Project AWARE 100% PIC Online - Thank You

A big thank you to the following PADI International Ltd Dive Centres who are signed up to the 100% Project AWARE PIC Online Shceme.

By joining this new programme you ensure that all your students whose cards are processed online receive the Project AWARE version of their PADI certification card. You also show your commitment to the protection of aquatic resources by raising vital funds to help Project AWARE complete its mission.

Aqua Divers, Anavissos Greece S32289 http://www.aquadiversclub.com/

Capenwray Diving, Carnforth Lancashire S3632 http://www.dive-site.co.uk/

Marine Divers, Paphos Cyprus S32431 http://www.pwmarinedivers.com/

Waterhoppers, Rhodes Greece S3431 http://www.waterhoppers.com/

Ocean Turtle Diving, Basingstoke Hampshire S32106 http://www.oceanturtlediving.com/

If you'd like to sign up to the 100% Project AWARE PIC Online scheme, simply download the registration form located here, and
fax to Project AWARE Foundation (International) : +44 (0)117 300 7270

Digital Option for The Undersea Journal and Sport Diver

While you're on the PADI Pros site downloading the 2010 PADI Instructor Manual you can sign up to receive Sport Diver and / or The Undersea Journal electronically. This is a free service for PADI Members.

Switch to the electronic versions and you'll receive an email when the latest issue is available online. What you'll get is an electronic version of the magazine provided through a system called
Zinio - it's not a .pdf.

Not sure if you'll like an electronic magazine?

I found a link on Zinio's site where you can
download a magazine for free to try it out. FYI you have to create an account to get the free magazine. Looks like there's also an iPhone app.

If it were me - I'd continue getting the paper copy of Sport Diver and go digital with the UJ.

Sport Diver
magazine is a great marketing piece. Leave it at the dentist, the gym, anywhere it might find a curious reader. Attach a business card or two to the inside cover and on the back cover. You never know, right?

This is just my personal opinion, I'm as crunchy granola as they come and of course the more we can do to reduce our paper consumption the better.

If you're ready to go digital with Sport Diver or The Undersea Journal, here's how to do it:
  1. Log on to padimembers.com
  2. Click on Members Toolbox
  3. Scroll down to Member Services
  4. Click on the first link:
    Go Digital! Manage Your PADI Subscriptions here
  5. Click next to the picture of each magazine to opt in for a digital copy.
Once you choose the electronic option we will no longer send you a paper copy of the magazine. Address labels are run approximately six weeks before the magazines get mailed, so there's a chance you'll get one more paper copy after opting in for the electronic option. Currently it's not possible to receive both an electronic and a paper copy - just one or the other.

2010 Instructor Manual Available Online

2010 Instructor Manual Available as a Free Download
for Renewed PADI Members

Renewed PADI Members (Instructors, DMs, AIs, etc.) can now download the 2010 PADI Instructor Manual from padimembers.com. The 1.25 MB .pdf is the first link in the right hand column.

If you are not renewed, please call us at +44 (0) 117 300 ext. 7281 (Monday - Friday) to get renewed.
Dive Theory Online is the newest PADI eLearning course

Dive Theory Online is now live at padi.com/elearning.

Student cost: $100.

What is Dive Theory Online?
  • For Divemaster, AI, and OWSI Candidates - an exam study tool

  • For Instructors -
    Offer students the opportunity to try Dive Theory online in lieu of attending the dive theory lectures.

    Or - use Dive Theory Online to brush up on Boyle's Law (and other dive theory topics) before teaching a DM course.

Dive Theory Online gives a comprehensive overview of dive physics, dive physiology, dive skills, environmental considerations,* dive equipment specifics and decompression theory & the RDP. Each section consists of multi-media instructional sections followed by study questions. End-of-section assessments verify eLearner mastery of each section.

* What was once a single topic - dive skills and environment – has been broken down into two separate presentations – dive skills and environmental considerations.

What isn't Dive Theory Online?

Dive Theory Online is not a substitute for any required materials. All PADI Divemaster candidates are still required to own a personal copy of the DM manual, DM slates, Instructor Manual,* Diving Knowledge Workbook, and Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving (included in the Divemaster crewpak - product no. 60020). Dive Theory online is supplemental study material.

* Instructor manual required for all DM candidates beginning 1 June 2010

Dive Theory Online is not a prerequisite for professional-level PADI courses. It is optional study material.

Dive Theory Online is not a substitute for Divemaster exams, or any other candidate exam.

Want to take a peek?

PADI stores and Instructors who've previously purchased an Access Pass can preview Dive Theory online (or any of our other eLearning courses):
  1. Visit elearning.padi.com
  2. Click on User Maintanence
  3. Next - click on Preview Course Sections
  4. Choose Dive Theory online from the drop down menu

Registration and Website Info

When signing up for Dive Theory online through padi.com, the student will select a PADI member to affiliate with; however,
the Dive Theory Online program does not have an in-person component. It is online training only. The student should affiliate with the PADI Member that is completing their DM, AI or IDC training.

