Few programs in the scuba industry have generated as much discussion and interest as the new online facility-based open water training program announced last week by Scuba Diving International. This impressive program is what everyone is talking about, and for good reason.
Designed as the direct result of requests from SDI retailers from around the world, the SDI Online program provides a simple and easy way for students to enroll in a scuba course, become affiliated with a local dive store and conveniently complete the classroom portion of their Open Water Course. Contrary to comments from industry skeptics, dive retailers have openly embraced the new program as a progressive and profitable way to promote scuba education.
"I was a retailer who had questions at first, but once I saw the many ways SDI and the program developers went out of their way to make this a true ‘facility-based’ course, I couldn’t wait to sign up and get started," said Michael Gulczynski of Purr-Fect Scuba in Bourbonnais, Illinois. "I know that SDI is working WITH me to create new students and grow this industry. I’m pleased to be part of the solution. It’s nice to see that SDI is responding to people complaining about the state of our industry."
The program allows retailers to become involved in three different ways. All students signing up for the program must become affiliated with a local retailer. When someone signs up for a course through the website, the local dive store is informed and can even receive payment for pre-paid course materials. Participating SDI Retailers can also have direct links to their website and even have stores logo posted on the training pages seen by the students.
Since equipment is a vital part of every training program and retailer’s marketing program, the SDI online training site delivers a subtle, yet effective equipment promotional benefit. Images of the product lines the stores sells can be automatically incorporated into the training program. This is yet another example of the "facility-based" element of the program available nowhere else in the dive industry.
"When they told me they could automatically include images of products that I was selling in my store, I was impressed," points out Brad Grzelka of Atlanta Scuba and Swim Academy in Marietta, Georgia. "In the past, certain training organizations haven’t wanted to help me promote the brands I carry. In fact, they frequently worked against me. Now, with SDI’s program, if I am selling Scubapro BCs and Oceanic computers (for example), that’s what the students are going to see during their training sections when BCs and computers are covered. As a retailer, I can’t ask for more from my training organization!"
SDI continues to lead the industry with its innovative and progressive approach to scuba instruction. With the online training program, something other organizations have often talked about, but have never delivered, SDI once again shows its leadership in the ever-changing scuba diving industry.
As this is a new concept and evolving program, SDI has prepared a special Question and Answer section for its website.
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