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I've had the great opportunity of scuba diving all over the world - and the way I find out about the scuba companies is via internet! You should check out the Internet forum - there are a lot of great tips provided by the community. Also, package trips seems to be very appealing to some travelers, so you may want to consider advertising or partnering with the major tour operators, not only located in Hawaii, but also the ones that are located in the mainland.
This is just a suggestion but partnering with local hotels & resorts would be a good way to generate referrals. Most travelers I know will ask the concierge for recommendations on things to do and places to go. Just a thought. Good luck.
From my experience with marketing, its all about location. So, I would prioritize finding a space that is near the foot-traffic of tourists looking to scuba. You can then leverage great signs and pictures to entice them to stop by...
Also integral to the process of distinguishing yourself is marketing your image to your target market.1 of 1 people found this helpful
First, know who your target market is...on Hawaii, you probably will have a different strategy if you are marketing to locals versus tourists, and if your target tourist is 25 years old with a starting salary (eg- a small budget) or 55 years old CEO (with a bigger budget). So you will want a clear idea of who you want as a client.
Second, the branding of your image (whatever image you define) is essential to building awareness and setting yourself apart from the competition. Repetition and consistency coupled with a strong logo/identity/tagline are vital to making the first impression a good one and to making the second impression memorable. You want each time that a person views anything representing your business (business card, signage, decaled equipment, invoices/receipts, sales brochures, etc) to successively build on the previous view.
For instance, you look at an ad for Blockbuster and you can instantly recognize it, even if they probably didn't have their logo on the ad. Why? They are consistent and repetitive in the use of their colors, logo, etc. The same look is found everyhwere from their storefronts, signage, DVD covers, coupons, receipts, use-to-be late notices, commercials, etc.If you haven't thought about this or already taken care of this, the first step I would recommend at least thinking about the visual impact (positive or +negative+) that you have with your target audience and then take the necessary steps to grow your business by making it look swimmingly appealing! :-)
Thanks DustinSteller. You raised many excellent points. I will take this into consideration when thinking about how to position my company.
It sounds like a fun business!
No problem. Sorry about the non-formatted post. I had nice little bulleted paragraphs with bold and italics, but they didn't work. :-(
Two things you can do to quickly zero in on what customers want.
First, ask 'em. Go out and talk with the people diving now. Ask what they like and don't like. Find out their biggest pet peeve or most common problem. Discover who they are, where they're coming from - local or tourist - and how much experience they have on average. Really get to know them.
Then figure out a way to solve their problems. Later, when you start telling them about your services, you'll want to use the same words and phrases that they use. These are the language and benefits that you'll want to feature in your advertising and brochures.
Second, study the other shops' brochures and ads in newspaper and Yellow Pages, then compile a list of what they offer.
Finally, find the hole - the gap in services that people want, but are not being given by the other shops.
Hope this helps.
Cheers from sunny Japan,
Two suggestions to distinguish your company from other scuba companies.
ONE Open the yellow pages and look at your competition. See what you like and put
together something different.
Two Visit SCORE on line at "www.score.org" SCORE has 26 FREE courses at their
Virtual Learning Center. Some of the courses include ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND
WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
This may be similar to another post I made, but I can't find that question -- so, please excuse me if this is redundant . . .
I once lived on Maui and was a certified diver. Serious divers had a favorite dive shop the way some guys only go to one bar. Other bars can do whatever they want to distinguish themselves, but those guys are staying loyal to their version of "Cheers."
The non-serious divers were mostly tourists, and the shops that served them had agreements with tour companies and resorts. Tourists didn't book directly with a dive shop (even through a website) unless the shop was offering a truly unique dive experience. The problem with doing that is you'd challenge the existing operators who make a living off tourism -- and they have a kind of surfer or street gang culture. By that, I mean a dive spot may be "public," but a particular operator will treat it like it's his alone, and things can get pretty nasty when one operator feels that another has "trespassed." It's not a business that welcomes new competitors with open arms.
If I had your goal, I would start by trying to work for or with an existing shop -- especially if you have both the dive qualifications and management skills to run such an operation. You could then become a "kamaaina" and launch your business from that position, rather than taking on competitors as an outsider.
I see this question has been out here awhile. How's it going so far?
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I am thinking about starting a scuba diving company in Maui and there is a lot of competition. I wanted to differentiate myself from the competition, but did not know the best way to advertise. How does a person go about looking at different marketing strategies for a recreational company?