Pricing models in guest harbours - could one fit them all?

While visiting different guest harbours you probably have seen various pricing models for berth fees. It is a science of its own. Finding the right alchemy means tiny adjustments in the pricing models every season. Is it worth the hassle?

Let´s start with the day ticket – fixed price irrespective from the size of your vessel, transparent and easy to calculate. Usually paid per day even if your stay lasts longer. Day tickets are used in smaller, shallower guest harbours where the visitors use to have similar sized, smaller vessels. It is usual that the fees are collected every morning in return for the Wi-Fi key and access codes.

Besides the day ticket there are more complex pricing models for calculating berth rates. Guest harbours that are able to host bigger yachts charge visitors according to the size of the vessel. It is fair to ask more for taking more space, probably having more visitors on board, using more water or electricity – simple as that, but the pricing models vary a lot.

Most common is the pricing model with fixed intervals for vessel length. For example- one price for vessels up to 6m, another from 6 to 13m, then 13,1m to 20m. The intervals are different from harbour to harbour and there is no real reason for that. And even if they use fixed intervals they still combine other calculation methods such as price per meter for vessels bigger than 20 meters or price per square meter for catamarans. The pricing model is still a convenient way to collect cash but pointless when having card payments available. The complexity is not easy to manage. It isn´t rare that visitors declare their vessels smaller to fit into a lower interval and pay less. But hey, harbour masters usually know the lengths from experience.

To Avoid those embarrassing moments there could be a fixed fee per meter, without intervals. The price is calculated according to the length of the vessel and that’s it. This simple pricing model is widely used across Europe. There is the need for rounding the numbers when dealing with cash. And even though some of the guest harbours have cash as the only payment option available today, it is a decreasing trend.

So even if you found your favorite pricing model it probably can´t fit them all. There are so many details to consider when designing a harbours pricing model, from the layout of the berths up to the management model. When designing a service tool for marinas, we can´t oversee any of those differences.

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