How right he was. After Sandberg added streaming video to the Web site of his Berkeley (Calif.) OCSC Sailing School last year, revenues at the 72-person company grew about 10%, to $2 million. "Since ours is a very visual sport, people need to get a sense of what this really is about," says Sandberg, OCSC's president and founder.
The cost of upgrading OCSC's Web site was minimal. The sailing school paid $1,000 for the handheld and stationary digital-video cameras that Chief Operating Officer Max Fancher used to record the footage, plus $300 to a Web developer to add the video to the site. As before, Sandberg pays an outside Web developer $15,000 a year to maintain the site.
Visitors to www.ocscsailing.com now see a view of the bay from the company's clubhouse and a shot of its docks in the Berkeley Marina, both with a 10-second delay. Event planners can watch a video of corporate employees honing their team-building skills -- and get an idea of what their clients might be in for -- on a J/24 sailboat in a mock regatta.
Sandberg isn't stopping there. He recently spent about $5,000 for a new digital camera that will let him post higher-quality images on the site. And in September, he paid a Web developer $5,000 to add an hour-long tutorial on the fundamentals of navigation to the site, including nautical charts and an interactive quiz. (The quiz is at www.sailing-schools.us/study_halls.) Sandberg says 60 clients have signed up with OCSC after checking out the tutorial, bringing in about $60,000.
More tutorials are on the way. Over the next year, Sandberg plans to add one or two lessons a month on everything from engine repair to cooking on board. By beefing up his Web site, Sandberg is putting wind in his company's sails.