Stand up paddle boarding is exploding in popularity. As more people become familiar with the sport, rental businesses are on the rise in response. Which makes it all the more important to find a way to stand out among the crowd. With a business that’s more seasonal than most, you also need to find a way to generate enough revenue for the year. That’s why we’ve put together a series of tips that will help you differentiate your offerings and teach you how to increase revenue for your SUP rental business. 1. Offer a wider variety of rental packages
Increasing your revenues means increasing your revenue streams. So take a look at everything you’re offering a customer. Are you sticking to daily rentals for individuals? What about group rates or membership subscriptions? Break down your “menu” into three sections: individuals, groups and members. Individuals can be charged for hourly use, half-day access or all-day rentals. Groups can be charged per person rather than per hour. And you can charge “members” a monthly fee for unlimited access and/or a flat fee season pass. Tip: Keep it simple. It’s easy to go overboard and break things down even further (different prices for different types of board, charging per use, etc.) but your customers need to be able to quickly and easily see what’s on the menu or they’ll become frustrated and walk away. 2. Host different classes or guided tours and experiences
One of the many benefits of stand up paddle boarding is that it appeals to a large audience. But that also means you should have more programs available to generate additional sales. Offering SUP yoga classes, SUP fishing classes or guided experiences can help you reach customers that aren’t necessarily familiar with the sport and looking to try something new. And don’t just stop at one class. Continue to engage your customers by sending out emails and notifications about new class schedules, times or tours. Be sure to list all your classes/tours online and on community event calendars to drive further awareness. 3. Host a SUP Tournament in Your Area
While classes and tours are great for people focused on experience, there’s a large swath of out-on-the-water-junkies who enjoy the sport aspect of paddle boarding. Hosting an annual SUP tournament can help you generate cash for entrance fees and develop a stronger brand presence in your community. Friendly competition can help create word-of-mouth buzz, especially if there’s a prize involved (consider partnering with small businesses in your area to create a compelling prize package). By making your tournament a staple event, you’ll develop a solid customer base that keeps coming back for more. Tip: Showcase the winners of your tournament on your social media pages to show that you’re invested in your community and your customers. 4. Sell complementary products alongside your rentals
Boards aren’t the only thing your customers are going to need or want. Jumping into retail products can help you increase overall sales, especially if you’re offering products that yield high margins. Wet suits, waterproof phone cases and unique items like floating sunglasses can can quickly increase your average order value. At Rheos, our starter wholesale packages can help you upsell customers at a low-risk cost for you. 5. Build strategic partnerships with local businesses or nonprofits
Successful small business owners make a point of being a part of their communities. Since SUP rentals are typically seasonal businesses, ensuring you can retain brand recognition is important. Overall, you want to make sure you’re taking action to drive revenue growth in the long term. So focus on building partnerships with those around you. If you offer SUP yoga classes, work with a popular yoga studio to offer discounts to their members. Talk to beach resorts about how you can promote group tours and experiences. And work with nonprofits like Standup for the Cure to further make a lasting impact. 6. Have your customers do the marketing for you
Attract people to your business by starting a review campaign on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google, etc. People are more likely to buy from you when they read about experiences that others have had with your business. Pass out quick feedback questionnaires at the end of your classes and post the results online. Encourage your customers to leave an online review, and offer a discount on their next rental if they post a review with a photo! Dynamic and engaging reviews, including those with photos and videos, will make your business page stand out. And make sure it’s easy to find your business by claiming your shop (for free) on Yelp and Google. Your customer’s ratings and reviews will do the hard work of selling for you. Tip: Respond to comments that are both positive and negative. If someone has a great experience, you don’t want to cast them aside by not thanking them. And if someone has a less-than-stellar time, you can solicit additional feedback and make sure you represent your business in a professional light. 7. Use social media to engage new customers
Being accessible through social media is a must for any business owner, especially for those who have a seasonal window of sales. Keeping active social media pages will help you promote your partners, your products and engage your prospects. If you don’t yet have a website, building a Facebook page will help you broadcast your key offerings. Make sure you participate in groups related to SUP in your area to gain broader visibility.
By focusing on these short and long-term strategies, you’ll transform your SUP rental business into a long-standing staple of your community. With passion, dedication and these methods, you’ll start to create a loyal customer base, strengthen your brand and increase your SUP rental revenues year-over-year.
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