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Why do Dive Centers and Professionals do it to themselves?

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by Industry Outsider, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Heat Miser

    Heat Miser DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Perth
    Thanks .... v. v. good:):)
    The Chairman likes this.
  2. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    "This was exactly the scenario I recalled when I wrote my response. I might have read Dr. Bill's or one of your posts about LA Co UIA being "unknown", while being one of the firsts. "
    It is important to recall and record history - but doing accurately for those who follow

    L:A CO Underwater Instructor association was the FRIST ! Estabished in 1954

    LA Co Instructors led by Neil Hess, an LA Co UW instructor prior to his untimely early death in 1959 promoted a "National dive patrol" via the pages of the only magazine available "Skin diver magazine ; a magazine for spear fishermen and skin divers" with LA Co UW instructor and NAUI "A Instructor" Jim Auxier aa a founder and the magazine's editor

    The great LA Co UW Instructor Al Tillman, one of the great organizers of the diving world organized the first NAUI course presented at the Underwater Society of America (USA) convention in Houston Texas in August 1960.

    NAUI required established experienced instructors to guide and booster their ranks, so the "Associate" aka A instructor was established - only a few qualified most were from LA Co. Only two remain Me at #27 and Zale Parry, #10 who is @Dr bill s close personal friend as well as @Dr bill basic instructor Ron Merker who was also an A instructor.

    In 1964 I was alarmed at the instructor and diver drop out so I conducted an extensive year long study which resulted in a 23 page flip chart (the 1964 power point) titled "Instructor & diver retention"
    This study recognized that at that early date and even with the tremendous effort required to become LA Co UW instructors there were drop outs. I proposed a Instructor /diver classification recognition be established. The proposal was rejected by LA Co - "if you are LA Co certified YOU ARE a instructor and you are a diver ( no truer word were ever spoken)

    For my concern and effort I was awarded the first "Outstanding contributions to UW Instruction" and given a lovely wood plaque which is currently displayed on the wall of my den.

    The late Art Ulrich. the director of NAUI, presented my proposal to NAUI which was also rejected by the powers of NAUI at that time.

    In the winter of 1969 I was scheduled to go back to Downers Grove Illinois to be a component of a proposed NAUI Instructors course. There was a heave snow storm. Meigs field only Chicago air port was closed so it was assumed that the course would be cancelled- wrong !

    The assembled group lead by Ralph Erickson, Bob Chow and the US Divers Chicago rep John Cronin formed PADI on the spot.

    The same year, 1969 I was acclaimed the "Outstanding LA County Underwater instructor of the Year for 1969" - and also have a plaque hanging on the wall

    The PADI organization was contained in a box until John was promoted to US Diver GM and he moved to Orange county.

    He pulled the late Nic Icorn, LA Co UW instructor off the drafting board and made him the first director of a card board box titled PADI-

    There is a lot more buit lets stop here for now ...
    But remember just about every thing that ever happened in diving can be traced directly back to LA Co or LA Co UW instructors

  3. FindingMenno

    FindingMenno PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
    I applaud that PADI is trying to diversify their business model, including hopefully an increased focus on diver retention. As they did with the acquisition of the Bonnier dive publications as an extra means to communicate with divers.
    However I hope that this not come at the risk that they become the juggernaut in the travel industry. A monopoly like this has a risk of higher cost/commission to 'destination' dive shops, as well as an extra dependancy to PADI to have business come their way. Basically migrating some of the profit now generated by 'destination' dive shops to PADI travel.
    Yes, as you might have less direct bookings you might save some marketing and cost of sale on that segment. However in my opinion and experience from a 'destination' dive shop, the cost/effort of sales is actually often higher with wholesale bookings, the volumes are relatively small, and you still need to work on direct marketing to ensure brand recognition and awareness. In a nutshell, wholesale bookings are often more work and generate less than direct bookings.

    For a long time there was a business model promoted by training agencies to provide training at cost or a small loss. The idea being that a dive shop could then generate profit on on gear sales and travel. The training agencies of course benefitted as this created more students - more income in study materials and certifications fees.

    As a result I feel a low price perception of diving was created, which is not beneficial for both 'local' and 'destination' dive shops. At the same time these potential profits are also harder to achieve - divers go more and more online to purchase gear and book trips.
    Parallel to this I see a more common development in younger generations - they are more 'experiential', one year they try scuba, the next year paragliding. They seem less interested in focusing on one hobby/sport than the older generations.

    All in all a large group of divers 'passes through the gate' for a cheap OW course and maybe a few fun dives, to be never seen again. This thus at little financial benefit for the dive shops, but it is good business for the training agencies. Indeed the low hanging fruit you mention.

    Let me state that I have nothing against the training agencies. They have done a great job of making diving more popular and accessible. Their marketing might is also admirable and good for our sport. Also I feel that creating more new divers is a great thing, without that pool of customers there is not much to develop.

    However the training agencies chasing the low hanging fruit has impacted the industry in such a way, that the areas where all the dive shop could generate profit such as a higher price perception, and stronger focus on repeat/fun diving, have been sacrificed in chasing that new diver and the profit it generates for the training agency. There I feel the interests of training agencies and dive shops are not fully aligned, and can indeed 'hurt' the shops.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  4. divinh

    divinh ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco
    Thanks for this bit of history! I did not know LA Co UW was the *first*!

    (And surprisingly, I know where Downers Grove, IL is, having visited there for the first time last October.)
  5. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

    If dive centres stop promoting PADI, they might have a chance!
    dead dog likes this.
  6. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

    People only learn about PADI from dive centres stupid enough to promote them.

    dead dog likes this.
  7. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

    Sound like you go ball deep on PADI!!!!
    dead dog likes this.
  8. tech_diver

    tech_diver Dive Equipment Manufacturer



    Dive stores are a business and training agencies are a vendor. It's like any other business -vendor relationship, like the landlord, like the product manufacturers. The business has choices in the way it manages its vendors.

    Believe me, I've been to plenty of stores where the regional agency rep has to sit out in his car building up his courage to go in and talk to a particular owner before he actually goes in. He'd be out there sweating, going over everything he's going to say. The balance of power isn't always in favor of the agency.
    Esprise Me likes this.
  9. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    Yes, and the shop switched back not too long ago back to PADI. I'm sure they had PADI on their knees and get training materials for dirt cheap. It is a bit comical at DEMA to see the equipment manufacturers chasing after the owner. But again, this is 6 stores. That's bargaining power with all that volume.
  10. Bigbella

    Bigbella ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Francisco
    That vast swathe of new or conventional media advertising of yesteryear is largely unnecessary, when the lion's share of pamplets and instructional books simply tout one agency over another and dominate the sparse bookshelves of any local dive shop -- where the consumer is still most likely to initially inquire. When PADI, for example, offers dozens of specialty courses, there's little room for anyone else in that sea of green book covers; and the prospect of selling more insane patches, for garbage collecting specialties, etc -- that interminable nickel and diming and widening of that paper-thin dive shop margin -- dominates any conversation. Most consumers, even in the age of the interwebs, remain unaware of agency alternatives, which have also become increasingly regional.

    Years ago, in Northern California, it was NAUI that had been dominant; and now, they're all but extinct; and PADI and, to a much lesser degree, SSI, has become ubiquitous. Dive Training magazine, that glossy and free-to-customer magazine, touts vacation spots left and right -- of course, all with those PADI "five star" whatever resorts dominating that "seascape" . . .

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