If you spend 22 years in the watersports business, you’re bound to see or experience some interesting things. Some things make you laugh, some things leave you in awe, and some things just make you want to quit.
I’ve Seen It All
I’ve seen multiple water spouts, pods of dolphin, several hurricanes, and tens of thousands of customers.
I’ve met famous people, important people, smart people, and people that just wanted to get out and have some fun.
I’ve had to lead a search for a sailing instructor who went overboard in the Currituck Sound to relieve herself, only to have the sailboat sail away without her because nobody else on the boat could sail. We found her before sundown, alive and okay, except for a small bruise on her pride.
I’ve answered the same question a million times. “No, there aren’t any sharks (that we know of).”
Times Have Changed
I’ve seen jet skis go from 2-strokes to 4-strokes. I’ve seen cell phones replace landlines (which has made it so much easier when asking a customer what their phone number is and they don’t know the phone number of the place they are staying). I’ve seen laptops and software replace most of the pen and paper reservations, sometimes with success. I’ve seen (boring) videos replace the age-old, staffer safety talk for jet skis.
I’ve had international student exchange workers from England, Ireland, Scotland, Poland, and Russia. Unfortunately, less so over recent years due to economics.
I’ve seen smart phones make easier access of weather information. We used to run into a bar and wait for the Weather Channel’s “Local On The 8s”.
It’s All About People
I’ve learned there’s a right way and a not-so-right way of communicating with customers. I’ve learned that if you smile when you say “no” or say “sorry, no,” people don’t get as upset. The response is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
In the end, it’s about people. Some customers come and go, but others return every year and we’ve created relationships with them. It’s also been a great place to reconnect with old friends who are down on vacation. My children have also been beneficiaries by having toys and activities at their disposal for family fun and birthday parties. We’ve also hired several local kids who have gone through our summer watersports camp. I’m still friends with some of the employees I’ve hired over the years.
This business is more than just renting boats and offering activities. This business is about creating opportunities to enrich peoples’ experiences. We are facilitators of fun, and through the process we create relationships. Some are brief interactions that leave a positive impression and some become lifelong friends. Some people want us to hold their hand while others want us to get out of the way. Either way, it’s a pleasure to help make people happy.
To learn more, call Kitty Hawk Watersports at (252) 441-2756 or make an online reservation today.
John Van Lunen, Owner