Let Us Be Your Ambassador For A Day

Introduce Yourself With a SWAG Bag Item – 
by Gene Muchanski,
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional. 

Wholesale selling is all about relationships.  Relationships develop and grow from Introductions, Common Ground and Relationship Development.  I’m in the Business Relationship Business.  As a Trade Association Executive Director my Mission is to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  My job is to introduce buyers and sellers who have the potential to do business together.  We do that at trade shows, consumer shows and visits to their physical locations.

Our Association participates in Travel FAM Trips.  We work with Tourism Bureaus, Travel Wholesalers, Resort Destinations, Dive Operators, Resort Retailers, and Qualified Dive Travel Specialists.  When we put a FAM Trip together, it’s usually at the request of one or more Dive Destinations.  I personally know many of them because I’ve seen them at the DEMA Show but not all of them go to DEMA.  I also know many of the Retail Travel Buyers because I’ve seen them at DEMA or at their Regional Dive Show.  Again, I know many of them, but not all, because not all Retailers go to DEMA or their Regional Dive Show.

I do know of most of the Resort Destinations, Travel Wholesalers and Retail Dive Center Owners in the Industry, Worldwide.  Probably because I’ve acquired their contact information somewhere along the way from their business card or email correspondence.  Thousands of Dive Industry Professionals have visited our websites or subscribed to our Weekly News Press Releases, Blogs, and our Monthly Newsletter, The Dive Industry Professional.  My Number One Goal in Life is to put a face together with a name of the 8,000 Dive Industry Professionals in my database.

When we invite qualified Retail Travel Buyers to attend a FAM Trip with us, we are working with the best of the best in Dive Retailing.  Most, if not all of them are very successful at what they do. They sell gear, teach diving and plan group trips.  Let me ask you.  When was the last time your Regional Rep visited your Key Accounts?

When we fly off to a Dive Destination with a group of Key Travel Buyers, we want to take them to the best locations we represent.  Again, these are the most successful Resort Operators in the industry.  They have great resorts, fine food, and usually the best diving in their area.  I have another question for you.  When was the last time your Regional Rep visited your best Dive Destinations and Dive Operators?  Does your Caribbean Rep see his major accounts often?  If not, then I could be your Company Ambassador for the Day.

Here is one thing we do to bring Buyers & Sellers together.  On all of our FAM Trips from now on, we plan to put a SWAG Bag together for each FAM Trip Participant and for each Dive Destination and Dive Operator we visit.  A gift for each participant for joining us and a thank you gift for each of our hosts.   We will share your gift and contact information with our participants and we will share their contact information with you.  To be fair to all of our Members, there are a few restrictions.

SWAG Bag Items – Disclaimer – Items subject to approval

  • SWAG Bag Item source must to a current Member in Dive Industry Association.
  • Item must be a true sample or actual line item.  We are not delivering only brochures and price lists !
  • Samples cannot compete against the Sponsors of the FAM Trip.  (Our other six Travel Wholesalers can’t participate if the trip is run by one Travel Wholesaler but all Travel Wholesales can participate if the FAM Trip is run by a Tourism Board).
  • Competing Resorts of the Participating Resorts are forbidden.
  • Must be able to provide one sample per person.  Some FAM Trips have 4 people and 1 Resort Destination.  Some have 20 people and 6 Dive Destinations.  They all differ.
  • Offer is valid depending on size and weight limitations of airline baggage.

What makes a good SWAG Bag Item?  Something small, something useful, something that you normally sell that a client can reorder.  Something for diving or diving related.  Diving equipment or personal item.  Trade Show Bags with your Logo on it.  An Amazon Gift Card for $1,000 – Just kidding!  So far we have companies who have committed Reef Safe Suntan Lotion, Natural Insect Repellent, Sunglasses, and a Custom Mouthpiece product.  Whatever you choose, we will give you full details and quantities during the sign in process.

Our next FAM Trip is to Belize on July 19-24, 2019.  The FAM Trip is Sponsored by Roatan Charter.

