A Message from Drew Richardson, PADI President and CEO

PADI President and CEO

There’s been an exciting change of PADI® ownership to a consortium of conservation-minded family investors. This conglomerate of family wealth investors, based in North America, are run similar to foundations and endowments, who invest long-term in cause-oriented premium brands with dominant market share positions that show steady and consistent growth.

As PADI president and CEO, I’m committed to leading the organization into its next 50 years, as is the entire PADI executive team. Together, we will continue to grow the PADI brand and through our stewardship efforts ensure PADI is not only the best in the world, but also best for the world.

This is a positive transition for the organization as the family wealth investors will hold and nurture PADI for many years. This group is closely aligned with PADI’s mission and supports PADI’s efforts to remain stewards for this amazing brand we all love. The new ownership group includes philanthropists drawn to PADI’s commitment to ocean conservation and preservation. And, most importantly, they respect the organization’s dedication to PADI Member support.

Focus remains on the following global priorities:

  • best-in-class support to ensure PADI Member prosperity and growth
  • new diver acquisition initiatives to attract millions of consumers to the sport and train them to be comfortable and confident divers
  • long-term diver engagement and retention through encouraging divers to explore and seek adventure in the underwater world
  • a deeper purpose vision to inspire all divers to ultimately pay it forward through ocean conservation, marine animal protection, community support, and the healing powers of scuba.

This transition marks the next evolution of the PADI organization and is a positive move for PADI Members and the entire dive industry. As my personal friends, I can confidently say that PADI Founders, John Cronin and Ralph Erickson, would be extremely proud of this next step for the PADI organization and heartened to see that it has transformed into a global force for good for scuba diving and the ocean planet.

I thank you for taking the time to read this message. To all PADI Members, I want to reinforce my personal appreciation of your role and contributions to dive training excellence and aquatic conservation advocacy. You are the heart of the organization and the entire PADI staff remain focused on delivering the best service and support to help you succeed. Together, we are – and will continue to be – The Way the World Learns to Dive® . Be best. Be PADI.

Best personal regards,

Drew Richardson

Drew Signature

President & CEO

PADI Worldwide

Evolving the Dive Customer Experience

In today’s exciting and occasionally unnerving business climate marked by rapidly evolving technology and rising customer expectations, it’s more important than ever to make technological advancements to deliver a premier consumer experience. To this end, the PADI organization has teams working on all fronts to update technology, improve the user experience, and unify the customer journey. The goal is to unite PADI’s extensive digital ecosystem so that PADI Members and divers can easily do business in the manner that best suits them.

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“PADI is setting the bar high to ensure we meet customers’ growing expectations – today and in the future,” says Kristin Valette, PADI Worldwide Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer. “While we are in the midst of a digital evolution, our focus is on customer and member success. We want to exceed expectations for all who engage and interact with PADI. Be it enrolling for an online course, processing a certification, contacting PADI staff or engaging with other divers or members, outcomes leading to ‘customer success’ is our top priority and we have the team, the strategy and the technology to make this happen.”

Here are just a few of the current investments to improve the customer experience:

  • New Digital Experience Team – Comprised of a digital experience director, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) specialists, website and search engine optimization specialists, and data analysts, this team is working to understand how members and customers currently interact with PADI digital channels to develop a more seamless and intuitive customer journey in the near future. Preliminary tests have already yielded significant increases in traffic to entry-level course pages and PADI eLearning® on padi.com – meaning more students for PADI Members.
  • Expanded Product and Technology Department – While the digital experience team is focused on improving the customer journey, the product and technology team, under the direction of a veteran chief technology officer, is hard at work improving back-end systems such as ecommerce and online processing. From PADI eLearning to the PADI Pros’ Site, programming is underway to streamline processes and simplify course administration needs to allow student divers and dive professionals to focus on what’s really important: diving.
  • Enhanced Customer Relations Support – While customer support is already top-notch, new technology offers an opportunity to add enhanced services to provide around-the-clock access to information and answers to questions. Improving these services will help move customers along in the decision-making process when considering learning to dive, contacting a dive center, booking dive travel and other actions.
  • Evolved eLearning Experience – PADI eLearning and PADI Touch™ products are also evolving to increase online, offline and mobile capabilities. From faster download times to increased course selections and expanded language offerings, improvements to these digital products will continue to enable PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Professionals to offer cutting-edge products to their customers.

At the heart of these tech advancements is the new My PADI Club, launching later this year, which will help unify the customer journey, better connect divers to the dive community and encourage deeper engagement in the sport through continuing education and gear incentives.

These technological investments are unprecedented in the dive industry and are clearly aimed at PADI Member success and the dive industry’s future.

