Leisure

Chicago electric boat company

Achieving an annual 30% growth rate with a custom reservation system.

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Challenge

If your business runs on bookings, your reservation system affects your bottom line. This story is pure proof of that.
In 2014, the Chicago Electric Boat Company decided they needed a custom reservation system. The local cruise boat rental firm interviewed several Chicago software developers for the job and chose Devvela.
It took us four months to deliver the product and update the front end of the company’s website so that it looked nice across all devices. The new system automatically calculated available time slots and price based on customer preferences, enabled advanced promotions and payments via third-party services.
CEBC reported a 35% increase in revenue after one season of using the custom reservation system we built. Since then, the company has been growing by 30% annually.
A few years later, CEBC went from a single drop-off spot to three locations across Chicago and began to plan further expansion. All that time, we’ve been helping them get the most out of the system. In 2020, they commissioned us to update the system in line with the needs of the growing business.

Solution

Back in 2014, we built the custom reservation system using agile development. Adopting such techniques as sprint planning, scrum poker, and pair programming further helped us ensure code integrity.
In 2020, the groundwork we had laid back allowed us to quickly introduce the brand new front end and the payment system, adding new features:

  • Location management
  • Better payments handling
  • Automated rental deposits
  • Booking Cancellation Protection

The location management feature allows CEBC to manage its boats across all three locations.
Paying and processing a security deposit was an extra mile to go for both CEBC customers and staff. The updated system automatically places a security hold to the credit card on file 24 hours prior to your cruise.
By selecting Cancelation Protection, an optional add-on, you can extend the penalty-free cancellation period and cancel your cruise for any reason for a full refund almost at the last moment.

Results

Customers of CEBC immediately fell in love with its bespoke reservation system when we launched it in 2014. The 35% rise in revenue in the first season of using it proves that.
But the 2020 update took the system to a whole new level.
The update slashed the processing time at all stages: from the first step of the booking until the boat is brought back to the docks. This improvement has been crucial given the company’s rapid growth in the past years.
Location management fixed resource allocation. Reserving of boats under repair was fixed by software back in 2014: administrators could remove such boats from the booking options by marking them as unavailable. And now, an administrator can send an idle boat to another location where it is needed the most or the demand is higher.
As of 2020, Devvela has been partnering with the Chicago Electric Boat Company for six years. We are delighted to have contributed to its success story and expecting the company to skyrocket in the nearest future.

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