Some people in the diving industry thought the Lone Star State Dive & Travel Show in Dallas was not going to be a big show, so they didn’t go. Some waited until they saw other exhibitors and seminar speakers commit to the show before they decided to participate. The attendees, on the other hand, came to the event when they heard about it. The show was a surprising success and Texas now has a large annual event that brings divers together to see what’s new in diving equipment, travel, and training.
What made the difference? It started off with the commitment of a few dive clubs. Clubs have members and club members do things, like attend dive shows. A few months before the show, a number of local dive retailers decided to exhibit and that lead to a number of equipment manufacturers exhibiting also. That filled up the exhibit hall and gave the show a good overall balance to it. Although the Training Agencies were conspicuously absent, the Manufacturers, Dive Stores, Dive Clubs, Non-Profits and Travel Resorts & Dive Operators did exhibit. What happened next was the key that can unlock the potential of every diving event in the country.
Roatan Charter created a press release that told about the Dive Show, Roatan Charter’s involvement in it and offered a $5 OFF coupon. The press release was sent to all of their customers in the Greater Texas area, inviting them to attend the show and visit Roatan Charter at their booth. The Dive Industry Association copied Roatan Charter’s press release and emailed it to 4,000 diving industry professionals, using their email system, Constant Contact. DIA then copied the press release and emailed it directly to 1,800 Divers in the Great Texas area, sending it out via regular email.
Needless to say, Saturday’s attendance was through the roof and Sunday was a typical Sunday in Dallas. Jim Gentile, the Show Owner & Director could not have been happier with the efforts and results of our marketing campaign. To give you an idea as to the attendance numbers; Our non-profit foundation brought twenty mask bags to sell as a fund raiser and we SOLD OUT in the first two hours on Saturday morning.
Texas deserves to have an annual event like the Lone Star State Dive & Travel Show. There is plenty of room and reason for a show that features the latest and greatest diving equipment and travel destinations. It’s also an excellent opportunity for Professional Development in the training and instruction of the equipment specialties like Underwater Photography and Equipment Repair and Maintenance. There is nothing like a Dive Show venue to showcase our industry’s Speakers and Presenters at workshops, seminars, and film shows. And above all, there is nothing like the social aspect of our recreation and our need for networking with fellow divers. Does the show have to stay in Dallas or could it alternate with the others large cities in Texas, i.e. Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi? I guess that depends on the folks from Texas?
Putting on an annual dive show is not an easy task. Someone has to plan it and take the financial gamble for its success. The Local Dive Community has to create activities and social functions within the venue to give attendees something to do during the entire weekend. Paid Staff and volunteers have to make the magic happen, smoothly. Dive Clubs, Dive Stores and Local Dive Businesses have to support it. The Industry, both locally and nationally, has to promote it.
In the next four months, the industry will have its opportunity to showcase the Best of Diving at their Annual Regional Shows. February in Chicago (North Central) at Our World Underwater. March in Secaucus (North East) at Beneath the Sea, April in Tacoma (North West) at Scuba & H2O Adventure Show, and May in Long Beach (South West) at the Scuba Show.
We are looking forward to seeing all the Local Dive Communities succeed in their Annual Regional Shows. We’ll see you there.