Twenty-five miles north of Miami is Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Boasting year-round sunshine, long white beaches and scenic blue ocean canals – it is the ideal environment for a boat cruise. It is no surprise Fort Lauderdale is considered the yachting capital of the world.

Each year it plays host to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which brings over one hundred thousand luxury boat enthusiasts to see over thirteen-hundred boats on display. The event brings in nearly a billion dollars to the local economy through tourist spending – including restaurants, sightseeing and accommodations.

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi is a local business that operates a fleet of large passenger boats. They shuttle people through the canals, bring tourists on a guided tour or host private events with a spacious cabin and fully stocked bar. Each year, the Boat Show brings a massive influx of customers. However, in 2020, COVID-19 caused massive uncertainty in the community.

“Everyone was saying – are they going to do it? Can they do it? We realized technology is what is going to help us through all this. We’ve got to make it easier and faster to process.”  

Bill Walker, Owner of Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi

Water Taxi chose RocketRez as their cloud operating system several years ago. This was a collaborative approach, as our Customer Service team worked to help implement many new features that would help Water Taxi drive revenue and increase efficiency. This collaboration continued as we looked to help them make changes to meet COVID-19 protocols.

“We called you guys up right away and said, ‘here’s a few things we saw out in the field – we’ve got to make some changes!” 

With the Boat Show approaching in October, it was imperative to ensure that contactless technology was implemented, running smoothly and that all staff were trained on the changes well in advance of the large influx of customers. RocketRez was addressing the very specific needs of a boat tour operator, which have some unique characteristics compared to other Tour and Attraction businesses.

Key Boat Tour Software Features

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Simplified Ticketing 

Managing walk-up customers, direct booking online and the crowd brought in by local resellers can be complex, even before a contactless mandate. RocketRez cloud ticketing system allowed Water Taxi to connect all ticket sales channels through one system to send tickets to customers’ phones. This resulted in increased efficiency and customer experience.

“When we started back in 2016, we were handing people paper receipts that had barcodes on them. Staff needed a printer on their waistband, and a separate device that did scanning. An iPad would tie that all together.” 

On-Board operations 

Operationally, multiple vessels out on the water at any given time need a centralized digital system employees can use for a variety of functions. A cloud software solution allows employees to log into the system via the internet from their appropriate device with all Water Taxi’s prices, capacities and settings pre-populated.

Many boat tours use RocketRez on each boat through an iPad or their preferred point-of-sale system. Cash bar, food and souvenirs can all be purchased and reconciled on the spot.

“The larger chunk of our business is out in the field. Every boat has its own ticketing setup – but the boats can be ten miles apart.” 

Resellers  

Water Taxi has built a local network of resellers that drive additional traffic to their boats including hotel concierges, restaurants and events. When it comes to third party sellers, reducing friction in the customer buying process on behalf of your reseller can yield great benefits.  

With the RocketRez system, Water Taxi can deploy a custom reseller link for any applicable medium. Selling from a hotel lobby? Simply log into RocketRez through your preferred point-of-sale system. Want to include Water Taxi as an add-on to your online offer? The RocketRez web engine will provide an eCommerce style checkout branded to your company.  

As an operator, your preset pricing, discounts and capacities ensure the reseller exerts minimal effort managing these sales – and you have a record of all that came through each channel to run a custom report.

Verification and Data Collection 

Previously, Water Taxi had been managing many sales channels with a paper receipt system to scan barcodes. Over time, they realized that certain customers were scanning barcodes multiple times (passing the same ticket to friends and family to be used on another boat in the fleet). Manually, this is very difficult to track.

RocketRez allows customers to set custom parameters for where and when a barcode can be scanned to prevent double usage. The result was an immediate improvement.

“Our accuracy has gone up dramatically in terms of scanning and completion of sales.” 

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will resume as planned with COVID-19 restrictions in place this October, and residents could not be more excited to get back out on the water.

“The whole city breathed a sigh of relief. We’re coming back to life here!”  

Water Taxi believes that many of the feature upgrades that were mandated from COVID-19 have created a positive effect on customer experience – improving their business efficiency in a way that will continue years after reopening.

“My staff is definitely putting in a lot less time. The processing is that much better and that much faster. Best of all, our total volume of customers is off under 15% from 2019 – even including capacity mandates!”  

RocketRez is proud to partner with Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi and hopes to take a ride through the canals as soon as possible!

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