For more information contact:
Gene Muchanski, Dive Travel Specialist
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
Email: gene@diveindustry.net
Web: www.diveindustry.net 

 

 

Posted in Adventure Travel, FAM Trips | Leave a comment

Group Discount at Eden Beach Resort Bonaire

Eden Beach Resort Bonaire
Group Travel Packages

Eden Beach Resort Bonaire is currently offering groups 5% OFF dive packages with our onsite dive shop Wannadive.  Price starts at just $689 per person based on quad occupancy.

Package Includes

  • 7 nights’ accommodations
  • 6 days UNLIMITED shore diving
  • 7 day rental vehicle (without insurance)
  • Daily breakfast
  • Nitrox
  • Wi-Fi
  • Rinse tanks & lockers available 24/7
  • * Reduced group comps for every 7 paid divers / 8th is FREE
  • * Comps responsible for taxes
  • * Option to add on boat dives & meals
  • * Some restrictions apply

To take advantage of this special book before June 15th
Call: 805-228-4644 or 781-821-4243
or Email: Jen@travelmarketing.com

Posted in Press Release, Travel Destinations, Travel Special | Leave a comment

Adaptive Diving at Turquoise Bay Resort, Roatan

Adaptive Diving Association offering a “Once in a Lifetime” opportunity for Adaptive SCUBA Divers

“Adaptive Freedom Dive”

On September 28th, 2019, an incredible group of Adaptive SCUBA Divers (amputees, spinal cord injured individuals) trained by Adaptive Diving Association with their experienced volunteers will be arriving at the Island of Roatan located in the Western Caribbean Islands to experience adaptive diving the island as to offer!

This dive trip has been made possible by both Turquoise Bay Resort & Roatan Charter through their sponsorship, assistance and generosity which enabled our adaptive divers, their caregivers, along with our dive & volunteer staff to afford to participate.

Turquoise Bay Resort has made great strides to accommodate mobility challenged individuals by renovating their facility to improve accessibility to their rooms and other facilities. They are actively seeking to provide individuals with adaptive needs the opportunity to enjoy the sport of SCUBA diving and other activities at their resort.

For more information, press only:

PR Contact: Kenneth J. Hoser, Exec. Director of Adaptive Diving Association

Phone number: 832-232-3483

Email: adaptivedivingassociation.gmail.com

Website:  www.adaptivedivingassociation.org

 

Posted in Press Release, Travel Destinations | Leave a comment

Editorial – June 2019

Build Your Own “Circle of Influence” – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

I’ve been in the diving industry all my life.  What’s more important to you is that I’ve been in the Business of Diving all my life.  Now, with almost 50 years in the trade behind me,  I am using my education and experience to help diving businesses gain and keep a competitive edge in this small, and sometimes declining, competitive market.  And do you know what?  It’s easier than you think.  The market is there.  You just have to know how and where to look.

The Dive Industry Association sells Membership in our Trade Association.  That is the only thing we have in common with the other agencies and associations.  We are far different and we are better at what we do for our Members.  For a small annual fee, our Members are joining an industry network that focuses on their success, not on their patronage.  Our Members are our Members, not our customers.  We don’t charge them an annual fee for the privilege of buying products from us.  Your annual dues are spent on marketing tools that bring you more customers so you can do what you do best – sell diving equipment, training and travel products. As soon as that sinks in, you will owe it to yourself and your business to find out more.

Allow me to give you a quick blast as to how and why that is important to you.  In the past 50 years, I’ve worked for a major Training Agency, two of the best Equipment Manufacturers, and a number of Travel companies.  I worked in Dive Retailing for ten years and owned my own store for seven of them.  As you know, I’ve been very active in Trade Associations, Non-Profits, and Dive Media for my whole career.  I’ve seen business relationships from different view points and I know all about each sectors’ private Circles of Influence and I know how and why they were created.  I learned about business at major Universities and gained experience at applying sales and marketing concepts inside and outside of the diving industry.  I admit that I am very opinionated when it comes to the Business of Diving because of my personal environment, education and experience, but I have always been open to new or different ways of doing things.  Old Dog – New Tricks.

