Managing cash payments from guest boaters can be challenging. So can ensuring that your club members are constantly kept up-to-date. Let’s find out how Carl E.J. Hansen – Chairman at Sejlforeningen Vikingen – has handled these challenges by digitalising its marina and yacht club operations.
From cash to digital payments
Five years ago Carl noticed that many clubs were facing the same challenge – handling cash payments from guest boaters. The cash payments were delivered in small envelopes. Multiple people were involved in the process making it inefficient and intransparent. There was a risk of miscalculation, theft or simply losing the money. Carl knew it was possible to digitalize this process like in many other industries. Therefore, he reached out to the Harba team.
Harba provided Sejlforeningen Vikingen with a simple and easy digital payment solution – HarbaApp – a free mobile app for boaters and marinas. It enabled guest boaters to make payments for berths and other related facilities (e.g. shower, electricity, Wifi, etc.) using their smartphone – either via the HarbaApp or by visiting the harba.co/book page. This solution eliminated the need for multiple people to handle cash at the marina. It made it easier to track who had paid and who hadn’t as well.
In addition, as HarbaApp integrates with the HarbaMaster marina management software, it allowed Sejlforeningen Vikingen to have a better overview of its berth availability, reporting and statistics.
Challenges with German customers
However, people are different and not everyone prefers making payments via their smartphones. After implementing the HarbaApp solution, Carl noticed that many boaters from Germany prefered not to type in their credit card information manually in their fear of making a mistake.
As a result, Carl cooperated with Harba and had the honour of installing the very first HarbaKiosk at his marina. HarbaKiosk is a self-service payment terminal allowing guest boaters to pay for their berths and other services using a credit card. German guests felt much more comfortable with that and Carl now has an alternative payment method.
Carl had chosen HarbaKiosk over the other solutions available in the market due to three main reasons. It has a great price, clever features, and most importantly – it integrates with the HarbaMaster management software. The information from online payments (made via HarbaApp or harba.co/book) and the payments made in the self-service payment terminal are synchronized and displayed in the HarbaMaster system. This makes it easy to oversee what’s happening in the club as well as taking good care of the marina guests.
“Harba has built a great system! Especially the accountant is extremely happy with it, as HarbaMaster makes it super easy for him to accomplish his tasks. He does not have to keep a close eye on the money flow anymore – the system does that for him.” – Carl E.J. Hansen – Chairman at Sejlforeningen Vikingen
Smart communication with club members
Another major challenge Carl was facing at that time was making sure that his club members were up to date with the most important information, news and events. From his experience, Carl knew that people rarely read their emails.
Harba also had a solution for that challenge. HarbaMaster marina software has a dedicated module that allows sending customized messages to various groups of members via email and SMS. According to Carl, people read their text messages more often compared to emails. Therefore, he is using this module for sending direct short messages to his club members. For longer messages, he is using a combination of email and SMS. After sending an email he sends a short SMS to “catch” the member’s attention and let him know that there is something important in his mailbox. This strategy works really well!
“The SMS and E-mail module is absolutely brilliant. It is an indispensable feature that you are able to communicate with everybody at once. It may be a feature that others will not find useful in the same way, but especially in a club, it is super smart that you can easily communicate with your members. In addition, via HarbaMaster you can also sort out whether you only want to communicate with the boaters who made their payments on time or with those who didn’t.” – says Carl.
Digitalisation is the future
Carl believes that online payments and self-service payment terminals are the future. According to him, it is the best, most convenient, and safest way to receive payments from customers. This is an advantage for the harbormaster as well as for the boaters. It saves time and resources for the marina and makes it easy and quick to make payments for boaters.
“You cannot avoid the digitalization of marinas. The rest of the world is being digitized, so why shouldn’t marinas also be digitized? It is 10 times easier for the accountant to send out invoices and receive payments using Harba’s digital solution. I would definitely recommend Harba to other marinas and clubs.” – concludes Carl.
Sejlforeningen Vikingen was the first Harba customer and has been partnering with the company for the past five years.
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