Cayman Islands Department of Tourism sponsorship of tour boosts marketing outreach for Cayman’s dive operators through relationship building and media coverage
As principal sponsor of the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association’s (DEMA) Go Dive Now Pool Tour, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) is ensuring great media exposure for Cayman in major US markets, and the island’s dive operators are piggybacking on the promotion to reach more customers. The pool tour travels the U.S. attending large scale indoor and outdoor sports events and dive shows with a portable 4-foot deep pool that allows show attendees to try diving.
“I just love to see the excitement in their faces when they realize how easy it is to dive – sometimes it just shocking to them,” said tour coordinator ‘Big Wave’ Dave Reidenbach who actively promotes Cayman to people whose interest has been piqued. “You always want to tell someone about a cool place to dive, and Cayman is one of the best. They’ve got everything – Stingray City, the Kittiwake, the wall dives.”
The pool tour includes cities like Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Long Beach and Denver, and Cayman’s banners are well displayed and a poolside booth stocked with information. The sponsorship gives Cayman dive operators an opportunity to meet and mingle with local DEMA dive center members manning the pool.
“I think it’s great! The pool experience connects the new divers to local dive shops who certify them and then send the new divers to us in Cayman as referrals,” said Emma Jane Fisher, Sunset House Sales and Marketing. “We meet these U.S. dive shop staff face to face and it’s a really good start to these relationships.”
Red Sail Sports Sales and Marketing Manager Sarah Jane Harlan says building relationships with the local dive centers is important because everyone wants new divers to remain active in their new sport, this often requires working together.
“When we conduct a try-diving session in Cayman, we like to refer our customers back to their local dive center to pursue this new interest further,” she said. “The owner of a dive shop sought me out at Beneath the Sea Dive to let me know how much he appreciates our referrals. He’s managed to convert several of them into new divers, and these are the stories that we love to hear. We’re all in this together and we want to share our passion with others.”
Tom Ludington, General Manager of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in the U.S. says when space permits the poolside Cayman booth is open to all the island’s dive operators who are members of DEMA. Tour pool stops generally attract coverage from local television news outfits, newspapers and radio stations.
“We are getting a tremendous amount of media exposure,” said Ludington. “We’ve designed the branding on the pool and our popup tent to ensure we maximize the exposure for the Cayman Islands when media cameras are around.”
In addition to Red Sail Sports and Sunset House, Divetech, Ocean Frontiers and the Southern Cross Club are also busy attending dive and travel shows in these major U.S. markets. The pool tour is an added attraction in a competitive market, and a reminder that it takes the whole of Cayman to recruit and nurture new scuba divers for the future.
“It allows me to speak to divers and non-divers so we reach a broad customer base over the weekend of these events,” said Sarah Jane Harlan. “This year I have been promoting our “Back to the 80s” dive package as Red Sail Sports is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The package is well received by visitors to the pool, and I’m even taking bookings right there on the spot!”