[Cross-Domain Ecosystem Series Interview] Awakening the Spirit of Adventure at Sea, Experience Economy Successfully Attracts Customers

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In the experience economy era, a company that wants to provide “customer surprises” will no longer ask consumers “how are we doing” or “what else do you need?” The key question is “what do you remember”. From the cheap route to the high-end market.

This is not a famous quote from a well-known business management scholar or an industry leader, but the inspiration that Yago Yachting Group, a maritime leisure club, got from the feedback of its members and customers; The ecosystem of cornerstone players must actively create a dynamic cross-domain cooperation model, and bring in any manufacturer capable of providing services to become a niche player, and together satisfy customers’ sense of exclusivity that they feel that they have spent money to buy an exclusive experience.

For example, the Weixiu Waterfront Restaurant established in 2019 is an example. Owner Wang Shaoqi recalled: “I used to be a member. Once I took a boat out to sea. When I got back to the pier, I found that there was no corresponding restaurant. It was a pity that we could relax our travel mood and have a drink before going home.” No Thinking about it, he originally planned to suggest to Hou Youlin, the chairman of Yago, “I was persuaded to open this store after chatting.”

Wang Yuming, deputy general manager of Yago Yachts, added with a smile that membership service is a challenging field, and the yachting leisure industry has just started in Taiwan. Members join to become niche partners, and then rely on “members to pull members” to connect with each other to build this ecosystem step by step.”

Wang Yuming disassembled the operation of the ecological circle: each member was assigned a yacht secretary, and managed details according to the number of sailing days, number of passengers, food preferences, etc.: Linked to the webpage of leasing partners (Yaguo, Yapeng Yacht Development Company) on the operating platform , make an appointment for a specific model of yacht and captain on a specified date; follow the member’s instructions to contact a catering provider (Weixin, Zhou’s Shrimp Roll, etc.) to provide catering; contact the butler service (Zhengyi Yacht) to send personnel for service.

This is just a standard process for packaged products. If members customize a long-day itinerary with designated leisure items, the degree of exclusive customization will greatly increase, and the secretary will have to do everything possible to find a fishing or snorkeling instructor who is familiar with walruses in the designated area (PDIM International Diving Center) to plan the itinerary; arrange for Angsana Master to provide a star-level SPA; make an appointment for a designated private chef to accompany the ship, etc.

The first experience of the new route, taking members to island hopping on a yacht

How good is Yago’s service? Wang Yuming gave an example to prove that diehard members pay the bill: A listed company boss who is always nervous on weekdays rarely takes time off, so he asked the yacht secretary to arrange a five-day and four-night fishing trip on an uninhabited island. During the trip, he not only completely relaxed his body and mind, visited several secret places, but also shared dinner with the island’s hidden cooking masters. As soon as I saw Wang Yuming when I got back to land, I called out: “We will play again next year!”

Because of the surprisingly positive reactions from the members, Yaguo realized that the itinerary that symbolizes challenges will trigger the adventurous spirit of the members. The seemingly difficult meals on the uninhabited island are like alternative no-menu dishes. A portrayal of clients yearning for freedom.

Since then, Yago has been seriously developing new routes, thinking about the possibility of diving, camping, barbecue, cactus viewing, and riding electric bicycles around the island. All players describe the big dream of “one island, one hotel”.

Up to now, the four southern islands of Penghu Lake: Dongji Islet, Xiji Islet, Dongyu Pingyu and Xiyu Pingyu have become popular products in the domestic tourism market, and they have been incorporated into the original scenic spot Ocean National Park, plus ecological snorkeling and stand-up paddling experience For the itinerary, three homestays can be opened in Dongjiyu alone.

At first glance, Yaguo unexpectedly opened up a blue ocean route and led the industry to follow; but in fact, this start-up company, which has only been established for eight years, made many decisions since its establishment. Almost all of them are for the first time . After all, in Taiwan, the “boutiques” enjoyed by the Pyramid customers are nothing more than luxury cars, watches, wine tasting, etc. Although many people know that yachts are the representative of our champion industry, they rarely think that they are also “top boutiques”.

According to the statistics of ShowBoats International, an international yachting journal in 2021, Taiwan is the largest yacht manufacturing country in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. However, like other products, 90% of them are exported. Wang Yuming’s analysis: “One is that we have a respect for the ocean, and the other is that the long-term sea ban was only lifted in 2014. (Editor’s note: During the martial law period, not only many coasts were designated as military restricted areas, but even whale watching by boat is required” Customs declaration” is like going abroad.) Subjectively and objectively speaking, yachts that are expensive and exquisite have never appeared in the appreciation list.

The efficiency of self-operated operation is low, and the “group” creates an ecosystem

Where does the impulse to build an unfamiliar industry from scratch come from? The answer is the nostalgic childhood of the founder, Hou Youlin, who went fishing in a sampan when he was young. After the financial tsunami in 2008, he came into contact with the yacht industry and found out that everything from going out to sea, berthing to maintenance was stuck, so he wanted to start a business. In 2014, he established Yaguo Yacht Club with Lv Jiayang, CEO of the manufacturer Jiahong Group.

