In the heart of the southern United States, Louisville is a bustling city with a rich heritage. Home to popular events like the Kentucky Derby, State Fair and Bourbon Festival – summers in Louisville feature large crowds of locals and tourists swarming to the downtown waterfront. Visitors looking to take a break from the crowds, cool down and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Ohio River flock to take a tour on the historic Belle of Louisville. 

The Belle of Louisville has been operating for over one hundred years. The Belle and her sister vessel, the Mary M. Miller, are steam and paddlewheel powered respectively and have been host to millions of guests looking for a fun and historic experience on a classic riverboat. Collectively known as Belle of Louisville Riverboats, they offer a full suite of services with a bar, restaurant, concessions, merchandise and on-board activities making it a popular destination for private events and last-minute sightseeing alike.  

Running a multi-faceted operation that includes scheduling for multiple boats and food preparation for a fluctuating level of customers requires management analysis of multiple data points followed by speedy staff communication to ensure accurate forecasts.  

Belle of Louisville Riverboats was a perfect fit for the RocketRez all-in-one cloud management system, particularly our Automation features built specifically for boat tours.  

Pre-Event Reminder 

The pre-event reminder module allows you to customize email communications with your own branding to be sent automatically, ahead of departure, to customers. This can also be used to brand and customize forms and waivers, or instructions for tour guests.  

There are also some less obvious applications: 

“Believe it or not, people buy tickets for the wrong date or tour all the time!” 

— Sabrina Edmonson, Business Operations Manager

Running a boat tour that hosts both private events planned long in advance and on-the-spot foot traffic requires a degree of agility. Guests will be approaching with different levels of preparation for the event. Having an outlet to communicate with several touchpoints will increase the chances everything goes smoothly on the day of the tour.  

Post-Event Survey 

Customer surveys are an invaluable tool for understanding how to improve guest experience. Automating the collection of surveys provides several advantages over manual methods. 

Belle of Louisville Riverboats had previously been collecting comment cards and having staff enter them into their system manually. Eventually, they stopped comment cards altogether.

“It takes manpower to enter that data and you’re depending on them to enter that data correctly.”

— Sabrina Edmonson 

Distributing, collecting and entering data from a handwritten comment card is cumbersome and distracts staff from other value-added activities. Moreover, staff shouldn’t be required to review information that directly speaks to their personal performance.

Automating this task frees up staff and eliminates human bias from the process. It also provides custom reporting options that allow you to sort the collected data by tour to specialize even further. 

Trip Cancellation 

Outdoor tours are amazing but come with an element of unpredictability. Between weather interruptions and maintenance of boats, the occasional cancellation is unavoidable.  

Automating an email to all guests of a particular tour that gives them immediate notice of a cancellation, options for re-booking and links to receive a refund or a store credit eliminates most of the manual steps in this uncomfortable process for customer service staff. 

Automated Reporting 

Receiving automated reports directly to your email, sorted to your specifications, is a manager’s dream. Although reports are often thought of as a tool for post-tour reconciliation and accounting functions, they also serve a purpose as preparatory documents. 

“Customer service is of paramount importance. Automated reporting is assisting all department heads.”

— Sabrina Edmonson 

RocketRez worked with Belle of Louisville Riverboats to implement these automations based on a detailed discovery process and recommendation, to ensure they will function as desired for the long term. 

“When configured for the client’s specific needs, automations provide everyone with the information they need right out of the gate. This increases staff operational awareness and provides consistency in the information your team is receiving.” 

— Steve Penner, RocketRez CSM 

Belle of Louisville Riverboats is both a fun and historic attraction – and a dynamic and well-run business operation. We hope to partner with them to provide great guest experiences for the next hundred years!