Editorial – January 2021

Promote Your Members – Create a Directory – by Gene Muchanski Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Welcome to the New Year.   Although none of us can predict how this year will unfold, I think it’s safe to say that it probably will not be as bad as last year.  But you never know. During the pandemic lockdowns of 2020, many of us in the diving industry kept busy by doing some house cleaning.  Old books, old papers, old files, that sort of thing.  I came across a few old directories of scuba instructors  published by NAUI, LA County, Women’s Scuba Association, and of course, the Dive Industry Association.  I started to think about why there are so few if any directories still published.  If you are a dues paying member of an association or organization, perhaps you should be wondering too.  Are they hiding your contact information or just not supporting you?

A member driven association or organization is supposed to be in the business of promoting their members to the buying public so the member can sell more products or services and increase their revenue.  If your organization isn’t increasing your revenue and merely selling you stuff, why do you belong to them and pay annual dues?  It seems to me that many organizations do their best to hide your contact information so their competitors won’t be able to “steal their customers” away from them.  In fact, some organizations just want to keep their dues paying members to themselves so only they can sell them more products.  How in God’s name is that bringing you more business?

This year, hundreds of dive businesses will go out of business.  The market has shrunk and the competition for reaching paying customers is increasing.  Not only are Dive Industry Professionals getting smarter about reaching potential customers, they are getting smarter about paying dues to organizations that don’t do things that increase their revenue.

The Dive Industry Association publishes its Member Directory for a number of reasons.  1) It lets the worldwide diving community know who the sellers of equipment, training, travel and lifestyle products are.  2) It shows our community which diving companies support our Global Diving Network and the local diving communities they serve. 3) It is a central sources of dive businesses that are currently in business, complete with their continually verified contact information.  4)  It creates a marketplace where Buyers & Sellers can meet to do business.  Our Mission as a Trade Association is to help bring you more business that puts money in your pocket, not take it out.

I’ve had a number of discussions with dive industry professionals this year about directories and their purpose.  Most agree that our Trade Directory is a great idea.  We list our Members by industry or category and we list our travel members by category or country.  We have a cross reference directory that lists our members by the products or services they sell.  These are two directories that we can send to Divers all over the world, using our digital capability.  We are even putting our directory back up on its website for the worldwide diving community to see and use.

I believe that directories are useful to both buyers and sellers.  If you are in business to sell your products or services, you want people to know who you are and how to contact you.  I agree that not everyone wants to be listed in a directory.  I don’t want to be listed in the NAUI Member locator page of their website, because I am a Sustaining Lifetime Member and no longer teach scuba diving.  But if I were an active Instructor looking for students, I would want to be easily located and contacted.  The same thing goes for donors and sponsors.  Some may want to be listed, some may not.  Give them the option.

A few colleagues of mine have suggested that some member directories are not publicly available because the organizations have a practice of selling their member list.  And who would pay for a listing if it’s available to the public for free?  Good point.  You have to remember that a list of unknowns is almost worthless.  It’s the relationship behind the name that’s important.  A good reason to create a list is to let people know who you serve, and who is worthy of your service. 

So here are a few of our suggestions based on some input from the industry.  Don’t think of a Member Directory as a listing of your Members.  Think of it as a Buyers Guide that can be used by the buying public to acquire dive equipment, training, travel, and lifestyle products.  Think of it as a guide to bring your Members more business.  The more of your products they sell, the more of your products they will have to buy from you.  Isn’t that what we all want?  As far as Dealer Locators on websites are concerned, different types of businesses require different formats.  Dive Stores may be well served if listed by zip code.  People rarely travel more than 25 miles to take lessons or get their tanks filled.  Dive Boat Operators may attract divers from hundred of miles away, if not more.  People plan their boat trips based on where they want to dive, not where they live.  Manufacturers have a national appeal.  If you are looking for a Sales Rep, you need one that serves your state but may not live in it.  Travel destinations command global promotion.  If you want divers to dive the Maldives with you, you have to find a way to get your contact information to divers from all over the world.

What contact information should you include in a directory?  Business name, city, state, country, phone number and website url.  A contact name would be very helpful.  I would avoid street addresses and email addresses.  That information is only useful to people who are interested in list farming.  Besides, complete contact information is usually listed on everyone’s website under “contact us.”  The point is to create a list that is easily used and easy to update.  It’s to help potential buyers find products and services from available sellers.  In your case, the sellers should be your members and/or partners.

