A Blog To Help The Marina Owner Understand Online Marketing

A digital treasure chest of Goonie gold: Increase your five-star reviews

Jul 6, 2024 | Marina Advertising, Marina Growth

marina reviews

A team of marina managers are bickering in an attic when they find an ancient treasure map. Stunned with the fantastical hope for adventure, they encounter dark caverns and perilous riddles. An underground water slide catapults them into a lagoon. They stumble into a glittering treasure chamber filled with exactly what they hoped for:

Mounds of five-star reviews.

The Goonies

What they were really searching for on that treasure map in The Goonies (1985) was a chest of five-star reviews

It’s hardly hyperbole to say a marina lives and dies on its reviews. When you exist on a body of water with a dozen competent marina competitors to choose from, the boater browsing Google is going to compare your amenities with theirs, and then judge you by that little star rating that sits right under your business name. A 4.6 rating from 600 reviews versus a 3.7 from five reviews is a powerful visual. 

Not only do your reviews look good reflecting outward, but a growth-oriented manager will study their reviews for how they can improve internally. They are a foundational support of your digital presence – good reviews – and testimonials – are a must. 

Today, we discuss the strategy behind your feedback, and how to get more of it.

The review funnel: The filter that obstructs the dirt

A review funnel is a marketing concept that works like a gold prospector with a pan, letting the dirt fall through the bottom and keeping the good stuff. A happy customer hits “Thumbs Up” on your review page and they are prompted to leave a written review describing how awesome you are. The unhappy customer who hits “Thumbs Down” is prompted to speak directly with management and resolve the issue before hitting “Publish” on a damaging review. 

Funnels come in varying shapes and sizes – they can work like a factory machine: a platform like BrightLocal suctions reviews from all the major platforms and neatly packages them into an aggregate review rating tracker. They can also work like a homegrown garden: the marina’s web developer builds a homemade review page right on the marina’s website and attaches it to a QR code that prompts customers to leave reviews right from the marina. The review starts with a simple question like, “How likely are you to recommend this marina?”  

The results from a review funnel are gradual but visible – a marina may see its rating creep from 4.43 to 4.51 to 4.64 in a matter of months. Dissatisfied customers can discuss their issues directly with management and everyone benefits.

scanning a QR code with a phone

Speaking of QR codes…

They’re easy, low-energy pieces to implement and bring you valuable immediate feedback. Imagine Joe and his family from Brambleberry, Kentucky have rented a 24’ Berkshire pontoon from you for four hours on the Fourth of July. They’ve just had the best time of their lives. The most pertinent and likely time you will ever receive feedback from them is when it’s fresh, not when Joe is back in his office three weeks later thinking about work. 

A manager can put a review QR code leading to a review page right on the rental contract, on a brochure, or posted in stationary locations like the ship store counter.

Testimonials are the gym bros of reviews

Go to the local gym and you might see somebody who you’ve never not seen at the gym. It’s like they live there. They’re totally jacked. Their biceps look like they contain cantaloupes. These are your testimonials. 

When you have good reviews from people, it’s time to amplify them. For much of human history, we lived off testimonials. “I heard from Mrs. Percy that Mr. Johnson has a nice wagon wheel business – I’m going to him for my wagon before I try out this whole Oregon Trail thing.”  

Your best testimonials should live directly on your website. When we build web pages at Hammer and Nail, we often put a carousel of testimonials on almost every page – they’re that important. When somebody is willing to take the time to vocally support your business, potential customers notice. 

Testimonials don’t need to be a passive activity. When you’re working with a boater and they express how much they appreciate your business, all you need to do is ask.

A good review is worth its weight in gold

You can’t put it on a scale and it does no good buried in a chest on the Caribbean Coast, but those five little review stars carry weight.

Cultivate healthy communication with customers, and their feedback will reflect it: you’ve helped them foster a memory, and they gift you a digital bar of gold.

Hammer and Nail Marketing


Hammer and Nail Marketing is a boutique marketing firm that helps small to mid-sized marinas get noticed by boaters. If you’d like to focus on operating your marina without the additional responsibility of marketing, get in touch with us.

We’re boaters ourselves from a background of operating a family-run marina. From a group of experts who know the water, let Hammer and Nail Marketing help you be the waterfront your local boaters see every time they cast off.


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