PADI stores who already have an eLearning link on their website are
automatically set up to offer Dive Theory online. As with the other eLearning programs, the student will click through to padi.com and select the course from a drop-down menu.

If you do not wish to offer Dive Theory online, use the
eLearning course selector tool found on the PADI Pros homepage (about halfway down).

For assistance modifying your eLearning course offerings, or to get your eLearning.padi.com login information, contact Training Department at: +44 (0) 117 300 7234 ext. 7339


PADI eLearning

By James Stockdale - UK and Ireland Regional Go Pro Challenge Winner 2008

I was extremely sceptical of 'eLearning' at first! I felt terrible about the idea of losing the personal interaction with a student. I was very closed-minded. I felt robbed of "MY" students. But, as things have progressed, so too has my attitude to the course.

First I found that increasingly the idea of sitting in a classroom for 2 hours at a time doesn't appeal to every potential student. I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of younger divers - most of them computer savvy – and, for many of them, sitting at home doing theory in their own time with a cup of tea in their hand is far more alluring than the alternative.

There's also the advantage of them spending as much time as they want on an area that they are having difficulties with. There is nothing worse than when you have a student in a classroom, who finds it hard to grasp the idea of something - you are restricted by giving fair and equal attention to everyone as well as making sure everyone progresses at a similar pace. This is a perfect example of how eLearning removes time constraints. And if the student is still unable to understand through eLearning, they are more than welcome to contact me for some 1-to1 help in person.

I've started looking at the eLearning as an opportunity on my part to focus on the practical side of things more. We have a great time utilising every shred of time in the water, and we can talk to our hearts’ content afterwards. It's more than enough time for me to find out the students’ interests and diving ambitions. They also see how easy it is to get certified as a diver.

I expect to see eLearning become more and more popular and it'll be a positive step forward for the dive industry.



NEW Project AWARE Card

The new limited edition AWARE certification card is now available.


Your student divers can now choose the new 2010 AWARE version of their PADI certification card or replace their card and support underwater conservation. For a minimum donation of £5, any diver can sport the new sea turtle card and know 100 percent of their gift supports protection for the environment they love most.

Download a copy of the Project AWARE Limited Edition Card options poster for 2010

To find out more about Project AWARE Foundation’s ongoing conservation efforts and to become directly involved visit www.projectaware.org.


15 Minute Marketing Idea - QR Codes

15 Minute Marketing Idea

What is this thing?

QR Code PreviewIt's a QR code.... and in 2010, you'll start seeing a lot more of them. Google really likes QR codes, so you can pretty much guarentee that they'll become mainstream (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/explore-whole-new-way-to-window-shop.html).  

A QR code is a special barcode that acts like an internet hyperlink. When scanned by a smart phone (such as an iPhone) it will display a webpage, business card, or message.

QR codes are an easy, cheap and fun way to promote your business.

Read on! By the end you'll know how to create these codes and use them for nefarious guerilla marketing purposes.

That funny-looking box above represents a link to padiinstructorinfo.com. Scan it with a smartphone, and PADI Desert Chronicles will appear on the screen.

The code isn't doing much sitting on this webpage - but imagine if I printed out 300 of these codes on sticker paper and put them in every bathroom stall at DEMA? Besides a possible misdemeanor for me, it would be a sly marketing move: capturing the attention of smartphones users - anyone with an iPhone, Android phone, Palm Pre, etc.

This is pretty powerful marketing - that costs next to nothing. Additionally, you reaching customers who don't mind spending money on cool gizmos. According to ComScore - over 38 million Americans own smartphones already and 64% plan to purchase a smart phone in the near future.

Creating a QR code is extremely easy. Pasted below is a screengrab from qrstuff.com - one of many free QR code generators.

As you can see it's three short steps.
#1 Decide where you want the user to be directed to: (website, telephone number, etc).

#2 Type in the web address (or phone number) into the box

#3 Print!

How to utilize QR Codes

Step 1: What is Your Goal?

  • Increase membership in your dive club?
  • Book more divers into an upcoming dive trip or charter?
  • Promote a new product?
  • Spread the word about your internship opportunity?

Step 2: What do you want people to see?
When the QR code is scanned, it will bring up a webpage link, virtual business card, phone number, or a few lines of text - your choice. Whatever you choose will display on the phone's screen.

Let's say your goal is to bring new people into your dive club.

The QR code should point at a webpage (or text) describing your next dive club meeting date, time, location and topics. Be sure to say why your dive club meeting will be the most exciting night of the year. Maybe you're having an interesting guest speaker. Maybe there will be manufacturer-sponsored prizes. You've got a new customer's attention, make it as exciting as possible.

Additionally, you may wish to hide the link that you want the visitor to click, thereby getting them to your web page through curiosity.  For example, if a customer scans the QR codes and it displays the link 'http://www.learntoscubadive.com' the customer will immediately make a conscious decision as to whether they will click the link, as the URL is quite descriptive of the content.

