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Market research for dive site directory/travel planner

Discussion in 'General Travel and Vacation Discussions' started by Zalan Meggyesi, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Zalan Meggyesi

    Zalan Meggyesi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Budapest
    12
    2
    3
    Hi,

    My name is Zalán, a recently-certified NAUI Master diver. I'm conducting some market research in order to gauge the viability of a potential idea I have.

    In a nutshell, the idea is to have a crowdsourced dive site directory, with weather/current reports pulled from institutions and underwater conditions reported by local divers who happen to be at the site. The MVP version also includes facilities for sharing photos and calling out POIs for sites.
    Further down the line, shop/guide ratings and reviews, as well as recommendations might be added (this was the most popular feature suggestion), as well as travel recommendations.

    I'm posting here to reach as many people as I can with my survey to gauge whether the idea is sustainable and help me tailor a business plan. If anyone wants to contribute, I welcome any responses at the following form: https://forms.gle/pmqsfuCXV3szyKsp7
    Further sharing is highly appreciated - the more responses, the more data points for me to eventually make a decision.
     
  2. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    9,818
    2,525
    113
    I have noted 4 weeks of your tenacity in your ongoing posts in furtherance of your idea. I will say also that when compared to any similar concept, you have it pretty-well fleshed out in terms of breadth of information you envision. Impressive.

    Your ongoing pillar here seems to be the offering of “real time” reports of dive conditions. What I have learned after a couple of lifetime dives beyond my DM Cert, is that dive conditions can and do change instantly and with little predictability, even by savvy locals. When a diver spits out his regulator, how much time do you think will pass before they decide to wax poetic about the dive conditions? I think that has no realistic value, but is that important? In that most readers will not really understand the pure futility of a well intentioned question such as: “What thickness wetsuit I wore” has ZERO real world utility for the other guy (who weighs 160lbs, did two dives and then laid out in the Sun, drinking beer)?

    Look at the predictable string of questions inquiring divers need to ask. They’d be entertaining if you hadn’t seen these unanswerable questions three times before, much less 300x. There’s a lot of electrons being wasted out there.

    Most divers who hit the keyboards with a post-dive report are relative noobs without much of a handle on comparative dive conditions....at this one dive site, much less compared to...exactly what breadth of life experience do they bring to the table? Look at Undercurrent with an experienced eye and you’ll see exactly this problem.

    As to monetizing this, and that’s what everything is always about- the only real revenue source is from targeted advertisements...specific to the person posting. Not impossible with e-publishing. To give it a “perceived value”, you must also charge a subscription price (refer again to previous example), and for the true believers, a secondary status level of buy-in. You’ll need a super-power, and that supposed cloak of non-commercial bias? That ship has sailed, and it’s still foundering.

    You’re likely young and have some energy, so why not?
     
    Zalan Meggyesi likes this.
  3. Zalan Meggyesi

    Zalan Meggyesi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Budapest
    12
    2
    3
    That was great feedback, candid and honest. Thank you!

    I tried not to make the app a silver bullet, sticking to just formalizing the information that seems to be floating around and spread through word-of-mouth. I envision the condition reports (which, you're right, are the main driving force) as a numeric form, not as a free-text description, precisely to avoid waxing poetic and maintain focus. I imagine this simple and concise report could be done quickly by experienced people, and be read quickly by others looking for a site to dive.

    I'm certain this can be monetized, and might even be profitable. I ran some numbers (I'm trying not to dive in head first this time), and expect that up to around 250 users, the app could stay afloat with little revenue (using efficient infrastructure). However, go big or go home - if the data doesn't support a business case for large-scale monetization and revenue, it's probably not worth pursuing in detail.
    I'm hoping the data will support my case, though, since there is potential for usefulness here, I think.
     
  4. Sean Walberg

    Sean Walberg Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Northern Virginia
    109
    78
    28
    Software guy here -- I've started and sold a SaaS company, worked for startups, and in general am pretty interested in these kinds of things. So the question I always ask when I hear these ideas is "what are people doing to solve the problem right now?" If the answer is something that's a lot of hassle then there's a business opportunity. If they just do without, then it makes me think it will be hard for them to part with money.

    Would also suggest you look into Scuba Earth, both the one PADI made and the one at DiveBuddy.com. They seem remarkably similar to what you're taking about, so if you do want to proceed, then try and figure out why more people don't use them.

    I think advertising might do ok in a product like this if you can get the numbers, but you should look into affiliate. Many online dive shops have a referral program, and there must be something for travel.
     
    Zalan Meggyesi likes this.
  5. Zalan Meggyesi

    Zalan Meggyesi Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Budapest
    12
    2
    3
    So what do you think they are doing now? As far as I can tell, the go-to solution for sharing up-to-date information seems to be Facebook groups (which you are either a member of or not) and word-of-mouth when meeting up at the site. Neither of which is very structured or accessible, whether for an instructor/DM planning the day's dives with their group in the morning or for a couple of travellers who just want to dive.

    Based on previous research, I think what most of these dive site catalogs are missing is this crowdsourced conditions reporting - they have general descriptions, maybe average conditions, but nothing towards what the conditions right now are, or if the site was closed due to a storm. And that's what I'm putting at the core of my idea, divers helping divers to pick their destinations.

    Affiliate programs are a good idea, something I will definitely consider. I'm thinking of advertising more as a "backup" revenue, and leaning towards subscriptions as the primary income, should this take off.
     

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