This editorial cannot cover everything you need to know about the Business of DivingThe core idea to your success is your ability to develop your own Circle of Influence.   It’s based on a number of key assumptions.   1) Support the concept of requiring your business consultants to know the products, know the customer and know the market.  Any thing less does you no good at all.  2) Your success and the success of the industry is based on the sale of diving equipment, training and travel.  3)  The foundation of the diving industry is the full time and part time Industry Professional who works in the business every day.  They are the Dive Retailers and Dive Instructors.  We  call them the Industry Front-Line Ambassadors.  4) The Industry Sectors that benefit the most from the work of these front line ambassadors are the Equipment Manufacturers, Training Agencies and Travel Destinations.  5) The Industry Sectors that need a robust diving economy to survive are the Non-Profit Organizations, Diving Media, Dive Boats, Dive Clubs and Service Providers.  6) Our Industry and Recreation will only grow if people Learn to Dive, Buy Their Gear, Go Diving and Stay Active.

Now – How do we do that?  Each active Dive Industry Professional must create and maintain their own Circle of Influence.  To begin with, each Industry Professional who is teaching diving, selling equipment or selling travel is the center of their own circle of influence.  Every great World Leader has talked about the power of the individual.  If one person can change the world, certainly one person can change the diving industry.  So, draw a circle and put yourself in the center of it.  Next, teach someone to dive or sell someone dive gear, or take someone diving.  Now put that person in your inner circle.  Record their personal contact information in some type of database that you can access and use it to keep in touch with that person all year long.  When you have a new class or new equipment or another trip planned, contact that person and invite them to join you.  You now have a Circle of Influence of one and you are at the center of that circle.  You’re the Leader.  You’re the Boss.  The people in your inner circle are your current customers.  Repeat the process as often as you can this year to grow your circle.

Starting in your second year, you will need to add an Outer Circle for the people who have not purchased from you in 12 months.  The purpose is to keep the people in your inner circle active and identify and work with the people in your outer circle.  The people in your outer circle are now your former customers and your job is to reclaim their business.  Remember that working with former customers is not as difficult or expensive as finding new customers.  They know who you are and they did business with you once.  They very well may again.  It’s all up to you.  You know how to contact them.

You may need help building your Circle of Influence.  The Dive Industry Association can help you prospect for new customers, retain the customers you have, and recapture your former customers.  We can help you with referrals, promotions, marketing and advertising.  We can help you network with the people who matter the most to you.

As an Active Dive Industry Professional you now have a Circle of Influence that you are in the center of.  I can speak from experience when I say that you are now a force to be reckoned with.  Equipment Manufacturers, Training Agencies and Travel Destinations all want to know how big your Circle of Influence is.  The bigger it is, the more in demand you become.  The big equipment brands will want your business, the certification agencies will want your certs and the travel destinations will want you to book group trips with them.  I know that when we take travel buyers on FAM Trips, we are always looking for the major players who book group trips.  Now that could be you.

Let’s digress a minute.  We talked about you being in the center of your own circle of influence.  Do you know what the opposite of that is?  YOU being in the circle of someone else’s Circle of Influence !!!  That may be OK if you are an active Diver with no circle of your own, but as a Business Person, the more influence you have, the less you pay, the more your make and the more you have to negotiate with.   As a Business Person myself, the best thing I can say is:  If you write the checks, you have the power.  When I say power, I mean the power to be in the center of your own Circle of Influence, where you are in charge.  Not in someone else’s inner circle, where you are a customer.

If you have or are working on your own Circle of Influence, I would like to have a conversation with you about the Dive Industry Association.  We can help you break free of Vendor Dependence and help you grow your influence and leadership in the diving industry.  If you are already established and an Industry Leader, we want you on our Team.  We are more interested in helping you sell more diving equipment, training and travel than us selling you products.

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

 

Posted in Business Improvement, Editorials | Leave a comment

Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society 2019 Scholars and Interns

(l to r) Kim Hildebrandt, Neha Acharya-Patel, Joanna Smart, Benjamin Farmer, Kyra Jean Cipolla, Abigail Dias, Elizabeth Hasan (missing: Michael Langhans)

The Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society® introduces its 2019 class of Scholars and Interns.

On April 13, 2019, three new Rolex Scholars and five new interns were presented at the 45th Annual Awards Ceremony of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®, held at the New York Yacht Club in New York City.