Hou Youlin frequently travels overseas to observe and find out his experience: foreign yachts have a high rate of ownership, so the club only provides functions of friendship, berthing and rental, but he has neither a customer base nor a vast hinterland, let alone satellite manufacturers. Therefore, a one-stop business model has been decided, including membership, parking, trading, maintenance, and back-end catering all in one go.

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Yago’s preset self-operating formula is to first raise funds to build infrastructure, then recruit members, and then recruit more members through networking, and then invest the ever-growing membership fee into expanding services, and gradually grow. From the perspective of the business model, it is indeed a structure that forms a membership economy, but it is conceivable that “one-man martial arts” burns a lot of money, and it may not be effective.

For example, at the beginning, Yago didn’t expect the necessity of intelligence, but after growing to a certain scale, it found that the overall service was too focused on “worker intelligence”. From arranging the itinerary, taking a boat to the sea to ordering meals, it was an independent link. In terms of low efficiency, it is prone to disputes in terms of internal operations, especially in peak seasons when the demand is high, and the competition for the prime time of the same yacht is fierce, which causes management troubles.

In the first few years, Yaguo survived by doing, learning, and making mistakes, but Hou Youlin knew it was not a long-term solution. The opportunity for change came in 2018. He learned from Lu Jiayang that the Metal Industry Research and Development Center, which focuses on industrial operation models and settlement development, is looking for partners. With the expectation of “learning systematic management know-how from experts”, he took the initiative to approach the Metal Industry Research and Development Center for Sub fruit physical examination, transformation.

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The first step: take customers close to the sea hand in hand

During the two-year project planning period, the project manager Cai Zongxian planned the “Three Phases of Bone Transformation”, with the goal of establishing an ecological circle based on membership economy.

First of all, let potential customers feel and get close to the sea of ​​trust. Even though Taiwan is surrounded by the sea, most people go to the beach for near-shore activities such as surfing and snorkeling. However, it seems too risky to take customers to the sea from the very beginning, so they set the tone and start with seaside entertainment. In addition to the powerful fireworks show, they also provide test ride experience, taking a yacht in the port to enjoy the wind and watch the sunset .

The next step is to plan a small group itinerary. The common activity is snorkeling, and the more exciting option is to ride a jet ski. Unique selection mechanism: The difficulty of each activity increases, and the players who stay in the end are determined players, and they are the target customer group.

Yago’s way of keeping customers is to teach hands-on, recruiting senior navy veterans who are familiar with the sea climate, hidden reefs, tides, etc., and they will lead customers to complete the training courses for obtaining driving licenses for light to large power boats; Exams, also help arrange international exams. Slowly, when they turn from amateurs to professionals, they will naturally like and love Shanghai. This is the first step.

Step 2: Provide sufficient support to let customers know how to play in the sea

Next, let the target customers learn to play with the sea. For example, the above-mentioned route for the four southern islands of Penghu Lake. In addition, the outlying islands around Taiwan are also included in the plan, and it often takes seven or ten days to visit. For Yago, this step is a great challenge, because the supply chain of services will be complicated due to the prolonged time, and it will be more difficult to seamlessly integrate all aspects of eating, drinking and entertainment.

Hou Youlin once again brought into play his entrepreneurial spirit, lobbying members and customers to become partners, just like the aforementioned Wang Shaoqi, who originally took over the family’s auto parts business, is one of them.

“Anping Sunset is one of the eight scenic spots in Taiwan. If you make good use of it, you will not only do a local business, but also have a good chance of internationalization.” Wang Shaoqi emphasized, “At the beginning of the planning, “use the scenery as a meal” as the main axis, and make a A restaurant where you can see the beautiful waters from the inside to the outside.” Today, the name of the first row of the seaside has already started, and there are many tourists who come to visit the beautiful scenery.

Another operator who followed Yago to serve Tainan’s Anping Wharf is the Chuanfai Boutique Cafe from Penghu, which also wants to see the sea through the French windows. Although Chui Hair and Wei Xun mainly serve members, the store manager Lin Yingru admits that there are more individual customers, and they all come to the shop out of curiosity for a wave of online beauty stores.

Cai Zongxian added that the goal of the second phase is to bring in Chuanfeng, Weixiu and more satellite support partners, and gradually establish a complete service process and content, which can be regarded as the focus of the entire yacht service ecosystem project.

The entire ecosystem is centered on Yaguo, connecting the manufacturing industry at the front end to provide outlets for their boats; at the back end, on the premise of satisfying the customer experience, from pre-departure booking, scheduling, material preparation, Pick up and drop off, provide food, entertainment, and cleaning on board, and then go ashore to lead the team and equipment, etc., and connect satellite manufacturers across domains.

To lay a solid foundation for key projects, digital management is the key, especially in this era when smartphones are mobile offices. Plan and manage the platform around the concept of the ecosystem. In addition to multi-directional communication with satellite manufacturers, it also includes hull maintenance, insurance and verification procedures; reporting passenger information and quarantine results to government agencies; internally, standardized operating procedures, employee training and membership contact etc.

