Mooloolaba Marina in Queensland has the wind in its sails, with a recent boom in yacht ownership and the use of powerful marina management software helping to push its average annual berth occupancy rate up to 90 per cent this year.
After expanding its capacity from 167 to 265 berths in 2008, the bustling marina introduced PacsoftNG, realising that without a comprehensive marina management software platform it would be a major challenge to manage such a large operation.
Marina Manager Jason Roles said the decision to upgrade had paid dividends, particularly in light of the growing demand for yachts and rapid growth in Australian yacht ownership following the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Covid saw a dramatic shift in occupancy trends and many people investing in boats as overseas travel was off the cards.”
He said the software had modules that made it easy for marina staff to handle everything, from berth rental and payments to customer details, invoicing and SMS and email customer communications. The berth rental and visual marina functionality in PacsoftNG was more comprehensive than comparable features in other systems, enabling Mooloolaba’s team to easily manage their berthing rental pool system, which sees the marina managing and renting out privately-owned berths as part of a collective pool.
“PacsoftNG can manage our complicated berthing rental pool system, I haven’t seen another system that can.”
“We can place and remove berths from the rental pool easily, change ownership and at the end of each month it calculates the net income we pay to our berth members.”
As more and more visitors have flocked to the marina the increase in custom has led to the marina’s office team growing from two people to four, all of whom use PacsoftNG to manage the marina’s berths and communicate with its customers to ensure their experience is as streamlined as possible.
Mr Roles said in 2014 the marina’s average annual occupancy was 70 per cent, so to steadily grow to over 90 per cent was a big achievement.
“We are less seasonal these days, rarely dropping below 80 per cent in our quietest months and we book out well in advance for our peak season December to January”, Mr Roles said.
Mooloolaba Marina is a paradise for anyone who loves being in or on the water, with a vast range of activities and services for everyone from a casual beach tourist to a hardcore boatie to enjoy.
The marina features several boating clubs, a marine skills training provider, marine surveyor, insurance and boat brokers and varied boat maintenance services; if a service is not onsite they have an online local service directory people can visit. The marina also serves as a hub for fishing charters, scuba tours and seafood cruises whilst whale watching trips and submarine diving excursions are a short stroll down the road for people who want to explore the depths.
Without a well-managed marina management system boaties might not be able to make the most of the services Mooloolaba Marina has to offer.
Mr Roles said one of the benefits of PacsoftNG was that it was a one-stop-shop solution that could manage all the services the marina provided. It was also intuitive enough that new staff joining Mooloolaba Marina could pick it up quickly, he said.
“New team members can learn quite quickly how to book in a vessel, send out confirmations and check them in.
“There’s also a lot of flexibility in terms of reporting. Over the years we have set up our own Microsoft Word-based customised confirmation emails and check-in agreements for customers which we merge with customer details from PacsoftNG and email or print out.”
Customers can pay berthing fees online straight from their invoice or by credit card using the Windcave add-on, thanks to a payment integration within PacsoftNG’s software. With so many moving parts at the marina it’s a relief to have a software tool that could handle the heavy lifting, Mr Roles said.
“There are many flexible options in terms of how we choose to operate, for example we recently just changed from charging based on boat length to charging on berth length – with just a few simple changes in the system.”
The future is bright for Mooloolaba Marina with the peak summer season round the corner. “We like to think it’s a place where people arrive for a night or two, but choose to stay a little longer.”