Boost in efficiency and profitability with automated dynamic pricing and Revenue Management Suite

The Client:
Yacht Starship
Industry:
Tours & Transportation
Core Modules:
Ticketing and Reservations
Fleet Management Add On
Event Management Add On
KPIs:
Elevate online sales, automate customer communications and improve connectivity in the field

In the heart of sunny and scenic Florida, the Yacht capital of the world, visitors and locals alike flock to get out on the water for a fun and relaxing time. Enter the Yacht Starship fleet of cruises.

The Company

Yacht Starship operates three different brands - Yacht Starship, Pirate Water Taxi and The Lost Pearl - running through the canals of Tampa Bay and Clearwater, with multiple boats in their fleet.

The brands each have a different look and feel, and target market.

Yacht Starship is an upscale experience with parties and full food and beverage service. Charter packages and weddings are important drivers of revenue.

The Lost Pearl is a big red pirate ship, geared towards a fun experience for kids.

Pirate Water Taxi is more utility based, running an hourly charter with no drinks or kitchen.

Despite their differences, each run their entire operation through RocketRez end-to-end cloud platform, making particular use of the custom ticketing rules for operators running a fleet of passenger vessels.

RocketRez helped Yacht Starship elevate their online sales, automate customer communications and improve connectivity in the field. The responsive cloud system connects all point-of-sale devices back to a central dashboard – which is important when your vessels are separated by miles of water.

With a host of new capabilities and streamlined operations, Yacht Starship’s Operations Manager Jacquelyn Ketner looked to RocketRez to help improve their capabilities in revenue management.

“It’s about forecasting with the trends. Is there a lot going on in town? Is it a holiday? Is it going to rain? Is it going to thunderstorm? All of this affects demand for specific cruises. Dynamic Pricing was new to me, and I was actually manually Dynamic Pricing before. Every time we wanted to increase the price for a specific day or a specific cruise, I was going into the system and keeping track of that myself through a price override. I had a big notebook filled with the information!”
Jacquelyn Ketner, Operations Manager

The Challenge

Manual Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a strategy of changing the price of a product or service to reflect different market conditions affecting demand. Jacquelyn, like many operators we meet, maintains a lot of information used to make actionable pricing decisions all within her head.

“It’s about forecasting with the trends. Is there a lot going on in town? Is it a holiday? Is it going to rain? Is it going to thunderstorm? All of this affects demand for specific cruises. Dynamic Pricing was new to me, and I was actually manually Dynamic Pricing before. Every time we wanted to increase the price for a specific day or a specific cruise, I was going into the system and keeping track of that myself through a price override. I had a big notebook filled with the information!”

Boat tours have the very clear, but highly volatile, effect of the weather to manage.

Looking at the weather for the week, you must be prepared for unpredictable forces to cause demand for a cruise to drop to zero, or combine with another factor, like a sporting event or convention, to drive enough walk-up traffic to fill three boats with ease.

This affects Yacht Starship’s pricing decisions. There is a clear opportunity to capture additional profit by adjusting ticket prices on the highest demand days.

As mentioned, Jacquelyn had been calculating and executing this manually – which was no easy task.

“It was literally going day-by-day. We’d see this boat is getting close to selling out – let's increase our price. The other boat’s getting close - let’s do it again! It was a full-time job.”
“Dynamic Pricing has been phenomenal. Automation is saving me a tremendous amount of time. It gives me the opportunity to focus on other things.”
Jacquelyn Ketner, Operations Manager

The Solution

RocketRez Demand-Based Pricing

Yacht Starship was a perfect fit for the RocketRez Demand-Based Pricing Module.

While we take inspiration from hotel and airline dynamic pricing strategies, we differ significantly in that we keep control in the hands of the operator. In the tours and attractions space, where so much relies on the knowledge and savvy of operators like Jacquelyn, we see this as a big advantage.

Demand-Based pricing is built to scale the knowledge of tour operators, rather than replace it.

“We had to test it out, we didn’t know how the customer was going to react to our prices increasing – because we always had a standard price.”

Automation based on a set of rules inputted by the operator reduces the manual work of price overrides, but still allows for enough flexibility to “call it as you see it”. This allows operators the chance to orchestrate a real price discovery process, which leads to a very detailed understanding of your target market’s price sensitivity.

The Result

Jacquelyn worked with the RocketRez team and implemented dynamic pricing and immediately saw the transformative effects.

“Dynamic Pricing has been phenomenal. Automation is saving me a tremendous amount of time. It gives me the opportunity to focus on other things.”

Jacquelyn was able to scale her knowledge into an operational rule, automate the work – and set her sights on the next opportunity for growth.

“I’ve recently been promoted, and am training another person taking over my previous position. She mentioned that she could not imagine manually entering the price overrides that RocketRez Dynamic Pricing feature has automated.”

Going forward Jacquelyn and Yacht Starship have plans to collaborate on improving their eCommerce capabilities by implementing a cart abandonment reminders, delivered through branded emails automated with the RocketRez email templates module.