“Becoming a smart marina doesn’t require a major investment, but rather a proactive mindset” – Idan Cohen
At the recent ICOMIA World Marinas Conference in Vilamoura, the Smart Marina Guide was unveiled. Designed by marina associations and marina industry leaders from ICOMIA’s IMG group, spearheaded by Idan Cohen on behalf of the Marine Innovation Association, the vision outlines a new harmonised, data-driven and interoperable marina culture. The Guide’s intention is to set the path for a wide-reaching collective effort to meet customer demands, improve efficiency and sustainability goals in marinas, and produce useful data on the sector’s activity.
Accessing the age of digitalisation
Various years of holding discussions with TransEurope members as they develop the Pick a Pier platform for marinas and boaters has shown that individual marinas, corresponding to the majority of members within TransEurope Marinas, lack the funding to purchase off-the-shelf digital solutions.
Whilst incorporating digital services is less a trend and more a necessity, marinas need solutions that are flexible and tailor-made and that work to improve their existing services. They may not seek to go to the lengths of replacing marina management software but can employ new tools to improve communication, reduce reservation frictions and offer boaters more autonomy in terms of how they use their berth and make decisions about their next cruising destination.
Marinas also need more online visibility in an increasingly crowded webspace and by using Pick a Pier’s platform TransEurope members benefit from a more prominent web presence, and have the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of their own supply and demand through greater connectivity with visitors and residents.
Preserving cultural identity
One of TransEurope’s values is preserving the idiosyncratic characteristics of individual marina destinations, where a number of members are intergenerational family-run marinas with an intimate connection with their surrounding area and the local population. They represent the enormous diversity within the sector, where geographical, cultural, behavioural and managerial differences create a rich tapestry. No-one wants a completely homogeneous experience, where each marina is a replica of the other; the charm of representing the locality and its cultural peculiarities can be one of the best aspects of visiting a marina.
This is where Pick a Pier has learnt how best to make a difference without the marina incurring a major upfront investment, preserving the marina’s individuality and use of existing tools whilst seeking to harmonise basic services and processes.
Building capacity and increasing efficiency
Learning alongside marinas and helping them to streamline their own practices, whilst collaboratively developing better operational processes, Pick a Pier has been able to generate important returns. This is where being an early adopter can reap significant benefits, helping marinas navigate their way in digitalisation and develop skills and knowhow. Pick a Pier’s workflow consolidation offers instant communication with boaters, and by their own calculation, can save marina staff over 250 hours of work during the season. An efficient berth inventory management can increase reservation completion by nearly 20%, whilst their workflow system optimises marina operations and the bottom line, with cancellations decreasing by 57%.
Pick a Pier CEO Idan Cohen commented:
The work we have done within our partnership with TransEurope Marinas has been highly rewarding. We have worked hard to make participation in the platform as straightforward as possible and have developed a comprehensive self-help guide for marinas as a reminder. In line with the Smart Marina concept and as an undemanding means of boosting revenue, optimising boater satisfaction and reducing the operational workload, I would encourage more marinas to join the TransEurope association.