Universal Marina is a very different place now to the derelict Shipyard that existed when Avia Willment took over in 1997. Situated on the East Bank of the River Hamble, it has been extensively rebuilt whilst keeping a small community feel. With a location second to none alongside acres of woods, marshland and wildlife it has become the perfect place to berth your boat, a home away from home.
Being part of TransEurope Marinas is really important to us, not only does it allow us to compete with offers such as MDL’s Freedom Berthing, particularly with additions to the group close by such as Bucklers Hard Yacht Harbour at Beaulieu only 6nm from us, but we have seen a large rise in our own visitor numbers and received many positive comments from our own customers about how much more they are taking advantage of their TransEurope membership.
Being based on the River Hamble, the sailing mecca of the UK there are six other marina options within 10 minutes of us so the importance of standing out from our neighbours is crucial, a large part of what makes us different is the emphasis we put into our berth-holders overall experience. For many, Universal is not just a place to ‘park’ their boat but also an opportunity to meet new friends and feel a part of something special. We have introduced a Loyalty Discount Scheme that has proven extremely popular and quite a draw for new berth-holders who realise immediately they are becoming part of a marina that really cares and works hard to retain their custom. The popularity of our biannual berth-holder parties, where everyone can come together and share their sailing stories over good food and drink have become so popular the marquee grows and looks more like a wedding with each event! We have also recently held our very first Open Day, which proved so successfully that next year’s event has turned into a weekend festival! A steering group, comprised of our commercial tenants, who all feel so passionately about the event they have volunteered themselves for this role, is leading the organisation of this festival.
One area of our business that has grown so much over the last 18 months that at times we’ve struggled to keep up, is our Yacht Care Department. This began as a service to our berth-holders for basic repairs and has developed into a full repair and refurbishment facility. Due to this growth and the custom nature of the work and repairs, we found our customer service in this area was on occasion letting the rest of the company down, so after considering our options we have recently invested in a bespoke CRM software which meets all our requirements, from a business perspective it has reduced administration time and avoids doubling up of work and from a customer perspective it has allowed us to keep moving towards meeting our customers expectations to ensure the department runs much more smoothly even at the busiest times of year.
Building upon the relationship we have with our customers we recently carried out a questionnaire of all our tenants, berth-holders, dry stackers and dry sailors. The results showed that 99% of our current berth-holders were either satisfied or very satisfied with Universal Marina & 99% would definitely/ possibly recommend us to their friends and family. We were amazed at the resulting goodwill the survey produced and how appreciative our customers were to be asked their opinion and feedback. The continued development of the Marina and site has included a new Coffee Shop, which was the top request of the survey with only one berth-holder saying they would not use a new dining facility
With the feedback from our customers and the shared knowledge gained from being part of the TransEurope Group we look forward to a bright, exciting and progressive future!