South Africa Member Forum Dates 2013

PJD_3415Over the last 12 months PADI and the dive industry has continued to evolve, bringing changes and new opportunities.

The Member Forum provides an ideal opportunity to stay current, explore what is new within the PADI system, and how it can help you to develop as a PADI Professional. It’s also a great place to find out what is new in the marketplace and to meet up with other PADI Pros’.

This year, one of the key messages will be on how to use ScubaEarth to your best advantage.

Why not join us at one of the following events:

  • 04 March 2013 at 19:00 – Cape Town, South Africa – Two Oceans Aquarium, V & A Waterfront
  • 13 March 2013 at 19:00 – Durban, South Africa – Durban Undersea Club, Follow Mahatma Gandhi Drive (Point Rd) from Durban central towards the harbour and Ushaka Marine World.  Turn left into Browns Rd which leads straight to the club gate.
  • 26 March 2013 at 19:00 – Port Elizabeth, South Africa – the Beach Hotel, Humewood Drive, Port Elizabeth
  • 3 April 2013 at 19:00 – Johannesburg, South Africa – The Apollo Hotel (The old Ridgeway Hotel ), 158 Bram Fischer Drive, Ferndale, Randburg

Registration is on the day of the Forum prior to commencement. There is no charge for attendance at the Forum.

All Forums will be conducted by:
Peter Driessel, Regional Manager Central Africa & South Africa.
Peter can be contacted on (27) 82 570 5763 or [email protected]

Project AWARE: #CITES4SHARKS: Questions Answered

cites21-2-13This article is courtesy of Project AWARE.

The buzz is building. The meeting of the member countries to CITES this CITES21.2.133-14 March is just days away. As we sprint toward the main event, where officials will consider 70 proposals to protect species, including commercially valuable oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerheads, porbeagles sharks, manta rays and freshwater sawfish – we know we’re up for some tough battles ahead.

This week, we asked Ania Budziak, Associate Director of Science and Policy and Project AWARE staffer on the front lines of our program work, to answer some top CITES-related questions.

59754_10151270782210843_94543609_nQ: Why should we be concerned about international trade in plant and animal products?

A: We live in a world where we buy and sell virtually everything from everywhere. Wild plants and animals are no exception and their trade is valued at billions a year. We ship exotic woods from the Amazon to Hamburg, Germany, where I live. Porbeagle shark fins and meat make their way to tables in Europe, China and elsewhere. When international trade threatens a species’ survival, as it is in the case of CITES listed species, it must be monitored and controlled.

Q: How will protections under CITES make a difference for sharks and rays?

A: Most shark and ray fishing and trade is either insufficiently controlled or completely unregulated. Healthy shark and ray populations support tourism, which in some coastal communities, territories and states around the world, underpins entire economies and its benefits are yet to be fully realized. So CITES action is key, not only to keeping shark populations healthy, but also to long-term economic benefits that can be drawn from these populations.

Q: Why do the voices of divers matter in difficult, political battles like this one?

A: We’re an important stakeholder group whose consolidated voice has not been heard at this level of decision-making before. As a global, economically significant group, scuba divers are in a unique position to highlight the value of keeping sharks and rays populations healthy. I am privileged to be able to represent the scuba diver voice and I’m very hopeful that the upcoming meeting will bring about much needed protections for some of the most vulnerable sharks and rays.

How can you help? Sign the shark petition. Already signed? Send a letter direct to CITES leaders asking them to vote “Yes” for sharks and rays this March. We won’t have another chance at this for few years. And sharks can’t afford to wait.

Thank you to all PADI Members and Dive Centres who support Project AWARE. Please look out for more alerts from Project AWARE on how you can get involved.

Master Scuba Diver

PRO_4388.NEFIt is said that the most influential person on when, where and what a student purchases and what courses they sign onto is the PADI instructors, knowing this I have a few questions to ask you:

  • What is your plan for promoting the PADI Master Scuba Diver program through your dive centre?
  • Have you set yourself and your staff goals as to how many Master Scuba Diver’s you will be conducting this year?
  • What are you going to do to promote this prestigious achievement?