The third step: customer specialization, customized secret itinerary

The final stage is to let go and let member clients initiate proposals. Just like all professional players, once members become addicted, they will often go to the custom route of exploring uncharted areas or collecting private attractions. Not only will it take the initiative to design the itinerary, specify the catering content, but also plan the activities on and off the ship. At this point, Yago actually faded out relatively, and may only be responsible for contacting the captain and sailors.

It’s not that Yaguo has no drama to sing, on the contrary, it has more room to manage new customer groups. One of the characteristics of boutique tourism is that the customer base is relatively closed and highly homogeneous, and the “word-of-mouth effect” is an important catalyst in this circle. From the first time individual members get in touch with yachts, then start to share and organize groups, and finally buy a boat as an alternative private guest house, this dynamic linear development is likely to start with every potential customer who has just experienced it.

In the first five years of its establishment, Yaguo transformed from a one-stop process to constructing an ecological circle, and the risks of new industries frightened away bank investors. Wang Yuming admitted that several times the funds almost bottomed out. But the unspoken rule in the business world is that crises lead to turning points: in November 2019, the business model was transformed for the second time, and the current general manager Zhang Qingxiang took over, and Yaguo turned from loss to profit in just two months. He only made two major changes: the repositioning of original products and marketing strategies.

Generally speaking, Yaguo has always been a strong brand name, but nine times out of ten it will be associated with a yacht dealer, which will not hit the target customer group. Therefore, Zhang Qingxiang repositioned, focusing on the “membership system” of Yaguo Yacht Club. The selling point is from the interaction of member management. Figure out the experience of privacy, exclusivity and dignity.

As for the marketing strategy, it is to increase the digital community platform from the traditional channels such as newspapers and magazines. The actual method is to launch hunger marketing for limited-time sales: to increase the membership fee threshold year by year. Just the words “price increase at the end of the year” turned Yago into a profit that year, and the revenue growth rate has been 50% for three consecutive years so far.

Use humane service to make top customers stick tightly

Looking at the number of members, December 2019 is the watershed. As of June 2022, the number of members has grown from 326 to over 900, with an average annual increase of about 150; the threshold for membership fees has been gradually increased to 1.8 million yuan, and Minimum threshold! At present, the peak level membership fee is 10 million yuan, and there are three tickets. It is estimated that the second phase of the 1,600-ping clubhouse in Tainan will be opened in 2023 and will be raised to 2.5 million yuan.

“Use the most exquisite products and services to please the most top customers and win the greatest business opportunities.” This is the winner’s formula formulated by Roland Berger, a European management consulting company. Circles also work. The most exquisite products may be piled up with a lot of money, but there is no standard answer for the most delicate services. At Tainan Anping Wharf, the unanimous consensus of the industry is “human touch”.

Wang Shaoqi, who is both a member and a business owner, observed: “In Tainan, service is really localized. Customers like you to treat him as a friend.” Speaking of which, Yago still has a lot to learn.” But they all agree that while improving the overall service, they can imprint the brand memory point of “This is like their own home” for guests, and their value is created here.

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Diversified perspectives: Investing in an emerging industry ecosystem depends on the determination of those in charge

Director of Strategy, Research Center for Smart Life Technology Integration and Innovation, National Taiwan University──Interview with Lai Hongzhi

Taiwan is the fourth largest yacht manufacturing country in the world, but the back-end service market is an unfamiliar industry. Although neither the government nor the private sector has deliberately promoted or shaped this industry for a long time, building an ecosystem from scratch does not necessarily have to start from scratch.

First of all, the essence of “service” is to start from the needs of customers. The thinking behind the drafting of the framework is to select cornerstones from the production chain as the core, and gather a group of related manufacturers that can meet customer needs. They can operate independently or independently. Reinforcing each other, and everyone has the same desire for the services provided and business opportunities in the market, it is enough to create a value-core enterprise ecosystem. The thinking point of those who set Yago as the cornerstone is that the yacht itself is a solution that allows customers to switch to a new service in a natural and painless way.

Yago is a digital platform that connects multiple parties. The key tasks are brand marketing and member management, but the ultimate goal is B2C2B, that is, top-down management and bottom-up customization in parallel. In the future, the introduction of big data technology will be the key to success. At the client end, fans will be gathered, tracked and accurately marketed, and at the supply end, it will follow the line to expand the industrial settlement and context.

However, the leisure and entertainment industry is an experience-driven field, and the entire ecosystem will reflect the concept of life cycle and evolve dynamically from time to time. The ecological circle may also change generations in response to market changes. The roles of cornerstone players and niche players may be exchanged or replaced. It may also be that the niche players derive other ecological circles with different attributes, and then prosper.

Finally, it should be emphasized that both cornerstone and niche players in emerging industries must realize that the core management class is not only to support, but also to personally participate in, promote and shape the ecosystem.

The content of this article is provided by the “Promoting the value co-creation plan of the cross-domain ecosystem of small and medium-sized enterprises”, and has been edited and reviewed by the key comment network media group planning.

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