Since 1974, the Society has provided firsthand experiences in underwater-related disciplines to young people considering careers in the underwater world. For 45 years, founding partner Rolex has been the Society’s partner in education, with the Society annually selecting three Rolex Scholars – one each from North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each Scholar, working closely with leaders in marine-related fields, spends a year immersed in a wide variety of hands-on activities that further the Scholar’s knowledge and experience of the underwater realm. The range of experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialized assignments. The Scholars receive funding for travel and living expenses during their Scholarship year.

(l to r) Kim Hildebrandt, Joanna Smart, Neha Acharya-Patel

The 2019 Rolex Scholars are:

Neha Acharya-Patel is the 2019 North American Rolex Scholar

Kim Hildebrandt is the 2019 European Rolex Scholar

Joanna Smart is the 2019 Australasian Rolex Scholar

 

 

In addition to the scholarship program, since 1995, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society has offered a variety of experience-based internships that are 1 to 3 months in length. Internship recipients receive an educational grant to help fund travel to and from the internship site, room and board, and a stipend to cover living expenses. The sponsor organizations that host the internships are leaders in their fields.

(l to r) Benjamin Farmer, Elizabeth Hasan, Kyra Jean Cipolla, Michael Langhans, Abigail Dias

The 2019 Interns are:

Kyra Jean Cipolla – Dr. Lee H. Somers American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Scientific Diving Internship

Abigail Dias – Divers Alert Network (DAN) Diver’s Safety Education Internship

Benjamin Farmer – Dr. Jamie L. King Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) Marine Conservation Internship

Elizabeth Hasan – American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship

Michael Langhans – National Park Service Research Internship

 

To learn more about each of the Scholars:
visit:  https://www.owuscholarship.org/scholarships/current

To learn more about each of the Interns:
visit:  https://owuscholarship.org/internships

For more information about the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society: visit:  www.owuscholarship.org

 

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Get Ready For Shows & Events 2020

Get Ready For Shows & Events 2020
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

Shows and Events, or face-to-face Marketing as we call it, is a big part of the Industry’s Marketing efforts.  Trade and Consumer Shows in the diving industry are market places created to bring Buyers and Sellers together.   The diving community has a fifty year history exhibiting and attending trade and consumer shows but we need to have a new look at the reasons we support these shows as sponsors, advertisers, exhibitors, speakers and attendees.  It may help to think of what we are doing as trying to get a 21st Century perspective on a 20th Century concept.

First of all, Dive Industry Association monitors trade and consumer shows that are important to the diving industry.  A Shows & Events Calendar is posted and updated on our website on a continual basis.  If you are responsible for exhibiting, attending or participating at trade or consumer shows, you may want to Bookmark this page.  See Shows & Events

Shows & Events Categories:  The categories that attract divers and diving businesses are Dive Shows, Surf Expos, Travel Shows, Outdoor Sporting Goods Shows and Boat Shows.  They include domestic shows and popular international shows.  In all these categories, we have consumer and non-consumer shows.  Consumer shows feature educational and entertainment seminars and have exhibitors who show their products and exhibitors who sell their products.  Non-consumer shows either focus on exhibits or seminars.  We call a non-consumer show that focuses on exhibits a Trade Show or Expo.  If the focus is on seminars, we call it a Professional Development Conference.  Rhonda Abrams’s book Trade Show In A Day, sums it up best.  “At a trade show or expo, the primary action takes place on the exhibit hall floor.  Attendees are there to visit booths, and all non-exhibit activities are secondary.  At a conference, the opposite is true.  Attendees are there to go to seminars and educational sessions, visiting the exhibition hall only during breaks in their daily schedules.”

Priorities: Let’s look at Trade Shows & Expos first.  It is best to prioritize your involvement at Trade Shows by looking at the Buyers and Sellers of these marketplaces.  If you are a Seller (Exhibitor) then you will want to exhibit where you can interact with the most buyers.  Will your buyers be there in sufficient quantity to make it cost effective for you to be there?  If you are a Buyer, you’ll want to look at the list of exhibitors to determine if you will be reaching the businesses that supply the dive equipment, training and travel products you re-sell.

