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There’s no need to skirt around it – FishingBooker is a commission-based platform. It’s our only source of revenue and it hinges on the successful bookings we bring our partners. This means our ability to create business for captains is our lifeblood and the reason we are able to thrive as a platform.

Capt. Dale Henderson, owner and operator of Rockstar Charter Fishing.
Capt. Dale Henderson, owner of Rockstar Charter Fishing.

However, there are certain misconceptions when it comes to the commission structure FishingBooker is based on. The most common one is that our partners have to invest a high commission in order to get business from us. And while it’s true that the percentage you invest impacts the ranking of your listing, a high commission is neither a requirement nor a guarantee for success.

To illustrate how it’s possible to get bookings even without investing a high commission, we interviewed Capt. Dale Henderson of Rockstar Charter Fishing. He’s a federally-licensed captain who’s achieved success with FishingBooker on two different sides of the U.S. He first did it in California, before moving his charter business to the highly competitive Clearwater, Florida.

In 2021, Capt. Dale received 200 booking requests through FishingBooker. His commission level? Ten percent from the very moment he listed with us. Here’s what Capt. Dale had to say about the commission and his relationship with FishingBooker.

How did you feel about having to invest in a commission when you first joined FishingBooker?

A photo of the Rockstar Charter Fishing federally licensed boat.
The Rockstar, a 32′ Albemarle.

I took a look at the percentages and decided to start at 10% and see how we did. The thing that’s always a consideration is that the commission is another operating cost, right? It takes away from the profit at the end of the day, especially in today’s world.

With diesel fuel being so expensive, I’ve got to make sure that my returns from everything else that I have to purchase or pay for relate to the charters we operate. So we’re taking a close look at the cost of bait and other things we can control. And I may not be able to control the cost of diesel fuel, but I can control the commission I’m paying.

I did have some discussions with FishingBooker early on, and I flirted with the idea of increasing the commission to 20% when our listing was a little bit lower on the page. But I decided to stay at 10% and just work on delivering the best charter experiences that we could for our customers.

What do you feel is the biggest benefit you get out of being listed with FishingBooker? 

The biggest benefit is fairly simple. FishingBooker is really our primary marketing tool. So by investing the 10% with FishingBooker, I don’t have to invest as much in other forms of marketing. 

And it’s not just dollars, right? It’s also time. It takes a lot of time to, for example, go to hotels and hand out pamphlets, and I’ve got to pay to get the pamphlets printed. And you can start your own website, but you’re just not going to have the traffic that FishingBooker has. So it really boils down to FishingBooker providing the majority of our marketing horsepower.

In 2021, you received 200 booking requests from us, what percentage of your business do you get from FishingBooker now?

An angler holding a Barracuda aboard Rockstar.
A customer aboard Rockstar Charter Fishing, holding a Barracuda.

Right now, I would say we get 90 to 95 percent of our bookings from FishingBooker. Obviously, we do get direct calls as well, especially the longer we’ve been doing this and the more the people get to know us locally.

We started in California and then moved the business to Florida. FishingBooker made it really easy to do that. Even though we changed locations and the species of fish and whatnot, the transition was very seamless for us. And it worked very, very well. It took a little bit to get back up the rankings, but FishingBooker did a great job of helping show our customers that, hey, it’s still the same high-quality charter experience.

What about returning customers? Has being listed with us helped you increase how many customers return to fish with you?

Absolutely. We get a lot of repeat business and a lot of repeat bookings that go through FishingBooker. I think it’s a testament to trying to deliver the best charter product to the customer. If they have a good experience, they’re going to want to come back.

Another thing that happens is that not only do we get repeat business, we get referrals. I’ll get a lot of charters where the client will say “Yeah, my cousin or my friend or whoever fished with you, you guys did a nice job for him, so we came directly to you.” That happens on a regular basis.

So at what point did the bookings really start flowing in?

A customer aboard Rockstar back in California, posing with a Calico Bass he reeled in.
One of Capt. Dale’s customers back in California, posing with a Calico Bass.

Admittedly it takes a little bit of time. In California, Long Beach, we had a different, bigger boat. What you have to do if you’re going to list is make sure you have nice pictures on your listing that show the experience customers can expect.

You should also work with FishingBooker to try to get the best explanation of your trips so it excites the customers. And you should look at what your competition has listed – what pictures they have, what their descriptions are saying.

Finally, you gotta be cognizant of what your price point is. In our case, we’re not the cheapest, but there are reasons for it. We run offshore, we’re twin diesel-powered, and our boat has a full-size walk-in bathroom. So my point is – be cognizant of your competition’s price points and do your best to remain competitive yet profitable.

