How To Grow Your Dive Business by Marketing to Families

Written by Megan Denny 

According to a recent survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute research firm, nearly half of PADI® Divers have children. The survey also found PADI Divers have a median income of $100,000 to $150,000 US. Dive centers and resorts who offer kids programs and cater to families receive the dual benefit of additional revenue, and inspiring the divers of tomorrow. If you don’t currently market your business to families, here are some expert tips to get started.

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How to Attract Scuba Divers with Families

Signal that your dive shop is family friendly by creating a page on your website that describes what family-friendly activities you offer. This could be scuba programs for kids, snorkeling, or non-diving activities to keep kids busy while the parents go diving. Include an image of a smiling child or family on your website homepage inviting site visitors to learn more.

Pro Tip: if you’re just starting off with a kids scuba program, host a free Bubblemaker party for your most socially-connected customers with children. Let them know you’re launching a kids program and interested in their feedback and help promoting it.

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After each program, invite parents to share their experience on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.. With permission, add the best quotes to the kids program page on your website.

Helpful Hints For Working with Kids
Teaching children requires increased attention, supervision and direction. Consider age and maturity levels as you deliver briefings and explain skills. Keep information simple, and ensure students understand your key points by asking them questions.

Pool games and toys allow kids to build confidence while having fun. After teaching basic skills, sneak in additional practice as a game. For example, challenge students to toss around an underwater toy such as a toypedo without touching the bottom or breaking the surface. For additional activity ideas, review the AquaMission Game suggestions on the PADI Pros’ Site.

Pro Tip: most kids are naturally competitive and want to be better at something than a grown-up. Use this to your advantage when you explain neutral buoyancy. They’ll work hard to be “the best.”

Safety and Other Considerations
PADI’s Guide to Teaching includes pages of recommendations about working with minors. Below is a small sample:

  • Always work with children in public and avoid situations where you and a child are completely unobserved.
  • When possible, parents should be responsible for their children in changing rooms.
  • Have parents sign a permission form before you take or share photos of a child. Also, ask for the child’s permission before taking a photo.
  • Ensure that you and your staff have current training in Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care as well as Care for Children.

For additional recommendations on working with children, refer to pages 164-169 in PADI’s Guide to Teaching.

Pro Tip: personally verify how much air young divers have. You may not always get an honest answer either because the diver feels self-conscious about their air consumption, or they may not understand the hand signals.

Pro Tip: spend one-on-one time with each student where you can be seen but not easily heard. Give each student the opportunity to share any fears or concerns they have without other kids or parents around.

Essential tools
Smaller people need smaller tanks, BCs, wetsuits and other gear. Kids also get cold easily, so be prepared with kid-sized rashguards and beanie caps. Also, some children need larger mouthpieces that can accommodate braces. Lastly, carry a slate and pencil set to help kids communicate underwater without going to the surface every time.

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Further reading:
Minimum ages for PADI certification courses
Scuba-themed gift ideas for kids
Scuba and Boy Scouts of America
Scuba and Scouts Canada

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