Is your business listed in our Directory?  It should be.  Contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net or call 321-914-3778 for more details.

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Editorial – December 2020

Adding “LifeStyle” To The Mix –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Dive Industry Association has been reorganizing the International Diving Community into Local Diving Communities for the past four years to establish industry norms and create a pathway for dive industry professionals who want to start, grow and succeed in their watersports businesses.  Working regionally with Dive Industry Professionals is a much better way to meet the needs of local diving businesses and return the industry emphasis to smaller, targeted geographical areas.  I believe this paradigm shift from national corporate marketing to local small business support will be the key to restarting this recreation in a very positive way. A re-birth of our recreation, so to speak.

As I said, we have been reconstructing the way we look at the diving community and have been sharing our written plan, as we develop it, with Dive Industry Professionals in the Global Diving Community.  It is refreshing to see a plan come together as we write it down for public scrutiny, although we do take criticism from time to time for incomplete information and questionable data.  But here is the real exciting thing that has been happening.  Dive Industry Professionals are starting to come out of the woodwork to help us iron out our concepts and tweak our imperfect data.  The result is that our vision of the future diving industry is getting clearer and clearer all the time.  Another benefit of laying out our research for the industry to see is that we are seeing holes in the current business paradigm.  Let me tell you about a very important concept we overlooked.

For the past twenty years our Goal has been to Build a Better IndustryOur Mission has been to bring Buyer & Sellers together for mutual benefit.  Our efforts have been to  Focus on the sales of Diving Equipment, Training and Travel and our Message to the public has been 1) Learn to Dive  2) Buy Your Gear  3) Go Diving  4) Stay Active.

Looking at our new presentations in light of the COVID-19 experience, something seemed to be missing.  Our Goal and Mission was spot on but something in our focus and message didn’t synch.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  The one focus point we forgot to include was the sales of LifeStyle Products.  Of course.  This has always been the strong point of the Surfing Industry, the Boating Industry, the Fishing Industry, the Apparel Industry, and also every recreational industry except scuba diving.

There are three factors we have to keep in mind about adding the focus of selling Lifestyle products in the diving market.  1) Selling Lifestyle products can eventually exceed the total revenue of diving equipment, training and travel.  2) Selling Lifestyle products is perfect for keeping your business alive during the pandemic.  People are not diving as much, they are not taking a lot of classes and few are traveling.  But consumers are still buying jewelry, apparel, marine art, and everything that reminds them that they are Divers, Ocean Ambassadors, and Guardians of the Environment.  And as an added bonus, it’s the Holiday Shopping Season now!

Selling Lifestyle is big business in the Surfing Industry.  Bathing suits, apparel, beach products, health products, books, magazines, etc.  Same thing with the Fishing and Boating Industries.  Once you buy a boat, do you really think your purchasing has ended?  Not hardly.  It’s just beginning.   This could be Scuba Diving’s big shot in the arm.  
At a time when we needed it the most.

So our Industry Paradigm has shifted.  Our Goal is still to Build a Better Industry.  Our Mission is still to bring Buyers & Sellers together.  Our Message to the public is still learn to dive, buy your gear, go diving and stay active.  But now our Business Advice to Dive Industry Professionals is to Focus on the sales of Diving Equipment, Training, Travel and Lifestyle products.  

For more information contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net 

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DIA Members To Exhibit at DEMA Show 2020

The following Dive Industry Association Members are exhibiting at the Virtual DEMA Show Online, November 17-20, 2020 .  Make it a point to visit our DIA Members for Great Show Specials.

Manufacturers

Travel Businesses, Destinations, Resorts, & Dive Operators

Non-Profits

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Editorial – November 2020

The True Meaning of a Network –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Dive Industry Association is a true Global Business Network in the Recreational Diving Community.  We designed it 20 years ago to unite the industry to a common purpose.  The common purpose has always been to bring Buyers & Sellers together to grow the recreation.  Industries don’t grow if working Industry Professionals are not engaged in active commerce and operating their businesses professionally, productively and profitably.

