A career in the fishing and boating industry means that you will, at some point, be hosting charter guests on your vessel. Whether they be complete strangers or your boss’ best friends, charter guests generally have a few things in common. They are known for having enough money to charter yachts for fun; generally tipping well, and; sometimes they can be quite difficult to please. With guests come a set of rules and regulations that are not taught in your Coast Guard Captain’s License course. Making them happy can mean not only putting the charter on fish, but also catering to their requests. As needy as they may be, making a clear and concerted effort can go a long way. Here are a few pointers on keeping them smiling:
1. Get to know your client: It is important to know not just what your clients want to catch, but a little about their background as well. You don’t need to know their life story, but the basics are essential. A good starting point might be name, hometown, how they heard about your operation. Considering that charter clients are shelling out over $1,000 to fish with you and may plan on giving you a few hundred more in tips as they leave, it literally pays to know who you’re fishing with. Go the extra mile by letting your charter guest get to know you as well—a little history about the boat and its operation goes a long way.
2. Personalize the experience: Each charter guest should receive the VIP experience. Customer service is key. Whether the guests are the owner’s best friends since childhood or the group won the trip at a charity raffle—they should feel that their experience is important to you. 3. Perfectly provisioned: Ensure that the meals, snacks and drinks on the boat are exactly what your charter guest wants. It is not enough to have a few bags of pretzels and the leftover beer from the last guest. You could even send out a pre-charter survey to get to know the needs and wants of your guest would be preferable. If there is a food allergy or medical condition you want to know before you are 100-miles off shore.
4. Don’t assume: Your new clients may not know anything about fishing, so don’t assume they do. What may be the simplest technicality to you can be quite challenging to someone who has never done it. Ask questions, educate, and teach your guests about your craft. The more the guests know about the what, when, why and how—the more likely that are to enjoy the day—even if the fishing is not the best.
5. Swag: Everyone likes getting things for free. Even if they have just paid thousands for a day on your boat and do not necessarily need free stuff—nobody, and I mean, nobody will turn down a free boat t-shirt. Give your guests a parting gift like a shirt, sticker, hat—something to remember you by. As long as it has the logo on it, you are all set. There are many ways to keep your charter guest smiling and entertained for a day on the water. If you treat all of your guests like VIPs, there will be no complaints, whether or not the fish cooperate.