As you know, or we hope you will in the very near future (your travel plans to Roatan are in the works, correct?), we have a large map on of the world on the wall of our dive center where we invite our guests to "stick a pin in your home". We don't make it a requirement, or verify the pins location to your current mailing address. It is just that with an international clientele it is interesting to see where our guests like to call home.
At first glance the map looks a touch unusual. It is a Peter's Projection Map of our little world. Seems that Peter didn't like fact that Greenland looked larger than Africa on standard wall maps, or that the equator was always a bit low. So the equator is in the middle, and the countries only take up as much space as they really have. You can still find yourself on it, but it's a little weird. Bugs ordered it. Go figger.
Something that you may not know is that I habitually come into the shop early, before opening. The business of a tourism entrepreneur is an incredibly intricate balance of disciplines, from, marketing, human resources, and customer service, to maintaining our machinery, respect, credibility, and humility as an apex predator in the business community. It's enough to keep one quite preoccupied, and coming in early allows me to get into a business frame of mind before the chaos.
It was during just such a preoccupation this morning that I paused in my mopping, and realized that our map has a pin in every continent! It's a major bucket list item for me personally to stand on every continent, and to think that we have met guests from every one is pretty cool. True, there is only one pin in Antarctica and one in Africa, also.
Let's take a minute and think of market shares. Given the entire population of Africa, and comparing it to the population of Antarctica, our two friends; Jonny and Serena, calling the Ross Ice Shelf home, have given us a tremendous market share there. We're rocking it amongst the penguins.
Thinking marketing thoughts, and pondering new customer potential, led me to notice that there are large parts of the map (vast areas at ground-level) with nary a pin. In places like Chad and Mongolia there is absolutely no one who has had the West End Divers Experience.
Join us in a silent moment.
Google tells us that a few have scuba dived (dove?) in these countries, but some divers will dive anywhere just to say they have. Extinct volcanos, missile silos, and sacrificial wells come to mind, and now minimal research shows that someone has dove (dived?) in a lake in Chad, and some diver tagged a river in Mongolia. But to the best of my knowledge there are no dive centers in either place, and no one has ever come to West End Divers from these countries to let us show them our most amazing reef!
True, these are land locked countries. Getting to the ocean from Chad means crossing one heck of a beach called Saharan Africa, to wind up at the Red Sea where the diving is said to be somewhat adequate. To find salt water in Mongolia you have head south to follow the wall those anti-social neighbors put up until it leads you to the Yellow Sea, where Google doesn't list a dive center anyway.
It's time to remedy this most intolerable situation. Even though it goes against most business practices, it is our belief that providing an opportunity for those not fortunate enough to live in tropical paradise a chance to experience the underwater world is good for the industry, the planet, and gets us some karma points. Therefore we at West End Divers, in order to bring the gospel and joy of diving to those without the natural resources, or even the infrastructure to try scuba, we are reaching out with an incredible offer. To qualified guests we are offering an amazing discount of 35% off of all our products, services, and merchandise.
To qualify for these insane prices you merely have to show up at West End Divers here on Roatan and present your valid Mongolian, Chadian passport, and tell us what you want to do! (Translators are not provided).
We are well aware that these are not the only landlocked countries in the world, but there are a couple of things to consider when coming out with a global offering of this magnitude. First we have to anticipate the increased customer load, not just here at the dive center, but also the Airlines and ships servicing the island. At this writing there are only three major airlines, and six cruise ship companies arriving here regularly, and we have to give them time to gear up for the influx of business. Second, and most important, there has to be a place on the map for a new pin. For instance we could offer this deal to the residents of the country of Liechtenstein which is landlocked, and we have never had a customer from there, but there is just no room for another pin in that area of the map.
No doubt will be updating this incredible offer in the future. Keep an eye out for your country making the list!