I look back on the diving industry’s history and I can see that our recreational industry started to grow in the 1960’s.  We made major gains in the 1970’s and I believe our decade of explosive growth was in the 1980’s.  You may remember that our industry started to decline in the 1990’s and in the past 20 years has been a mixture of growth, decline, consolidation, acquisition and outright confusion and fragmentation.  The recent economic turmoil in the world’s economy was the breaking point in the recreational diving industry as we know it.   The pandemic is causing serious after-effects on the way we do business in our recreation.  I believe that we are being forced to look at the way we currently do business and change our business models and paradigms accordingly.

Recreational diving businesses are seeing the value in belonging to a global business network like ours, in order to link up with like-minded businesses that share the same goals, aspirations and challenges.  Our Global Network brings Dive Industry Professionals together as a group to unify their focus and sharpen their skills as Sellers of diving equipment, training and travel products.  As an active marketing network association we are actually focusing our marketing programs on bringing qualified buyers to our selling members.  

The big difference between our association and others is that our annual fee is used to acquire and master modern marketing tools to bring our members more business.  We are not a vendor who charges you an annual fee just to sell you more products and services.   We understand that you will never succeed by only buying more products from your vendors.  You will only succeed by selling more products and services to your customers.  Our mission in this industry is to expose and refer you to the people who will become your customers.  What is a referral worth to you?

Let me quickly explain the logic of our Mission  Focus before my life gets threatened as an enemy of the major vendors.  The success of the Recreational Diving Industry comes from the sales of diving equipment, training programs and travel products.  As a Global Networking Association, our Mission is to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  We take that mission very seriously and we make it all inclusive from product conception to product consumption.  I have worked for equipment manufacturers, training agencies and travel companies.  I fully understand their agendas, priorities and current sales focus.  I was also a dive store employee, manager and owner for ten years.  I know the importance of working with  professional vendors who treat you like a sales partner instead of those who treat you like a mere customer with a big check book.  As a Dive Store Retailer I always sought out vendors who not only helped me buy sellable products but helped me to resell them to my customers.  The more I sold, the more I bought.  Not, vice versa.  That’s what makes retail stores successful.

In this post-covid time frame, the Dive Industry Association is reaching out to Buyers and Sellers worldwide to offer you membership in our Global Business Network.  Let us help you identify quality vendors who will work with you to complete the sales of diving equipment, training and travel goods and services.  Let’s work together to identify and reach qualified buyers for you.  Let us help you to rebuild your businesses and restart this wonderful recreational business community.

For more information about Membership in the Dive Industry Association, go to www.diveindustry.net   

For more information about this article, contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net 

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Mastering “Business of Diving” Issues

Mastering the Business of Diving Issues –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Most of the larger companies in the diving industry have established a reputation for being knowledgeable in their main product or service category.   When they focus on products and services they are good at producing, it’s called their “core competencies.”   Successful companies market their mastery of their core competencies because that is what they  derive the majority of their revenue from and that is what their brand is built on.

The diving industry is based on the sales of diving equipment, training certifications and dive travel.  I have been fortunate enough in my career to have worked as a Product Manager and Sales Manager for two major dive equipment manufactures, a Marketing Director for one of the largest certification agencies and a Travel Advisor for a number of dive travel companies.  Let me share a little inside information with you about why these sectors should stick to their own core competencies.

Diving equipment manufacturers are recognized for their quality diving and life support equipment.  Their Sales Agents are taught to know everything about their equipment line.  How it’s made, how it functions on a dive and how it’s maintained or repaired.  When I have a question about a piece of diving equipment I go to a number of dive equipment sales reps or employees of the companies themselves.  I trust the manufacturing section to be Masters on all Diving Equipment Issues.

As a former Executive of a major certification agency, I know that our Training Agencies are all about Mastering the educational process that goes into developing training courses for divers.  Their Sales Agents are trained in the development, necessity, teaching, selling and follow-up of all of their courses their agency produces and sells.  They are education experts and are the Masters of teaching diving course.

Travel company employees are Masters of the hospitality and tourism industries in addition to being Masters of Recreational Diving.  Training and preparation in this industry is extensive, exhausting, and on-going.  When I became a licensed Travel Advisor I was overwhelmed with the amount of training and professional development that was involved.  I know where I go when I need to learn something about the travel industry.

