By Rezdy — 28 Jun 2016
Manly Sailing is a sailing experience company run by Anne Stockdale and her husband Chris. They offer a variety of sailing activities: from sailing classes for adults and children, to more extreme adventures such as racing in Sydney to Hobart. They consider their job one of the best on the planet. They’re passionate about the water and always strive to ensure everyone enjoys it as much as they do.
Being a predominantly outdoor business, Anne’s fleet is often at the complete mercy of the weather. It was crucial for her to find and implement a reliable booking system for tours and activities which would enable Manly Sailing to operate more efficiently when not on the water and automate processes that would otherwise keep her chained to her desk.
“The tours and activities industry is changing. People’s decision process is now a lot shorter. Implementing Rezdy has helped us retain prospective customers by making the booking process straightforward and simple. They can now follow their decision through straight away. This led to a substantial increase in our bookings”, said Anne, who we were fortunate to catch in her quaint Manly office just before she was closing up for the season.
‘Rezdy has helped us retain customers by making the booking process clean and simple. They can follow their decision through straight away, which led to a substantial increase in our bookings.’
R: What’s the best thing about your job?A: In some ways, our job is like any other job. We do have our moods day-to-day, but then you just look out the window, or come out on the harbour and see what a beautiful thing we do. Everyone we meet is doing something fun and enjoyable. Our customers are happy, our staff are happy, so it’s a really positive environment to work in.
R: Sailing and water sports are very popular in Sydney. How do you differentiate yourselves?A: We’re a very hands-on and a very bespoke business. We like to give our customers what they want, and we’re not afraid to change our offerings according to how the customer’s needs change. And we do offer a very personal service. We tailor things for our customers and we ask our instructors and our staff to bring a lot of their own personality. So that’s really what makes us different from large organisations that may have more of a formula.
R: Being on the water every day seems like such an easy job. But we’re sure a lot of it goes on in the background. How is an outdoor business run?A: In the office, it really is just myself. I employ an admin sales manager who helps me out. All of our staff is mainly on the water. We employ up to 15 instructors during high season. Depending on the size of the groups and the number of trips, we also have at least another 20 skippers and instructors available on call.
R: What are the challenges?A: A constant challenge is definitely the fluctuating economy. We’re in the business of giving something that’s seen as a treat. If things aren’t going so well, people aren’t going to spend their disposable income, and that can impact us.
Staying on top of administration also used to be very hard. Because we do so many different things, taking bookings was challenging. We have so many different staff, so many boats that we use. To keep all of that coordinated, we had to resort to using multiple Excel spreadsheets, manual calendars, wall charts, you name it. Until we actually found Rezdy.
‘To manage our large fleet and the ever changing number of staff, we had to resort to multiple Excel spreadsheets, manual calendars, books, wall charts, you name it. Until we actually found Rezdy.’
R: Why did you choose Rezdy?A: There were a lot of products in the market and I did look at a few of them. I went with Rezdy because a colleague I trust, who also runs a successful water business, encouraged me to try it out. And I just found it so incredibly easy to use. Which was a big thing for us. During the high season, we don’t have the time to learn and adapt to complex processes.
Honestly, Rezdy was so simple to tailor to our business and our processes. That’s the main reason we chose it. We went, “That’s easy, let’s go with that.”
Now all our admin is centralised. We can have all of our resources, bookings and payments all in one place. We can book the calendar out if we need to go and do something else. In the past, every boat used to have its own calendar, which we had to book out manually. Now everything’s automatically synced and updated, making it manageable and time efficient. It’s working really, really well for us, and we’re glad we picked it.
Rezdy was so simple to tailor to our business and our processes. That’s the main reason we chose it.
R: Everyone’s been saying the tourism industry is changing and it’s so important to have that booking process flow smoothly to stay competitive…A: It’s been a startling change in the last 12 to 18 months. All of a sudden, our bookings have transformed from something people plan a long time in advance to something they’re planning a very short time ahead. It’s become more of an impulse decision. Everyone in our industry has noticed this. I do think this timeframe between the research and purchase decision will continue to shorten. It’s paramount to keep the prospective customers engaged and interested.
By using Rezdy, we are definitely able to digitally retain more customers on our website. Once they’ve made their decision, they can follow it through straight away and the process is clean and reliable. So, I do think Rezdy has helped us increase the number of bookings.
R: Do you also feel like a chunk of your time is now freed up for more important tasks?A: Absolutely. I’m no longer following up on endless phone calls and emails, updating calendars and manually booking out resources. The whole process is now streamlined through a single tour planning software. This saves me time to focus on the bigger picture and pay more attention to better help our customers and improve our products.
But most of all, I appreciate Rezdy’s voting system for features that people submit. It shows that they’re listening to how people are using the software and then improving it as a result.
R: What do you value most about Rezdy?A: I always rate Rezdy’s customer service excellent, simply because the answer is always quick and usually quite comprehensive.
There’s also a thorough knowledge base. If I’m looking to understand how to do something, I can go and have a look without having to contact anyone. But most of all, I appreciate Rezdy’s voting system for features that people submit. I think it’s very progressive. It shows that they’re listening to how people are using the booking software and then improving it as a result.
Another thing that impresses me is the number of agents that are coming online with Rezdy, such as Viator, Expedia. These are pretty big players in our market that we don’t normally have access to. It’s very valuable to be able to get in touch with these agents without having to go and look for them yourself. They’re all listed in the Rezdy Channel Manager. We can see their details and immediately decide if they’re the right fit. This makes the research process so much easier. Interacting with all those big players shows me Rezdy’s definitely out there doing the right thing.
R: We’re thrilled Rezdy played such an important part in your journey so far.A: We were quite an early adopter of Rezdy and I do feel that it has grown tremendously since we first implemented it. As we change and grow, we will want to approach even bigger agents. It’s great to know they will be there waiting for us as part of the evolving Rezdy platform. Rezdy’s really come along from being a good old basic booking system to what I think will be a global player in the tourism agency market.
‘Rezdy partners with the biggest players in the agent market. This shows that they’re definitely out there doing the right thing.’
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