Wendella Boats Inc. opened the doors of their family-run business in 1935, fuelled by their passion to provide an elite Chicago architecture touring service to both visitors and natives of the Windy City.

For generations, Wendella has maintained a reputation for providing a high quality service that far surpasses their competitors. Tourists and commuters alike can take advantage of Wendella’s state of the art amenities, while enjoying the spectacular views.


Wendella exceeds their customer’s expectation by using the latest technologies in their field – making them an ideal and valued client of RocketRez. In the following interview Zach Harris, Director of IT at Wendella, elaborates on his experience while interacting with our simple-to-use ticketing process system. He also provides valuable advice for anyone who maintains a tourism-based computer network.

What is your role at Wendella?

I am the Director of IT (Information Technology), and really that means that I wear a lot of hats. That’s anything from the ticketing system, to helping people with email, computer, scanner, and laptop issues on the boats. Basically, if it plugs into the wall it is my responsibility.

What does a typical day look like for you?

It depends on the time the day and the part of the season. Some days it is as easy and laid back as running reports and making sure our computers and phones are working. Other days I am down in the trenches handling the inevitable IT service and support issues that a large company has.

I never know what I’m going to get into, until it actually plays out.


What are some of the challenges that you face?

It’s pretty tough from an IT standpoint in the tourism business. There are a lot of challenges with customers, especially from different countries and continents. It’s not only about language barriers, but also monetary exchange rates, and their different customs.

“It was apparent that we needed a single system to handle the interactions between employees and customers”

One of the biggest challenges is making sure that our customers have a pleasant experience here at Wendella, and that usually begins with our website, or ticket sales. My biggest challenge is making sure that we get them interested in Wendella as well as allowing them to easily purchase tickets.

It was apparent that we needed a single system to handle the interactions between employees and customers.

How would you describe your ticketing process?

Before using RocketRez it was quite complicated.

It was very difficult for us to know what coupon codes were active at the time and what marketing discounts we were offering. It was hard to effectively track and manage those price changes.

It was also difficult to understand what was happening in the system between refunds, gift cards or erroneous orders. We had a hard time solidifying a number in terms of our sales for the day, week, or even month.

All these things led us to look for a new ticketing system.


What would you consider the most important requirements for a ticketing system?

We were looking for 2 specific things.

  1. Availability – From a management standpoint you need to be able to access your ticketing system from anywhere, especially when you are working in a tourism business.
  2. Easy to use interface for our customers – I believe we lost a lot of customers with our previous ticket system due to how complicated the online experience was.
Do you have any advice for companies looking for a ticketing system or solution?

My advice would be to thoroughly understand your ticketing process before looking for new software. Have your process in place in terms of how ticketing sales should happen, what you want to see improve, the data you need to have, and what each department and employee needs. These are the things that helped us decide on a ticketing system.

Our previous ticketing system had so many holes in the ticketing process. Its’ lack of flexibility prevented us from doing the things we wanted the way we needed. Having a thorough understanding of your own ticketing process will help you find the solution that suits your company best.


How would you suggest companies prepare for implementation of a new system?

It’s almost like you have to work backwards. What is the end result that you want from a ticketing system? Now work backwards from there.

“It really makes you think outside of your current ticketing system”

For us, the end result that we wanted was mobility and to be able to sell tickets both online as well as on mobile devices. Then we needed to decide how we would measure those statistics. Once we decided on that process, we could define what we wanted in the new system.

That’s the process that worked for us because it really makes you think outside of your current ticketing system. I think that is the hardest challenge in terms of preparing for a new system implementation.

What made you select RocketRez as your ticketing solution?

It was great timing as I was searching high and low for every ticketing solution out there – when I got a call from RocketRez saying “Hey are you looking for a new ticketing system?” at just the right moment.

Every other ticketing system I was reviewing hit 8 out of the 10 points that we needed, but I could not find anything that gave us 10 out of 10. Literally 30 minutes into the demo I knew RocketRez had the right ticketing system for us.

“You can literally buy a ticket online in under 30 seconds”

The interface was crisp, professional, polished, and easy to use. RocketRez hit that right out of the park. You could literally buy a ticket online in under 30 seconds.

The main selling points for us were:

  • Cloud based. Availability from anywhere.
  • Had the robust feature-set we needed.
  • The ability to have one system that handles multiple departments

It was kind of a no brainer after that point.

What have you done to increase efficiency at Wendella this season?

RocketRez alone has made us 110% more efficient. Getting an instant idea of today’s work load has been a huge improvement and this alone has made us more efficient in terms of getting boats out on time.

“All in all, it’s RocketRez that has made us more efficient.”

A better reporting system helps us understand and have better insight as to what is going on at the ticket booths, at the kiosks, and on the web. We also can more easily compare which marketing campaigns are performing better on the web versus the ticket booth – this helps with fine tuning our sales process.

All in all, it’s RocketRez that has made us more efficient as we no longer have a bottleneck with our information. Our team now has the appropriate access to get the reports that they need – they can run reports at any time, from anywhere which has made management much easier and allowed us to get more people on our boats.

It has been a great experience overall, RocketRez being a big component in helping us become much more efficient in our ticket sales.