Try shortening the URL through TinyURL to hide the ultimate destination, thereby ensuring the end user has to click through to your site.  Try this example:

QR Code Preview
Step 3: Go Nuts!
Create your QR code (see recommended websites below) and distribute!

  • If promoting your business or dive club: place the QR codes (responsibly) in and around places where divers hang out.  Is there a breakfast spot near a training site that attracts divers? Print out the codes and put them on index cards - under car windshield wipers, stashed in the menus, around the dive centre, or on your website etc.

  • To promote a new product such as a safety whistle or underwater camera in your store, post a QR code next to the product and link to a video of the product in action (on the manufacturer's website, or something you've made).

  • Need to fill up an upcoming dive trip? Put a QR code on your trip flyers and have it point to a youtube video of the destination.

  • Print off a sheet of QR codes and use them as a calling card. Leave one with your restaurant bill or in the waiting room of the dentist's office. Maybe write an intriguing message on the back,
    "Are you Curious?"

  • Print them onto stickers and plaster them over your dive kit / friends dive kit / interesting and unusual place.

  • Some of the websites below will print your QR code on a t-shirt. Walk around town, a convention center, or your favorite outdoor concert and invite people you see using their smartphones to scan your shirt.* )

  • Hide QR codes amongst your shop merchandise, and offer discounts or added extras for those customers that can decipher them.

The QR code is still new to many folks which makes it a great conversation piece.  Esquire magazine and Fast Company recently did issues spotlighting this new technology.

Also, take my word on this one:  people who own smartphones love to show off what they can do.

Are you QRious? Ready to Get Started?

Try out the QR code experience (see below)

Using a smartphone with a QR barcode reader, scan the QR code below. If it doesn't work for you right off the screen, try printing the image out on a piece of paper.

No barcode reader?

  • Here's CNet's list of the best barcode readers for the iPhone.
  • For Android I use the app called Barcode Scanner (it's free).
  • NeoReader is a QR reader app for Blackberry, Palm and other phones - though I haven't personally tested it.

Ready to Make Your Own?

Useful websites:
Print out one or several QR codes at qrstuff.com.  You can print the codes on regular paper or make stickers on Avery labels). You can also create fabric QR patches at p8tch.com (attach to a dive bag, jacket, etc).

15 minute QR code project

  1. Go to qrstuff.com
  2. Choose "text" as the data type
  3. Update the sample text below.
  4. Paste the text into the website's text box.
  5. Print.
  6. Distribute.

To: The Curious One!

From: [your dive business name here]

Fate is telling you to become a scuba diver. Email us at [your email here] or call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Mention you found our QR code and you and a friend can try scuba for free in our pool. Already a diver? Come to our next dive club meeting. We'd love to meet you. Email us for details.

One last really important thing:
You've got the customer's attention. Make the payoff compelling. Rather than simply linking to your homepage, consider a short message of simple text that references your website. For example:

Hi there, we like your style. We're scuba divers, and like you, we're curious. We like to explore and try new things. Here's our website: xyzdivecenter.com - we hope you'll stop by.

Alternately, you could have the QR code point to a special page on your website inviting the customer to leave their contact info to receive a special offer. Or, if you have a short promotional video already produced, you could link to the video's URL. Be sure and watch your video on someone's phone first to make sure it looks okay.


This year, I expect to start seeing more and more of these weird little hyroglyphics all over the place.  Send me a photograph of your QR Code advertisement via email, and a winner will be selected at the end of the year to receive a special prize.  The more interesting, innovative and unusual the QR code and its placement, the higher your chance of winning.

One final QR Link for you to try:

QR Code Preview


Beating the big chill - Above and Below go Ice Diving

Unless you've been hibernating over the past month (or you're fortunate enough to reside outside of the UK), you'll have noticed that we've been experiencing a little snow and ice around our island in the Atlantic.

Most of us (me included) decided that this would be a good oppourtunity to stock up the kitchen shelves with hot soup and bread rolls, wrap ourselves in a duvet for a few more minutes each morning, and generally try to get through the snow storms as best we could.

The team at Above and Below Dive Centre, Pontefract decided differently however.  Martin and Sharon Ainsworth saw this as an oppourtunity to provide training to their customers that wasn't usually available in the UK, and often cost quite considerable amounts of money to complete elsewhere...PADI Ice Diver.

I'll not try to explain the psychology behind their decision to jump into freezing water in January (I'd be there myself if I didn't have a dislocated shoulder...honest!). Therefore I'll let Sharon Ainsworth explain in her own words how they went about this endeavour:

"As you know, Martin, not backwards in coming forwards, decided to take advantage of the sub zero temperatures, (and the fact that Blue Lagoon has completely iced over) and promote the ice diver speciality – a first for us here in the UK!!!!  - here’s how it went:

We started at 8am, preparing the site prior to divers arriving – what a surprise this was – you can see by the photo, the chunk of ice we took out was several inches thick, remarkable considering the lake is over 16 acres, and all frozen!  It was so heavy that one of our team had to get in and smash it up into smaller pieces!!

