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Old 02-17-2016, 10:55 AM   #21
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MosMar: are you thinking of having the marina in the Fairhope area?
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:01 AM   #22
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I don't know the size of the slips other than width. However, the owners of 50' boats or so are highly unlikely to be willing to pay for an upscale bed and breakfast.
Ok I'm in that category, we're 60' LOA. I wouldn't want to pack clothes, toiletries, etc and move to a room when I have all I need onboard my 3 bedroom floating home. I could see the draw for a smaller boat that may not be as comfortable, but then I think price may be more of an issue for that demographic.

If it were my business, I'd explore the idea of using the customers own boat as the "hotel room" and seeing what concierge services I could offer them. From wash down, cleaning, laundry, onboard meals, massages, etc...
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Old 02-17-2016, 11:11 AM   #23
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FWIW, I usually avoid B&Bs here in the US at all costs.... I'm afraid I'm influenced by a few years living in England, where a B&B up in London (for example) wasn't a destination attraction, it was just a place to sleep with a (usually) great cooked breakfast... for cheap.
I've often used that style of B&B near the British Museum - my preferred accommodation style when not traveling on OPM (other people's money).



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Old 02-17-2016, 11:24 AM   #24
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MosMar: are you thinking of having the marina in the Fairhope area?

Wondering the same thing. If you go too far south in the Bay, you have competition from the Wharf and LuLus. I think even if Bon Secour river could be used that still would be too close. Will you be taking over an existing marina near Fairhope (Wife luvs Fairhope)? Still think this is doable on the Eastern shore.
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:51 PM   #25
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Sounds interesting and I do think the cross over between the land based and water based amenities could be a plus...

When travelling by land anywhere near water I'd prefer a place on/near the water especially if there's boaters to watch.

When cruising we welcome an opportunity to dine ashore - especially if in attractive or historic surroundings.

Having both would certainly satisfy a potential need if crews were changing and or family friends wanting to visit boaters but stay ashore.

Common areas could be utilized by both boaters & roomers and an opportunity to socialize and share stories.
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:32 PM   #26
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Having both would certainly satisfy a potential need if crews were changing and or family friends wanting to visit boaters but stay ashore.

.
Crews often need places when boats are hauled and being serviced. Most of the boats in the size range he's targeting won't have crews, but even for those that do, the crews will stay on the boat.

Now, I've known several people with boats who never spend a night on the boat itself. Don't think any on this forum. But there was one man doing the East Coast and then the loop in a 56' Hatteras. It was just him and a captain. He always stayed in a hotel or motel and the captain on the boat. This would have been appealing to him. Also, a man and wife and kids who traveled in a 62' Sunseeker Predator. They looked for nice resorts and stayed in them. He looked for golf courses.

One thing for your B&B. You need to have some available activities off your premises. A relationship with a golf course, with a tennis club, with a riding stable, even with tourist sites, all build your value.

Ultimately you might turn the marina into a great transient location based on the other benefits available.

Which brings back to the marina. How many year round slips vs. transient? It sounds a lot like you're targeting transient boaters and if you could get them then that could be very profitable.
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Old 02-17-2016, 02:38 PM   #27
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Most of the boats in the size range he's targeting won't have crews, but even for those that do, the crews will stay on the boat.

.
My mistake - wasn't really thinking of paid crew - more like friends / family that might be doing a short section of loop w/ boat owners. Thinking there might be overlap - one "crew" departing another coming.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:19 PM   #28
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I guess a question I'd ask here is how many of you have ever stayed in a hotel or motel or B&B when cruising?

When we started, we thought perhaps we'd want off the boat so we agreed one night a week, hotel. That night came and we quickly decided we liked where we were and the thought of moving from the boat to a hotel seemed like a lot of work for nothing. We've now covered over 50,000 nm and 800 nights or so sleeping on a boat and still haven't chosen to spend a single night in a hotel.
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:41 PM   #29
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Fact is I sleep better on the boat. just that little bit of rocking....zzz...zzz
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:07 PM   #30
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Fact is I sleep better on the boat. just that little bit of rocking....zzz...zzz
Wifey B: If it's rockin', don't go knockin'!
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:30 AM   #31
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"still haven't chosen to spend a single night in a hotel."

But well done meals ashore are always a delight!

For us lunch works better than dinner , and leaves time to get anchored in the PM before dark.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:36 AM   #32
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I'd be interested. We're one of the ones with a smaller boat so it would be good to get off and be "pampered" if we were on a longer trip. Also, our boat only sleeps two, so an option like this would allow us to bring guests with us for overnight trips.

I hope this works out for you. Let us know when you're open for business. Eastern Mobile Bay is at the far end or our long weekend cruising range.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:47 AM   #33
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"still haven't chosen to spend a single night in a hotel."

But well done meals ashore are always a delight!

