Steve and Linda Lane are avid kayakers and amateur naturalists who spent many weekends exploring the Hudson Rivers numerous creeks and tributaries. Steve was a sales representative and Linda worked as a freelance Web designer. Two years ago, Steves division was purchased by a rival company, which announced plans to move operations to another state.
Rather than relocate, the Lanes decided to launch HKA. They reasoned that Linda could con- tinue her work, which would provide some income while Steve tried to build HKA into a profit- able business. Steve and Linda are convinced that the ecotourism market will expand greatly, and they look forward to sharing their experience and knowledge with others who enjoy nature and kayaking.
Hudson Kayak Adventures advertises in regional magazines and maintains a Web site, which Linda designed. At this time, no other kayak rental firms operate within 20 miles of HKAs loca- tion. Customers say that the HKA site is attractive and informative, but the Lanes are not sure it is attracting new business.
So far, the Lanes plan is working out well. HKA rents space at a nearby marina, where Linda runs the office and operates her Web design business. She also handles rentals when Steve is giving lessons or busy with a tour group. On summer weekends and holidays, Janet Jacobs, a local col- lege student, handles telephone inquiries and reservations.
HKAs inventory includes 16 rental kayaks of various types, lengths, and capacities, eight car-top carriers, and a large assortment of accessories and safety equipment. Based on customer requests, Linda is considering adding a selection of books and videos about kayaking and ecotourism.
HKA has three main business segments: rentals, instruction, and guided tours. Most customers make advance reservations for scheduled tours and instruction sessions, but sometimes space is available for last-minute customers. Rentals are split evenly between reservations and walk-in customers.
Reservations are entered in a loose-leaf binder, with separate tabs for each business activity. Linda also created a Microsoft Access database to record reservations. When she has time, she enters the reservation date, the reservation details and kayak type, and the customer informa- tion into a table, which is sorted by reservation date. Each day, she prints a reservation list. For quick reference, Linda also displays kayak availability on a wall-mounted board with color- coded magnets that show the available or reserved status of each rental kayak. In addition to the database, Linda uses an inexpensive accounting package to keep HKAs books.
Although the HKA database handles the basic information, the Lanes have noticed some drawbacks. For example, reservations for guided tours or instruction sessions sometimes con- flict with Steves or Lindas availability. The Lanes also would like to get more information about rental patterns, customer profiles, advertising effectiveness, and future business oppor- tunities. Steve and Linda have talked about updating the system, but they have been too busy to do so.
1. Develop a business profile for Hudson Kayak Adventures. Create a separate section for each of the following: HKAs business activities, organization, resources, customers, and potential for Web-based marketing.