About Karen’s Kayaks
Karen McLaughlin spends her days doing what she loves most: kayaking the Florida coastline and appreciating nature. As the owner of Karen’s Kayaks, a popular mobile touring and rental business near Coco Beach, she gets to introduce those gorgeous waters to local and international tourists alike.
Karen personally maps out each trip, ensuring a unique experience for her guests. She operates by some golden rules: respect nature, keep the group small and intimate and, most importantly, “If anyone calls me while I’m with guests, I don’t answer.”
She’s witnessed guides take phone calls while on the water and promised that would never happen on a Karen’s Kayaks tour.
Founded in 2012 | Water Sports | Sole Proprietor
Within the first year of business, Karen’s philosophies were rewarded. Kayak tours make up 85% of the business and Karen personally leads two tours a day. First time kayakers—especially solo travelers—love her intimate adventures. Guests began to leave glowing reviews on TripAdvisor and other sites, but there was a problem.
“I was having major growing pains,” says Karen. Phone calls were the only way to reserve a tour and Karen was the only one to manage the phone.
“I’d call people back when I finished the tour, but customers were annoyed.” Karen found that any delayed response was unacceptable to potential customers, and she started losing business because she wasn't available at all hours of the day.
Type of Bookings: 60% Online Bookings | 40% Manual Booking
Karen’s Kayaks + ZOZI
When Karen chose ZOZI Advance she was excited to capitalize on the growing popularity of her tours.
“Every booking through ZOZI saves me one phone call and one email and 10 or 15 minutes each. I’m still passionate and 100% working on my business, but now I have time.”
“The one thing that really took off for me since I started using ZOZI is creating new tours,” says Karen. Now Karen has time to think about new places and experiences.
“The things that make my business special are my creative experiences. I’m trying to keep it fresh and fun and that is how I get and keep customers.”
Business Growth: + 20% Bookings | + 2 Seasonal Part Time Staff
Managing, Understanding and Growing the Business
Through ZOZI Advance, Karen now accesses monthly and weekly reports to understand which trips were most popular, the number of guests that came through and how much revenue she’s bringing in.
“In the busy season I like to see what I’m making every week and to check where and what customers like.” With ZOZI Advance, Karen can accurately manage her business’ monthly and yearly trends.
A surprise benefit of pre-booking and payment has been a more reliable number of guests.
“I no longer have no-shows now that people book online and prepay,” says Karen. “It was a lot of extra work and sometimes I used to turn business away. Now I’m confident about how many guests I’ll have each trip.”
"Having ZOZI puts my mind at ease. I’m not worried I’m missing a call, I feel like everything is handled while I’m out on the water. I can concentrate 100% on showing my guests the best experience," Karen said.
Rewarding VIP Customers & Generating New Business
With the word-of-mouth expansion of her business, Karen thought it was important to recognize loyal customers.
“ZOZI helped me make a code for return customers. They took the time to teach me how to do it. They suggested a promo code for me called ‘VIPaddlers’ which is fun and easy, and my customers love it.”
With a few steps, Karen can now send an email to specific customers through ZOZI to offer special codes and other incentives.
“I immediately got five bookings after sending the VIPaddles code. It’s a great way for me to pick up business when it’s a bit slow too.”
Favorite Features: 24/7 Booking | Promotions & Codes
ZOZI Helps Karen Be Her Best
Sharing her passion for kayaking, nature and wildlife is a dream job that Karen takes very seriously. With ZOZI Advance she’s found a partner that’s there for her when and where she needs it.
“That’s the biggest surprise. Whenever I have a question or don’t have time to figure something out, someone at ZOZI is available to help me,” says Karen. “ZOZI is like having staff. Instead of them treating me like a customer, I feel like they work for me.”