For us lunch works better than dinner , and leaves time to get anchored in the PM before dark.
But for those well done meals, then what price? What type food? B&B customers are going to expect very nice meals, typically larger dinners because they may be off doing other things at midday. I would say the typical market price of B&B meals would probably be $10 for breakfast and $15-20 for dinner. Some B&B's even more upscale. Now, you take the boat at the marina, not staying in the B&B. Are they interested in meals at those prices? For their entire stay or just one day? Now most B&B's I'm aware of only serve breakfast. So do you turn it into a regular communal table restaurant for dinner? Again, what prices? What menu selections?

You're now adding an additional business and profit/loss center and for any challenges running a marina or lodging has, they are simple compared to a restaurant.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:58 AM   #34
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I think a small restaurant (and bar!) at a marina would be ideal. Don't really care about B&B rooms...or cabins...or whatever, but if they help support the restaurant and bar that would be fine.


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Old 02-18-2016, 11:40 AM   #35
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I think a small restaurant (and bar!) at a marina would be ideal. Don't really care about B&B rooms...or cabins...or whatever, but if they help support the restaurant and bar that would be fine.


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How many small marina restaurants do you know that are profitable? Not very many. The best ones may pay the operators enough to live on, what they could make working elsewhere, but no more.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:08 PM   #36
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Thanks everyone for the valuable input. A lot of good points were made that we didn't think of and would definitely need to be considered before moving forward. The overall attitude seems to lean toward the Yes or good idea side, but the other make good points and obstacles to consider. I will hopefully have some updates as we explore this idea in the coming weeks. Thanks to all who have commented, I have spent a good amount of time on the water and in different ports through the gulf coast, rivers, great lakes, and east coast and I know what I like and dislike, but that does me no good when it comes to starting something like this because we need feedback from everyone we can get it from, good and bad. Our biggest obstacles right now are getting it started and which direction to go with it based on if this is something that would be popular or should be take it in a different direction, then there's the location; we would be close to three of the most popular marinas on the Alabama coast.

Just a few notes to clarify, when guests rent a room that arrived by boat, the cost of the slip rental would be covered by the room rental, which would not be outrageous or anything more than a typical B&B for the area. Pricing would be close to that stated earlier, $10 or so for breakfast and no more than $20 for dinner which would be no small breakfast or dinner. We would put a good bit of effort into the marina portion to make it just as inviting to stay there as any other place; laundry, showers, courtesy car, courtesy bicycles, supplies, pump out, etc. There is an old bait shop next door that would make for a great bar/lounge somewhere down the line.

If anyone wants to get an idea of its proposed location, it's in Bon Secour, AL on the Bon Secour River near Billy's and Aquillia Seafood. No matter what the wind direction, there is no raw seafood or fish smell, my wife wouldn't even consider this an option if there was. Again, still plenty of consideration needs to be done given its somewhat remote location (15 minutes to Foley shopping centers and Gulf Shores Beaches). The close proximity to LuLu's and The Wharf has definitely been on my mind, those traveling west would have no reason to stop so our best chance is to catch the ones coming down the bay and from the west, if they haven't stayed on the Mobile side.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:08 PM   #37
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Just a few notes to clarify, when guests rent a room that arrived by boat, the cost of the slip rental would be covered by the room rental,
No. Please not.

Provide discounts between the two but don't give away slips. Treat marina and B&B as profit centers and protect the profits of each. Can the B&B afford to pay the marina for the slip? I wouldn't think so. Also if slip is free, then those who just come to the B&B figure they should get some freebie since others are. I'd be fine with a 25% discount on the slip and I wouldn't even scream up to 50%. However, the idea of giving away inventory (and, yes, from a business perspective available slips are inventory) terrifies me and if you start that way it will never be something you can change easily.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:26 PM   #38
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Another idea, don't know if this makes sense, is a base for vacationers with trailerable boats.


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Old 02-18-2016, 01:38 PM   #39
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How many small marina restaurants do you know that are profitable? Not very many. The best ones may pay the operators enough to live on, what they could make working elsewhere, but no more.
Agree that most of them are little more than seasonal grills - but the bar is the point, really. OK, it doesn't have to be on-site - I could see walking to it, but it really is nice to have drinks on a bar overlooking your boat.

Actually, now that I think about it - that "seasonal" component is going to be a challenge. I don't know the region or vacation patterns, but I suspect that the transit boating is seasonal. B&Bs? No idea, but that's its own challenge.

Maybe this entire business is seasonal?
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:56 PM   #40
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No. Please not.

Provide discounts between the two but don't give away slips. However, the idea of giving away inventory (and, yes, from a business perspective available slips are inventory) terrifies me and if you start that way it will never be something you can change easily.
BandB is 100% correct. Do not give anything away that can bring you money. Maybe a small discount at the most. Rely on what you can provide over and above what the other marinas offer to attract cruisers in your area. (great food, impeccable facilities and attentive service) Trust me, word spreads very quickly along the Gulf Coast when a marina is a first class stop.

I do like the Wharf for one thing only; my wife likes the stop! I would much prefer a more laid back, peaceful marina than the Disney atmosphere that is the Wharf and LuLus. When I'm in that area I will fuel up at the Wharf then cruise to either Ingram or Roberts anchorage for the evening.
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