Let’s be honest – FishingBooker is only as strong as the captains we work with.
2019 was our sixth year booking fishing trips and, once again, we’ve helped more customers go fishing than ever before.
But we were only able to do this because of our partners. They guided us towards a more sustainable and effective business this year.
If we could summarize the last year in just two words, they would probably be “learning” and “reworking.” Learning, because we’ve leaped forward in gathering feedback from captains. Reworking, because this feedback has led us to make changes to the core way our website works.
With that in mind, here are the main things that happened in the FishingBooker community last year.
It’s now easier to find a charter anywhere on the globe
Over the last year, people have been using our website to fish in more locations than ever before. World-renowned charter fishing destinations such as Florida’s Panhandle, the Keys, and Alabama’s coastline are still hugely popular among our customers. But over the last year, several places saw a big increase in FishingBooker trips. None less so than Michigan, which appeared on our top 10 list of emerging locations twice!
There’s also more choice of countries and states where you can fish. This means we’re able to reach more people and, as a result, get you more visitors. Always wanted to go fishing in Tonga, Qatar, or Saint Kitts and Nevis? Now you can.
This is all thanks to our ever-growing base of hard working captains and guides. We were delighted to welcome a record number of new faces to the FishingBooker community last year.
Now, as well as being able to find a guide in more locations, traveling anglers also have a wider variety of boat types, captains, and fishing techniques at their fingertips.
Whether you’ve been with FishingBooker for years or you’ve just joined us, this means that you’re part of something that shows internet users just how exciting and diverse fishing can be.
Quality was a huge focus for us
While more people signed up than ever, we continued to reach out to each new arrival to learn about their business and explain how we work. Our Captain Coordinators and Customer Happiness agents made about 60,000 phone calls to captains, touching base with every single new arrival and being there whenever for anyone who needed a hand.
We also got a lot stricter about the requirements needed for captains to stay listed on FishingBooker. Our Legal team checked tens of thousands of documents and fostered relationships with state authorities to find out whether captains are operating legitimately in their area.
We applied this same level of quality control to the actual functionalities of our website. A lot of work went on behind the scenes to get rid of bugs in our code and to make it run faster and more smoothly. We also started to invite captains to try out our new products before we launch them, making our new features more intuitive and useful, right from the get-go.
But one of the main things we wanted to address was the fact that one size is far from fitting all when it comes to fishing. Most of our major releases last year focused on this.
Here are some new features that give our users more flexibility:
- Special Offers. These let captains create customized trips for their customers, directly through Instant Messaging. Now, you can make a completely new package that is only available to one particular customer, meaning you can respond to inquiries more effectively.
- Our reworked calendar. Our initial reason to work on this was to make it impossible for two trips to overlap. But it also opened up a variety of new features. In a related release, availability settings gave captains the chance to set notice periods for their bookings, as well as setting up their calendar so the week starts on whichever day they prefer. It’s also easier to manage several listings at once, thanks to the new multicalendar.
- Online Payments. This cash-free option for customers fishing in the US allows captains to get paid directly to their bank account. It also gives an extra level of security, protecting guides in full from no-shows and last minute cancellations when people pay online.
Most of all, we appreciate all the time captains put in
Thanks to our partners, FishingBooker customers had more options than ever when picking their fishing trip. And, most of the time, they only had good things to say about their experience.
While 95% of the people who left a review recommended their captain, 94% of these verified reviews had 4 or 5 stars.
This says a lot. From preparing the boat, gear, and bait, to cleaning the fish…all the while keeping a pleasant attitude day in, day out. Guiding is hard work, and the results of all this effort speak for themselves.
All this hard work is worth it when you look at the results. Last year, traveling anglers got to spend hundreds of thousands of hours doing what they love. Their trips took place everywhere from Finland to Namibia, as they got to supplement their vacation with the ultimate family bonding activity.
It’s been quite the year. And we’re determined to do even better in 2020. Our new year’s resolution is to keep putting our all into everything we do, learning, reworking, and creating new opportunities for captains and their customers. Together, we can introduce even more people to our planet’s unique marine ecosystem and amazing fishing opportunities. We can’t wait.
What was your highlight of the last year? What are you looking forward to in 2020?