PADI Staff visit Saudi Arabia to introduce Digital Product Suite and Support Arab Market

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In December 2014, Mark Spiers (PADI Vice President, Sales, Field Services, Marketing & Business Development), Teo Brambilla (PADI Regional Manager), Ahmed Sayed (PADI Product Consultant) and Rich Somerset (Manager, Training and Quality Management) conducted a joint trip to Saudi Arabia.

The trip included a series of events and activities designed to provide support to the Arab market and Arabic Instructors and to communicate how important these key markets are to PADI.

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During a Course Director round table event, PADI Course Directors were updated on the state of the market as well as latest PADI trends and training materials, including the upcoming launch of PADI Digital Products as part of PADI’s lead in the scuba industry’s digital revolution.

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mf6Member Forums took place in both Tabouk and Jeddah and were delivered in Arabic by Ahmed Sayed. 130 PADI Members attended across the two locations and covered the latest news about the launch of PADI Digital Products (due to launch shortly for both touch and online platforms), and PADI’s market share in comparison with competitors as part of the ‘Win with PADI’ value proposition. A separate, informal Member Forum was provided in English for a small group of PADI Members who were non-Arabic speakers.

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At both Member Forum events, a Training and Quality Management (TQM) seminar provided an explanation of the Quality Management process, and the way that the Training department can support PADI members in their day to day work.  A review of paperwork management for freelance PADI Instructors was also well-received.

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It was announced during the trip that the PADI.com website, along with a number of additional training materials, would be translated into the Arabic language. Before heading home, the Member Forum participants were each given a pair of PADI sunglasses and key-ring as well as a PADI USB stick containing a wealth of useful resources in the Arabic language: PADI posters, the Win with PADI / Member Guides, “How To” Guides including how to find forms, complete purchases and PIC Online etc., plus a guide to the different PADI EMEA departments and who to contact for assistance.

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“It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with PADI Members there. This is a very important market for PADI and this is reflected in the number of materials that we will be translating into Arabic over the coming months. This includes a dedicated web site, and PADI App, as well as our course materials. I look forward to coming back very soon” – Mark Spiers, PADI Vice President, Sales, Field Services, Marketing & Business Development.

Find more information about the new PADI Digital Product Suite and download the new brochure here.

Calling PADI Members and Divers: Join a special dive in Turkey to commemorate ANZAC Day 2015

turkeyIn the lead up to the ANZAC Day, a special dive will take place to commemorate ANZAC Day (25th April 2015), and is being organised by PADI Member, Hülya Doğan, from Turkey.

PADI Members and Divers from Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and other nationalities – who are planning to travel to Turkey in the run up to the ANZAC Day commemorations – are invited to take part and celebrate the friendship that now exists between these countries.

For more information, please contact Hülya Doğan directly: [email protected]

PADI Business Academy – A Testimonial by Alexandra Dimitriou

PADI Business Academy Photo Limassol

I recently went to the PADI Business Academy (PBA) in Cyprus and I simply had to share this positive experience with all of you. As a relatively new dive center owner I have had a steep learning curve making the transition from instructor to owner. Today’s marketplace is hugely different to that which I learned in my Business A-level in the UK – oh so many moons ago – the PBA was such an eye opener to ways to move Scuba Monkey onwards and upwards.

The PBA opened my eyes in three major ways:

#1: Marketing isn’t a bad thing, you just have to know your audience and be able to take a personal approach. By knowing who your audience is you can better serve them, and this is a service like all others. You can make it an enjoyable one – both for yourself and for your prospective guests. The PBA taught us how to get the knowledge of things like website keywords, using online tools that have been at my fingertips since the beginning, but until the academy, only my web designer had ventured into this realm on my business’ behalf. Sure – my web designer explained things like google analytics to me, but Mark Spiers (PADI’s VP) gave talks and ran workshops which allowed a true practical application that led to greater understanding. Brilliant. I feel more in control, I feel calmer about the future and much much less confused.