After refreshing everyone on knot tying, we began to assign roles as divers, rope tenders and safety divers working as a team.  This was a challenge in itself, as EVERYONE wanted to be first in!  Anyway, after the biggest, most senior, superior, etc, etc won, they got kitted up, roped up and descended through the hole into the crystal clear water.  AWESOME was the response from the first diver on surfacing!

We had so many divers wanting to go in, by mid afternoon, we had cut 3 separate entry/exit holes through the ice, with 3 separate dive teams around the lake.

Anyhow, 6 ice diving instructors and 15 new ice divers later, and lots of excited and smiley faces – the day was a ‘titanic’ success, (excuse the pun), so much so, we can’t wait to do it again later this week (weather permitting)

The air temperature was 2 degs C, water temp 0 degs C."

I think you'll agree that this looks like great fun, and is a great example of PADI Members taking advantage of the change in weather to get divers learning some new skills, completing further training and having a great time whilst doing it.

If any other PADI Members have been doing anything interesting over the previous months (BCD Sledging?!!!) please send your article and photographs through to me at richard.howes@padi.co.uk and I'll get the posted on this blog.


Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all PADI Dive Centres and PADI Instructors.  I trust that you all had a great break over the winter period, and not too many of you are suffering due to the chilling winter snow in the UK.

2010 has now officially started, and we're into a new season.  For those of you wanting to know how your centre performed during 2010, we'll be sending your centre ranking via email shortly.

For those members wanting to know what is in store for the coming year with regards to PADI, Standards Updates and ideas for increasing customer uptake and retention, the member forums will be running in the next few months.  Check back here for updates on dates.

In the meantime, as a new years present grab a coffee and check out some of the Scuba Related Advertisements from yesteryear:

See you all soon!


Eve – Practical advice on e-mail marketing

By Ian Sykes, ISSYS

As time goes on, spam and junk filters run by ISPs – Internet Service Providers – get tighter and tighter.

Avoiding being marked as a spammer depends on as many variables as there are grains in a handful of dust but the following should help:

  1. Make the e-mails you send out a mixture of plain text and HTML. By that I mean that some of the e-mails you send out should be plain text and some HTML. 
  2. The easiest way is to keep those e-mails that say, for example, "yes, Friday's good for me" should be sent as plain text.
  3. Avoid using "Dear" as the salutation. Similar to the physical junk mail we all receive which starts with "Dear", spam filters look for this greeting and score it highly.  Hi, hello, etc. are better options. 
  4. Keep sentences relatively short. 76 characters is one cut off point that spam filters look for.
    Avoid using the bcc field as much as possible.
  5. Ideally, send e-mails individually rather than using the multiple recipients option, as much as possible. This means that the receiver's ISP sees that the e-mail is addressed to the recipient only and so marks the e-mail as being much warranted.
  6. Sending out bulk – i.e. bcc or multiple recipients – e-mails day after day will eventually result in an increasing number of ISPs marking your address as being a spammer.
  7. Attachments also gain a few more points on most spam tables, particularly in conjunction with multiple recipient e-mails.
  8. Logo files not properly embedded into your Outlook stationery can also flag up on junk filters, particularly if the original file size is large.
  9. If the vast majority of your "send-outs" are to groups or using bcc address fields this will also count against you.
  10. A balance of individual e-mails versus group e-mails is preferable.


I'd suggest using tighter search criteria in the Customer Search Wizard as one step forward.

I'd send the e-mails individually. Depending on the version of Outlook you're using, you may need to download and install a small piece of software that eliminates all the annoying "allow permission" messages from Outlook.

You can download, install and run a small piece of software called Express Click Yes that runs in the background simulating any of the "Click Yes" commands that Outlook expects.

There are many places to download this from – one such site is http://www.contextmagic.com/express-clickyes/ . Click Yes contains no adware or spyware and only simulates those "Click Yes" for Outlook, not for any other applications. On my own PC I have Click Yes running in the background constantly for just such a purpose

Use all of the above in conjunction with the EVE Auto E-mail Agent and the EVE Customer Search Wizard to mine your database and target-market your clients.

PADI and National Geographic Renew PADI National Geographic Diver Program

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA – 16 December 2009 -- Extending their commitment to the popular PADI National Geographic Diver program and support for PADI National Geographic Dive Centers, PADI and National Geographic have renewed the program agreement through 31 December 2011. The PADI National Geographic Diver program combines the PADI Open Water Diver course with National Geographic specific content in special PADI National Geographic Diver course materials. Since 2003, PADI is the only international training organization to work closely with National Geographic to provide such training, as well as a network of PADI and National Geographic Dive Centers around the globe.

“We’re committed to continuing this relationship with National Geographic,” said PADI President and COO Drew Richardson, “because the PADI National Geographic Diver program establishes an explorer-scientist mindset. It’s a great way to start out in diving, it gives people reasons to keep diving, and it brings new faces into PADI National Geographic Dive Centers.”