Be Best. Be PADI – The Way the World Learns to Dive®

 

Take Active Steps to Keep Your PADI Pro Career Fresh

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By John Kinsella

It’s hard to beat the excitement and anticipation of that first job as a PADI® Instructor. Mine was on St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. It lived up to my every expectation: great colleagues, truly staggering location and best of all actually making a (modest) living in the dive industry.

The core of the work was running Discover Scuba Diving® experiences for cruise ship visitors. We’d go down to the dock to pick up the guests on our custom trucks, complete with fringed sunshades, bring them by the shop for the dive briefing and then drive over to this magical little sandy beach where we had a tour laid out. It was an extremely well organized system and ran like clockwork. It was great fun, at first.

Six months later, let’s just say that I didn’t look forward to the next DSD® with the same enthusiasm. For PADI Pros, and for professionals in any line of work, it’s important to take active steps to keep things fresh. Here are a couple of ways to do just that.

The big one is to simply mix it up. Variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life. In my case in the Virgin Islands, I positioned myself to get assigned to Open Water Diver courses. All it took was letting my boss know I wanted to and a bit of persistence. While the opportunities were not as abundant, the difference it made was staggering and as a bonus, I went back to the DSDs with renewed vigor. I also, with some success, looked for every opportunity to enthusiastically promote the Open Water Diver course. The result was good for everyone: DSD participants became divers, the shop benefitted from return customers, and I staved off ennui.

This approach works at all levels and in all locations. Later, running a fledgling dive business in Ireland, the dominant course was, as you might expect, Open Water Diver. The solution in this case was to prioritize continuing education. The joy of running the first Advanced Open Water Diver course was memorable. It made use of different dive sites, was much easier and more profitable to run (all that stuff in the IDC is true!) and the participants went on to become long term customers and firm friends. Everybody wins.

Another great way to keep enthusiasm high is to take another, different, course yourself. Recently I bumped into a friend and part time colleague in the coffee shop. Hugh is a PADI Divemaster and a great coxswain. He’s one of those people you are always happy to see when teaching a course or running a dive trip. He mentioned he had just signed up for the Tec 40 course. He said he was really looking forward to being the student for a while instead of the divemaster. He was also just curious to see what the TecRec® courses were all about and felt that even if he didn’t go down the hardcore Tec road, the skills and knowledge would certainly not hurt his recreational deep dives. He’s still going to become an instructor (and I know he’ll be a great one) but this little “detour” is nothing if not fun.

Do everyone a favor, especially yourself, and just do something different once in a while as a PADI Pro. It’s not hard to find something fun to do underwater.

Dive Shops Significantly Increase Certifications After Going All in with PADI

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A increase of 14 times is what happened to Aqua Sport’s specialty certifications in 2015, the year after the dive facility with operations in Eilat, Israel, and Taba, Egypt, went all in with PADI.

In addition to the increase in specialty divers, PADI® Divemaster certifications quintupled after this dive center chose to make the change. Certifications across the board continued to increase throughout 2016 and this year as a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center, Aqua Sport is on track to train more instructors than in any year previous.

“We began crossing over all our instructors to PADI at the end of 2015,” says Dafna Budden, co-owner of Aqua Sport. “We understood that further education was key to increasing our sales and that PADI would be the best diving organization to help us achieve that. With PADI’s marketing materials, resources and professional support, we felt we could increase our sales in specialties and professional education and are pleased to report this was achieved.”

Aqua Sport credits PADI’s strong brand as a key factor in its monumental business growth. In 2016, more than two billion consumers learned about PADI Dive Centers and Resorts through media exposures and targeted advertising, including social media messages encouraging certified divers to seek additional training.

Of PADI’s education materials, particularly the digital options, such as PADI eLearning® and the PADI Open Water Diver TouchTM, Budden says, “This is a great marketing tool. Students really enjoy the PADI digital learning and love the interaction with the Touch manuals.”

In addition to benefitting from PADI’s marketing horsepower and educational materials, Aqua Sport appreciates the dedicated customer support team. “The customer service that we and our clients receive from PADI is very important to us,” says Budden. “The PADI staff assigned to our account are professional, helpful, friendly and always on hand to resolve any issues, offer professional advice and guide us where necessary. We are very pleased with the PADI programs and how successful they have proven to be.”

These are just a few reasons why more dive centers and resorts joined PADI in 2016 than in any previous year; retail and resort membership now exceeds 6400 members globally. If you have questions about going all PADI, contact the Territory Director, Regional Manager, or Regional Training Consultant for your area at your local PADI Regional Headquarters.