Now let me tell you about the need to be a Master of the Business of Diving issues !  Even after receiving a degree in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and working as the Marketing Director for a major certification agency, I got the most hands on, practical business experience working in my dive store for ten more years.  And that was just the beginning of my education.  My equipment sales reps and training agency reps were no help at all when it came to questions about how to run a dive business.   My equipment reps didn’t share business advice for fear of making a store owner angry at them and losing his orders.  They just told me to buy more equipment.  Same thing with the training reps.  They weren’t in the business of offering free business advice so they just told me to teach more classes.

Where it all came together for me was in the eight years I spent with the University of Houston as a Senior Advisor and Business Consultant for the Small Business Development Centers.  My clients came from all industries, not just diving.  The Professional Development I needed to complete annually involved learning about business hardware, computer software programs, business technology, planning and operation programs, banking, insurance, law, accounting, marketing, etc.  The list goes on and on.  I attended semi-annual SBA Banking Conferences.  I participated in annual Professional Development Conferences for Consultants, both at the State level and the National level.  I can’t count the number of seminars, luncheons and dinners I attended to meet business leaders from the U.S. Government, Microsoft, Intuit, Apple, Palo Alto Software and so many other hardware and software developers.  All with great tools for running businesses more professionally, productively, and profitably.

We started the Dive industry Association 20 years ago to provide the industry with an organization that would focus on helping diving entrepreneurs start, grow and succeed in the Business of Diving.  Over 1,600 small businesses have taken advantage of our business consulting and market advice.  In 2002 we conducted a survey of the Dive Retail sector and was surprised to learn that while 100% of the stores had an equipment sales rep and 100% of the stores had a training rep, only 23% used a Business Consultant.  Unfortunately, we did not identify the source of their business consultants.  I guarantee, we will now.  Our 2020 Surveys are ready to go.  I just hope we can convince the industry to participate.

After the great economic paradigm shift of 2020, we will once again survey the 1,525 Retail Dive Stores in the U.S. to see how much the retail industry has grown, shrunk or changed in the past 18 years.  We will also run our Annual survey for Sales Reps, to the 123 Reps we have on our database.  One thing is for sure.  The Dive Industry Association and our Global Business Network will continue to focus on partnering with business leaders and bring modern business technologies to as many diving entrepreneurs in our international diving community that are interested.  Are you one of them?

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Phone: 321-914-3778
email: gene@diveindustry.net 
Web: www.diveindustry.net

 

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Editorial – October 2020

The World Has Changed – Have You? –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

There is one thing for certain in life – things will always change.  Change can be a good thing or a bad thing.  It all depends on how you respond or react to it.   Our businesses are in a continual state of change also.  As intelligent business people we need to keep ahead of things that may change and be prepared for whatever happens.  When major changes occur in our way of doing business, we call it a paradigm shift.  Well, thanks to a number of major changes to the world economy this year, we have entered into a paradigm shift like never before.   The way we do business has changed for both the buyers and the sellers.

Now I don’t want to sound like change is a bad thing.  In fact, there are a few things that are changing for the better in the recreational diving industry.  It’s too early to tell how much of the industry has or will change but as change occurs, it’s up to us to change with it.  Adapt, so to speak.

One major change so far is something that is very close to my heart.  It’s Trade Shows.  In 2020, dive shows died.  Our World Underwater, Beneath the Sea, Scuba Show, Shark Con, Surf Expo and DEMA Show did not hold their live events this year.  Attempts to conduct virtual trade shows has had mixed success so far.  Probably because they are boring, time consuming for the public, not done right, or too expensive for a profitable return on investment.  Another major problem with virtual shows is that the producers have little or no experience at designing and conducting them.  There are so many flaws with the way virtual trade shows are being conducted, I have a hard time getting excited about them or even recommending them for the diving industry.   However, I do think there may be something new and exciting on the horizon.

Going back four years or so, I started asking shows & event producers to let us combine digital online programs with our exhibit booths at their trade shows.  Wifi access at that time was either blocked, limited, or very expensive.   So the answer was no.  Just buy a booth from us and forget your online stuff.  Well, I heard that things may be changing soon.  I heard about Hybrid Trade Shows and I think I know where they are going.  This may turn out to be a way back for Shows & Events in our industry.

