Technology Driven Travel Trends

Written by Ted Alan Steadman

The Digital Age may not be new, but changing technology opens doors while closing others. Maybe nowhere else is that more evident than in the world of travel.

Technology’s influence on travel has made it among the digital revolution’s most impacted industries. Travel agents of the 1980s and 1990s gave way to website searches and online bookings, creating a major shake-up for how we research, plan and execute travel. Back then, could anybody have envisioned the technology integration and convenience that modern travelers enjoy?

“Online travel agencies have been among the clear winners of the digital travel revolution, which has changed the way today’s consumers plan and book their trips,” says Angelo Rossini, contributing analyst at Euromonitor International, a global marketing research organization. “The next few years will see travelers requiring an increasingly personalized service, with companies able to suggest to them customized products on the basis of their profiles and past behavior.”

Our predisposition to being digitally connected around-the-clock plays heavily on consumer behavior. Tech-savvy travelers expect tech-savvy experiences through digital platforms. For instance, in its 2017 survey of major travel companies and professionals on five continents, travel commerce website Travelport Digital reported “90 percent of travel brands said that having a ‘mobile strategy’ is ‘crucial’ or ‘very important’ to the future success of their organization.”

Further evidence? Global hotel titan Starwood Hotels and Resorts knows the deep roots digital now plays with travel consumers. “Digital technology has changed the way we connect with guests, creating a 24/7 relationship in and out of stays,” says Stephan Croix, Starwood’s Vice President of Marketing. “With many travelers already seeking a more customized and local experience, truly personalized trips are already taking off.”

Where PADI Travel™ Comes In

This just-launched division replaces the former PADI Travel Network® with a more comprehensive, sophisticated and reward-based program designed with every segment of the global PADI® community in mind. Thanks to its technology, the dive travel experience can be easier and more profitable than ever for you. This new network gives PADI Dive Centers the ability to easily sell dive-destination packages literally around the globe, while PADI Resorts suddenly have a presence in the world’s most comprehensive dive travel platform.

To clearly see where dive travel is today, just take a look at the past. It all goes back to 1988 when John Cronin, PADI’s co-founder, had the idea of starting a travel company catering to dive travelers – a novel concept at the time. The original PADI Travel Network began as a wholesale tour operator specializing in dive vacations for individuals and groups, and was based at PADI Worldwide in Orange County, California, USA. It operated on the philosophy that growing the dive industry depended on what Cronin called the “Three Es” – Education, Equipment and Experience (the fourth E – Environment – was added later). After the first two Es, travel provided the experience he believed was crucial to keep divers engaged. In addition, he saw travel connecting PADI Dive Centers and Resorts throughout the world – hence PADI Travel Network.

Fast forward into the 21st century, and with the help of more sophisticated online platforms, improved visual presentations and mobile technology, PADI Travel revamps and reawakens the concept, integrating every aspect of the dive travel experience under one roof, so dive travel shoppers get exactly what they want.

“This is a completely new offering,” says Sandro Lonardi, PADI Travel Marketing Manager, who explains that people are becoming more independent when choosing their vacations and have higher expectations. They expect to manage their vacation experience with the click on their laptops, tablets and mobile devices. “We’ve designed the new PADI Travel to be the ultimate online travel agency for divers,” says Lonardi.

Navigating the PADI Travel space at travel.padi.com enables divers to easily research, compare and book dive vacations anywhere in the world, 24/7, through a directory offering one of the largest selections of liveaboards and dive destinations in the marketplace. With a click, PADI Travel site visitors find a user-friendly interface that informs, educates and empowers them to dial-in whatever experience they seek. “Dive travelers use search engines and social networks to research and plan their dive vacations,” says Lonardi, “and being on a website like travel.padi.com makes it easy for dive operators and resorts to be in front of their target audience. PADI Travel is designed to attract thousands of divers looking for vacations.”

