There’s a lot to like about the new PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course but, from a business bottom line perspective, one of the most important benefits is that it opens up a plethora of potential new equipment sales. In fact, this revised program could well be the ultimate example of the interconnection between continuing education and equipment sales.
You’re doubtless already capitalizing not only on the sale of the associated PADI products but also on the “standard” Advanced Open Water Diver related equipment sales. While, ideally, Advanced Open Water Diver student divers are fully equipped with personal gear, many of them are still getting there, and it’s not uncommon for divers fresh from their Open Water Diver course to rent some of their basic equipment. For Advanced Open Water Diver, they’ll need knives, dive lights, DSMBs, compasses and so on that may not be available from the rental department. Not stocking and selling a selection of these essential items is akin to throwing money out the window.
In addition, think for a moment about some of the new opportunities you’ll have. Depending on your specific location and market, it’s possible to get divers started in sidemount, ice, cavern, full face mask, DPV or any other standardized specialty during the Advanced Open Water Diver course. PADI Members with the appropriate qualifications and relevant experience can use the new Advanced Open Water Diver course to introduce divers to these equipment intensive activities. (If you or your staff don’t have the qualifications, but do have the interest and enthusiasm, this would be an excellent time to remedy that with a little professional-level continuing education.)
Focusing on just one of the many opportunities, the Full Face Mask Diver course really highlights the new sales potential. Originally the preserve of the commercial or public safety diver, full face masks are becoming increasingly relevant in a recreational context. Aside from just being plain fun, they have several advantages over standard masks, including the ability to add inwater communications and make diving in cold water more enjoyable. All it takes to get even experienced divers excited (and fill Full Face Mask Diver courses) is to display and promote some of the full face masks available from manufacturers such as Ocean Reef, Poseidon, Scubapro, Ocean Technology Systems (OTS) and Interspiro. Better yet, simply use full face masks during multiple-level training sessions in confined or open water and stand by for the tidal wave of interest.
Have a look – there’s a lot of detail in the 3rd Quarter 2016 The Undersea Journal – at the new list of Adventure Dives and standardized specialties associated with the new Advanced Open Water Diver course, and find a few new and existing equipment sales opportunities that your bottom line, and your divers, will thank you for.