Although the benefits of promoting the Master Scuba Diver are well known, they do need to be emphasised:

  • Your customer, if an entry level diver, commits to a minimum of 8 programmes, (5 Specialty courses, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Emergency First Response)
  • In addition to promoting courses, it also promotes; various diving experiences, equipment sales, travel, dives and fun, all in one package.
  • It ties your clients into your facility, a big problem experienced in our industry seems to be diver retention, what a great way to retain divers.
  • It increases revenue for the dive centre.
  • It decreases instructor burnout as your instructors will have a variety of courses to conduct.
  • Divers have fun on courses, they will more than likely travel with you and gain experience and most importantly post images of them having fun on Facebook and as they are diving regularly they will be telling their friends about diving.

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Here are a few ideas to assist in the promotion of the Master Scuba Diver.

  • Create a Master Scuba Diver Presentation to show your students.
  • The student record file is a perfect way to start, you have the opportunity to collect potential course information at the entry level stages.  My recommendation is that you ask your entry level students to leave that area blank until they have done at least one or two dives, then conduct your newly created presentation on the Master Scuba Diver. 10058UK_l
  • For those of you using EVE the above will allow you to specifically target your marketing to divers that have showed an interest in various speciality courses.
  • Create competitions between your staff members with a monthly prize culminating into a yearly prize for most programmes sold.
  • Give yourself or staff training in how to to promote the Master Scuba Diver programme, you can always schedule a mini seminar for yourself or your staff with your regional manager.
  • Track your sales and those of your instructional staff.
  • Have monthly meetings to see how your staff are getting on and look at ways of assisting them.
  • Make this the programme that every diver aims towards achieving.
  • Pricing could be a stumbling block and you have two options; promote the Master Scuba Diver as pay as you dive or allow an option of an entire package.  Some of the centres that have taught the most of these programme ironically sell it as an entire package.
  • You may even want to send out personal hand written invitations to all new divers inviting them onto your next Master Scuba Diver promotion.
  • Mark Holloway, owner of Twin Palms and holds the accolade of selling the most programmes in South Africa for the last several years,  attributes his success to a number of factors.  All of his staff being on board and totally committed to making it all of their divers’ main diving goal and recognising all of those divers.  Mark has created a really professional honours board which enjoys a prominent position within the dive centre. It has been such a great success that several divers have signed on to the Master Scuba Diver purely because they wanted to see their names on the roll of honour.  In the image below, you will notice a name still covered in tape ready to be revealed during the next club/certification evening.MSD Honours Board

If you or your staff are unsure about their sales capabilities have them purchase and work through, the DVD – The Business of Diving: Positive Approach Selling (Product Number) 70847

Please contact your PADI Regional Manager to assist you with putting together a Master Scuba Diver presentation and customising it for your dive centre. Peter Driessel, 0825705763, [email protected]

15 Minute Marketing Idea #4 Get To Know Your Customers

BFP_5700The central part of any effective business is a thorough understanding of your target market. The more you know and understand your customers, the easier it will be to sell them what they need and want. And the more you address your customers’ needs, the more they will purchase from you and refer you to others. This is why taking the time to get to know your customers is a powerful bootstrap marketing technique.

There are many ways you can get to know your customers and show them how much they mean to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Ask for client testimonials and use them in your marketing materials and on your website and within newsletters. Not sure how to get testimonials? One suggestion is to simply call a customer who has just bought a piece of equipment and ask them directly what they thought of it!
  • Send past customers free samples or ask them to test a new piece of kit to regain their business
  • Create a customer satisfaction survey and track the results so you can continually improve your business
  • Send holiday gifts to your most important clients
  • Collect customer birthdays and send coupons or special offers each year
  • Create a “frequent buyer” rewards program

Although you may be marketing to a large group, you want to think of each customer individually. Consider his or her individual needs, and personalise your marketing messages and approach to address those needs. By making your customers feel valued, you are setting the stage for long-term relationships.