Managing transient reservations and making the best use of space with a volunteer team.
Transitioning from traditional pen and paper methods to an intuitive online reservation platform that optimizes occupancy.
Managing transient reservations and space assignments at Old Dominion Boat Club wasn’t always easy. Now, the team is aligned, efficient, and proactive.
Established in 1880, Old Dominion Boat Club is a member-run marina located in Alexandria, Virginia. Home to 52 annual slips and five transient spaces for reciprocal yacht clubs to reserve, Old Dominion is a must-stop destination for boaters cruising the Potomac River.
Vice President and Marina & Boat Chairman, Kim Rogan Weitzel, relies on Dockwa to manage all transient bookings and seasonal slip assignments — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
We can never go back to the way it used to be, it’s just not going to happen.
Before Dockwa, Old Dominion faced its fair share of challenges, primarily stemming from outdated administrative processes. With a relatively small team managing the club's 52 slips, the operational burden was at times overwhelming.
The club’s old-school pen-and-paper management system, which they used to assign regular seasonal slips and handle transient bookings, often resulted in administrative headaches and mistakes. As Kim puts it, the old process felt like "rock and chisel in 1880." And the lack of a streamlined reservation system meant missed opportunities, empty spaces on the docks, or mistakes that impacted reciprocal cruisers.
Additionally, the volunteer-nature of the club's management team added another layer of complexity. As dock personnel changed due to volunteer turnover, the transfer of knowledge and training was daunting.
Plus, the absence of real-time coordination only compounded these issues, as boater communication via phone calls and answering machines resulted in significant delays, inefficiencies, and miscommunications within the volunteer team.
“We are an all-volunteer organization. Some of the volunteers have jobs, some of them have kids, some of them are retired like me,” Kim says.
The club needed a solution that not only addressed their management hurdles, but also accommodated the ever-changing team of volunteers, each with diverse backgrounds and availability.
Old Dominion Boat Club’s situation called for a modern, tech-powered solution.
They needed a platform that would:
Dockwa’s software — especially its space assignment, marina map, contract, and transient reservation tools — was exactly what Old Dominion needed.
Dockwa introduced a new era of efficiency and team collaboration at Old Dominion Boat Club. The online platform meant that staff no longer had to dig through notes, chase down leads, and play phone tag with boaters.
Like many other yacht clubs, Kim says that committing to the change from pen and paper to Dockwa was a challenge at first. But once they made the leap, there was no going back.
“Before Dockwa, we were handling reservations by writing everything down on a piece of paper or listening to an answering machine — remember answering machines?! — and taking somebody’s name and having to call them, and then making sure the slip was clear,” Kim reminisces. “By the time you played phone tag with somebody, two days had gone by. Now our turnaround time is between four and six hours.”
Now our turnaround time is between four and six hours.
The club's volunteer dock masters have real-time access to incoming requests and vessel assignments right from their computers or smartphones. The team can seamlessly coordinate with boaters and internally align on slip assignments without “stepping on each other's toes.”
Plus, as Vice President, Kim can oversee marina operations from wherever she may be. Now, management is efficient. It’s organized. It’s easy. What’s not to love about that?
Boaters visiting Old Dominion Boat Club have also benefited from using Dockwa.
Kim notes that with a user-friendly boater profile system, it’s easy for a new boater to create a Dockwa profile and request a slip. Old Dominion has confidently embraced Dockwa as its exclusive platform for reservations.
Kim observes, “I think a lot more people will make a reservation now because it’s easy. Because once you have a profile in the system and you’ve done it once, it’s really easy to go in and do it a second time.”
In fact, Kim has been a vocal Dockwa advocate, sharing the benefits of the software to reciprocal clubs. She hopes more boat clubs will implement the tool to help cruising boaters enjoy a similar booking experience.
I think a lot more people will make a reservation now because it’s easy.
Her assigned Marina Success Manager, Dan Sules, brings his marina industry background and Dockwa product expertise to provide timely and effective assistance.
Plus, at Old Dominion, Dan is ready to help when volunteers turnover. Kim explains that when a previous person held her position and left, Dan stepped in to help her quickly adapt to Dockwa and supported her in training the new members of the dock team.
As a volunteer herself, Kim expresses the value of having a personal point of contact from Dockwa available to help at all times.
Our marina success manager was really good about helping me get up to speed quickly, and helped me train the rest of my team.
This support has been instrumental in keeping marina operations efficient and stress-free, especially with constantly changing dock support. With Dockwa, marina operators can count on top-tier support seven days a week.
Dockwa has undeniably revolutionized Old Dominion Boat Club, transforming the way they manage their club’s operations.
Old Dominion is most thankful for:
Now, Kim’s team can focus on connecting with members and guests instead of chasing down scraps of paper and playing phone tag.
The transition to Dockwa led to a sea of change, propelling Old Dominion Boat Club toward operational excellence, while leaving the days of answering machines far behind.
30% of all Dockwa employees are former marina operators.
Attend a demo by May 31, 2023 and we will waive your new Dockwa account setup fees.