Article written by John Kinsella
You can either run for cover or step up and take notice, but no matter what you do, the odds are that the majority of your dive business will be done with Millennials in the not too distant future. Born between 1980 and 2000, the Millennials are poised to become diving’s largest emerging market, especially for the dive industry and we have exactly what they’re looking for.
You have to be careful when you start applying sweeping assumptions to large groups of people. Every time I’ve researched “Millennials” I’ve come up against myth and discrepancy. “They all live at home sponging off their parents.” Not so apparently, the majority (nearly 60 percent) have their own homes (and don’t forget that many of them are still in their teens!).
But there are a few significant consistencies. Two of these should have PADI Pros paying attention: Millennials are concerned about their careers. They are receptive to becoming dive professionals and earning a living while doing something that they love. This generation appreciates how the PADI System is structured with recognition for each step they take.
When talking about diving to Millennials, it’s easy for PADI pros to highlight how each course builds towards a professional qualification. It’s simply a matter of taking the time to point out how the PADI System builds, seamlessly, from entry level right through to Divemaster and beyond. Make sure that these people know that earning a professional/vocational qualification is an extremely realistic goal and not a burdensome long-term project: The course they’re enjoying right now is part of that process (and may well qualify for college university credit). All they need to is take well-defined steps and enjoy the rewards and recognition they earn along the way.
Millennials are also likely to warm to PADI’s commitment to connected learning and social media. Millennials don’t just use social media – it’s an integrated part of their life. Mobile responsive websites and active communication via social media are mandatory. Instagram is a big one with this group, as well as Facebook and YouTube. These are not just ways to interact, fully 88 percent of Millennials get at least some news from Facebook according to the American Press Institute. Again PADI Pros, literally, have it made. From EVE to My PADI Club to learning in the cloud, there’s a PADI solution ready and waiting.
Take a look at the article on Emerging Markets in the 1st quarter The Undersea Journal for more detail on the Millennials (and some other significant emerging markets) and what some of your peers are doing to make sure that diving is at the top of their list.