SOLUTION SNAPSHOT

This client is a large operator of marinas and boat rental facilities on a lake. Its primary business is renting boats to consumers by the hour, half-day or full-day. Undergirding all their operations was a third-party reservation technology platform. After that third-party vendor was purchased, the hourly rental functionality was discontinued, leaving the marina operator high and dry. ENO8 reverse-engineered a superior reservation platform solution to reinstate and improve all of their operations.

Industry: Hospitality
Services: Design, Development, Testing
Platform: Web Application

THE OPPORTUNITY

Part of the State Parks System, this lake sports some of the cleanest, clearest water of any of its state’s lakes. Given its close proximity to major cities, it’s perfect for day trips or weekend getaways.

To capture that clientele and take advantage of the superior swimming and fishing waters, the marina operator rents a fleet of 105 pontoon boats and jet skis by the hour, as well as a houseboat by the day. The facilities also sell bait, tackle, and fishing supplies, as well as fuel, snacks and assorted adult refreshments.

The challenge

This marina operator relied on a third-party technology platform to handle all its boat reservations and billing. It was imperative that whatever platform they used allowed for hourly rentals, as that’s the lion’s share of their business. The provider they were using was purchased by a conglomerate last year, and the hourly reservation functionality was discontinued. That meant the marina operator had to find a technology partner who could not only reverse-engineer an hourly reservation system from the ground up, but do so in less than three months before the late spring/early summer season kicked in; the company had no real way of conducting business without that technology platform in place. Furthermore, there’s a host of unique technology challenges for a system like this; for instance, internet service on the lake is intermittent at best, so whatever solution ENO8 designed had to account for overcome a host of variables for a mission-critical operations platform.

The solution

ENO8 went beyond reverse-engineering a carbon copy of the prior platform and incorporated new and innovative functionalities that made the marina operator’s job even easier, more efficient and more profitable — all in less than three months. The software solution was put into effect in March, less than three months from project commencement and before summer’s busy season began.

The solution featured hourly rental functionality, but went a step further by adding algorithmic optimization into the solution. This enabled its fleet to have the most boats possible out at any time, have availabilities rearranged on the fly as new reservations came in/existing ones were extended, and all-the-while protected the necessary cleaning/turn-around buffer for each boat in the fleet.

The final solution also offered up-to-the-minute inventory reports, utilization reports, trend reports and forecasting reports, allowing the marina operator’s back end to best optimize its resources. It also handled payments directly in app. Finally, and perhaps most impressively, the solution required a huge amount of customization and on-the-fly adaptability: it necessitated a host of variable pricing schedules, business rules, open/closing times, times between reservations, etc. The solution had to be able to take into account all these different variables and adjust reservation availabilities, pricing and due date/times in real time.

The impact

Because of ENO8’s unique and battle-tested development process, we were able to put out a superior, customized solution to the company’s previous platform despite a rigorously truncated timetable. Their business relies exclusively on its digital technology infrastructure, and that infrastructure was effectively eliminated overnight. ENO8 was able to not only rebuild it, but markedly improve that infrastructure to improve operations, oversight, forecasting and reporting into the future.

More importantly, as is true in all our engagements, our partners own and control the IP behind the solutions we build together. The marina operator can now white-label the technology solution ENO8 designed for them and sell it to both other marinas and any other business requiring hourly rental reservations and tracking. This allows them to not only recoup its development investment, but also turn its technology platform into another, distinct revenue stream.

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