By Hans Lange
The times are changing, and we should change with them.
We in the diving industry know the situation as it has been: The season is over, full of stress and endless days with a lot of work. Diving, filling tanks, looking after guests, planning staff and so on. The days are full.
The End of the season means packing up, planning necessary repairs and then preparing for the next season. And if that goes well, then it starts all over again.
That has taken us all to varying degrees over the years. That was ok because traditional advertising brought us enough customers.
Then came Covid. No travel, no season or a very shortened season and suddenly, the engine did not work like it used to. Especially the absence of the fairs and shows hit many of us very hard. These events were where a significant portion of old customers was cultivated, and new ones were approached. The usual way to keep our business alive suddenly fell away. What to do?
Many colleagues came up with fresh ideas and were able to keep their heads above water. However, many had to give up their sails or only hoped for better times. Others returned to their old jobs and turned their backs on the industry. The latter is especially noticeable now that business is slowly starting up again, and many are desperately looking for staff. But they have returned to their old jobs, and not many well-qualified instructors are on the market.
As always, a crisis also has the potential for change and brings new ideas.
And that is inspiring!
Zoom meetings have become the norm and are here to stay, giving us in the diving industry new opportunities whose potential is far from exhausted. Social media, especially Facebook groups, offer the opportunity to stay in touch with our customers and generate new ones, just like it used to be done at fairs. But now, all year round.
I want to present an excellent example of a combination of these possibilities here.
We have developed a program called “Discover our Blue Planet.” The first part is now ready and being promoted. It is a course on sharks and goes into the subject matter more intensively than usual marine biology programs. A qualified marine biologist presents the course and includes SSI’s digital Shark Ecology course to offer an official certification. In addition to the webinar on sharks, there is a Facebook group where live meetings take place, and the courses are specifically promoted.
The program does not require any further presentation by instructors. It is exciting and compact, so it is an excellent source of information for interested lay people.
How to generate income with it? Why am I talking about this course?
Besides the obvious to raise awareness for sharks, we have set up a partner system that allows anyone who wants to sell and promote this course to make money from it.
- Operators or travel agencies offering liveaboards who want to offer their clients that extra service as preparation for their long-dreamed-of journey.
- Instructors who have less or no work due to the season can earn some extra money. Or some extra income next to the regular instructor job.
- Dive centres can sell a good quality course with no time commitment, which keeps customers in close contact with the dive center even in the low season and generates additional income.
- Marine conservation organizations can create an income that helps with funding.
- And everyone is interested in supporting the idea.
Who is the buyer? There is no limit to the imagination: People interested in nature, enthusiastic customers after diving with sharks, guests of a diving safari as preparation for the trip, school classes supported by their teachers or even members of an environmental protection organization who want to keep the activities with the purchase of the course.
Where do I find the customers? Newsletters, word of mouth, websites or actively in Facebook groups.
The potential of groups on Facebook is still significantly underestimated by our industry. For example, shark groups have up to 150,000 members. A post can achieve hundreds of comments that can be developed into a “customer conversation.” A post takes five minutes, and a dive show takes several days. Where can you find so many people interested in one topic at once as here?
The combination of the webinar, online course and live presentations with an open distribution system allows access to anyone interested. The idea is communicative, digital, location and time-independent and offers a new form of income.
To support this new idea, we offer our partners free training. This is part of using it successfully.
We will extend the idea to other projects. By cooperating with others, we will be in a better position in the future. And that’s what we all hope for in the industry!
To join in: https://elmlink.co/Blueplanetambassador.
Here you can join us as ambassadors of our blue planet. If you have any questions, please contact Hans Lange at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jean-Claude Monachon at email@example.com.
We look forward to your feedback.
A short biography on Hans Lange and Jean-Claude Monachon.
He started diving in 1992 and has been working as a professional since 1994.
PADI instructor for 19 years and now SSI Instructor Trainer
Platinum Pro 5000 Instructor
Experience in Tobago, Egypt, Maldives, Mediterranean as manager and owner of diving centers
Hans is now operating a diving center in Cyprus, where he shares his passion for diving with future dive professionals
Scuba Online Academy Founding Member
Since 36 years in the diving industry with a passion for the ocean and the diving world Former CEO of PADI Europe/ Vice President of International Business Development SSI.
He is engaged today in various associations for the protection of the seas. A shark lover!
Diving Marketing Coach
Member of the Scuba Online Academy
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