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Harbourgate Marina – Case Study

harbourgate

“Boaters truly appreciate the Harborcam… When I show them the camera, they love it.” – Susie Watson, Marina Manager, Harbourgate Marina & Resort

Background

Harbourgate Resort & Marina is an award-winning marina in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Originally built in 1988, the property recently underwent several million dollars worth of improvements. The marina has 100 wet slips, a full service fuel dock, 108 villas, jet ski rentals, and charter fishing. The property also includes condominiums, office space, fine dining at Filet’s restaurant, and Captain Dilligaf’s Tiki Bar.

Harbourgate Marina is home to many boats, and transient boaters are also welcomed. Local attractions such as shopping outlets, beautiful beaches, golfing, and the House Of Blues bring many transient boaters.

Challenge

Harbourgate Marina constantly seeks out new ways to improve its offerings and distinguish itself as a premier destination among local marinas. The marina was specifically searching for a way to add value for boat owners and to attract transients.

Solution

Harbourgate Marina first installed a TrueLook webcam in 2002. Marina management knew that a webcam could be of great value to boaters, as boat owners could view live webcam images of their boats from anywhere. A webcam would also promote the marina to web users, with the intent to increase marina visitors and transient boaters.

The marina chose a TrueLook PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera system due to its interactive features, including the ability for users to aim and zoom the camera. The camera’s 360 swivel ensured that all boaters would be able to view their sea craft.

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Results

“Boaters truly appreciate the Harborcam. If their boat is having work done, they can go online and see if the mechanic is there. If bad weather or a hurricane approaches, they can check on their boats or see if their canvas is coming loose… When I show them the camera, they love it.”
– Susie Watson, Marina Manager

The webcam has become a major selling point for Harbourgate Marina. Boats represent an enormous investment of time, money, and emotion for their owners. Boaters value the ability to check on their sea craft over the internet. While other marinas may own a webcam, Harbourgate’s camera is the only one that offers 360-degree control and optical zooming. This lets webcam users aim directly to a specific boat, the fuel station, or other attractions.

Visitors can view the marina conditions and attractions before arriving, making the marina an attractive destination over competitors. The camera is also described as “one of the biggest advertising tools” for special events held at the marina. Transient boaters have even used the webcam to provide live pictures to relatives.

Marina management also uses the webcam. Timed shots in the mornings and afternoons help to check which boats have left. The camera’s statistics reveal useful information on how the camera is being used.

For over a decade, the webcam has been part of Harbourgate’s marketing efforts. In that time, the property has expanded its offerings and grown in recognition. The marina was voted “Best Marina in The Grand Strand” in 2009, 2010, and 2011. The survey was conducted by South Carolina’s WMBF News and involved thousands of voters from the area.