Captain Don Franklin
Sole-man Sportfishing Center
"CaptainPanel has made my life a lot less stressful as well as made my business more successful. I would highly recommend them to any fishing charter."
The business challenge

“The system was not designed for fishing, but rather for the tour industry. It did not allow for customization with packages, showing correct availabilities, and on top of that they allowed double bookings! Not to mention getting in touch with their customer support was a pain.”

60% revenue growth in one year

With 40 years of fishing experience, over 14 of which he owned his own fishing charter boat, Captain Don Franklin had dedicated most of his life to growing his business as the owner of Sole-man Sportfishing in San Francisco, California. Despite the success of his charter, Don didn’t restrict his vast knowledge of his trade to paying customers, but also reached out to his local community where he donated a number of charity trips, fundraising trips and free fishing classes free of charge.

In addition to his experience and to stand out from the competition in Fisherman’s wharf, the home of Sole-man sportfishing, Don has always pioneered in providing new and customer-friendly services, such as the half-day fishing trips. In this vibrant environment of tourists of all ages, Don’s uttermost priority was his customers. Therefore he wanted to make sure that his services would meet or even exceed his customers’ expectations while onboard.

However, and while onboard customers were undeniably happy with their catch, other potential customers on land were discontent with unanswered calls. His absence, while on the boat or running other errands, might have led to Don losin customers to other competitors. In an effort to overcome this challenge Don explored solutions that would make his business more attentive to his customers’ needs when he wasn’t by the phone.

Online booking was an appealing answer to Don’s concerns, and he is not the one to shy away from new innovations to improve his business. If his customers can book trips, view available dates, inquire about upcoming trips and even make payments for their reservations at any time of the day, then his physical absence will not be a problem. Unfortunately, Don’s first attempt did not meet his expectations. The lack of a software specifically designed for captains and their customers resulted in more problems for Don. Customers were unable to view trips availability, the software used also created problems with double bookings followed by wasting plenty of time trying to contact technical support and ended with a number of unhappy customers. To minimize his losses, Don had given up on technology when the software failed to fix existing issues, and returned to his pen and paper to avoid upsetting more customers.

After meeting with Don, our team at CaptainPanel fully understood his concerns. We were confident that we can provide him with a real solution and gain his trust. Through the ability to provide customized packages designed specifically for Captains and their customers’ needs we knew we could restore Don’s faith in an online user-friendly solution. Our priority was to help Don provide all his services to potential customers while he is away on his boat and to prevent the problems he previously encountered with online bookings.

“I could tell the CaptainPanel guys knew their technology and knew their fishing immediately. One of the first things they said to me was, “We built this product for captains, by captains.”

Upon his approval to try CaptainPanel, Don received booking confirmations within hours of implementing the new software, which made him very pleased with the immediate results. He was also satisfied with the ease of using the software and the many options which it provided to customers. With up-to-date features fishing enthusiasts can easily view available trips, customize, book and pay at their own convenience in only a few minutes.

Don noticed a remarkable increase in the flow of bookings even during off-seasons which he previously described as “slow” during the cooler time of the year. Don was fully booked for at least three days a week through the end of the year, with many months seeing him on the water two thirds of the time. Don reported that he had doubled his reservation after using CaptainPanel, and he has been receiving more bookings than he ever had in previous years. Don will not be seeing much of the slow season anymore.

CaptainPanel team was constantly available to answer any technical questions Don’s had in mind. The team also continuously improved the software specifics based on customer feedback to reach a final polished system. By doing so we were able to prevent and eliminate any potential glitches that could negatively affect Don’s customers. Our solutions helped him spend less time tackling technical problems and spend more time on the boat doing what he loves the most.

“This year has seen a lot of growth for me in the fish biz. One thing that has worked is that I have been using a booking software to manage things and increase revenue and have found one that works for me. It's called CaptainPanel and it's made my life easier. I'm fully integrating on their platform which means new website, online booking calendar and support.”

Sole-Man sportfishing is an established successful business and CaptainPanel proudly complemented this success with the tools needed to help it excel among competitors. Not restricted to office hours or phone calls, Don can now focus on his onboard customers with peace of mind knowing that all his customers are being taking care of at all times.

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