City: Santa Barbara, CA
Organization: Channel Island Outfitters, a rental shop & adventure tour guide company
Challenge: The main challenge was to provide tools and analysis on how Channel Island Outfitters (CIO) should expand their business into new locations near Santa Barbara. We also had to give them a way to improve their reservation process and to help them calculate their equipment requirement in order to supply all the equipment demand during the peak season.
Impact: In order to analyze the expansion model, we designed an attribute analysis that worked with relevant variables such as population, education, income level, number of marinas, etc. to identify the cities with similar characteristics to Santa Barbara. We used that information to rank potential cities for expansion and then included their market size to address the desirability of each location. We provided a full list of cities with clear and strong candidates where we suggested they focus their expansion efforts.
We also created an excel model that simulated demand and weekly/monthly seasonalities in order to analyze the flow of people requiring their equipment. With that model, and the historic information of the customer preferences for a certain type of equipment, we developed a model for how many kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, surfboards, and additional equipment they would need. The CIO team, using their experience, could play with this tool and compare different scenarios to forecast how much equipment they would need.
Finally, we shared a beta dummy app to explain and improve the reservation process and, as a result, their interaction with their customers. We shared the software and all the information we developed so that they could further develop this tool, or use it as a reference when dealing with a professional developer to gain time and reduce costs.
During the week, we shared some really fun moments like the early Monday morning meeting we had while paddling in the ocean in CIO paddleboards. We paddled, we talked, we got to know each other, and we had fun! That morning we understood the soul of the company and what really drives them. These interactions and getting to know the CIO team at a personal level became a strong motivator for us.
We ended the week in the same way–making our final presentation and then paddling out into the ocean trying to connect even deeper. We hoped to stay in touch, and most of all we hoped we had made a difference by helping this amazing company in our small way.