7 Ways to Reduce Charter Boat No-Shows

As a charter boat business owner, your bookings are your lifeblood. Without reliable charter bookings, you'll be looking at an empty work week, and no one wants that. 

No-shows are one of the biggest challenges that charter boat businesses face. Sometimes, it's on the customer for not communicating that they'd like to cancel. But other times, increasing no-shows can be a symptom of a weak policy or enforcement of that policy.

Whether you charter a sailboat, yacht, fishing vessel, or any other type of rig, you want to keep your book of business full. Use these tips to reduce your charter boat no-shows.

1. Keep in Touch After Booking

One of the best ways to avoid no-shows is to keep an open line of communication with your customers after they complete their booking process. 

It's harder to avoid communicating with someone infrequent in their communications with you. Keep in touch via phone, email, or text, and remind them about their upcoming booking so it can't slip their mind.

2. Communicate Your Cancellation and No-Show Policy

Make your cancellation and no-show policy crystal clear from the start. It’s the best way to deter bookings from people who aren’t fully onboard with booking the charter. 

Your policy should be part of your checkout process. Don't let customers complete their booking without first confirming that they have read and agree to your cancellation policy. If you require a cancellation or no-show fee, be upfront about that too. 

3. Entice Them With a Surprise for their Charter

As the day of the charter boat booking gets closer, consider enticing your customers with a surprise gift. Especially if you charter boats for bachelor/bachelorette parties, honeymoons, or island excursions, a gift can add to the luxury experience. 

Consider sending them a message that says you’re treating them to a complimentary bottle of champagne and fruit basket upon arrival, or send them an offer to add another stop to their charter boat tour at no additional cost.

These small details can reignite the excitement for the booking and decrease the odds of a rogue no-show.

4. Request Payment in Advance

While this might not be a policy you wanted to enforce, sometimes requiring prepayment is the only way to avoid the financial losses of no-show charter boat appointments. 

One option is to collect payment information up-front but only charge the card if there is a no-show. It can help safeguard you while tactfully appealing to customers.

Another option is to require payment in full at the time of booking. That way, even if the customer decides not to show, you've still earned money from their booking.

5. Be Available for Questions and Concerns

One of the most common reasons for customer dissatisfaction is a long wait time or inability to reach a business. Don't let this be the reason you're experiencing more no-shows than usual. 

Create a system that ensures greater availability to answer questions and respond to concerns. While you might not want to work 24/7, you can communicate your availability and focus on prompt responses during that period to reinforce trust in your company.

Open communication channels will also allow you to ease any fears, dispel any concerns, and offer any needed questions before the day of the booking.

6. Reward Repeat Charter Boat Customers

When your charter boat customers know you'll take care of them, they're less likely not to show up. Create a loyalty system that incentivizes customers, such as a free lunch and drinks after three charter bookings. 

Customers are more likely to stay loyal when they know their patronage enrolls them in a reward program. When gifts and special bonuses are on the table, you may be surprised to learn how many people want in on the rewards.

7. Use All-in-One Booking Software

Keeping your systems and policies aligned in one place will make it easier to prevent no-shows and to adjust when no-shows do inevitably happen. A charter boat booking software like Roverd keeps everything integrated into one user-friendly system.

Booking software lets you create and communicate a no-show policy through the online platform. You also can send out helpful reminders about upcoming bookings, ask for advanced payment, and make it easy for customers to cancel if needed. 

Bon Voyage

No-shows are frustrating, but you can minimize them by creating and enforcing cancellation policies that keep both you and your customers accountable. Better yet, reward programs and easy-to-use booking platforms let you reduce no-shows while attracting more customers. 

Roverd booking software for boat charters lets you do it all. It’s the simple way to manage all your bookings in one place. Get in touch to learn more.

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