Check-in day almost always feels hectic and overwhelming. Here at Enaviga, we designed an app to help make the process easier. In order to build our technology, we tracked some industry best practices that seem to make the process feel smoother.
Here are the five tips we uncovered to create a smooth check-in.
1. Send paperwork ahead of time.
As we all know, there are three big legal elements to a boat rental agreement: crew list, license, and contract. These can all be sent ahead of time, so all you have to do is verify their license on arrival.
Having your customers upload information before they arrive saves you having to scan or upload the information on-site. And with new technology, the customer can simply photograph their information and send it to you. It’s easy—a fact that you can emphasize to them when you suggest they share details early.
Customers can send this information to you via email or a document sharing site, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. With Enaviga, this information is stored in-app for each individual booking, saving you some time and organisational work.
2. Be clear about logistics.
No matter how many times you provide booking, boat, and marina details, it’s easy for a guest to lose track of their itinerary during travel.
Provide an easy way for your guests to access this information to help them avoid frustration and last-minute panic. Figure out a way to make this information easily accessible and searchable, either via confirmation emails or a prominent link on your website. If you use our app, this information is available to them via their booking.
In addition to location details, be sure to emphasize check-in and checkout times to make sure there’s no confusion and everyone is on the same page.
3. Educate your guests about the boat.
Every boat is unique, and clients may want to get to know the vessel ahead of time. For some, this curiosity might be a way to get excited about their vacation; they can start to picture themselves lounging on deck with champagne and strawberries. For others, this is tactical: they want to know whether there’s a coffee maker and how many berths are in each cabin.
Try to create an “about” sheet for each boat in your fleet that provides critical information and answers any frequently asked questions (FAQs) clients are likely to have about the boat. Be sure to include everything from how many snorkels are on board to the WiFi password. Photos and floorplans go a long way to helping guests get excited, which can ultimately improve their experience and your reviews.
With Enaviga, detailed fleet information is stored on our app, so guests can automatically explore the boat once they book.
4. Emphasize time saved.
If you’ve followed the steps up until here, you are prepared with the paperwork and your guest knows about the boat. You’ve just saved yourself hours of time during check-in. Of course, guests may still have questions about the boat, the itinerary, and any useful tips and tricks. But getting the hard stuff out of the way ahead of time makes the check-in more relaxed and informative.
The best part of this optimized check-in is that it’s short. The sooner your guests are on the water, the more value they’ll feel like they’re getting, since a longer and less stressful vacation is a better value. These details can improve their experience and make them more likely to recommend you to friends.
Of course, spending less time on check-in with one guest gives you more time to spend with another who wants or needs a longer check-in, enabling you to create a better customer experience all around.
5. Provide onboard support.
Yes, onboard support isn’t technically part of check-in, but guests probably won’t make that distinction. Plus, you score points any time a guest thinks “I forgot to ask!…” only to realize you’ve already anticipated the question and provided a solution.
Make sure there are copies of relevant information on the boat, including blueprints, safety checklists, and instructions for how to open equipment storage units and operate kitchen appliances. After all, onboard support isn’t just about helping in an emergency. Include information on nearby marinas and how-tos for renting a slip (this may not be obvious to your guests). You can even provide restaurant recommendations or phone numbers.
Finally, ensure your guests have a way to contact you and to log any issues that arise. They can contact you via email, by phone, or quickly through the Enaviga app.
Do you have any additional tips for making check-in successful? I’d love to hear what worked for you. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Check-in tips,” and I’ll share them in a future post.