Besides renewing PADI National Geographic Diver, National Geographic also recently invited PADI, DAN and other dive industry entities to participate in their National Geographic Live Speaker series. The series features key photographers, naturalists and speakers in high profile venues throughout the US, with participants helping publicize the events.

“It’s gratifying that National Geographic thinks enough of diving to call on our industry to participate,” said Richardson, “This speaker series will definitely get the attention of divers and potential divers, so it’s to everyone’s benefit to participate.” Richardson also noted that PADI National Geographic Dive Centers will particularly benefit because those attracted to diving by the speaker series will be attuned to the “National Geographic” of their PADI National Geographic Dive Center status.

For more information about the PADI National Geographic Diver program, contact your local PADI office.

Others promise … PADI delivers.

PADI Dive Center and Resort Members earn $2 million in shared revenue with PADI eLearning®

PADI Dive Centers and Resorts have earned shared revenue for every diver associating with their store since the launch of PADI eLearning.

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA –16 December 2009 – PADI Dive Centers and Resorts worldwide are reaping the rewards – and the earnings – from PADI eLearning. To date, more than 33,000 consumers have enrolled in PADI eLearning and this has generated more than $2 million US in revenue for PADI Members.

Since adding PADI eLearning as a delivery method, PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are seeing more student divers coming through their doors. This means more repeat customers and equipment sales along with a check for every student who affiliates via PADI eLearning with their store. Many members have also leveraged the Get your Link, Get Your Money campaign by placing the PADI eLearning web banner – available from the PADI Pros’ site - on their websites.

Here is how PADI eLearning has helped these PADI Members trim costs and increase profits:

“[PADI] eLearning does not require me to spend money first on open water student materials and then sell to my students. In financially challenging times this has helped my cash flow considerably, allowing me to manage costs more effectively. Plus I never run out of stock now!”

- Phil O'Shea, Manager of Pavilion Dive Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

“Because we use [PADI] eLearning, it has given us the ability to do the open water course in a weekend which has the add-on savings to wages, equipment and staff flexibility. A large proportion of our customers choose Feet First Dive because of the time limitations, so this reflects in our bottom line with increased numbers of students. We are teaching more students and we are selling more gear, it is as simple as that.”

- Shane Murtagh, PADI Master Instructor, Feet First Dive Centre, Nelson Bay, New South Wales, Australia

With the PADI Open Water Diver Course Online now available in English, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Italian and Dutch, PADI eLearning provides PADI Dive Centers and Resorts more ways - in more languages - to reach potential customers online. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts can also use PADI eLearning for continuing education with the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course Online and the PADI Enriched Air Diver Course Online now available, and the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Course Online available in second quarter 2010.

Earn your share of PADI eLearning revenue. For more information on taking advantage of PADI eLearning - along with all of the other benefits of PADI membership - contact your PADI office today.

Others promise … PADI delivers.


PADI Executive Appointed President of EUF

During the European Underwater Federation’s recent General Assembly in Amsterdam, Mark Caney was elected President. He will serve in this position until the end of 2012.

The European Underwater Federation (EUF) is a body representing the interests of over three million divers in the European region and has a membership consisting of a broad range of European training agencies, including both for-profit and non-profit organisations. CMAS Europe and RSTC Europe are represented in the EUF, as well as other diving related organisations such as DAN Europe, and the Egyptian CDWS. The EUF serves as a forum allowing such organisations to meet, exchange ideas and speak with a common voice on important issues like diver safety, and is truly representative of the European scuba diving market place.

The EUF has become a highly influential body within world of diving, in part through its involvement in EUF Certification International; a separate body that audits training systems and, where appropriate, certifies them as being compliant with European and ISO Standards for Recreational Diving. Such certification has become a legal requirement for dive operations in several countries such as Egypt and Greece.

Mark, who is Vice President, Training, Education and Memberships at PADI International Limited in England, is now serving for the second time as President of the EUF.

For more information about the EUF visit www.euf.eu .

Now available – Tec Diver Course Instructor Guide in digital format

The Tec Diver Course Instructor Guide (CDROM 70911, Paper 70605) is now available as a digital product, ready to be loaded directly onto your laptop, enabling travelling instructors to offer the courses wherever they are. Besides the course guides, the CD ROM also includes a PDF of the Appendix, with course forms, applications answer keys, answer sheets, handouts and other support materials used during the course. TecRec Instructors can now simply contact their Product Consultant for details on how to purchase this item.


Using website video to enhance the customer experience

Let's face it, by the time you get halfway through reading one of my blog posts you'll get bored or distracted.  The phone will ring, a customer will walk in or you'll realise that some of my rants are just not worth reading...

Stick with it...and I'll try to help you change the way you pass your company message to your customers.