Another thing that has changed is the size of events.  Having a multi-day show for 10,000 attendees, at a location 1,000 miles away from home is a thing of the past.  Venues are too expensive, travel is limited and unpredictable, hotels and lodging may not be available,  large crowds are not recommended anymore, and having to compete for the limited time of the attendees is not cost productive anymore.  One of the main reasons so many of us went to these events was for the social interaction.  Now, that’s gone and so is the way we conduct these “old” shows.

We now see that professional development seminars can be done online.  We also see that large attendances actually work against us in a multi-day event.  We recognize the difference between a buying show for dealers and a show & tell show for industry professionals.  They are different and can be conducted separately.  Exhibitors no longer have to bear the cost of an expensive venue so that we can conduct a less expensive professional development conference.

Faced with a declining market and limited business opportunities, we must adjust our business models to remain focused on what is important to our industry and the businesses that are in it.  The whole purpose of an industry is to create and maintain marketplaces where buyers and sellers come together to do business.  The business our recreation is in, is the selling of diving equipment, training and travel.  The front line workers in our industry are the diving instructors, dive store owners, dive operators and dive resort staff.  I am confident they know diving well enough to survive in the future.  I am not so sure they are prepared or trained for the change in the business of diving technology.  The market has changed and so has the business tools and techniques we need to run our businesses. 

The market is changing.  Our business tools are changing.  Are you?

Be on the cutting edge of change by becoming a member of the Dive Industry Association, the Global Dive Business Network dedicated to bringing Buyers & Sellers together.  For more information, contact Gene Muchanski at gene@diveindustry.net  

 

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September Begins a New Season

The New Season Starts in September –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

There’s a certain rhythm to the business seasons in the diving industry.   If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you may have wondered why events seem to have an ebb and flow to them.  Historically, and naturally perhaps, September marks the beginning of the new diving season every year, regardless of the timing of the DEMA Show.  Here’s a couple of reasons why September is so important.

Scuba Diving is a recreation and recreations have a seasonality curve to them.   Seasonality curves have a lot to do with the weather, holidays, work and school schedules and consumer buying habits.  The typical summer season is Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Kids are out of school, families plan their vacations and the weather is warm and inviting in the United States.  Retail sales should be brisk during this time period, leaving inventory levels low and open-to-buy dollar levels at a high point by the time Labor Day rolls around.  When the kids go back to school and activity slows down, Retailers have the time to clean house and get ready for the Holidays and the new diving season.  In the retail industry, some stores do 25% of their annual sales during Christmas shopping.  It’s a great time to sell off last year’s gear at discounted prices while showcasing next year’s NEW gear at premium prices.   Sales Reps from the large diving equipment manufacturers have known this for years.  They are on the road with their new samples beginning September 5th.  It always seemed like a race to get to the Retailers first, show them the new products, get their orders and lock up their open-to-buy money before someone else does.  Things haven’t changed, even when the DEMA Show switched show dates from January to November.

January through March used to be the pre-season period.  We all exhibited at DEMA in January and participated in the consumer dive show circuit in February and March.  It was time to stock the stores in April and May and get ready for the new Memorial Day to Labor Day Summer Season.  Up until the covid pandemic this year, the pre-season period grew to January through April with May still being the restocking period.  All of that changed and we now have to fill in the blanks next year for January through May.  We have some ideas on how the industry can maximize its effectiveness but remember, this is only a first draft.  Your comments are welcome.

First we have to divide the industry activity to In-Season and Off-Season.  In-Season is when your dealers and clients are busy making money.  Give them your support during that time but stay out of their way.  The Off-Season time is when we should conduct our Professional Development Training.  Let’s face it, dive shows may never return to the way they were.  We still have to make the best use out of our industry down-time.

Let’s start the new season in September, right after Labor Day.  Send the Reps out to show their new lines and take orders for Christmas.  Move the DEMA Show back to January and clear the way for Retailers to focus on 4th quarter sales and to enjoy the Holidays with their families.  In January, start the on-line professional development webinars and conferences.  Plan to end this period by the end of April.  Instead of planning a single event with 300 seminars, schedule dive equipment seminars, training seminars and travel seminars separately.  Make sure that each industry sector (Equipment, Training & Travel) doesn’t compete with other sectors and does not compete within its own industry.  As an example, have DAN, NAUI, PADI, and SSI plan their seminars on different days.  Same thing goes for Aqualung, Huish, Mares and Scubapro.  Remember, some Retailers may be Aqualung and Scubapro Dealers who certify through DAN, NAUI and PADI.  Separating your professional development training gives your dealers an opportunity to attend all the training they need.  No conflicts – No competing for Dealer time.

