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Posted By Discussion Topic: Help Needed for Anglia Afloat Article

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SunnySunlight
Oct-29-2008 @ 8:28 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Guys!

I am currently doing some research for an article that I am writing for Anglia Afloat about what today's Broads hirers want from their boat/holiday/yard and how demands may have changed over the years and wondered if anyone could help?  

I, obviously, have my own views but the more the merrier and hopefully it will make it a rather interesting topic in the magazine.  If you can spare the time please either pm me or answer this thread.

Many thanks
Pam

lindandy
Oct-29-2008 @ 8:56 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Pam

What I want from a boat is a clean reliable tidy looking craft but not nessarily new. From my holiday peace and tranquilty and from the yard a polite and friendly greeting and good service should anything go wrong.

Regards
Andy

I love tearing along at 3MPH

BroadAmbition
Oct-30-2008 @ 8:12 AM                           Permalink
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What I'd like to see is the end to the rip-off of having to pay for car parking whilst using the yards hire-craft.


Griff

'Broad Ambition' - 'Dreams do come true' - Afloat at last 06-10-07

JennyMorgan
Oct-30-2008 @ 9:33 AM                           Permalink
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To that last point I agree, unless it is undercover. Bit like a pub charging customers to use their car park, or their moorings come to that.

Jenny Morgan,

Say 'yes dear' and be accused of being indecisive, be decisive and be accused of not saying 'yes dear'! Us men can never win.

billmaxted
Oct-30-2008 @ 10:12 AM                           Permalink
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Hello Pam, to try and answer your question,

I think to understand that Broads today from the perspective of Hirers expectations you have to look back much further into Broadland’s history and recognise the constantly changing pattern of use.

Back in Victorian days boating on the Broads was an activity for the wealthy gentry who could afford the creature comforts that a couple of servants could provide.  By the time of Arthur Ransom’s ‘Coot club’ and Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three men in a boat’ use had polarised with motorboats and Fortnum & Mason hampers on the one hand and half-deckers with canvas covers on the other, either very basic cooking on a Primus Stove on the bank or despite the wind up gramophone something of an adventure even on the most expensive cruisers.

Come the 1950’s & ‘60’s with universal summer holidays demand had increased which made larger numbers of boats viable but many holiday makers had the limited expectations of Seaside B&B’s, early holiday camps and caravan holidays.  The appeal of a Broads holiday was getting away from it all, no Redcoats or Landladies and discovering somewhere you could not explore any other way.  We think of holidays at this time as being cheap, with hindsight, but compare average wages with hire costs and there is not much difference between then and now, for much more rudimentary accommodation.

With the advent of mass package holidays the cost of a week or fortnight’s break in foreign parts dramatically reduced but the cost of operating and maintaining boats remained static.  Standardised designs and moves towards craft which were more like floating caravan’s, widened the appeal over traditional boats.  With more space ‘below decks’ you could achieve what you might expect from a chalet or houseboat with the ability to move about.  As the standards of overseas hotels went up so did customer expectations and the standard of boat fittings likewise, but this added to the cost.  Cheap airfares and the prospect of guaranteed sun put pressure on Broadland operators who invested more in their fleets.  Big company accountants saw such businesses as being asset rich and a good investment if only they were managed properly and not as a family hobby!  As a result yards were combined, this worked all right whilst boats were new or well maintained, costs were reduced and a squeeze put on remaining family yards.  Standards dropped but customer expectations were still rising because of what they could get elsewhere.  Result, a downward spiral which left some big businesses pulling out or going bust.  This however relieved the pressure on the traditional firms who assured of a bigger market share could invest once more and for a number of years this cycle went on but it did mean that standards year on year were inconsistent which had it’s effect on repeat business.

With the late 70’s & 80’s we move into an era worshiping designer labels where marketing is king.  Where what a boat looks like in the brochure is just as important as how comfortable when on board.  The advantage of a shed that floats is that you can stand up and don’t have to sleep on something that is like a half open coffin.  Given that holidays for many were becoming a more sedentary luxury experience a lack of comfort means that customers are less likely to return.  Combine flashy looks that give the impression you ought to be able to chase about at 20 knots, which you can’t, with cramped space below and perhaps some customers are going to be disappointed after their first experience.  Likewise the combination is almost certain to limit the parts of the broads you can visit which brings it’s own disappointments.

All of this is not to say that there are not still adventurers about but many of these will have invested in a little boat of their own which I see as being a slightly different breed to the owners of ‘Gin Palaces’.

