David Taylor didn’t expect to be where he is now. In 2017, after years of running his advertising agency in Anchorage, Alaska, he suddenly found himself running the marketing department of an adventure business in Maui, Hawaii.
That business, Kai Kanani, provides private charters, snorkeling, and sailing tours to tourists from around the world. When David arrived, he knew right away that marketing and advertising would play a critical role in the company’s future. As one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S., the competition in Maui is stiff, especially for private charters and snorkeling adventures.
On top of the stiff competition, the large hotel next to Kai Kanani’s location—which provided most of their foot traffic—closed down. It was converted into a private club. Just like that, most of their organic sales opportunities were gone.
This could have been the end of the story. Luckily, it isn’t.
When you speak with David, you learn two things about him: (1) he doesn’t back down from a challenge, and (2) he always assumes he has something to learn from others. So, he started studying the competition.
That’s when he came across something interesting. “When I saw it, my gut said, ‘that’s it’,” David told us.
“I’d lie awake at night wondering how many people were leaving our site because they couldn’t text us,” he told us. “I didn’t understand how pressing the need for messaging was until I saw that our competitors were doing it.”
An unexpected solution.
If you were to hear David talk about his personal feelings toward texting, you’d wonder why he was so convinced it was what his business needed. During our conversation, he described to us his personal relationship with texting.
“I’m actually not a texter,” he told us. “I hate texting.”
Wait, how does someone who hates texting end up using it to run their business?
Remember when we mentioned that David always assumes he has something to learn from others? Here’s what he told us: “I’ve always taken a one-down position when it comes to marketing and advertising. People will tell you what they need. You just have to take a walk down the street—all you see are people texting.”
He went on to explain how people don’t want to call a business because they don’t want to take the time to talk to somebody. They don’t want to email because it’s slow and easy to ignore. They prefer to text because it just flows naturally. Of course, he was preaching to the choir.
This story would probably be more interesting if David would’ve experienced setback after setback on his way to implementing text messaging, but it was sort of an overnight success.
“The real shocker was how fast it happened when we installed Podium,” he told us. “It was instant. All of a sudden we were getting messages all day. It was a no-brainer.”
In the end, money talks.
David told us more about how insanely fast the messages started coming in. It wasn’t just about how fast they were coming in, but also how fast his team was able to respond and close deals. “It was shocking how quickly we could answer questions, and how quickly they’d go straight from that to booking a trip,” he told us. “It was very fluid because most of them were going through the website to text us.”
Shortly after implementing Podium, someone texted them to ask about their tours and ended up booking a 35-person private charter. That single text thread was also a quick return on their investment. David finished this story with a laugh, “We were like, ‘Cool, that pays for a year of Podium right there’.”