What Customers See

PADI Travel includes more than 300 colorful dive destination guides with custom information about diving and traveling, marine life sightings, best times to go, best sites, discounts and more. About 300 liveaboards are represented with full descriptions, postcard-quality photos, alluring videos and more than 3,000 separate itineraries listed with availability, prices and other information for curious dive travelers. Along with PADI Dive Resorts, Centers, Eco Travel itineraries and Destination Guides, dive travelers have access to dedicated dive experts as well, offering personalized planning advice spanning 80 countries.

Dive travel customers are just one of the beneficiaries, however. PADI Travel sellers can register as affiliates to receive commissions and discounts. With the program, PADI Dive Centers with inhouse travel programs gain access to an immense selection of liveaboards and dive destinations as well as dive travel experts who can answer questions in advance. That access gives individual dive centers a global reach that would be prohibitive or difficult to maintain without the program. PADI Resorts, meanwhile, can earn support and business through PADI Travel’s interconnected network of dive travel sellers and registered agents.

To top it off, the aim is to maintain the highest customer satisfaction with expert customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The travel program’s network of experienced dive travel experts – PADI Travel representatives average around 2,500 dives each – adds the personal touch that travel industry experts say is absolutely critical for travel professionals today.

Growing Dive Travel

“Creating and assembling PADI Travel has been a huge ongoing effort,” says Lonardi. “We can cater to groups and individuals alike. PADI Travel has harnessed the latest platform technology to combine the best of online booking with concierge-level travel consultancy.” Not only will PADI Dive Centers find it easier to sell travel packages and PADI Resorts will gain broader reach, but PADI Pros will also have increased opportunities for participation to help motivate dive travel sales.

For tech-savvy PADI Members who are on board with emerging digital marketing opportunities, many aspects of PADI Travel will be familiar. For others looking to implement a more strategic marketing effort, it carries on the PADI family philosophy of growing the overall dive community.

Speak Loudly

Ever leave a cylinder standing unattended at a dive site? Surface from a dive and prop your mask atop your head like a pair of sunglasses? Leave your snorkel in your dive bag instead of wearing it?

If PADI® Pros do these things – things that are outside the practices we use to train divers – it sends a message that it’s okay and appropriate. The message is audibly silent, yet visually loud. You’ve heard the adage, “Actions speak louder than words.” If your actions ignore the training principles you teach, why would your student divers and others around you think they are important?

Let’s take the snorkel as an example. If snorkels weren’t an important piece of equipment for scuba kits, they wouldn’t be required for PADI courses (except where they clearly have no purpose or are contrary to good practices as noted in some course standards, such as for ice diving). When a PADI Pro’s mask isn’t equipped with a snorkel, in essence this action says, “I require you to have a snorkel when you are taking a course. I teach you how to reduce your risk while diving by following course standards when I train you. The training I provide you helps prepare you to dive independently. But, when you’re not in a course, you can follow my lead and pick and choose which safety practices you wish to follow.”

There are relevant values for all safe diving practices. The PADI Open Water Diver Manual outlines at least six reasons for having a snorkel when scuba diving. Realistically, though, snorkels just don’t compare with other equipment (like alternate air sources and dive computers) in terms of managing risk.

So, why should you bother wearing one?

The answer is simple: Because having and maintaining good diving habits directly correlates with what you do under stress. The ability to think clearly declines in an emergency, and people default to what has become habit. If you’ve always worn a snorkel on your mask, and suddenly you find yourself on the surface with no air supply and you need to get yourself out of an entanglement, you can look underwater without the added stress of having to hold your breath because your snorkel is available when you need it.

Realize that when some accepted diving practices begin to erode, others begin to lose value, too. Outside of training, divers make their own choices. However, they are influenced by those they perceive as experts. Be a role model during your everyday dives, and choose diving photos for your communications and social media that depict good diving practices; and you will speak loudly (in a good way).

