The accompanying ad for Marriott’s Courtyard hotels appeared in an issue of Wired magazine. It is supposed to promote the fact that all Courtyard rooms come with high-speed Internet access. Is that what you get from the ad?
Every hotel and motel that caters to business travelers offers some sort of high-speed Internet connection. And yet, what few of these establishments seem to understand is that having this access is of little value if there is no desktop or other surface you can set your laptop on that is at a height that allows you to type effectively.
What I get, when I look at this ad is that the young lady can hunt and peck lackadaisically when sitting at a work surface that’s almost as high as her shoulders — but there is no way she can actually get any work done. (Ironically, if you look at the ad long enough, you realize that the problem is not so much the height of the desk, but rather the height of the chair she is sitting in.)
The bottom line is that Marriott thought it was spending tens of thousands of dollars on an ad that promotes its high-speed Internet access. What they got instead is an ad that shows readers that Marriott has yet to figure out that an Internet connection is useless unless you can put your computer someplace you can type without hurting yourself. (Hold your hands at the same level as the young lady in the ad has hers. Could you type comfortably like that?)
What is clear is that whomever put this ad together has never had to actually get any work done in a hotel room. If he had, he (or she) would have realized that it sends entirely the wrong message.
And this is important…why?
Okay, what does this have to do with dive retailing? Ask yourself, as a dive store owner or manager, when was the last time you:
- Taught or at least sat in on one of your own beginning scuba courses?
- Went diving on something other than group vacation trip?
Your entry-level scuba course and the local diving they (hopefully) help prepare divers for are the core of your business. If you lose touch with these activities, you lose touch with how your customers first experience diving with your store. Can you afford that?
All too often, dive store owners leave entry-level training and local diving to their least-senior staff members. However, in doing so, they risk the dive store equivalent of creating the Marriott Courtyard Internet ad. It’s an easy trap to fall in to.
Do you know what’s going on in your own scuba courses? Are you up to date on what’s happening at your local dive site? Perhaps it’s time you find out.