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ARTICLE InspirationAugust 13, 2014

Tourism series, part 5: Q&A: Deep Sea Divers Den

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Deep Sea Divers Den started operating trips to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns in the 1970s, but its e-commerce transformation means that the bulk of its bookings are now made online by overseas tourists. It has five e-commerce tips for tour operators and tourism companies.

Every Australian winter, thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to northern Queensland to see the minke whale migration and to dive and snorkel on the famous Great Barrier Reef. Whether it’s viewing the fascinating whale procession or exploring the colourful marine world below the surface, Deep Sea Divers Den caters for local and international tourists with day tours and regular diving trips out of Cairns.

Part of what makes Deep Sea Divers Den an appealing tour company is its Project AWARE Go ECO Operator status, in recognition of its work to minimise its impact on the aquatic ecosystem. Another key factor in its success is the way the business has embraced e-commerce, making online booking and payment as easy, secure and reliable as possible for its passengers.

Deep Sea Divers Den spokesperson Sarah Clark explains how e-commerce and online communications have helped the tour operator grow.

When did Deep Sea Divers Den start operating tours to the Great Barrier Reef?

“Deep Sea Divers Den was established in 1974, which makes us the longest established dive company in Cairns. We specialise in Great Barrier Reef day trips, ‘liveaboard’ trips, PADI dive courses and extended dive and snorkel expeditions to the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs, on the TAKA Ribbon Reef Explorer. Deep Sea Divers Den has certified more than 100,000 open-water divers on the Great Barrier Reef.”

What kind of growth have you experienced?

“We have seen positive growth across all our products over the past 12 months, which is fantastic for not only Deep Sea Divers Den but also for Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tourism overall.”

Who are Deep Sea Divers Den’s main clients?

“The main clientele on board our Great Barrier Reef trips and dive courses are international customers. We also have many domestic tourists from interstate, as well as Cairns locals.

“Maximum Exposure, a consultancy company, manages our sales and marketing department, and it works to strengthen our brand awareness in all markets.”

How has e-commerce changed Deep Sea Divers Den’s business?

“We live in a digital era, and our products need to be accessible and easy to book for customers all over the world. Our online booking system, which is provided by ResPax Tour Reservations, uses live availability, so customers get confirmation of their trip upon payment.

“E-commerce has opened up a whole range of benefits to our business. It allows us to bring the opportunities of the Great Barrier Reef to the rest of the world through online communication and gives customers the opportunity to research all the options we have available – and they can then book instantly.”

It is important to us to use only reputable payment systems for our business and to ensure that our passengers’ details are kept secure.” 

Sarah Clark, Deep Sea Divers Den

Why did Deep Sea Divers Den choose SecurePay as their payment gateway?

“It is important to us to use only reputable payment systems for our business and to ensure that our passengers’ details are kept secure.” 

What are your goals for the future of the business?

“We are currently in the planning stages of building a new boat, which will bring our fleet up to four boats and will allow us to carry even more passengers to the Great Barrier Reef.”

Five e-commerce tips for tourism operators

Deep Sea Divers Den shares its five key e-commerce and online lessons.

1. Use an online booking system. Allowing online bookings is essential for any tour operator today. By enabling visitors to quickly and easily book trips from anywhere in the world at any time, you instantly broaden your market.

2. Provide live availability for bookings. Having a system that provides real-time tour availability and immediate, direct confirmations reduces the chance of booking complications and errors, which can be frustrating for clients and can impact your professional image.

3. Make all relevant information easily accessible. Think about the frequently asked questions that your clients have, and make it easy for them to find out everything they might need to know online. For example, from any tour itinerary or bookings page on the Deep Sea Divers Den website, users can easily access information about the vessels, the weather they can expect, maps and dive sites, flying and diving regulations, insurance recommendations and other relevant information.

4. Ensure secure data and payments. Making sure you use only reliable systems to process booking details and payments is essential for building trust with your clients – and avoiding potentially damaging privacy breaches.

5. Engage with your market on social media. Deep Sea Divers Den is active on Facebook, with a community of more than 58,100 . We engage our followers by sharing stunning visuals of the whales, the reefs and happy travellers on tours, which helps create an enticing picture of the experiences we offer, as well as maintaining a relationship with clients.

Did you know?

SecurePay integrates with online booking systems including YesBookit and Bookeasy.

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