The month of May should be used to make sure your Dealers are ready for the new summer season.  When Memorial Day arrives, your Marketing people should go visit their Dealers to see how they are doing, analyze their effectiveness, and get some good old fashion press content for future marketing purposes.  Your sales people should be working on next year’s line of equipment, getting samples ready and making sure everything is on track for the introduction of the new line for the next season, beginning on Labor Day.

I know.  Easier said than done.  The main point of this article is not to tell the industry what to do or how to do it.  Our point is that things are going to be different from now on and that we need to rethink everything.  Equipment, Training, Travel, Customers, Dealers, Sales, Marketing, Time & Date to Market, Professional Development, Shows & Events, Communications, etc., etc.  The best thing I can say is have a plan for what you are going to do, why you are doing it and what outcome are you shooting for.  Start with an outline.  Walk through the process.  Add content as necessary.  Make it a working plan in process.

Good luck in the next season.  Stay safe.

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Editorial – September 2020

Doing More With Better Tools –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Running a business is a lot of work.  We spend at least half of our time doing what the business does and the rest of the time actually running the business.  Doing what the business does is what brings in the money, so naturally that is what many of us focus on.  The secret of success, however, is learning how to run your business more proficiently, professionally and profitably so that you have more time to do what the business does.  I’m a firm believer in using modern marketing tools to handle the business side of running a business.  Good business tools help you plan your business, operate your business and record and analyze your business.  The better the tools, the more efficient and effective you can be.

Having good tools is only part of the solution.  You have to purchase the right tool for the right job.  Reading up and learning about the features and benefits of the tool is necessary to learn how to use the tool for what it was designed for.  In other words, you would be better off purchasing a Point of Sale software program and becoming efficient at it rather than recording your sales on an Excel Spreadsheet.  Wrong tool for the job.  I see that all the time in business, where someone is using a computer program to do something manually, rather than having the right program that does the calculating for you.  Doing it the manual way takes longer and is not as accurate as a software program that is programmed to do the calculating for you.

Vendors who are in the market to hire sales and marketing expertise would be wise to ask about the type of hardware and software their potential hire uses in doing their job.  As a contracting executive I would want to know the extent of a new hire’s knowledge of business hardware and software.  Have they kept pace with the modern tools and technologies that will give my company a competitive edge?  How do they acquire new customers?  What do they do to build and maintain their relationship with their clients?  Do they do anything special to retain their business?  How often?  And finally, are they following up with their clients on a regular basis and reporting back to you?  A professional business can only do this successfully with good business tools, they understand how to use, and use correctly.

During the past six months, many dive businesses were not able to do what their business specializes in.  Instructors were not teaching.  Dive Operators were not taking divers out on their boats.  Dive Stores were not open.  Dive Resorts were not open for business.  And Dive Equipment Manufacturers stopped or slowed down production and furloughed many of their people.  This was the darkest economic period I have ever seen in the recreational diving industry.  I’m only hoping that many of our peers took this opportunity to get some constructive work done on their business operation.

Most of the shows & events the Dive Industry Association normally exhibits at were cancelled.  FAM Trips we were planning to participate in were cancelled.  Dive Trips we go on as Travel Bloggers were scrubbed.  We were forced to change our business model from hands-on and face-to-face marketing to digital marketing.  Since we weren’t traveling and had more time on our hands, we decided to spend the time analyzing the way we do business.  We took inventory of all of our hardware and software marketing tools and  analyzed their current effectiveness.  We upgraded many of our software programs and got caught up on their training programs.  We looked at the hardware we use to run these marketing programs and upgraded or replaced them as necessary.  We also spent a lot of time learning about and bringing on new software programs that will improve the way we do business for our members.

During the past six months our Association continued to update the industry about the many changes to the dive trips, FAM trips and shows and events the industry was conducting.  Our Weekly Dive News and Monthly Newsletter kept our members in the eye of the diving public.  We also took the time to create and publish our vision for the diving industry’s future State of the Recreation. We are building world markets where buyers and sellers are meeting to do business, but doing it on a regional basis (Local Markets).