At consumer shows, it’s all about the attendees (buyers).  Are they coming to attend seminars, look at exhibit booths or just to socialize?  It’s good to ask the show producers about the focus of their marketing and advertising.  Who are they target marketing?  Are they active divers, prospective divers or old time divers who don’t dive, buy gear or travel anymore?  It’s good to know if the active divers are currently in the market for new dive equipment, training or travel products.  Is there a way you can capture the contact information of the attending buyers?  With all this information, you should be able to tell if this marketplace being created for a weekend will be productive for you.

What about Dive, Surf, Boat, Outdoor, or Travel Shows?  A good way to prioritize the shows you exhibit at is to look at the concentration of the type of attendees.  What percentage of the attendees are likely to be your customers.  A  dive show with 5,000 diver attendees may be more cost effective than exhibiting at a show that has 20,000 attendees when only 1,000 of them are divers.  It’s not the raw numbers of attendees that is the most important factor.  It’s the total number of qualified buyers interested in your products.

Domestic & International Shows:  Prioritizing domestic versus international shows all depends on the number of perspective buyers that will be in attendance.  Is it cost effective to be there?  Do you have the budget and the personnel for it?

Hire a Trade Show Marketing Specialist:  Why not make all your Trade Shows count?  Our Trade Show Professionals at Dive Industry Association can help you pick the right shows, create annual budgeting estimates, and create a marketing strategy that covers pre-show, at-show and post-show activities.  We’ll advise your staff on your marketing materials, booth merchandising, and achieving planned outcomes.  We’ll assist you with customer follow-up after the show and evaluating your performance at the show.

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

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Editorial – May 2019

Having Referral-Ready Contact Information
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

The primary mission of the Dive Industry Association is to bring Buyers and Sellers together.  Knowing who the sellers are, what they sell  and how to get a hold of them are our primary challenges, and therefore, essential components to the successful completion of our mission.  A good deal of the Association’s work is behind the scenes. We gather information, knowledge and experience about the industry’s diving equipment, training and travel.  These are the three most important categories that contribute to the industry’s economic development.  In short, this is what the industry sells.  The second thing we do is maintain an industry database that includes the current contact information of the buyers and sellers of diving programs, products and services.  Again, this is an industry service that, in itself, is not an income generator for the Association but is vital information to the industry.  The third thing we do is facilitate exchanges between the buyers and sellers.

Purchasing decisions are made when a customer with a need decides to purchase a program, product or service to satiate that need, after they have completed their research into the vast array of products that will solve their need and the competitive sellers who provide those products.  Referrals from Trade Associations make the purchasing decision quicker, easier and less risky for the consumer.  Based on our experience in the industry and the market place, we are familiar with the products and the suppliers.  We understand how the products are used and why they satiate certain physical, psychological, social, and recreational needs.  Many times, our Members and our Staff are currently using the products that the potential consumer is considering.  Our credibility, integrity and professional relationships with both the buyers and sellers far outweigh any trust issues a consumer may have with a unknown sales person.  Especially if the seller does not have a current professional relationship with the buyer.

Believe it or not, many times we cannot make a referral to a willing customer because the supplier of that product does not have their current contact information in our system.  They may have moved, gone out of business, or opted out of our requests for information.  Many times they don’t have current information about their products, no catalogs, no brochures, don’t have business cards or have changed the name of their companies. Many of them have outdated or no websites at all.  The only thing our industry can do for these businesses is either help them become more professional, productive and profitable or just not promote them and their products to the consumer market.

For our Association to successfully promote the industry and refer good sellers to potential buyers we need good, current information.  We are asking the industry to send us your current catalog & dealer price lists.  It would also be helpful if your send us your current brochure and business cards for your Key People.  When we conduct industry surveys, it would help all of us if you participated.  Needless to say, opting in to our Weekly News and Monthly Newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with what we are doing in and for the diving industry.  Our contact information is listed below.

Psycographics is the study of why people make purchasing decisions.  Achieving a successful sales outcome takes a lot more than knowing why people buy.  As providers of programs, product and services, we have to know why people buy what they buy, where they buy products and when they are most likely to make purchases.  A successful Seller has to be accessible to the customer when they choose to act on their buying decision.

