Key Elements of the Business
There are three key elements in the business of recreational diving. These elements relate to the specific needs of every dive customer. It is these elements that potential customers will seek, and expect, in establishing a long term relationship with a dive center and its staff.
As any experienced business person will readily acknowledge, it is usually easier to retain an existing customer than it is to recruit a new one; and the best way to retain an existing customer is to appropriately fulfill his or her needs.
Naturally, the importance a customer places upon each of the key elements may vary from one individual to another, it might vary over time for the same individual, and it also can vary a bit by geographic location and circumstances. Nevertheless, each of these elements is critically important in the success of a dive business.
The first key element is educational opportunities. Unlike some other types of adventure sports, recreational diving mandates appropriate entry-level training before potential participants can go out and actually dive on their own. Naturally, when the first training experience is viewed as interesting, enjoyable, exciting, and professionally presented, the average participant will be more inclined to take advantage of another training opportunity. At the same time, in the case of both entry-level and continuing education programs, it’s important that the educational opportunities be readily accessible to the customer, in terms of both location and schedule. Finally, it’s important that the educational opportunities appropriately offer perceived value, in that each program in some way will help the participant become a more comfortable, confident, and capable diver.
The second key element is diving opportunities. After a customer has invested time and money in an educational program, he or she naturally will be anxious to apply the new-found knowledge and skills. Depending upon the geographic area, this may include local diving, dive charters, and group travel programs to exotic dive destinations. Rather than venturing out on their own, and rather than having to go through the hassle of making their own arrangements, most people will prefer to dive with individuals they already know and take advantage of opportunities where someone else already has attended to the details.
The third key element is equipment. Without a doubt, diving is an equipment intensive sport, and divers need someone to provide them with that equipment. This element of the business includes retail sales and rental of those major components like buoyancy compensator devices and regulators. It also includes retail sales for all the other accessories and assorted gadgets that make the diver more efficient and the experience more enjoyable. It further includes essential services like air fills for a diver’s cylinders, nitrox gas blending, and of course routine equipment maintenance and repairs.