Donning the ‘site grump’s’ hat what are 21st century hirers looking for? A boat that would not look out of place in the ‘Med’, which is easy to drive without any experience, which will go everywhere at speed so you can do the Broads in less than a week, which looks like new without a bump or a scratch and which costs no more than a Travel Lodge.  Until they have been ‘learnt’ their expectations are probably unrealistic!
Tinhat

Bill...(The Ancient Mardler)

This message was edited by billmaxted on Oct-30-08 @ 10:55 AM

Realaler
Oct-30-2008 @ 1:06 PM                           Permalink
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If I were you Pam I'd cut 'n paste all of Bill's stuff and send it straight over.
On the Vanity Publishing rates offered by Anglia APlug, they can't get professional writers to contribute, so they can't be choosy.

T H

GaryCantley
Oct-30-2008 @ 2:14 PM                           Permalink
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Pam,

I do hope that the forum will also get a mention in the article.

Where else could you find out so much information?



Gary.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning We Will Remember Them.

Sharon&Tony
Oct-30-2008 @ 2:52 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Pam

As previously mentioned, we look for clean tidy boats, that don't leak, with a good stock of crockery, pots, pans etc.
Good service from the boatyard, i.e. boat ready on time, quick service if something goes wrong, nice and friendly, helpful and cheerful.  

Not to pay for parking, as when you have paid for the boat already, a bit of a cheek to ask for more money for parking.  Also diver cover etc. should all be included.  In other words no nasty extra costs.

Must admit we like an electric toilet, we have been on loads with various pump handles etc. but they are awful, we really do like a proper toilet !!  A shower where you can actually stand upright, and not have to stand with one foot halfway up the side of the boat.

A comfortable full size bed, where you don't have your face within inches of the hull.

Bonus Points for boats where you get a decent high ball glass, rather than a tiny fruit juice type, you can't put a decent G & T in a little glass !!  A reasonable fridge with an ice sections that works, we are going back to the G & T issue now !!

Lovely weather, so we can laze around in the sunshine



Smile

Sharon & Tony

Is it Pimms O'Clock yet ?

This message was edited by Sharon&Tony on Oct-30-08 @ 2:53 PM

SunnySunlight
Oct-30-2008 @ 3:16 PM                           Permalink
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Thanks for the comments, so far ... all very interesting.  

I am not a professional writer although I have been a Broads hirer since I was in nappies, I am, therefore, loving the opportunities that the magazine has given me in the past (and hopefully continuing in the future) to write about my passion.  I am also hoping that through these articles, they are contributing something for us regular hirers who want articles more relevant to us.

Each year new boats come out with more "modern" extras - whirlpool baths, playstations etc.  I dont believe they are the "be all" and "end all" to my choice of hireboat, but they are important to some people.  It's plainly obvious on this Forum alone that everyone looks for something different in their boat and what suits some people doesnt suit others and I was hoping that this article could look into that a bit more and about the future. I, for one, want the "best looking boat on the Broads" for my week of "ownership" but what is the best looking to me isnt to someone else. And what about when our needs change over time, not only is everything getting more advanced but I am now a Mum of three children under the age of 5 and our needs from a boat are different to what they would have been say ten years ago.  I dare say that in another ten years our needs will have changed and in twenty years - who knows ... I think I will just be pleased to be able to climb aboard!!!

A lot of what Bill has already mentioned has been written about last year with my series of articles charting the hireboat industry through the decades.  Therefore, sadly, I wont be able to cut and paste it!!  boo hoo! How easy would that have been! Please dont think that I am using you all instead of writing the article on my own, I just thought that it would be interesting to hear all your comments instead of just drawing on my own experiences.  To this end, I dont think I will be allowed to mention the Forum, but it wont be out of any malice on my part.

Sharon & Tony - I, too, always make the choice for good weather but quite often it doesnt seem to be included in the price!!!





BroadAmbition
Oct-30-2008 @ 4:37 PM                           Permalink
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As a Hirer (Yes still hiring as per the Lads week)

I do understand that yards probably now cannot afford to lose thier cherished car parking fee's that they have becoma accustomed too, neither the blasted diver insurance.

I would much rather they put the price of parking and prop insurance withing the hire charge. We wouldn't be any better off in the wallet department of course,

BUT

That horrible taste left in the mouth of being ripped off would disapear over night, and that'g got to be worth £13:50 of anyones money, imho of course

Griff


Griff

'Broad Ambition' - 'Dreams do come true' - Afloat at last 06-10-07

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