By Jean-Marc Claes
Setting up a local diving community. Is it worth it?
In the current time of social distancing, more and more individual living, is there still a use for a local diving community? Is it worth investing time, energy and money to get it started and keep it going? Even more, does it depend on where you live?
What do you achieve from setting up a local dive community?
It is the returning business that should be of interest, but there is a lot more to it! Never underestimate the networking possibilities within a local community as doing good for others; they will also be doing good for your business.
People love to talk about their positive achievements in life; the same is true in scuba diving. By creating a local dive community, you are actually creating ambassadors that spread the word in your area, the best publicity you can get!
So, how do you decide what to invest in your local community?
Well, start by taking a part of your commercial budget for marketing and publicity and use this money to invest. Perhaps you can give free tank fills for your organized local diving and meet at the dive shop before AND after the dive. Get out the BBQ and offer some hotdogs for after the dive.
Before the dive: people will have a different view at your dive centre, eager to buy some small (unplanned) things, update information, review their equipment and change parts with wear and tear.
After the dive, it is time for logbooks, putting your unique dive stamp in their logbook, or use a DiveSticker*, to get a hotdog (this always tastes good after a dive, and it is easy to prepare and organize).
*DiveSticker is a Swiss company that provides/creates unique sticker books for dive training, diving trips, and more. The fish sticker books are location dedicated and easy to use during organized travel. They have an advertisement in our magazine. Check it out or go to www.dive-sticker.com.
Not everything has to be free of charge: you can put a ‘share and donate’ collection point so people can put in some money. Stay away from a potluck and shared food as some people (mostly always the same people) will put in the energy to bring something while others will never do; this creates an unhealthy situation in a community! You should stay in control of the community and use your time wisely!
Make sure you organize different dives, so the community will always have surprises while joining in. Night dives with different subjects, full moon or no moon, UV dives or Ostracods (if you do not know what this means, check out our last ScubaBiz.Help magazine), deep dives, clean up dives, search and recovery, it is all part of your imagination! Let us know if you need our help finding ideas for local dives, as we are ScubaBiz.Help! The advantages are numerous in setting up a local dive community, but don’t take them for granted!
Keep investing time and energy, and the advantages will grow:
- Increasing rental revenue (yes, you should have a full range of rental gear available!)
- Increasing sales as time passes because people will see the positive side of owning gear.
- Increasing sales of dive courses and especially higher-level courses (Rescue, Divemaster) as people will stay longer active and want to learn more.
Bring out teasers, like introducing a DPV in the community. Organize a test dive with it, and people will sign up for DPV classes and eventually even buy one (and for sure, others will follow as there is NO fun in diving with just 1 DPV)
A healthy local dive community will also benefit from the possibility of organizing (international) dive travel. Make sure to organize small weekend trips and larger bucket list trips. People will have different budgets and different bucket lists. Make sure to alternate locations to avoid going back to the same places.
Set up a partnership deal with the locations you will visit with your group. They should give you a nice discount or even a free spot for yourself! Never forget, you are choosing where to go with the group on the trip!
Last but not least, invite your dive gear wholesale companies to sponsor you, the dive community! Free equipment testing results in sales of their brand!
Make sure you lead by example…what you are wearing in scuba is what will sell! You should get special sponsor deals from them…keep your equipment in top shape and change at every possibility you get! Become the leading example!
Setting up your local dive community is an important marketing tool for your business! If you need help, let us know! That is what we do to help!
Count Down to Launch