Our future business model will employ the use of the best sales and marketing tools that our budget will allow.  The hardware and software we employ will be task specific.  We will be more digital than hands-on.  We will employ more and better graphics.  We will embrace video conferencing, podcasts and webinars.  We will employ more 24-7 continual marketing programs rather than isolated one day events.  Our face-to-face meetings will be targeted to smaller groups, in regional locations, all with a focused “Call to Action.”

Our Mission is to bring Buyers & Sellers together.  Our goal is to bring a message of the joys of recreational scuba diving to the general public.  We will aid our Members so they can teach people to dive, sell them gear, take them diving and keep them active. Our purpose is to be the Premier Trade Association that specializes in the Business of Diving Issues, helping our Members become more Professional, Proficient and Profitable.

We want you to be a part of this growing global business network.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Web: www.diveindustry.net
email: gene@diveindustry.net
Phone: 321-914-3778

 

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Clearly Cayman Waives Group Deposits

Photo by Jim Helleman

Group Deposits Waived on
Pre-DEMA Rates

Clearly Cayman Dive Resorts is now waiving their normal deposits on groups of 10 or more booking 7-night dive vacations to any of their resorts for travel through January 14, 2023. This enables dive shops and clubs to book ahead and start selling spaces early before risking any financial commitments.

Photo by Tiago Peixoto

“We know the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on local dive shops whose customers are still going to want to travel once the ‘all clear” is given. But with all the groups not able to travel in 2020 due to the Cayman Islands’ government shutting down international arrivals, 2021 and even 2022 prime dates are filling up fast,” according to Sue Belport, Sales Director for Clearly Cayman. “So waiving group deposits gives them a chance to plan ahead, get our lowest group rates of the year, and avoid disappointment that their dates and/or resort aren’t available.”

 

 

Pre-DEMA Group Packages

Clearly Cayman Resorts include Little Cayman Beach Resort, Cayman Brac Beach Resort, and Cobalt Coast Resort on Grand Cayman – all with a diver-focused approach. Pre-DEMA group specials start at $1,595* and include up to two free bonuses depending on travel dates. Packages include:

  • 7 nights’ accommodations
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily*
  • 6 days x 2-tank morning boat dives
  • Shore dive on house reef – Cobalt Coast Resort, only (weather permitting)
  • Complimentary use of a dive computer if the diver doesn’t own one
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Welcome rum punch
  • Manager’s cocktail reception
  • Airport ground transfers
  • Resort fees, taxes, and gratuities (except dive gratuities which are not included)

Groups also earn 1 free spot for every 9 paid members of their group.

FREE Bonuses for Groups Booked by October 16, 2020

Group leaders also get to select from one of these free bonuses:

  • 5 days x 1-tank afternoon boat dives
  • Nitrox upgrade
  • $100 resort credit per diver
  • 21-drnink package
  • $500 group leader credit
  • Double Reef Rewards**

For travel during Cayman Island “Value Season,” group leaders will select a second bonus from the list above. This includes travel July 24, 2021 – October 23, 2021, or July 23, 2022 – October 22, 2022.

COVID-19 Update

All three resorts have been closed since mid-March when the government shut down international travel to the islands in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At present, plans call for the initial lifting of international travel restrictions on October 1, primarily for returning part-time residents and staff. The Cayman Islands Government announced their tentative plan to relax restrictions on inbound international vacationers on November 1, although details have not yet been finalized. Assuming that ll of this goes according to plan, Clearly Cayman Dive Resorts plan on reopening to guests on November 7.

Photo by Tiago Peixoto

For More Information

For more information, please contact Clearly Cayman at 800-327-3835 or 727-323-8727. Or visit  https://www.clearlycayman.com/dema/

 

 

* Prices listed are per person based on double occupancy in lowest priced rooms. Rates for other room types, occupancy, dates, and packages may differ. Available for travel dates indicated above, subject to availability. Saturday night arrivals with 7-night stays required. Meal service begins with dinner on arrival day and ends with breakfast on departure day. Bonuses provided for paid divers, only, and may be forfeited if group drops below 10. Not valid with other offers.

