the most sought-after countries around the world. Boaters have become more selective in their yachting destination, yearning for more value-added offerings, including multiple dining, retail, entertainment and recreational/wellness options, making the marina industry even more competitive.

With this in mind, how can marina developments separate themselves in a crowded marketplace? We will explore key areas of success that were recognized very quickly to help elevate the level of megayacht and luxury-class marina facilities to the ultimate yachting experience.

Taking a cue from the hotel industry

Much like the caliber of service and amenities extended to guests at 5-diamond resorts, yachts today serve as luxury homes on the water with everything from hot tubs and PWC to home theaters and Heli-pads. This has impacted marina offerings around the world, as the destinations serve as an extension to the experience. Travelers want to be able to step off their vessel and still feel like they are receiving all of the high-end amenities at their fingertips. This includes an on-site resort, lux dining concepts, full-service spa, fitness center, business center, Wi-Fi and more.

Extending a new level of hospitality is also imperative, and the staff should be trained as such. Instilling the 5-star hotelier state of mind to the employees truly sets the tone for the entire visit. Creating surveys upon departure is also a unique feature to, not only enhance the experience, but to also engage the customer afterwards.

Establishing a yachting epicenter

Arriving to the destination is only part of the journey. Boaters want to explore the city beyond their vessel and the marina, which makes the surrounding development a major factor. Shopping continues to be a leading leisure activity while on vacation, making it important to establish relationships with high-end retailers and attract them to the destination. This same business model applies to culinary experiences, as today’s boat owners favor a sophisticated tasting palate that requires a wide spectrum of food and beverage options. Additionally, recreation and wellness continues to be a popular trend in travel. From sport fishing to sunrise yoga, it’s imperative that your offerings truly run the gambit to meet the needs of today’s most discerning travelers.

Catering to captains and crew

A high-end marina that services large vessels must also keep in mind that an important aspect of the business is catering to the professional captain and crew. Offering amenities and services such as a Captain’s lounge and vessel concierge is just the tipping point. Today’s most successful marinas are engaging with this particular audience through special events, social media, musical performances, outdoor adventures/excursions and more. Placing a major focus on creating an unforgettable marina experience will leave a lasting mark on their memory, ultimately leading to their return.

Tom Mukamal serves as CEO of IGY Marinas. For more information on IGY Marinas or its collection of marina destinations, visit www.IGYMarinas.com.

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