Is you website visual.  By that, I mean does it contain far more pictures than text?  No?  Why not?  Most people respond more to visual representations of what you provide than to textual descriptions.  If you've read this far, you're doing better than your average customer, they'll have given up a paragraph ago (around about where I asked you to 'Stick with it').

How do you solve this problem?  Easy; you start using video and imagery to compel your existing and potential customers to delve further into your offerings.  If we take an example of a high street product, and in this case I'll choose a very popular one, the Apple iPod. 

Essentially it's a consumer product with a cult following; everyone knows what it is, what it does, and roughly how it works.  Now take a look at the web page for the iPod Classic http://www.apple.com/ipodclassic/

It's not until I start to scroll down the page that I get any 'real' chunks of text.  The first thing I see is a massive picture of the product, I can then dig deeper if I wish to find out a little more about the product (tech spec, features & benefits).

Now head across to your web page and look at your Open Water Diver Course details...lots of pictures and a little bit about key features, or vice versa?  Time to review that webpage and update it if it doesn't contain more pictures than words!

Second example:  Head across to play.com and look at the most popular computer game of the year; 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' (http://www.play.com/Games/Xbox360/4-/8771809/Call-Of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-2/Product.html).

Scroll down the page and you'll find a video box that you can use to watch the actual game footage, and expereince what it's like to play the game yourself.  Why is this placed there?  The customer wants to know what it looks and feels like to be part of this product, what do they see? what do they feel? how amazing is it?

Video on web pages provides a great oppourtunity to provide 'a million words' in a 2 minute clip, and you can use these on your web pages to help your customers understand what diving feels like and how it changes your life.

Things that customers don't really want to know about a PADI Course:
  • How many confined water sessions are there?
  • Is it cheaper than the centre down the road?
  • How much will the equipment cost?
Things that your customers would like to know:
  • Is it fun?
  • What am I going to see?
  • Is it social?
  • Who am I going to meet?
  • Can I go diving anywhere in the world?
  • Can I keep learning and become a better diver?
My apologies, I understand that this reads like question 9 of Open Water Diver Knowledge Review 5, but our customers aren't interested in the details (when did you last book a holiday based on the colour of the bathroom suite in the hotel?).  Our customers are interested in the experience and how their life will change after becoming a diver.

Take a look at PADI.com for an example.  How many clicks does it take you to get to the real 'nuts and bolts' of the Open Water Course (the text about what's involved)?  I've counted two clicks, that's two pages into the site before I get the real information about what is involved.  The main page at PADI.com is media rich to give consumers and idea of what diving feels like.

Video will relay this feeling better than any words or pictures, and gives a real feeling of what diving is like as an activity.  PADI has produced a library of video available for you to use on your website (make sure you try some on the homepage).  The video is available through normal channels such as YouTube, and via the PADI.com website.

For video stored on YouTube of PADI courses and training:

For video and photographs stored at PADI.com community pages:

This type of media does not just extend to the courses you sell.  Manufacturers will also have promotional video available for their equipment, explaining the features and benefits (far easier to absorb than a list of spec sheets).

By using this media rich method of delivering the messages of your dive centre, you'll attract customers to the lifestyle of diving, instead of baffling them with pages of text.  Get the video camera out, get your staff talking about diving, and get it online!


Business Tips – Indirect Marketing, Using the PADI Certificates Effectively

Many successful PADI dive centres hold a certification evening on their premises or in a local restaurant where they award their new divers with a PADI certificate of the various courses they have completed - holding the event directly after pay day (approximately 25th f each month here in the UK), also pay dividends towards further equipment purchases and signups.

We know that this has always been positive as students from various courses get to mingle and promote the course that they have just completed to other attendees; we also know that invited non diving family members and friends are often turned onto the idea of scuba diving.

With all this said, have you ever given any consideration to the certificate presentation?

During many of these evenings dive centres give out both framed and non-framed certificates. This got me thinking, how you can build a framed certificate that a diver would be proud to hang on the wall of their office or within their home. My solution was to include the certificate, course title, for example, Open Water Class of 2009 and a photograph with all the names of the recently qualified divers (ensure the shot is pre-dive in order that hair looks beautiful and mascara hasn't run - check that the women look OK also!).

Having a certificate like this will immediately add the professionalism to your course that our products and materials already portray.

In my opinion the most important factor in the presentation is that, you can be sure that the receiving diver will hang their certificate thereby creating interest for all that look at it. I would even recommend that you insert a few business cards, on the rear of the certificate, as discussed in the article: Divers Bring Divers.

Take a browse here for internet suppliers of cheap picture frames to add a little more value and sparkle to your award ceremonies.



PADI Achieves Global Certification as ISO Recreational Diving Services Standards Compliant

As of 1 December 2009, PADI Offices globally are certified as compliant with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for Recreational Diving Services by an independent auditor, EUF Certification International. The ISO standards relate to five levels of diver, two levels of instructor and a service provider or dive centre. Each of these standards equate to a PADI certification or member level, which means that in effect, a diver or member holding one of these qualifications can also be said to have met the requirements of the relevant ISO standard – as though they had gained two credentials at once.

