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Do LDS get free trips? how do they go on all the trips?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Ladyvalea, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Ladyvalea

    Ladyvalea Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
    101
    1
    0
    Why is it my LDS owner and his wife get to go on all the Dive trips to exotic and local dive sites? So when I pay to go on a Dive trip with the LDS ...is part of my cost paying for the LDS Dive master to go? I mean he is like a tour guide? Some people told me its cheaper to go on trips on your own... So how does it work? like the Aggressor liveaboard, they seem to go twice a year ...and it costs like 3-5 grand a person? is it just a benefit ? to be a Divemaster owner? Thanks?
     
  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    50,113
    5,360
    113
    It's common that the shop owners who organize, sell, and lead the trip may receive free diving, free room, maybe free meals and/or commissions - but they generally earn it all by working on the trip. It's no vacation for them. They really have to do these trips as part of their business, and sometimes they lose money on them - especially when things may go wrong.

    They used to get free air in some cases, but no longer I don't think.

    So, you might save money doing it yourself, but you lose a lot you would get with them - if they are good at their work.

    I don't do shop trips anymore, mostly because of the kids and some other details.
     
  3. Sas

    Sas Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    7,599
    225
    63
    Locally the major trip organiser offers a free place for each seven or eight (can't remember which) people booked. So yes, part of your money kind of subsidises them to go on the trip with you. I ended up cancelling a trip with a local store and contacted the travel agent direct. I got a much better price this way. I have no issue with owners/DMs being subsidised as they spend the trip working but as I do not need supervision on dive trips I'd rather not be paying for a babysitter when I do not need one.
     
  4. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    7,212
    3,808
    113
    Just like Saspotato said, most of the time when a shop goes on a trip, they will get a free space for every 7 to 10 that pay. (It varies with the resort/destination) In addition, they are probably getting a 10% commission from the resort on each persons cost. So when you add all that up, many times the shop owner/trip leader can go for free. I will add that many resorts won't pay out the 10% commission to an individual, only to a dive shop or travel agent. So that is not always an area you can save by booking direct. I have seen more recently however, especially in todays economy, resorts offering to lower the cost of the trip by 10% if you book directly with them but I don't know how long that practice will continue. But for now it's certainly a good deal.

    Speaking for myself, I don't mind going on "shop trips" as long as the shop price is as good or better than I can book myself. What I do have a problem with is when a shop raises the cost of a trip by a few hundred dollars to pay for some shop staff to go or for extra profit for that shop. I've never seen the value added (for me) in that.

    Most people just don't need a "group leader" to hold their hand along the way or plan things out for them. Unless of course you are brand new to diving AND new to traveling. Other than that, I can't imagine paying any extra to have a group leader. I've been on many shop trips and usually the group leader is really nothing more than just one of the group but may collect all the tips in the end or something minor like that.

    In addition to free spaces and commissions, the shop owner may very well be able to deduct his/her costs on their taxes as part of doing business. So it all adds up as a nice perk for the shop owners and I say good for them because no doubt there are many dive shops that are struggling in todays economy.

    One way we as individuals can take advantage of some of the perks offered is to get a group together independent of a shop, and then spread the cost of the "free space" over the entire group so all will benefit.
     
  5. keyshunter

    keyshunter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Lower FL. Keys
    1,332
    145
    63
    Group leader/organizers usually get some perks from the resort. One free with 7 or 8 or 10 is common. In addition, shops are free to charge whatever they want for the trip, depending upon what the traffic will bear. So, in some cases it is less expensive to book directly with the resort. But, because of the hassle of dealing with divers of varying abilities, and attitudes, being a group leader is not always the sweet deal it appears. Many of the resort divers I have observed could really benefit from a competent group leader.
     
  6. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    6,186
    1,134
    113
    At our LDS, the group leaders do much more than most people realize. It's not just guiding dives. If those in the group want to do their own thing,... that's fine. If they want a guide, then that's fine too. Our group leaders are the ones who are on the front lines fielding & trying to resolve the complaints & issues when things don't go just right. When in Malaysia, the shop owner who was the group leader had the resort's owner come in when there was multiple complaints about the food, sleeping arraignments, how many trips to Sipadan we were getting & who was on which boat with whom. Some of the stuff was quite silly, some legit. He had the headache of making sure everyone had a good time. He also took some video footage of the trip & will spend 400- 500hrs editing it so that those on the trip will have memories of the trip, all at no additional cost. For him & for the other dive leaders at our shop, it IS work, as they are ultimately responsible to make sure the trip is a success for the paying customers.
     
  7. BDSC

    BDSC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wake Forest, NC
    7,212
    3,808
    113

    Good grief. That would be an average of 10 to 12 working weeks! He must have turned on the camera and virtually never turned it off.
     
  8. halocline

    halocline Solo Diver

    8,785
    3,076
    113
    They might not make much money on the trips, maybe even lose a little or break even, but they organize the trips to keep people diving. Along with offering OW certifications, it's how they create a market.
     
  9. simmonsjr

    simmonsjr Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Dallas, Tx
    179
    2
    0
    The only reason that LDS staff (often, but not always the owners) accompany the trips that the shop has arranged is to ensure, to the best of their ability, the enjoyment of all who have paid them to have the time of their lives on that trip. If things go smoothly then the LDS rep may only appear to be along for the ride. The test is what happens when there is a problem; that is where you will see them step up.

    The owners and, usually, managers of the shop escort the trips because they have a vested interest in ensuring the trip is a success. They are also typically the most skilled and experienced in terms of both dive and people skills, and have much more weight to throw behind a problem in order to get it fixed (read they have the authority to say, "If you don't fix this now you will lose any future business from my shop.").

    As has already been pointed out this aspect of the job is not even close to a leisurely walk in the park; have you ever tried to please everyone all at once? They earn their keep, and, because of the free slots and other incentives that the resorts and others throw out to attract business, you are not very likely to see their travel expenses reflected in your bill.

    I won't go so far as to rule it out though; shady business practices may exist in any organization. If you are concerned that the total bill seems high then make sure that you do your homework: research the costs involved independently, ask the shop to provide an itemized list of costs, and compare the two.

    You may be able to do the trip cheaper on your own, and I'm not discouraging that at all, but you will be missing out on the added muscle in terms of solving any problems that pop up during the trip.

    Jason
     
  10. fisheyeview

    fisheyeview Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (The Diving Capital of the Worl
    3,100
    432
    83
    I have organized group trips before. When we would do a trip through the shop, and got a free spot it went to the organizer. If we had a large enough group, and got more than one free spot the savings for the additional free spot(s) were split up among the people on the trip.

    When I have organized group trips outside of a shop it has been with friends, and have split up any savings among every one.

    As has been mentioned, don't think that the organizer is just there for a free vacation. There is usually a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on.

    Think about having to deal with a group member going to the chamber, or getting that late night call to bail a group member out of a Cozumel jail.
     

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