My-Villages, the marine industry’s online collaborative, announced additions to its lineup of Innovation Partners, expanding the company’s program to help marine businesses transform how boating services are coordinated and to enhance customer engagement.
Joining The Hinckley Company, the first My-Villages Innovation Partner (MVIP) to come aboard in December 2012 are Marine Professionals Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Saunders Yachtworks of Gulf Shores, Ala., and Yacht Tech based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The MVIP program brings together marine companies to innovate with My-Villages around using online and mobile technologies to improve the experience of boat ownership and customer service.
“Our growing list of Innovation Partner companies is evidence that the marine industry has a strong desire to enhance the way we engage our customers, using both web and mobile technologies to connect, communicate and collaborate, while simplifying boat operations and marine maintenance,” said My-Villages Founder and CEO Kevin Hutchinson. “While other industries like retail, finance, and healthcare have gone before us, the boating industry can learn from them and deliver a more customer-intimate service experience.”
The MVIP program draws together forward-looking marine businesses that have agreed to use and/or market My-Villages’ premium service. The company’s premium service is a digital application-available for web browsers, smart phones and iPads-that allows boat owners and marine professionals to communicate and collaborate online. Innovation partners work with My-Villages to enhance the product and make it available to their own customers.
The premium service app provides immediate access to a boat’s equipment inventory, service history, relevant manuals, usage trends, trip logs and other useful information. It also supports automated service reminders, electronic service requests, real-time status reports on work in process, and the ability to upload images and video. The result is a seamless service that removes operational inefficiencies and addresses questions owners may have about routine maintenance and repairs, thus improving service for boat owners, while providing service yards and technicians with new tools to build and operate their business.
The Innovation Partners program builds upon the My-Villages digital community, an online “boating village” that allows individuals and businesses to share expertise and advice free of charge. More than 30 companies signed on as BETA partners for the free service-including Hinckley, Kadey-Krogen Yachts, Dometic, Cummins, Westerbeke and others-and continue to contribute to the community. Additional Innovation Partners will be signed in coming months.