Klehkoot Marina 2017 Customer Survey
In the summer of 2017 from July 28th to August 11th, 7 staff member’s surveyed 1,594 visitors to the Marina representing approximately ninety-five percent of the available participants. Our goal was to find out where our customers live and make note of why they visited the facility.
The survey consisted of two multiple choice questions (sample attached). Question number one; “Please tell us where you live” included four choices; Around or on Sproat Lake, In or close to the Alberni Valley, Other cities on Vancouver Island or the Lower Mainland and beyond. The second question, “Why are you visiting us today?” included three choices; Fuel for boat, snacks, drinks, ice cream and other. Where ‘other’ included but was not limited to, pick up-drop-off, safety or urgent repair, non-motorized water sports, information, view/sightseeing, picnicking, meeting family/friends, using WIFI, docking.
Our staff members approached the visitors and explained we were doing a quick survey to find out where the visitors to the Marina were coming from and why they were visiting. We asked them where they were from and in most cases we went through each individual question and checked the applicable answer. We then asked what brings them here today and then checked all that applied.
We timed our survey to extend over 2 weeks and 3 weekends during what is traditionally the height of our season. This year the temperatures reached over 32 degrees on consecutive days, multiple times. We had sunny skies but smoke from the fires in the interior and very little winds. As has traditionally been our experience our sales volume peaked during this time. Eventually at the August 5th and 6th peak our sales and visitor count increased by 1,200% compared to shoulder times.
Where are visitors from?
Combined Sproat Lake and Alberni Valley 57%
Combined out of town visitors 43%
Around or on Sproat Lake 37%
In or close to the Alberni Valley 20%
Other Cities on Vancouver Island 25%
The lower mainland and beyond 18%
Why are you here?*
Fuel for boat 55%
Snacks/Drinks/Ice cream 24%
Combined Convenience & Other 60%
*Totals for question #2 are over 100% because multiple answers could be selected.
We had a pre-conceived notion that because we were in the height of the season that our visitors were from places other than the local area. What we found was practically the opposite.
Visitors were over 2 times more likely to be local residents than to be from other cities on Vancouver Island and over 3 times more likely to be local than from places beyond Vancouver Island. While a significantly high 878 visits were to fuel their boats, 950 visits were for convenience and other items.
The numbers indicate an average of 200 visits each week from lake residents, demonstrating very strong local support for the business. The population in Area D (Sproat Lake) is 2173. This would indicate that 27% of Sproat Lake residents supported our business in a 3 week period. We don’t think many other businesses could boast this.
These residents have a choice of Alberni Inlet and Lake options close at hand. Potentially the lake would be the greatest distance for most. The lake also offers fresh water rather than salt water which is a preference for some.
Combining the 2 Alberni figures (57%) definitely shows the locals like our option and it’s important for the Marina to respond to the local market needs.
A news article in the AV News from 2012 notes:
The port authority conducts an annual board waitlist for moorage at marinas. Seventy five per cent of the tenants at the marinas are locals while 25 per cent come from out of town, usually Alberta and the United States, Carter said.
In either case the importance of out of town visitors is highly valued as it tends to bring more money to the community to places like accommodation, restaurants etc.
The solid numbers from out of town (43%) along with fuel and convenience purchases tells us that people like amenities and convenience. They don’t need to pack gas, which is dangerous, causes excessive pollutants in the lake and they are aware they can take care of personal needs while they are at the lake. Our convenience offerings add value which is obviously appreciated.
Overall our business supports the recreational boat industry both directly and indirectly. Alberni Valley and Sproat Lake residents use the Marina facility more than any other group validating its importance to the community.
Additional Supporting Statistics:
We also did some calculations as to where our moorage customers come from. We reveiwed the addresses of present and past customers over the last three years. Once again the results supported the fact that Alberni Valley residents and Sproat Lake property owners represent the largest group using the Marina facility.
Combined Sproat Lake and Alberni Valley 58%
Combined out of town visitors 42%
Other cities on Vancouver Island 38%
The lower mainland and beyond 4%
Thank you for your attention to this survey. We think it is an important indication that the Marina is an essential asset to the Lake and the Alberni Valley community.
The Klehkoot Marina