A single ad in an on-line newsletter is not going to take a consumer through the entire purchasing decision making process.  Rather, it takes a coordinated process of press releases, product advertisements, endorsements, demonstrations, recommendations, referrals and a strong, genuine and timely call to act.  That’s how sales are made.  And depending on the value of the product in question,  you may have to use more than one type of communication.  Combining print, digital and face-to-face marketing vehicles works very well in getting to a successful sales outcome.

That is why the Dive Industry Association takes its role in the industry to bring Buyers and Sellers together so seriously.  We know the products, the sellers, the buyers, the marketing messages, the marketing vehicles and the market places.  We know that the industry’s growth is primarily because of the sale of diving equipment, training and travel.  We know that the majority of recreational diving programs, products and services are sold by Retail Dive Centers and Scuba Instructors.  We also know that to grow the industry we have to focus on teaching people to dive, selling them gear, taking them diving and keeping them active.

Think of the diving industry as a very big boat with thousands of oars.  The boat is not going to get very far if we all aren’t rowing together, and in the same direction!

Now that the Scuba Show in Long Beach has concluded for the year, it’s time for half the industry to get to work (Retailers, Dive Operators, Instructors, Travel Destinations) and the other half to take a much needed vacation and then get ready for the 2020 season.  In the mean time, have a great 2019 season and we’ll see you at Dema Show (Booth 447).

For more information contact: Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, 2294 Botanica Circle, West Melbourne, FL 32904.  Phone: 321-914-3778.  email: gene@diveindustry.net  Web: www.diveindustry.net

 

Posted in Editorials | 1 Comment

FAM Trip – Dominican Republic

FAM Trip – Dominican Republic
May 2018

by Gene Muchanski, Editor
The Dive Industry Professional

Nothing could be more exciting for an Adventure Traveler than to go on a FAM Trip to a new destination.  Especially if you are taking the trip with a great group of dive travel specialists from your industry.

On May 4, 2018 we were on our way to the Caribbean Island of Dominican Republic with twenty-two Dive Travel Specialists and Travel Staff.  The familiarization trip was put together by Edward Pietersz from Aquatic Reservations Network and Debra Helms of Roatan Charter, Inc. The purpose of the FAM Trip was to introduce two Dreams Resort & Spa Destinations – Dreams La Romana and Dreams Dominicus La Romana to some of the industry’s Top Dive Travel Specialists.  Part of what the Travel Division of the Dive Industry Association does is identify FAM Trip Ready Travel Buyers and invite them on a three to five day Familiarization Trip Experience at select Dive Resort Destinations.

Dominican Republic was picked as the Dive Destination for this FAM Trip for a number of reasons.  Dominican Republic is not only a beautiful Caribbean Island that is easy to get to but it is a vacation and recreation location that is growing in popularity.  Many of the new Resorts being built in the past few years are World-Class, all inclusive resorts.   The DR has attracted a number of the best Dive Operator Companies in the World, with their new and beautiful dive boats and professionally trained dive staff.  The Resorts and their Dive Operators are environmentally concerned about reef restoration and protecting the marine environment from harm.  The Dominican Republic as a vacation destination is growing and getting better every year, but for now, it it still one of the best keep secrets in the diving world.

We chose Delta Airlines as our air carrier and flew from Orlando, Florida to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.  Needles to say, since we were flying Delta Airlines, a customary stop to change planes in Atlanta, Georgia was necessary.   Travel Planners make the most of this stop in Atlanta to get their travel group together and get to know each each other over snacks and a drink.  On this trip, we did just that.  The 3 hour and 23 minute flight to the Capital of Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, was very enjoyable.  Divers can appreciate the spectacular view of the coral reefs and small islands in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from an airplane.

Our first two days of the trip was hosted by Dreams La Romana, located only 45 minutes from the Las Americas International Airport.  La Romana is on the South side of Dominican Republic, facing the Caribbean Sea.  The drive was pleasant and in no time, we were at our first destination.  I was impressed with the personal welcome we received from the Dreams La Roman Staff.  We enjoyed champagne and hor’s orves during our check in process in the Preferred Club Lounge and after a short site inspection of the property, we became the guests of Dreams Resorts at a Hosted Welcome Group Dinner.

