'owning' the luxury guest experience
September 11th, 2014 – Dubai, U.A.E: As the luxury boating industry continues to boom across the Middle East, management facilities can become immersed in the big picture, whilst overlooking the simple things which make a big difference – enhancing the customer experience.
Over the years, the industry has made a smooth transition in its efforts to move the concept of the marina from an industrial necessity into a luxury lifestyle destination.
According to Wayne Shepherd, Mourjan Marinas’ General Manager, the key to this positioning is the operational practices and innovative initiatives employed to improve the overall boaters’ experience.
“As the industry grows, the market is becoming increasingly competitive, and we are seeing an increasing number of marinas really push the boat out to establish themselves as premier yachting destinations,” said Shepherd. “Marina operators must ensure that the guest service experience is at the forefront of everything they do in order to compete.” Shepherd believes this can be achieved with a combination of cutting edge technology, luxury amenities and simple touches.
Cutting edge technology:
Shepherd says: “Technology is important, not only from an operations point of view, but also from a marketing and communications perspective. Comprehensive digital channels such as websites with responsive design will give your visitors efficient and easy access to your marina and its services from any device."
“Earlier this year we launched a new website for one of our flagship facilities Almouj Marina in Oman, offering live weather forecasts, full facility details and an online berthing enquiry platform. Furthermore, we updated two of our existing websites to a responsive design.”
Shepherd expresses the influence of luxury amenities such as residential developments, tourism communities, F&B outlets and leisure facilities, for marinas to attract guests and ensure customers are truly integrated with the lifestyle that boating offers."
“We pride our marinas on their luxury amenities, which enhance the overall guest experience and encourage them to spend more time at the destination after their anchors have been cast."
“Our marinas are located in state-of-the-art integrated tourism communities and developments, with Almouj Marina in The Wave, Muscat, and Mourjan Marinas – Lusail City in the stunning Lusail City, Qatar."
“Additionally, neighboring leisure facilities are a big attraction to marinas for guests. For example, Almouj Marina works closely with Almouj Golf, a PGA championship links style golf course, to encourage more visitors.”
Guests also appreciate fine details and small touches which make for a happy boating community. Everything from a concierge service to fresh towels on arrival will keep boaters coming back, says Shepherd.
“Boaters were pleasantly surprised at our marinas earlier this year with unexpected treats and memorable experiences that we rolled out with our inaugural ‘Mourjan Moments’ initiative. Treats included free ice creams and Tamri Hendi – a traditional Arabic drink, and framed photographs of boaters’ visits, to name a few.”
Wayne Shepherd will be speaking at the upcoming Intermediate Marina Management Course, taking place at Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers from 9th – 12th November, 2014.