Achievements and Milestones

In 2017, you and your fellow PADI® Members helped improve the lives of more people than ever by opening their eyes to the magic of the underwater world. Dedicated PADI Pros issued more certifications than ever in PADI’s history, supported by the ever-growing number of PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world.

As a PADI Member, you play a pivotal role in making people’s diving dreams come true. Teaching the world’s most sought-after diver certification courses, you transform divers’ lives –your role transcends beyond diver safety and education because you’re also creating a global force for good that can drive positive change in our communities and the environment. Together, we’re positioned to help preserve our oceans for future generations. You are an integral part of a tribe committed to being best in and for the world.

Check out the list of PADI Members who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of membership in 2017, along with PADI Dive Centers that reached 30, 35 and 40 years of membership.

We are PADI℠ – The Way the World Learns to Dive®.

The Adaptable Prevail

Drew Richardson staff shotPut “adaptive” and “PADI” together and it conjures images of people overcoming disabilities and challenges, and rightly so. Diving is one of those rare, rich experiences that can help heal the body, heart and soul, whether someone’s dealing with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), paraplegia, cerebral palsy, amputation – the list goes on, as you know. With its performance-based design focused on what people can do instead of what they can’t, the PADI® System’s adaptive approach has opened diving and the underwater world to thousands.

Thousands? I should say millions. The PADI System’s adaptability isn’t new, and it benefits 25 million of us and counting – that’s every single PADI Diver. It has made PADI the world’s dominating force in diving because we all have challenges, needs, interests, preferences and desires. Only a system that adapts to the infinite individuality of learning and teaching can address all of these distinct variables.

What makes the PADI System stand apart is its ability to fi t a standardized diving instructional system to so many people individually, in so many ways. It is international, cross-cultural, multilingual and transgenerational, so that beyond accommodating varied learning needs and preferences it builds a bridge that makes us one amid our differences. Take five PADI Divers from China, Italy, Mexico, Russia and Vietnam and put them on a boat for a day. They share a language even if they don’t, because they “speak” diving and the ocean, thanks to the PADI System you and your fellow PADI Professionals apply every day.

The PADI System succeeds because it stands on a solid, unshakeable but adaptable philosophical and instructional foundation that retains our core values while evolving as emerging technologies and social trends change how we meet individual needs, one student at a time. As the PADI family stands up for ocean health and marine animal protection, and champions the power of diving in community, and health and wellness, we need to recognize that, hand in hand with tenacity, this is where our strength lies. Overcoming challenges requires adapting what we do, whether it’s to help one person with an individual need or one planet with a social need.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-tsu said, “An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.” The PADI family has emerged as a force for good because we don’t try to live in someone’s idealized version of what the world should be. Rather, we are supple. We adapt and change to meet what the real world blows our way. Together, we always have, and I expect, always will.

Good luck, good teaching and good diving,

Drew Richardson Ed.D.
PADI President and CEO

The Undersea Journal – Third Quarter 2017 Now Available

3Q2017UJ_CoverEach quarter The Undersea Journal® is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI® Professional. In addition to the printed magazine there are several digital reading options for this useful publication:

  1. Via the Zinio app on your computer or mobile device. If you’re a digital subscriber, you receive an email notification that your publication is available for viewing on Zinio.
  2. Using the PADI Library App (Apple App Store | Play):
  • From your mobile device, open your Library in your PADI Library App, download and view.
  • On your computer, select Certification Paks from the Log In tab at the top of padi.com. From there you’ll be able to view the magazine in the Online Manuals portal.
  1. As a PDF on the PADI Pros’ Site. Log on to the Pros’ Site and click on the References tab. You can download the entire magazine or choose to download it in sections.

If you’ve opted for the printed version, it will continue to be delivered to your mailing address.

1st Quarter 2017 Undersea Journal Now Available Via PADI Library App

uj-1q-2017

Every quarter of The Undersea Journal is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI® Professional. In addition to choosing a printed magazine, there are several digital reading options for this publication:

1. Using the PADI Library App (Apple App Store | Google Play):
From your mobile device, open the Library in your PADI Library App, download and view.
On your computer, select Certification Paks from the Log In tab at the top of padi.com. From there you’ll be able to view the magazine in the Online Manuals portal.

