It’s no secret, millennials haven’t been spending as much time at marinas as previous generations. Understanding the barriers preventing younger generations from being a customer at your facility is the key to attracting them.
1. Millennials aren’t buying as much
Unfortunately, owning a boat isn’t as easy as it used to be. Millennials’ wages aren’t as high as previous generations, monthly expenses like phone bills and gym memberships eat away at their cash, and filling up a boat with gas is more expensive these days.
To attract more millennials, affordable services and options are a must. Offering boat sharing programs or partnering with a sharing service like Freedom Boat Club, accepting volunteer hours as payment, or offering rentals are great ways to attract more young people who can’t afford to own a boat yet.
2. Millennials are accustomed to convenience
The products and services millennials pay for are cheap and very simple to use. They believe when something is confusing, there's probably an alternative product or service that’s better.
Ask yourself: Can customers become a member online? Can they communicate with your marina digitally to ask questions or request services? Are you advertising promotions in places where millennials spend their time? If the answer to one or more of these questions is no, you have a convenience barrier. The solution to this barrier is to take advantage of technology.
An attractive and easy to use website will improve your digital presence and offer a new way for customers to interact with your marina. Using marina management software that allows boaters to ask questions and request services reduces social pressure. Having social media accounts and routinely updating them provides a way to advertise upcoming events to potential boaters.
3. Many millennials don’t know very much about boating
The average millennial hasn’t grown up around people that frequently go boating and therefore won’t know how to use a boat. This lack of knowledge around how to safely get out on the water can be intimidating.
To get around the lack of experience barrier, offer a rent-a-captain service where new boaters can spend a day with an experienced boater or host events where non-boaters can join experienced boaters for some fun on the water.
4. Millennials that haven’t been boating don’t realize how fun boating is
If they haven’t gone boating, how are they to know how much fun it is to get out on the water? They need to be shown what boating is and why people love it so much.
This a great marketing opportunity. Make an exciting video of a poker run that demonstrates the fun of being on the water and the community that comes with it. Spreading this kind of the video on social media, inviting new boaters to be apart of the excitement, can generate a lot of interest.
5. Millennials want to stay connected
Millennials value sharing their experiences with their friends and enjoy being able to access their favorite media sources wherever they are.
Make sure millennials can use their devices at your facility. Having quality wifi will encourage younger customers to spend more time on the docks and enable them to share their experiences with friends that could become interested in trying boating as well.
It’s not impossible to bring millennials into your marina, it just requires a different marketing strategy and the right tools. It’s exciting how much the marina industry is changing and figuring out how to adapt to change is half the fun of running a business. At Swell Advantage, we help handle change by building technology that reduces the complexity of running a modern marina. To cater to millennials, we offer a tool for communicating with all kinds boaters in their preferred ways.