Is there anything else you’d consider to be an important element to your success on FishingBooker?

Absolutely. There are a couple of things…

Communication

A group of anglers posing with fish they caught aboard Rockstar.

We try to respond immediately to the customer’s request to book. Right now, we’re not using the Instant Book feature because it’s become sort of difficult to manage the schedule. My wife helps me run the business, so when we get a request from a customer to book, we check our calendar to make sure we’re open and that the weather looks decent. Then we accept the charter as quickly as we can because we don’t want to leave the customer hanging.

Next, we’ll immediately send the customer a message thanking them for booking with Rockstar Charter Fishing and telling them they’ll be receiving a text with more detailed information about their trips. We respond to them so that they know we’re actual people, right? So they have a level of comfort.

After that, we’ll send them another text that gives them a full explanation of where we’re located, what to do when they arrive at the marina, where to park, what we provide, and what they should bring.

The Expectations and the Experience

A group of customers Shark fishing aboard Rockstar Fishing Charters.

When the customer arrives, you want to make sure you greet them, bring them to the boat, and help them on board. We’ll give them a nice safety briefing, set the expectations for the trip, and make sure that everybody feels comfortable. 

Then we do the best damn job to catch them some fish. But you know, fishing’s fishing, it’s not always easy, so I’ll make sure to talk to them about the local area, make everyone feel welcome. We get a lot of people from outside Florida and outside the country so it’s a good opportunity for us to be ambassadors for the local area.

You just have to show the client that you’re trying your very best. I can’t ever think of a time we went out there and didn’t catch anything, but some days the fish are literally jumping in the boat and some days they’re harder to find. So you want to make sure they enjoy the entire experience. It’s not just about fishing, it’s about the entire experience of the expedition.

Getting Customers to Come Back

A pair of anglers swimming with a Goliath Grouper they reeled in.

If you do a nice job for customers and they’re happy, you might want to suggest trying a different kind of fishing if they come back. We get folks that want to see smaller fish to begin with. Then we’ll say “Hey, maybe next time we can go out a little bit further. You can go out for six hours instead of four. And we can fish for Grouper, Sharks, or anything you’d like.”

Most guys know this. You always have to be ready to have kids on board and folks that have never fished before. And you got to make sure that your involvement with the client is based upon their skillsets. 

So with somebody that’s never fished before, I’ll often help them hold the rod, help them understand what it feels like when the fish bites, and what to do. And then, once they feel comfortable, let them go on their own. Then they feel proud and they feel happy that they learned a new skill.

What else does FishingBooker provide?

An infographic illustrating a few things captains get when investing a commission on FishingBooker.

Capt. Dale has already mentioned marketing as the biggest benefit he gets out of being partnered with FishingBooker. However, if you’re new to the platform or considering making a listing, here’s a rundown of what you get when you join FishingBooker regardless of the commission percentage you choose:

  • Online advertising: A chance to tap into clientele you normally wouldn’t reach. Each new customer you get through FishingBooker is a potential returning customer for you.
  • Business management: A dedicated app full of tools to help you manage your calendar, your bookings, and to communicate with clients. Besides the app, our Customer Service team is available around the clock to assist you.
  • A chance to grow your online reputation: FishingBooker’s review system offers customers an easy way to find out just how great of a service you provide. And the reviews will be tied to your listing whether you change your boat or move to a different part of the country.
  • Keep track of your documents: We only work with fully legal charter captains and fishing guides. Once you’ve verified your listing with us for the first time, we’ll keep track of the expiration dates on your documents and send you a reminder before they expire. This way, you’ll always know when it’s time to renew your licenses.

High Commission: An Investment but Not a Requirement

We’ll mention it again, the commission does influence how high your listing shows up in the search results on our website. So playing around with the percentage you invest, especially early on, can be beneficial. However, many captains, including Capt. Dale, have managed to thrive without doing this. Instead, they took it slow, concentrated on providing great service for their customers, and ultimately built successful businesses. And you can too!

How did you like Capt. Dale’s advice? How do you ensure you’re reaching as many customers as possible? Let us know in the comments below!

The post How 10% Commission with FishingBooker Gets Me 200 Trips a Year appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Marko
Title: How 10% Commission with FishingBooker Gets Me 200 Trips a Year
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/how-10-percent-commission-gets-me-200-trips-a-year/
Published Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2022 10:28:10 +0000

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