Get Going with the EVE Complete System

In the previous two PADI® Surface Intervals, you learned about the EVE Complete System and why you need the system. Now let’s look at the support you receive to get the EVE Complete System up and running.

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Whether you’re just starting with the EVE Complete System or upgrading any part of it, the process is simple. You’ll be guided through each step, so you can maximize your use of the system. Personalized help and demonstrations show you how to get going with each component, including the following:

EVE

  • Creating or updating your database
  • Training on setup and configuration, ready for in-store and online application

EVE Agent

  • Importing the more than 100 new marketing assets and campaign tools
  • Importing the more than 100 new email and newsletter templates available for simple customization and ready for you to send to your divers
  • Training about how to edit, customize and add to these campaigns and emails

EVE Website

  • Creating your initial template design
  • Populating your website with more than 120 pages, including information on every PADI program
  • Webinars where you’re guided through how to further enhance and modify your website by the simple use of your own content management system

EVE OnLine store

  • Creating and setting up your online store
  • Linking your online store to your website and to your EVE database for seamless, synchronized information, pricing and scheduling
  • Providing more than 10,000 library images for you to use
  • Training on how to manage, organize and populate your online store

EVE Data Hosting

  • Setting up your unique access to the online servers
  • Managing your backups and data protection
  • Tying all aspects of the EVE Complete System together

Additional EVE support and training

  • Providing a comprehensive Help Manual
  • Providing clear “how to” information in the User Guide
  • Maintaining and developing a Video Library of tech tips and FAQs for all areas
  • Being on hand to answer your questions via the Community, FAQs, Blogs and the Contact Form areas of the evediving.com

Get the EVE Complete System to enhance your store’s approach to business, marketing and sales. Plus, take advantage of EVE Business Consulting, which is based on more than 100 cumulative years of experience in the dive industry. Act now by going to www.evediving.com to find out more or contact info@evediving.com to see how you can use the EVE Complete System to upgrade your dive business today.

Plan a Rescue Diver Workshop

PADI Rescue Diver

Written by John Kinsella 

The Rescue Diver course is consistently described as one of the most challenging and yet rewarding courses in the entire PADI system of diver education. Capitalize on what divers love about the PADI Rescue Diver Course and seriously consider hosting an annual (or more frequent) Rescue Diver Workshop. Here are five reasons why this is a great idea:

  1. It’s a powerful way to highlight your business and your place in the local community. A Rescue Diver Workshop is about as close as diving is ever going to get to a spectator sport. The sight of divers sprinting across the beach, plunging into the water and dragging a “victim” out while administering mouth to mouth never fails to get attention. Lots of orange gear helps too. Just make absolutely sure you have clearly visible signage explaining that this is an exercise, and, double absolutely, make sure you let the local emergency services know what you’re doing.
  1. It’s a great way to get to know, and get known by, local emergency services. Consider inviting these experts to participate; emergency services practice regularly too. And if there’s anything that elevates the spectacle of a coordinated diver rescue to the next level, it’s a demonstration helicopter airlift. You might be surprised at the reception you receive if you simply ask politely.
  1. It’s a great way to promote continuing education. Invite everybody. Among other things, a rescue diver workshop is a great excuse for a day out. And having Open Water Divers about can really add to scenario realism if you get them involved. I have yet to meet one who didn’t delight in being used as a victim, in spite of all the inhaled water.
  1. It’s one of the best ways to keep skills current. Hopefully, you don’t practice rescues too often in the real world. This is the perfect opportunity to keep skills current, update certifications (There will, naturally, be a concurrent EFR course). This applies to divers, and professionals, at all levels. Make a point of encouraging full staff participation, reaching out to divers who haven’t been active in a while and basically letting everyone you can know about the event. It’s not hard to keep them busy.
  1. Why not? You’re doing the work already (every time you run a Rescue Diver Course) and it doesn’t take much to turn the Rescue Diver Scenarios (an integral part of that course) into the focus of a Rescue Diver Workshop. It’s a no brainer to integrate the two.

Plan a Rescue Diver Workshop today, there’s really no reason not to.

2017 PADI Marketing Tool Kit is Now Available

PADI® Americas is sending out announcements from now through 15 June with instructions about how to custom order your free annual tool kit. In the kit you’ll find new, innovative and effective marketing collateral to help recruit new divers, keep current divers diving and encourage active divers to go pro.

Marketing kits can be mailed to PADI Dive Centers and Resorts operating in the 50 US States and Territories. If your dive center or resort is outside of these areas or currently uses a PO Box or FPO/APO address for mail services, please contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant to request the materials.

Click the link below to learn how you can use the kit to drive more divers through your dive shop doors.

WhatKit