Bayport Marina Surveys BoatersBayport Marina, Bayport, MN
Written with Marshall Nowlin, CMM, General Manager
|The information learned from the survey gave us the factual information to support team goals for 2008. It was much easier to make decisions during the annual membership meeting because the surveys easily identified the core areas to focus for the coming year.|
Bayport Marina is located on the scenic St Croix River, about 15 miles east of St. Paul/Minneapolis. We have 231 slips: 121 owned by shareholders and 110 that generate revenue from transients, marine-business residents, and seasonal rentals. Almost 20 years ago, Bayport's membership bought the business from the management company that had been in place and became a shareholder organization with a board of directors.
One of the main differences between being member-run and management company-run is that the board and membership own the property and have a vested interest in making it succeed. Our board is all too aware that the marina will remain viable only if we can attract and retain members, and with an increasing number of boaters nationwide turning to hobbies that are less expensive, more convenient, and less invasive of "family time", this is no small issue for us.
Our board decided that in order for Bayport to remain vibrant, we needed to have our fingers continuously on the pulse of our members' changing needs so we could keep their boating experience hassle free. We started working with Survey Advantage and launched our survey first survey in November of 2007. The data from the survey was specific and unambiguous, and provided us with the following 'gems':
- We learned that our members are very satisfied with our facilities and department service, and that they are quite loyal to us.
- We learned that we need to put more emphasis on cleanliness after work is performed and that our service technicians benefit from continued training.
- Our repair and service areas, where we tend to sub-contract much of the work, received lower marks, prompting us to consider bringing some of those functions back in-house.
- Members wanted us to consider adding amenities such as playground equipment and possibly a restaurant on the premises.
The survey data prioritized our issues for us, leaving nothing to opinion or "gut feel" and ensuring that management and my team were on the same page. The data also prevented resources from being pushed toward pet projects that may not be priorities of the membership as a whole and prevented initiatives from getting bogged down by questions of their value.
The process was so easy, and the support that Survey Advantage provided us was so thorough, that we plan to survey our membership annually. Specific, timely member input is critical in helping us set our goals and ensuring that when our members walk on their boats and turn their keys, everything is exactly as they expected or even better.