THE IMPORTANCE OF PROMOTING AN AREA AS WELL AS THE DIVING
It is easy for dive company owners to forget about the bigger picture when advertising their shop and services. The dives offered in a particular area are without a doubt the main point of interest for any potential customers, and dive conditions, potential wildlife sightings and course details are clear topics that must be focused on in promotional material and on social media sites. However, although providing information, images and details of the dives that your company offers is vital, it is equally important to consider the other attractions of the area in which you are based. Whatever the demographic that you are targeting, selling your local area will inevitably help increase your own business opportunities and revenue. Those divers visiting for single dives may be convinced to stay in the area longer if presented with reasons to do so, which may lead them to sign up for further dives as a result. Similarly, those divers planning a longer trip will be looking for ways to occupy themselves on dry days or on those occasions that weather conditions lead to the cancellation of excursions. Most divers will typically sign up for one or two dives per day- they need to know that there are other things to do when they are not in the water. International visitors will usually have travelled for a long time and at great expense to reach their destination, so they need to know that they can get the absolute most out of every moment they spend there.
According to statistics published by PADI at the end of last year, the average age for divers all around the world is 29. Many of those divers are therefore of an age where they must consider the needs of non-diving children or spouses, and so it is imperative to provide options for keeping family members entertained whilst their relative is at sea. For many families or couples comprised of diving and non-diving members, the choice of holiday destination is often a compromise that is able to cater to the interests of everyone involved. Therefore, you might be able to offer the best shark diving in the world, but if you cannot provide information about alternative activities for non-divers you may find yourself losing valuable business. The same statistics from PADI show that diving is still a sport in which men make up the majority- with males comprising 65.5% of all divers, it is important to find ways to sell your dive centre and the attractions of its immediate vicinity to accompanying wives and girlfriends. Equally, consider focusing on promoting introductory dives and entry level courses in a way that encourages non-diving travel partners to make their first foray into the underwater world.
The types of attractions in your local area that you choose to promote depend largely on your target audience. For example, students and backpackers will be looking for a destination that can not only provide good diving, but perhaps other high adrenalin activities, good nightlife and a range of budget accommodation options as well. On the other hand, families might need to know that there are options in the area for keeping young children entertained, whether there are possibilities for day-care and if your dive centre is located in a safe, family-friendly area. Make sure to offer snorkelling where possible- this is an easy alternative to donning scuba that can directly boost your income whilst providing a way for non-divers to spend time with their diving friends or family. Other activities that you could consider adding to your company’s list of services include whale or dolphin watching, boat trips and island-hopping tours where appropriate. Take the time to find out non-water related activities within easy distance of your dive centre and you will find the possibilities you can offer your guests are endless. From horse-riding to hiking, or from good restaurants to urban sight-seeing, it is often possible to set up reciprocal advertising with other local companies. If you can generate business for them, they will be more likely to do the same for you.
Promoting your area is not confined to listing local activities and attractions. Many prospective customers will want to know about the infrastructure your area offers, whether in terms of ease of access from nearby airports or bus terminals, or in terms of the facilities they can expect once they arrive there. In a world where business and pleasure increasingly revolve around the availability of internet connection, reassuring potential guests of good wifi connection in the area may be an important factor to consider. Similarly, the proximity of shops, restaurants and places to buy gear and air fills are equally relevant. For those businesses whose remoteness is a key selling point, make the most of it by providing images of untouched white beaches or rural settings whilst extolling the merits of an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For many dive tourists, the attraction of diving lies in the peace and quiet offered by the underwater world- reassure them that they can find the same virtues on land, too.
Whatever your chosen demographic, the promotion of the area in which you are based is a good idea. It will increase your revenue whether directly or indirectly, and make your dive company the obvious choice for those looking not only for a dive destination, but for a well-rounded travel experience.
Article by Jessica Vyvyan-Robinson
Jessica is one of our writers at ScubaDiveTourism.com whose profile can be viewed on our Team Page.