In terms of advertising and selling PADI courses, your dive operation should be split into 3 divisions – acquisition, continued education and going pro. In this article we’ll focus on your dive operation’s pro development by sharing proven tactics that will help you successfully host a Pro Night and increase revenue through pro conversion.
First, decide on an event date with your PADI Regional Manager. This should be done well in advance of your proposed date to get maximum exposure and increase the chances of pro conversion. Check sporting calendars and school/college holidays to avoid social clashes in the diary.
4-6 Weeks Prior
Make the Announcement. Be loud and proud as you spread the word of your Pro Night across your newsletter, social media and blog. Visit the PADI Pros’ Site for free graphics, an email template, a poster for your classroom, and customizable Pro Night invitations. Ask divers to RSVP via email. As part of the RSVP process, ask about their diving certifications and experience so you have an idea of the size and nature of your audience.
Speakers. Identify two, preferably three, members of your staff to speak at the Pro Night. Additional speakers from varying ages and backgrounds will resonate more with your audience. Video testimonials from your past divers who went pro are a powerful tool. Source “selfie videos” from your divers in exciting places to create the most impact
2-3 Weeks Prior
Start promoting your event in your scuba classes. Include flyers in crew-paks and shopping bags and continue posting reminders on your social media channels to keep the conversation alive.
Collect or buy raffle prizes. These could be gift cards, air fill vouchers, hats, t-shirts, or scuba accessories. Ask your PADI Regional Training Consultant for any donations, Go PRO DVD’s or other Pro Night-related material.
Create a slideshow to play in the background on the day of the event. The slideshow can include staff photos, images from dive trips, and slides promoting upcoming dive travel opportunities.
Run a pre-mortem with key staff. Imagine worst-case scenarios (a presenter is sick, it snows, there aren’t enough snacks or chairs, etc.) and identify how you’ll prevent and handle these problems.
Create your Pro Night specials:
- Tiered training packages (basic package, mid-range and platinum) are the ideal way to go as most consumers will choose the middle way. You can create bundles of just classes taking divers to Pro level, or packages that include gear as well. Make sure your staff fully understand these packages and any finance options that may be available.
- If you have an active travel program, have information available on your upcoming trips. Some attendees may want to complete their training in warm-water destinations.
- Include a calendar, as a slide in your presentation and/or as a handout, showing your class schedule for the year. Help students see the path to Divemaster, Instructor, Master Scuba Diver, etc.
- Require instructors to create a target list of at least five students who “have what it takes.” Compare the lists to cross reference and confirm the targeted students, then have instructors phone or email students a personal invite.
1 Week Prior
Send out a Pro Night email reminder, and tease your one-night only specials. Have instructors make follow up calls to students who expressed interest but haven’t RSVP’d.
Prepare your presentation. Ask your presenters if they have any photos or videos they’d like to share and put together a list of interview questions for your Pros in the spotlight.
- What do you love about being a PADI Divemaster/Instructor?
- When did you know you wanted to go pro?
- What’s a common misconception people have about working as a Divemaster/ Instructor?
The Day Before
Post your specials to social media and emphasize they are one-night-only, no exceptions.
At The Event
Prepare a sign-in sheet to capture diver names, highest level and contact info (phone/email).
Plan for 30 minutes of mingle time/happy hour before the presentation. Play a slideshow/video playlist showcasing your travel adventures and smiling staff having fun with students. During mingle-time, invite divers to ‘Like’ your Facebook page (or check in on Facebook if they’ve already Liked your page) to earn extra raffle entries.
Limit your presentation to one hour to maintain energy levels. Engage your attendees with direct questions (e.g. How many Advanced Open Water Divers in the room?) and keep the excitement up with a raffling prize drawing between presenters.
After the presentation is over, allow time for divers and staff to socialize. This interaction is a powerful sales tool. Finalize as many sales as possible. Capitalize on the excitement of the presentation to sell training, trips and equipment.
After The Event
Meet with your staff to designate a follow-up plan for each attendee – and then follow-up! Evaluate the event and take notes about what worked well and what could be improved for future events.
This article is designed as a checklist to help you build a successful Pro Night. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the most important tips are:
- Promote your event early and often.
- Require instructors to extend personal invitations to select students. Don’t count on email and social media to bring in a crowd.
- Create three tiers of specials and don’t compromise on the one-night-only deadline.
Additional tips and marketing resources are available on the PADI Pros’ Site.