#2: The PADI Pro website. I have used this site for close to 10 years and I honestly thought I understood all the tools available to me.  Clearly not. The PBA went through every tab in the minutest detail and it was a shock to discover all the features that have been available to me all this time and had not been utilizing to full potential. Simple things like how enter your address into the store locator properly and allow your dive center to become searchable using navigation systems and smart phones.  Cyprus, as the last split capital in the world, is notorious for being hard to navigate using standard GPS…..the PBA showed me such a simple fix to a problem that I have endured since I opened my doors in 2012

#3: Social Media. I was the youngest participant in this PBA, and I have been brought up in a technology rich environment (my father always shows off that he owned the first computer on the island in the early 1980’s). I honestly thought that this element of the PBA would be something that I could learn little from…after all, I already blog, link everything to the website, twitter and Facebook….what more could there be? A lot as it turns out. Marc went through every element of each platform that I already was active on…..and taught me little quirks and tweaks that could even further my marketing success. Things like scheduled posting on Facebook and how to highlight an important post are all features that have been at my fingertips, but have failed to use. The PBA not only taught me the value of these features, but also how to use them immediately. Great. I was definitely taken down a peg or two, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I have joined most other social media sites, such as Instagram and flicker and Pinterest…..I have been a member for quite some time…however the PBA again made me feel like a speck of dust in the internet wasteland by informing me about the demographics of users of these sites. It worried me to hear that Facebook was soon becoming outdated, that the Y2 and Z generations already considered this platform for the older generations. Scary isn’t it? The academy taught me that staying current to new trends will be an essential mode for dive center survival. This information did not make me loose heart however – again Knowledge is power and power means control. Workshops allowed us to use free tools like Animoto and Mail Chimp to better serve our guests and encourage them to be more interactive over all social platforms.

Bring it on…. The PADI Business Academy slogan of “Harness the Power” is true to its word…..I feel positive and energized for the 2015 season. I would recommend it to anyone – regardless of the size and history of their dive center.


DSC_0021This article was written and submitted by Alexandra Dimitriou, who attended the Limassol  PADI Business Academy in 2014.

Alexandra Dimitriou is a dive center owner in Agia Napa, Cyprus. She became a diver in 1992 and received her bachelor’s degree in Oceanography at Plymouth University in 2003. Her love of the ocean has always been her driving force, and this has led to the natural progression of becoming a diving instructor in 2005. She is currently a PADI staff instructor and owner at Scuba Monkey Ltd.

New PADI Businesses – 2014 Summary

New PADI Businesses

Last year in just the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, PADI has welcomed 206 new centres as members of the PADI Retailer and Resort Associations, and processed 142 membership upgrades for businesses committing 100% to PADI as Five Star or Instructor Development centres. Last month alone 5 new members were welcomed, and 15 upgrades processed. For the latest list of new and upgrading members click the ‘New PADI Retailer and Resort Members‘ link.

 

Introducing the revamped PADI App

PADI App

The completely revamped PADI App is now available for Apple iOS- and Android-based devices and helps improve and increase user engagement, drive awareness of diving, and create a one-stop mobile experience for everything related to diving.

The PADI App is the hub of the PADI digital suite – a place where users can go for further information and access their purchased digital products via the PADI Library App, which is integrated into the PADI App.

Key features of the new PADI App include:

  • PADI Dive Shop and Resort Locator integration with ScubaEarth® dive sites.
  • Top dive destinations and information about what divers can see there.
  • PADI social media and dive news feeds.
  • Information about PADI courses, including the option to purchase Touch products and PADI eLearning® programs.
  • Dive tools, quick references (such as knots and hand signals), as well as a variety of dive planning checklists and reminders.
  • The option to log dives within ScubaEarth® from the PADI App.
  • Access to PADI eCards™.
  • Direct link to the PADI Pros’ Site.
  • Access to PADI Gear™ collections.

Current PADI App users will see the new features on their next update, while new users can visit the App Store or Google Play Store to download the application.