After a harsh end to Winter we have had a lovely sunny start to the season and divers are probably pouring through your door BUT, many dive centres still have time for more customers, especially midweek.
So how do you keep your staff busy Monday to Friday over the summer season?
Bubblemaker, Seal Team, Junior/Family Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver courses often appeal to families during the school holidays, so why not schedule some midweek courses specifically aimed at this market?
Make sure you are clear about what makes the courses special, some options may be:
- Parents do not need to attend – this does mean you become “childcare” for the day so you need to have the staff and set up to accommodate this (see our article on Approved Youth Training Centres)
- Parents DO need to attend – you are aiming at a family vibe and parents are there to look after their kids when you’re not in water.
- Only family groups accepted – this is reassuring to parents and maintains a consistent group philosophy.
- Kids only events, such as birthday parties etc with parents welcome to watch, photo opportunities etc.
Consider the logistical differences to your normal courses, some examples might be:
- Can you transport kids from your dive centre or do you need parents to drop them off and pick them up on site?
- Ratios are smaller when younger children are involved, so plan ahead for your staffing needs.
- Don’t forget the fun – I know time is money, especially in the pool, but families don’t want to feel rushed so may prefer to take their time and do less e.g. schedule a Scuba Diver course over the same time you usually do an Open Water Diver course when young children are involved.
Make sure your staff don’t accidentally devalue courses that are not full certification courses by implying they are “less”. Anyone who dives is a diver and if you teach someone Scuba Diver this year, next year you can offer them the top up course to become Open Water Divers.
As well as scuba training, why not offer Discover Snorkelling and Skin Diver. Not only can you take students younger than the minimum age for scuba, but there is also a big market of middle-aged and older holidaymakers who want to go snorkelling, but don’t have the confidence to do it without a bit of training or guidance. And they have plenty of disposable income! You may even attract the ultimate family groups; kids, parents and grandparents!
Here in the UK Skin Diver is usually a pool course and can be run in a short time with minimal kit. You may want to invest in a few snorkel vests, rather than use BCDs, but these are inexpensive by comparison. This is also a great opportunity to get your Divemasters teaching. Make sure you spend time with them beforehand to help them prepare and run the course with confidence.
If you have access to suitable shallow areas around the coast why not organise Discover Snorkelling events in the sea? Equipment and staff requirements are simpler than for scuba diving courses and gaining a little confidence under professional guidance while getting to see what’s under the waves is just as much fun for many people as scuba diving.
Top Tip – the standards for Discover Snorkelling are in the Key Standards table in the Instructor Guide and there is a more info in The Guide To Teaching but this is a very flexible program and relies on your creativity and enthusiasm.