How To Get More Repeat Fishing Charter Bookings

Mahi-Mahi lined up at a charter fishing dock

Running a fishing charter business has its ups and downs. There are times when you will be so busy you can’t keep up, and other times your boat sits with no place to go. One of the best ways to ensure that you have a steady flow of business is to get more repeat fishing charter bookings. 


Knowing how to get more repeat fishing charter bookings can help you increase your revenue and help ease some of the stress involved with running your business. Here are a few ways that we have tested that have proven to aid in getting more repeat fishing charter bookings. 


Why Are Repeat Fishing Charter Bookings Important? 


The acquisition costs for a repeat customer are considerably lower than they are for a brand new customer. Having to advertise and win the business of a brand new customer is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. 


For those that have already been out on your boat, they know what to expect, they know that they had a great time, and they simply need to know you want them back out on your boat. Getting a yes from a previous customer is considerably easier. 


Six Ways To Get More Repeat Fishing Charter Bookings 


Some of our top ways to get more repeat fishing charter bookings are follow-up, partnerships, repeat discounts, and creating a positive experience the first time around. If you can complete these four steps, the chance of getting more repeat business is relatively high. 


Follow Up 

Are you following up with your customers from the past? 


Many fishing charter captains make the mistake of getting a person’s phone number, name, and payment information when they book a fishing charter. All great business owners should be creating a strong email list with both past fishing charter customers and those that inquired but never booked. 


This list can then alert people to upcoming events, even just some general information about a big catch or an update to your boat. Email lists can be segmented, and there are several different programs that can help you with follow up and reaching out to people. 


We recommend setting up an email series that will automatically touch base with your previous fishing charter customers and keep them in the loop. As a fishing charter captain, you won’t have the time to sit there and individually email these past customers, but if you take the time to set up the system, this can all be done for you. 


Use HookM To Manage Previous Customers


With the HookM software, fishing charter captains can ensure that they never lose customer contact. All of your previous customers will be logged, and then you can input previous customers to have one central location for all of this information. Schedule a demo with HookM.


Once the information is in place and it is organized, you can then use it to send out emails, promotions, updates, or even just a hello to check in with your most loyal customers. 


Partnerships With Local Business


Have you thought about how you can partner with local businesses to create more value for the customers that spend time on your boats? There are several ways to do this, and you have to see what you have in your local area for this to work out. 


The number one way is to find a local restaurant to cook fish for your customers. After a day on your boat, they can go for a freshly cooked piece of fish that they were able to catch that day. This helps bring another level of enjoyment and entertainment to the entire process. 


In addition, you can look for local stores that have fishing gear and offer some kind of a coupon code that customers will get for equipment either before or after their fishing charter experience. Finding something that helps people feel as though they are getting more value will help bring them back over and over again. 


Repeat Discounts


Loyalty discounts are huge. If a person comes out on your charter a few times each year, they should save a bit of money. Not only do people like to save money, they like to feel like they are part of something. 


When people can say that they have a loyalty discount because they are repeat customers, it makes them feel good about being a part of something. They know you will be happy to see them back out on the boat, and they choose your boat because of the familiarity. 


Repeat discounts do not have to be a lot; there is no reason for you to have this cost you money. However, if you think about the acquisition costs for a new customer, these repeat customer discounts are not nearly as costly. 


If you want to make sure that repeat discounts don’t block out your prime times, simply say that repeat discounts are for weekday trips or the days that you are typically the slowest. 


Sometimes the little bit of extra money a person can save will help them pull the trigger on that extra trip or two each season. 


Positive Experience 

Why would a customer want to come back out on your boat? 


We all know that people like to catch fish, but there is much more that goes on out on the water that can bring people back. Sharing tips and advice, funny stories, and learning about their goals and why they are on your boat, are all ways to create a relationship with the customer. 


Even if you are only with them for four or six hours, you can make a lasting impression that will keep them coming back to your boat for years to come. Each time you take the boat out, try to think about what would bring a person back. 


If they never come back out on your boat, chances are they will still tell a friend that it was a great experience. In the end, providing the best product will result in a much stronger business long term. 


Have A Great Website 


Having a great website is another way to get more repeat and first time fishing charter bookings. With a great website, customers have a home base to go and check on your availability and any recent news about how the fishing is. Some will wait until the perfect time of year to head out on a charter boat; others look for the lowest price. 


With a great website, you can show off photographs of anything you have caught recently and give more information about your resume and why people would want to be on your charter. When you have this great website, precious customers will share it with their friends and help you get even more bookings. 


Fishing charter captains that have a business card and no digital presence will struggle at times to stay booked during those slower times of the year. 


Share, Share, Share


People want more information, pictures, tips, and news. If you keep your social media and website updated with your latest catches, they will be interested in getting out on the water with you again. 


Choose something straightforward as a platform where you can easily upload a quick picture or a video. Ask customers that sign up to follow you and tell them you will offer deals on there from time to time. 


The larger the presence you get, the easier it is to stay busy. 


Mistakes Fishing Charter Operators Make When It Comes To Repeat Business 


Although our top six ideas may make it look easy to get repeat fishing charter bookings, most fishing charter operators are missing out and making mistakes. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes that charter operators make, and should look at working on fixing them as soon as possible. 


Avoiding Technology 


Fishing charter operators can’t be afraid to use technology when it comes to the operation of the business. Although some technology and software may seem as though it is overwhelming, they will save so much time and money in the long run. In addition, you will get business faster and easier. 


Zero Follow Up 


Fishing charter operators are notorious for being bad at follow-up. Following up with customers is a huge part of the business, but you must have the proper tools in place to ensure this happens. Luckily with systems like HookM in place, you have to spend a few hours setting things up, setting up some stock emails, and then from there, your business can run on autopilot. Make the investment into your business, and the customers will keep coming back. 


Lack of Organization 


The organization is hard because of how busy fishing charter operators are. It seems as though there is already too much to do in a day. However, when you stay organized and treat every customer as if they are your most important one, you will get many more repeat bookings. 


Always make sure that customers are getting proper notification as to the time and location of their charter, what they need to bring, and how they can book more time with you in the future. When customers walk off their boat, are you asking for their business in the future? If not, you should be. 




We hope you feel as though you benefited from these tips on how to get more repeat fishing charter bookings. Many of the principles here are basic business principles that can take a bit of time and patience to set up. However, this is an investment into your future and the strength of your business that is well worth taking. The first part of the process is to make sure you have your business running as smoothly as possible, and the services and technology that HookM offers will help ensure that this happens. 

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