The eight standards are listed here with their PADI equivalencies:

ISO Title
ISO Reference
PADI Equivalent
Introductory training programs to scuba diving
ISO 11121
Discover Scuba Diving (In open water)
Diver Level 1 - Supervised Diver
ISO 24801-1
PADI Scuba Diver
Diver Level 2 - Autonomous Diver
ISO 24801-2
Open Water Diver
Diver Level 3 - Dive Leader
ISO 24801-3
Training programs on enriched air nitrox diving
ISO 11107
Enriched Air Diver
Instructor Level 1
ISO 24802-1
Assistant Instructor
Instructor Level 2
ISO 24802-2
Open Water Scuba Instructor
Recreational scuba diving service providers
ISO 24803
Dive Center or Resort

Because PADI, on a worldwide level, is certified as ISO-compliant, it means more international recognition of PADI certifications. PADI credentials are already the most recognised in the diving industry, but this will make it even easier for them to be understood internationally. The ISO standards will become an international benchmark that can be used to compare divers' qualifications. This means it will be easier for divers to travel and easier for PADI professionals to work internationally.

The value of PADI becoming certified as being compliant with the new international standards is hard to overestimate. For example, governmental bodies may not be familiar with PADI credentials, but they will certainly be familiar with ISO standards. They are used as measures of quality for a huge range of things in most of the world. In many countries where it had been traditionally difficult for PADI instructors to work, local regulations have changed as a result of the introduction of the standards. This is particularly important in certain market areas such as Greece, South America and Asia.

PADI underwent a rigorous audit of its training programmes, standards and procedures in 2004 and gained certification at that time for several offices (Europe, Nordic and PADI International, Ltd.). The audits were conducted by the leading global certification body for the recreational diving ISO standards, EUF Certification International, which is jointly operated by the European Underwater Federation and the Austrian Standards Institute. 

In December 2009, PADI underwent a re-audit of its programmes relating to existing ISO standards, as well as a new audit of the two latest ISO standards (Introductory Dive and Nitrox) on a global level. This means that now every PADI Office is certified as ISO compliant.


Starbucks and the pricing conundrum

There's a great article stored here by Tim Harford regarding the economics behind the pricing structure at Starbucks.  I know many of the centres I have visited during the latter months of this year have already reviewed their pricing level for courses, and some have even seen a a price increase as an effective method of relaying the value of the PADI Open Water Diver Course to their potential students.

You may also wish to take onboard the tactics that are used by stores such as Starbucks when pricing equipment.  Many of you already understand the ideas between packaging equipment into 'Beginners Packs' and 'Professional Packs'. Hint: No customer wants a beginners pack, when a pro pack is on offer.

You can also hit the mark with customers on a more regular basis by structuring your course prices to attract differing demographics to each course level.  For example, a young professional with regular income, but little spare time will be more willing to pay premium price for a course.  However, a family of 4 with their weekends free may be more price conscious.  Therefore you'll need to ask yourself the question: How many differing course options can I offer for open water diver, and what price do I place them at?

I'd recommend that you start simple, and offer 3 options; Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Bronze: This lower price point package appeals to price conscious customers who have flexibilty in their scheduling.  It includes the base materials, but nothing extra.  Customers who want a little more flexibility or additional value can upgrade to the silver package.

Silver: Ideally aimed at couples, who want an easy way to get started in diving.  This package will usually include more enhanced materials (eRDPml instead of RDP), and can include vouchers to provide discount on equipment.  You may offer the eLearning option for customers to start at home straight away.

Gold:  The ultimate package.  Flexible to meet the customers scheduling requirements, it will generally include the eLearning access pass.  Includes all required materials and all recommended materials (enhancement packs).  You may wish to include free mask, fins and snorkel with this package or additional equipment that is taken into account when pricing this package. 

By creating a tiered structure to your course pricing options, you enable you business to capture customers from each price point.  You also capture additional revenue from customers who would generally be prepared to pay more for additional value, yet drop their expenditure to meet your course price.


2009 Christmas Promotional Ideas

As the holiday season approaches, you're probably looking for ideas to fill the dive centre with customers and increase sales over this busy period. Traditionally the Christmas period is a 'start-stop' affair for most of the retail sector; Plenty of trade during the early parts of December. It then all stops on 24th December, and doesn't restart until the January sales kick in. Over one quarter of the December retail period see stores closed or not busy due to Xmas. Therefore it's of great importance that PADI Dive Centres utilise the time available to maximise their customers and return on those customers.

During the previous months, your PADI Regional Managers Graham Owen and Richard Howes have made visits to your centres, and will continue these visits during 2010. Apologies in advance if you've not met us yet, and we will endeavor to visit you during 2010 to spend time discussing the opportunities for growth in your business. In the meantime, and in the lead up to Christmas, we've compiled a 'best of' list for promotional ideas this Xmas. You can make use of theses suggestions in order to maximise your potential customer base during the remainder of 2009, and to increase both course and equipment sales during 2010.