2. Via the Zinio app on your computer or mobile device.

3. As a PDF on the PADI Pros’ Site. Log on to the Pros’ Site and click on the References tab. You can download the entire magazine or choose to download it in sections.

Each quarter, the latest edition of the publication will be added to the PADI Library App.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you’ll continue to receive an email notification that your publication is available for viewing on Zinio. If you’ve opted for the printed version, it will continue to be delivered to your mailing address.

Improved Delivery for The Undersea Journal®

Undersea Journal on Vimeo

PADI’s flagship publication, The Undersea Journal®, is about to join the digital evolution. Beginning with the first quarter 2016 issue, The Undersea Journal will migrate to a primarily digital delivery format for all PADI Members with a non-US mailing address. This change is to provide immediate access to the latest PADI news, updates and training standards. Long delays waiting for the publication to arrive will be a thing of the past as The Undersea Journal will be delivered via the popular Zinio platform on your favorite digital device. Once downloaded, you can enjoy the publication online or offline – the choice is yours.

In addition to expedited delivery, migrating The Undersea Journal to a digital format also supports the PADI organization’s commitment to green practices and contributes to the conservation and preservation of our planet.

The Undersea Journal will continue to include all of the content you’ve come to expect including the latest industry updates, member recognition, environmental achievements, dive business education and training standards. It will also continue to include the Training Bulletin, which is required reading for all PADI Members.

If you prefer to continue receiving a print edition of The Undersea Journal, you may change your delivery preference at any time by visiting the Preference Center in the Your Account section at the PADI Pros’ Site. Please note that a change from digital to print delivery is not instantaneous as mail labels may be printed up to six weeks in advance of a mailing.

Expect to receive an email notification of The Undersea Journal’s availability soon. Accessing your magazine from your favorite digital device is easy. From your computer, simply click on the link in the email, create a Zinio account if you don’t already have one and you’re ready to go. For an enhanced experience on your mobile device, download the Zinio app available from the Android, Apple and Microsoft stores. Visit the Zinio Help Center for more details on how to access your magazines.

The Undersea Journal digital version is just the latest in the PADI digital evolution of products and services to help you succeed as a dive professional. For questions regarding the digital Undersea Journal, contact PADI Customer Service.

Help Us Create a PADI Pro Infographic for the Undersea Journal

Help us create the next PADI Pro infographic for 3rd Quarter 2015 The Undersea Journal. Give us your input by completing this five question, multiple-choice survey.

See below for an example of how we turn the question answers into a graphic for the magazine. To ensure we get a diverse group of respondents, feel free to share the survey link below with other PADI Pro’s (Divemasters, Instructors, etc):

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KXLLKZN

ProInfluenceWhat-age-did-you-first-dive

PADI Member Photos Wanted for The Undersea Journal

PADI Americas CDTC 2013
New PADI Course Directors – Dominican Republic 2013

Do you have a great photo of yourself and/or other PADI Members you’d like to see in The Undersea Journal? Email the photo to journal at padi dot com with the following information:

  • Names of everyone in the photo
  • Photographer name
  • Location where the photo was taken
  • Dive center name (if applicable)
  • A very short description of the photo and its importance.

Send your email to journal at padi dot com with the subject line Undersea Journal Family Additions. You can also send the image as a private message to the PADI Pros Facebook page. Please also include the details listed above (names, location, etc).

Important:
We’re looking for photos of specific events: an Instructor Exam (IE) group shot, Project AWARE Dive Against Debris, or other special occasion. Please do not send images of marine life, club dives, people studying, or dive classes (unless the class has a special significance). View examples(PDF).

Photos should be minimum 2MB in size to ensure they will be print quality. Don’t forget to include the names of everyone in the photo and where the photo was taken.