Switching training organizations is rarely an easy decision, but when a business becomes a PADI® Dive Center or Resort, the results can be truly outstanding. Last year, more dive centers and resorts joined PADI than ever before. A case in point is Mare Nostrum Diving, in Sicily, Italy, that chose to go PADI in 2016 and has since become a thriving PADI Retail and Resort Association member. Although having a degree of success operating dive excursions, Mare Nostrum Diving’s management wanted to take their business to the next level with PADI.
For years, Mare Nostrum hadn’t been inclined to work with PADI for various reasons, feeling that their dive agency of choice was enough to satisfy their local Sicilian dive market. However, after discussions with PADI Regional Manager, Fabio Figurella, about long term goals within the Italian market and the opportunities ahead for Mare Nostrum Diving, the decision was made to crossover to PADI.
Tatiana Geloso, co-owner of Mare Nostrum Diving explains the role Fabio played, “His job didn’t end when he got us back on the PADI boat – on the contrary – it was just the start of several phone calls, meetings, projects, cooperation in order to increase local business for reciprocal interests.”
Despite being a PADI Divemaster for over 20 years, Tatiana had always delivered courses and training from other agencies. When she crossed over to PADI, she also became a PADI Instructor. Any concerns she may have had before getting back on board with PADI were quickly laid to rest, “What we feel now is having a real partner of our business, and behind the customer services we feel real people, we know their names, we can get the chance to dive together! I believe the services are as efficient as the used-to-be Swiss style (we had connections to Hettlingen for several years!) But now we have “warm” people to talk to as well (and couldn’t be warmer without 2 women from South Italy based in Bristol!) Emails sound personal but professional at the same time. Assistance is based on understanding of your needs and not just giving out information.” Says Tatiana.
“Top-flight customer service is an essential element of the PADI Member experience,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Life in a PADI Dive Center is often hectic, so quick and efficient service is imperative to allow dive center staff to deliver the same to their customers. That’s why PADI Regional Headquarters puts so much emphasis on exceptional customer service for members.”
Life with PADI compared to life without PADI is seen as a “revelation” by Mare Nostrum Diving. PADI’s brand image is extremely powerful and globally recognised as the leading agency in scuba education. With this in mind, Mare Nostrum Diving didn’t feel like a cog in a machine, they felt like they had a real partner, “a partner to cooperate with, where both sides find its own convenience in the partnership.”
Since joining PADI, Mare Nostrum Diving have closely followed the PADI social networks in both English and Italian for inspiration from articles, suggestions, marketing tips and how they can apply them to their circumstances. “I appreciate the fact that as a member I don’t only get advice on standards in training, but also on how to promote my business.” Says Tatiana.
PADI Regional Training Consultants, Customer Services, Regional Manager and Marketing Team are always at hand to offer insights and advice wherever it is needed. A PADI Dive Resort may simply need a push in the right direction with regards to their social marketing strategy, a detailed analysis of pricing strategy, or perhaps a Five Star Dive Center may need assistance with a full store overhaul and website consultation.
Drew Richardson says, “The PADI System of diver education brings student divers through the doors of PADI Dive Centers every day around the world. PADI’s proven marketing strategies and innovative marketing tools, such as a free annual marketing tool kit, also bring in customers.”
Being part of the PADI family puts Mare Nostrum Diving on the map. There is no denying that Tatiana is a very highly regarded Italian Federal Instructor with a local following, but now with PADI on her side, Tatiana and Mare Nostrum can be instantly recognised by any potential customer looking to dive with the trusted PADI name.
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