THE MEDIA VOICE OF THE GLOBAL MARINA INDUSTRY

Enhancing customer service across a multi-national portfolio

D-Marin, a leading marina network with marinas in six countries, is on a continued mission to enhance and expand its digital offerings. Matthias (Matti) Gehring, responsible for the company’s smart initiatives, gives Marina World an update.

D-Marin Borik is a top-of-the-line boutique marina offering 177 berths in the ancient Croatian city of Zadar

D-Marin Borik is a top-of-the-line boutique marina offering 177 berths in the ancient Croatian city of Zadar

Q: What principle areas of marina management do you believe benefit from digitisation?
A: There are many areas, the principle being customer convenience, ensuring we can provide a faster and more seamless service, improving communications at all levels of the business, and doing all we can to make our customers’ lives effortless.
Our marina management and customer experience has been enhanced through digitisation, not least with our brand-new native app. This app serves as a centralised platform for our customers to access all the key information they need and communicate with our teams. In many ways, the native app strengthens the relationship between our marinas and customers. D-Marin customers can use the app to check in and create real time bookings, as well as pay online and complete the check in procedures remotely, which in turn significantly reduces waiting times and has had a demonstrable return on maximising marina occupancy.
The digitisation of the experience through our Smart Pedestal solution should deliver a direct reduction in our environmental footprint, allowing customers to book, monitor and optimise energy and water consumption to ensure more efficient and sustainable use of resources, which will result in direct savings for our customers.
The roll out of our smart boat sensors has also seen many benefits to marina management, enabling us to monitor and assist our customers even when they are away from our marinas – offering remote support and helping to address any issues or concerns.
We can see many benefits with digitisation and are committed to leveraging these current and future innovations to ensure our customers enjoy a seamless and enriching yachting experience.
Q: How have you implemented digital systems in these areas? Are these D-Marin specific and are they integrated throughout the entire multi-national portfolio?
A: All digital systems have been implemented across our entire portfolio, allowing us to offer a consistent and effortless experience that meets our premium quality standards. By integrating these solutions in all our marinas, we can guarantee that our customers receive the same exceptional service and systems in any D-Marin location.
Our approach to digital implementation is two-fold. Firstly, we are developing our own D-Marin proprietary systems, such as our booking platform, which has been designed to offer a seamless reservation process. By utilising our in-house solutions, we can ensure a high level of quality control and are agile to adapt the platform to meet the unique needs of our customers across different locations.
Turgutreis is D-Marin’s flagship marina located just 20km/12.4mi from Bodrum, Turkey

Turgutreis is D-Marin’s flagship marina located just 20km/12.4mi from Bodrum, Turkey

Secondly, we are actively collaborating with strategic partners or integrating world class systems to bring the best solutions to our marinas. An example of this is our partnership with Sense4Boat, a company that specialises in smart boat sensors. By integrating its cutting-edge technology into our digital offering, our customers can closely monitor the status of their boat within our marinas, enabling them and us to proactively address potential issues and provide the highest level of care for our customers’ vessels.
Q: When did you first start to look at your management systems with a view to digitising them? Did you inherit very different systems with each portfolio addition over the years? Did this encourage you to develop a standardised system?
A: Our commitment to meeting our customers’ needs has always been at the forefront of our decision-making process. We began exploring the potential for digitising our management systems very early, when we realised the importance of embracing technological advancements in order to enhance the overall customer experience.
To ensure that our digital solutions would address the genuine needs of our customers, we conducted extensive research across all our marinas and within the industry. This involved conducting in-depth interviews with customers and marina experts, gathering feedback, and identifying any issues that customers face in the marina industry. Through this process, we gained valuable insights into how we could best leverage digital technology to alleviate these potential issues, while still maintaining the essential human touch that defines our premium service.
As we consistently add new marinas to our portfolio, we indeed inherit a variety of different systems. The diversity of these systems encouraged us to develop a standardised, unified approach to digital marina management that could be implemented across our entire group. By doing so, we were able to ensure consistency in the level of service we provide and make it easier for customers to navigate our marinas.
Q: How is your smart marina initiative more customer-friendly?
A: Our Connected Marina initiative, brought together in our native app, elevates the customer experience by combining the advantages of digital technology with our unwavering commitment to personalised service. By addressing our customers’ needs, we have created a more customer-friendly environment that sets us apart in the marina industry.
D-Marin Mandalina in Šibenik is the only marina in Croatia designed for superyachts. Vessels up to 70m/230ft can be accommodated

D-Marin Mandalina in Šibenik is the only marina in Croatia designed for superyachts. Vessels up to 70m/230ft can be accommodated

Our app is an easy-to-use intuitive solution for customers to access all our services and information. It includes a real time booking platform, remote check-in, full information about the marinas and the ability to have direct contact with the team – all designed to enhance our customer experience whilst maintaining the human touch.
Although a key element of our strategy is digitisation, we remain committed to preserving the personal human element that will continue to define our premium service. Our team is always available to assist customers, ensuring that technology enhances, rather than replaces, the valuable interactions between our staff and customers.
Q: You say your smart system has helped maximise visitor berth occupancy. Can you expand on this?
A: We are proud to say that our digital initiatives, specifically the implementation of our digital booking platform, have significantly contributed to maximising visitor berth occupancy. The real-time view of current occupancy and future reservations has enabled us to predict and manage our berth availability more efficiently.
Thanks to the enhanced visibility and control provided by our booking platform to our sales and front office teams, we can quickly identify periods of high and low demand. This allows us to devise and execute targeted marketing and sales activities to optimise occupancy rates during various seasons. By offering tailored packages, we can attract more customers during off-peak times, ensuring a more consistent flow of visitors throughout the year.
Our efforts have already proven to be successful. In 2022, approximately 30% of our transient bookings were already made, paid for, and invoiced online using our digital platform. This demonstrates the effectiveness of our Connected Marina initiative in streamlining the booking process, improving convenience for our customers, and maximising berth occupancy across our marinas.
Q: What are you looking to introduce next?
A: We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our offerings and provide additional value to our customers. Our next project focuses on expanding our digital platform to include a comprehensive boatyard management solution. This new feature will enable customers to conveniently book a wide range of services directly through our app or online portal, such as lift, launch, pressure wash and antifouling.
By integrating these services into our digital platform, we aim to streamline the process for customers seeking boatyard services, providing a seamless experience and reducing the need for time-consuming phone calls or in-person visits. We believe that this expansion of our digital services will further improve customer satisfaction and consolidate our position as a leading marina operator.
In addition to the boatyard project, we are committed to continuously listening to our customers’ needs and gathering feedback to inform our future initiatives. We understand that the preferences and requirements of our clientele may evolve over time, and we strive to adapt our services accordingly. By staying in tune with our customers’ expectations, we can ensure that we remain at the forefront of innovation and continue to deliver an exceptional marina experience.

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