We were scheduled to dive with Scuba Caribe for the next three days.  Susann Seifert, Director of Marketing for the TCM Group, parent company to Scuba Caribe Watersports, put together a full and exciting dive schedule for our group and arranged for our Dive Boats and Dive Staff to show us the best diving in the Dominican Republic.  We waited till early morning the next day to meet at the dive shop to register for diving and get our gear ready for our first adventure dives to Penon and Acuario.  Our Dive Team Leader, Soledad Del Pino explained how wonderful the trip was going to be as Scuba Caribe’s new dive boat got underway.   Video

Based on personal diving preferences, we broke out into two groups and we each were assigned two Divemasters per group.  Soledad and her Dive Team Staff did an outstanding job at Dive Mastering our two groups.  I would give the Scuba Caribe’s Dive Staff a 10+ for their professionalism, focus on safety & comfort and their understand that diving must be FUN to be enjoyed.  Diving under the watchful eye of their Staff was reassuring, relaxing, and enjoyable.  We got back to the dive shop at about 1:30 pm and had plenty of time to wash and stow our gear for another two days of diving with Scuba Caribe.  The day ended with a site inspection of Dreams Dominicus and Dinner at one of the Resort’s ten fine restaurants and eateries.

Knowing what diving was like in Dominican Republic and feeling very comfortable with the Scuba Caribe Dive Staff, we headed out to Isla Catalina and Aquarium for our daily two-tank boat dive.  Again, Soledad did not disappoint.  In fact, I secretly think the dive staff rehearses at night because they seemed to have new energy, new stories and new things to entertain us with on the second day.  Maybe that ‘s the way they planned it, but I think the diving on the second day was even better than the first.

After getting back to shore, we washed our gear and left it at the dive shop.  Even though we were changing Resorts we still would be diving with Scuba Caribe.  We packed our cloths and made the transfer to Dreams Dominicus where Patricia Alvarez-Lebron promised we would have two days of complete, unlimited-Luxury.  She was right.

Dreams Dominicus immediately became my favorite resort in the DR.  Our Sales Director, Patricia put the FAM Trip Group in the Preferred Club section of the Resort.  The Preferred Club is an exclusive area providing exceptional services.  There were so many benefits to the Preferred Club that you really have to visit their web site to see for yourself.  What I liked best, beside the beautifully modern room (and Champagne) was our own pool & bar and our private restaurant for breakfast.

On the third day of the FAM Trip we enjoyed our semi-private breakfast and then headed out to the dive shop to get our gear.  While most people walk the campus, we opted to ride in the golf carts !  You Divers know – dive gear and  cameras are heavy !

The third day of diving was the charmer.  Half of the group went on a wreck dive that blew them away and my group got some great shallow reef pictures and video.  Our second dive was at the Coral Restoration site and I was totally convinced that Soledad and her Dive Team should get some kind of environmental award for what they are doing to grow the coral reef system and fish population in Dominican Republic.

After taking care of our gear for the trip home (this is the saddest part of a dive trip), we did a site inspection of Dreams Dominicus.  We saw the Buildings, the Bars, the Restaurants, the Spa, and everything in between.  The night concluded at our Farewell Group Dinner at Dreams Seaside Grill Restaurant.  I did not want to go home the next day.

There are so many people to thank for the success of this trip. Kudos go to Edward Pietersz and Debbie Helms for putting the trip together and for its organization.  Shirley Sanchez, Dreams Romana; Patricia Alverez-Lebron and Dubrasks Tifa Mauricio, Dreams Dominicus; Susann Seifert, TCM Group;  Aleberto Mercedes, Soledad Del Pino and Dive Staff, Scuba Caribe; and of course all of the Dive Travel Travel Specialists who dove and partied with us.  Guaranteed, we will be doing this again, many times.

FAM Trips are fun, educational and essential for Dive Travel Specialists.  FAM Trips may be slightly different depending on who runs them, but my favorite trips are 5 days long.  One day to get there, three days of diving and networking and one day to get home.  We also like having the option for some of our Dive Travel Specialists to extend their trip for a few days to see more of the local destination.  Our Association has remarkable relationships with Resort Destinations, Tourism Bureaus, Travel Wholesalers and Dive Travel Specialists Worldwide.  Let us help you expand your Dive Travel Program.