**Reef Rewards is the program that lets dive shops and clubs eacn $100 per paid group diver on their trip toward the group’s next trip to any of our resorts. For more information on Reef Rewards or to enroll, visit ClearlyCayman.com/ReefRewards.

Link: https://www.clearlycayman.com/reefrewards/

Posted in Press Release, Travel Special | Leave a comment

The Business of Diving – Post COVID19

The Business of Diving – Post COVID19 –
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

We all start out in diving for different reasons; recreation, hobby, job related requirement, collateral duty in the military, or professional career.  This article narrows the focus to the recreational side of diving.  The Global Recreational Diving Community is made up of Recreational Divers and Dive Industry Professionals.  Recreational Divers, also known as sport divers, dive for the fun of it.  They get certified, buy or rent their gear and go diving.  Many stay active but many drop out shortly after their initial training with just a few dives under their belt.  In order to grow the recreational diving industry, we need to make scuba diving more appealing so that more people will want to learn to dive, buy their gear, go diving and stay active in the recreational for a long time.  In the post COVID-19 business model, I think it’s time to focus on creating more recreational divers and not necessarily more Dive Industry Professionals.  Let me explain why.

When I started diving in 1967 there were not many divers around and fewer instructors.  As a 15 year old high school student I think there were 2 divers in my high school of 1,200 students.  So we started a scuba club and I got certified after a long search to find a scuba instructor to take lessons from.  Now there were 3 divers in our High School and then I found out that the other two divers were never certified.  They just bought their gear and started diving.  As a certified diver I joined the City Civil Defense Dive Team and started to teach other people how to dive.  I even got a chance to dive with the local Police Department and the local ATF Office.  Not bad for a 15 year old.

After three years of teaching my friends to dive I tried to sign up for a NAUI Instructor Course because that was the next level of certification after Basic Scuba.   The closest Instructor Course was in Massachusetts, run by Fred Calhoun, who unfortunately told me I was too young and to come back in 3 more years.  It seemed that more people wanted to dive then there were Instructors to teach them.  It didn’t take the certification agencies long to realize they needed to increase the number of instructor courses they offered.

As the number of scuba instructors grew, so did the number of certification agencies.  Each agency designed and developed more types of diving courses their instructors could teach.  Before you knew it, our recreational community had tens of thousands of Divemasters, Assistant Instructors and Instructors who achieved their level of diver education with little or no intention of becoming a Dive Industry Professional.  That is not a bad thing.

In the Post COVID-19 era of our recreation, I believe we need to distinguish the difference between a well educated and experienced sport diver who dives for enjoyment and a sport diver who becomes a part time or full time Dive Industry Business Professional.   Not every dive instructor ever certified currently teaches diving or trades their skills for compensation.  There is nothing wrong with becoming an Instructor and then not monetizing that level of expertise.  Although I believe that becoming an Instructor is no longer the required “ticket to punch” to get a job in the diving industry.  Teaching yes but diving business no.  What we need to do in this new normal economy is to promote the diving instructors who are actively teaching classes and want the general public to know they are ready and willing to teach scuba diving classes.

I want to reiterate that our focus is not on the word “professional”, it’s on the word “business.”  Regardless of your level of diving skill achieved, only diving instructors who are working part time or full time need to advertise and market their intentions.  The Diving Industry’s business community needs to help working instructors teach dive classes.  This can be in the form of student acquisition, classroom and pool access, scuba equipment rental or access, open water and referral assistance and dive resort travel compensation.  The goal is to help them find, teach and certify new divers.

Another thing the diving industry needs to be doing better is treating divers who have achieved high levels of certification like the professionals they are, even if they are not monetizing their skills.  Many of them are active divers, opinion leaders and industry influencers.  If they are actively getting divers to go diving or stay active in the recreation, they should be courted.  Not for their influence but for their ability to convert influence into sales for you.

So how do you identify who is actively teaching classes, selling gear, taking people diving and keeping them active in the recreation?  You become part of a network group that specializes in data acquisition, customer relationships, database management and marketing communication.  You aline yourself with an organization that excels in bringing Buyers & Sellers together because that is how you get more referrals, more business opportunities and more sales.  You need to become part of a network that takes the business of diving seriously.

For more information, contact Gene Muchanski, Dive Industry Association, at gene@diveindustry.net

 

 

 

Posted in Business Improvement | Leave a comment