SWAG Gift Bags Work

Offer Your Travel Buyers a Complimentary Gift Bag – 
by Gene Muchanski
Editor, The Dive Industry Professional 

On July 19-24, 2019 we took part in a FAM Trip to Belize to introduce 30 Retail Dive Centers and Dive Travel Specialists to a new Dive Resort, Belize Dive Haven. Debbie Helms, President of Roatan Charter organized the trip at the invitation of Sir Karim Hakim, Owner of Belize Dive Haven.  As an Authorized Travel Advisor and Executive Director of Dive Industry Association, I am always on the look-out for Retail Dive Stores that sell Dive Travel.    FAM Trips are a very special tool for Resort Destinations who want to find high volume group travel buyers.  I thought, maybe it could also be a valuable tool for dive equipment manufactures and training agencies.  We had just published a Blog article on June 11th entitled, Let Us Be Your Ambassador For A Day, so we decided to give it a try.

In our July Editorial Blog, Integrating All The Pieces Into Oneyou can read about our decision to try this new concept.  Since it has never been done before with any amount of success in our industry, we did not know if it would work.  As you can tell from our blogs, posts and pictures we received a great amount of industry participation and interest.  We really have to thank our Sponsors for helping us put this concept into practice.  Debbie Helms, Roatan Charter thought it was a great idea and had Gift Bags made up.  Lita Davis, Lita’s Natural Insect Repellent, started us off with a gift pack of three samples; Lita’s Insect Repellent Spray, Lita’s Insect Itch Relief, and Lita’s Dual Purpose Insect Repellent & Insect Bite Itch Relief.  Autumn Blum, Stream2Sea, gave our guests the option of a sample bag of Sun & Sting Relief Gel and Leave-in Conditioner or a sample bag of Sunscreen for Face & Body and Tinted Sunscreen.  John Flanders, SeaCure Custom Mouthpiece, supplied each of us with a Custom Mouthpiece.  Dave Pollock, RipTide Sales Group was quickly on-board and got us hooked up with Peppers Polarized Eyeware and 4 Ocean.  Peppers gave us 30 Sunglasses, Eyeware Retainer Leashes and Lanyards.  4 Ocean sent us a Reusable Metal Water Bottle and a 4 Ocean Bracelet for each Guest.  The Gift Bags were distributed to our Guests at our Welcoming Dinner in Belize.  The complements and praise from our guests was overwhelming.  I think it actually set the stage for a positive trip because our Dive Travel Specialists knew that we cared enough to thank them for coming with us on this FAM Trip.

Did it work?  Absolutely.  Did we learn anything?  Absolutely.  We knew that size and weight of the samples has a lot to do with our airline baggage limitations.  We also learned a thing or two about Customs.  The trick is to get equipment sponsors to provide actual samples of products they sell or sample items that are useful on a five day dive trip.  I guarantee that our next FAM Trip Gift Bag will be even better.

To summarize our concept, I have to say that we stayed true to our Mission of bringing Buyers and Sellers together.  We introduced a new dive resort and a number of dive products to a select group of professional Retail Buyers who buy and resell dive equipment, training and travel.  Very few company representatives get to spend five days on location with their Dealers.  We were able to do that on a FAM Trip Experience.  Very few Sales Reps travel throughout the Caribbean and beyond to visit their Resort and Dive Operator accounts.  On this trip we visited with one Dive Resort and Dive Operator.  On other FAM Trips we sometimes get a chance to visit with 6 or more Local Resorts and Dive Operators.  Either way, we get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with some of the best Buyers & Sellers in the Dive Industry.

There is one other thing we learned on this trip.  New Resorts look for and appreciate getting their hands on pictures and video of their operation from their guests.  Many manufacturers would also like pictures and video from actual users of their products.  Our next FAM Trip will include that option for our Guests and Hosts.  We plan to integrate SWAG Gift Bags and Photo Competitions on all future FAM Trip Experiences.  Subscribe to this blog for more FAM Trip updates.

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

About Gene Muchanski

Executive Director at Dive Industry Association. Board Member at Dive Industry Foundation. Marketing Consultant to the Diving Industry. I have been a certified Scuba Diver since I was 15 years old and have been a passionate waterman for as long as I can remember.
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