5. Rescue Diver Course

Invite your recently certified PADI Open Water Divers to enroll straight into the PADI Rescue Diver Course. They can start straight away with knowledge development and confined water sessions during the winter months in a pool or confined water, before continuing their education during the early months of next year. Students will welcome the opportunity for advancement of their skills and it will be especially welcoming if its conducted in confined water during the cooler winter months.

Stocking fillers for the student:
Rescue Diver Crew with Pocket Mask (60327),
Rescue Diver DVD (70853MUL)

Stocking fillers for the instructor:
Rescue Diver Instructor Cue Cards (60205)
Rescue Diver Professional Edition DVD (70854)
Rescue Prescriptive Lesson Guides (70877)

4. Emergency Oxygen Provider and Enriched Air Package

Around this period of the year time is premium for most people. Deadlines at work, Christmas shopping, visiting relatives, they all eat into our time during December. You can therefore package courses in such a way that time will no longer becomes a problem. Both the PADI Enriched Air and PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider courses can be classroom based and therefore scheduled at the dive centre around the students time commitments. Try running a Saturday as 'exotic gas day'; students complete the practical application and final exams for Enriched Air in the morning, and then the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Course in the afternoon. Class scheduling can be rotated on consecutive weeks in order that students who can only attend during the morning will be able to complete the other specialty during the second Saturday.

Stocking fillers for the student:
Enriched Air Diver Crewpak Metric (61044)
Enriched Air Diver DVD (70870MUL)
Emergency Oxygen Provider Crewpak (60032)
Pocket Mask with 02 Port in Hardshell case (50080)

Stocking fillers for the instructor:
Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty Outline (79118)
EAN Prescriptive Lesson Guides CD-ROM (70873)

3. Bubblemaker and Seal Team as Xmas presents

The Bubblemaker and Seal Team programmes provide an opportunity to get young people into the water from as early as 8 years old.

They also provide a perfect Christmas present at this time of year when the weather is less than comfortable for younger children to be outside. What better way than to help them get started in the world of diving with a experience or programme conducted in a swimming pool. Children will be looking for activities over the Christmas period, and parents will be looking for a break from the festive excitement.

Your customers will be seeking presents for their sons, daughters, nephew's and niece's, so why not get them started with an experience programme or crewpak for Christmas.

Stocking fillers for the student:
PADI Seal Team Crewpak with DVD (60310UK)
PADI Seal Team Hat (50266)
PADI Master Seal Team Recognition Kit with Application (50272UK)
Bubblemaker Crewpak (50258)

2. Digital Underwater Photographer

We all know that the PADI Digital Underwater Photography Dive 1 can be conducted in a swimming pool. Just like the PADI Rescue Diver Course, this course allows you to get started over the winter months in a confined water environment with buoyancy and camera skills, before progressing to the open water at a later date to complete the specialty. The Digital Underwater Crewpak makes a perfect compliment to a divers new underwater camera, and allows the student to start studying right after Christmas lunch (usually when grandad has fallen asleep in front of the Queen's speech...again).

Those divers who are ready to get in the water straight after Christmas will find some superb visibility in the UK inland sites, and some stunning shallow water locations around the coast. Perfect for Digital Underwater Photography practise.

Stocking fillers for the student:

Digital Underwater Photographer Pack (70092)
Digital Underwater Photographer Manual (70015)
White Balance Slate (69231)

Stocking fillers for the instructor:
Digital Photographer Specialty Outline (70215)

1. DVD Box Sets

The Discover Scuba Diving programme provides an accessible and easy option for those interested in diving as a hobby or career. The programme can be conducted in confined water (ideal for the colder winter months), and generally takes no more than a few hours.

By turning the Discover Scuba Diving Programme into a tangible product, you make it a perfect stocking filler for any member of the family. Priced at the correct level, this product should not only cover your costs, but also return a healthy profit for your centre, both in cash flow, and increased entry level certifications in the coming months.

Here's how it works:

  1. Take one DVD Box (http://www.dvdshoponline.co.uk/Black_DVD_Cases.html)
  2. Create a dive centre cover to insert into the outside of the box. This should detail the experience, the limits of the programme and provide a little detail regarding your centre and the product.
  3. Create a colourful insert for the inside of the box. This can be your dive centre flyer, a leaflet of your latest promotions, or even the Scuba Connect Card for your dive centre.
  4. Include the PADI Discover Scuba Diving booklet (70254UK) for the student to read and complete prior to attending.
  5. Include the PADI Go Dive DVD (82069UK) in the box set to ensure that your customers have something interesting to watch on Christmas Day.
Packaging all these items together and placing adverts on your website and displaying the item in your shop will ensure that you have a steady stream of revenue for the winter period from this product, alongsie a steady stream of interested divers wishing to sign up for the full Open Water Diver Course once they've tried this programme.