To be considered for future FAM Trips by the Association, one of our Travel Wholesalers or Tourism Bureaus, contact Gene Muchanski, Executive Director, Dive Industry Association, at gene@diveindustry.net 

 

 

Posted in Adventure Travel, Dive Operators, FAM Trips, Travel Destinations | Leave a comment

Editorial – April 2019

Creating a Market Place
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

As a Business School Undergrad, majoring in Marketing, I was taught that you cannot create a market for a product.  You can stimulate a market but you cannot create one.  With the number of new products and new technologies being created in the past 40 years, I will leave that debate to a younger generation to discuss the difference between creating a need for a product and creating a market for a product.  What I am convinced of is that you can create a marketplace for a product that meets the needs of a person.

In the past month, I have been working on Key People Listings of Industry Professionals in the Equipment, Training and Travel Sectors of our industry.  Because we are creating a program that brings Buyers and Sellers together, the project actually expanded into creating Key People Lists for Dive Retailers, Non-Profit Organizations, Shows & Events Professionals and Industry Media Companies.  Here is what we learned.

Let’s say that a Market is a place where Buyers and Sellers meet to exchange programs, products and services for compensation.  We call this a Marketplace.  The job of setting up the market and bringing Buyers and Sellers together falls on us Marketing Professionals.  That means we have to arrange a venue that is conducive to sales, easy for Sellers to get to and centrally located for a sufficient number of Buyers to attend.  Wow.  Just like a Trade Show or a Consumer Dive Show.

A consumer or trade show is nothing more than a market place that is created to bring buyers and sellers together. Exhibitors buy booth space and come to sell products to the attendees.  Speakers and film makers come to offer a service to the attendees.  They are either selling their service to the show producer for compensation or they are selling a book, a dive trip or a photographic service to the attendees.  They could also be selling their presenter service at no cost to enhance their resume and professional experience.  Either way, there is a Buyer – Seller relationship there.

Now, who’s responsibility is it to bring in the attendees?  Number one, it’s the person who is charging the attendees a fee for coming to the show.  The Show Producers  are selling tickets to attendees in exchange for workshops, seminars, film festivals, exhibit hall vendors and social activities.  Although it is not the exhibitor’s responsibility to bring in attendees, it is smart trade show marketing to do everything you can, prior to a show, to get as many of your current, former and future customers to come to the show and see you.  Remember, exhibitors are selling products, not show tickets.

Where does the money come from to advertise Shows & Events to potential attendees?  It comes from the Exhibitors, Attendees and Sponsors.  If you ask the “old school” show producers, they will tell you that exhibitor booth sales pay for the venue, sponsors pay for the advertising and the money you get from ticket sales is profit.  I would argue with that a little.  I believe that Exhibitor fees, Sponsorship revenue and ticket sales should all go toward the venue, marketing, advertising, scholarships, show equipment upgrades and an investment in the local diving community where the show is held.

It’s time to change the way we think about the way we create market places and why we create them the way we do.  It’s time to focus on bringing Buyers and Sellers together for mutual gratification.  It’s time to match the Buyer types with the correct Sellers.  It’s time to let the Sellers know where their money is going and who it is intended to support.  If we don’t do that now, I am afraid our Sellers will go set up their own market place!  And if the Sellers leave, why would the Buyers return?

Posted in Editorials, Events & Activities, Industry | Leave a comment

Looking For Mermaids

Dive Industry Foundation
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
GeneMuchanski, ExecutiveDirector

The Dive Industry Foundation is looking for Mermaids in our industry who like to work with non-profit, environmental organizations.  One of our friends in the industry has worked with Mermaids in the past and needs our help identifying Mermaids, Mermaid Organizations and Non-profit Environmental Organizations.  Dive Industry Foundation accepts that challenge and we need your help.

The Foundation already has an industry database that contains many non-profit, marine & environmental organizations and their Key People.  We are now looking to add Mermaids and their companies to our database.  If you can help us identify this group, please have them send their picture, bio, contact information and any recent press releases they have to gene@diveindustry.org We will showcase one Mermaid and the work they do, every week, in Dive Industry Association’s Weekly News. 

Let’s have fun with this and give some credit where credit is due.

Posted in Environment, Press Release | Leave a comment