I love dive trips for the club. I spend time with those I don’t always see in the busy weeks between trips and I get to dive some amazing sites with divers whose experience and ability I know. I enjoy diving with new people too and I’ve made some amazing friends through diving but here are a few tips about organising your own dive trip.
Home or Away? If you’re organising a UK trip then it’s more straightforward. No passports, no health care to worry about or flights or luggage… If you are going abroad then think about where. If you’re organising a flight then you can arrange a group ticket which means you don’t need to give names at the time of booking which is a bit of a bonus when it comes to people committing to the trip. Alternatively you can book the diving and accommodation and ask others to book their own travel arrangements.
Booking accommodation. The problem with the UK weather is that a dive weekend may get blown out. You may also have fewer people than you thought you would originally have. Booking through a site such as booking.com will allow you to cancel places fairly late in the process. If you are going abroad then consider accommodation that is all inclusive to do away with the arrangements for evening meals and a swimming pool will give you a place to relax on your non diving day and in the evenings. It’s also an opportunity for non diving partners to enjoy the holiday and increase the number of people who may book onto the trip.
Costs If you’re booking ahead and committing money then this is a consideration. If you’re looking at a group of 15 then it may be worth splitting the costs amongst 13 to allow some wriggle room financially. You can always refund the extra at a later date. I always try to include everything in a trip and detail it! A trip may come up as more expensive but a recent trip for 4 days would have been £500 – a lot? Maybe, except it was all inclusive and included costs for getting to the airport, transfers, luggage… another 4 day trip was advertised at £395 but didn’t include any food or transport which added up to well over £500. Make the most of the reductions available for groups. For example a group of 8 may only pay for 7 divers. I would use this “free” place as an emergency cash option. I wouldn’t reduce the costs for divers initially but keep it in reserve in case of an unbooked place and would refund any additional at a later date.
Deposit The deposit needs to be realistic. If you’re shelling out £200 a person for prebooked activities then that’s the deposit. Whatever happens you need to ensure you’re not going to lose out if the trip gets cancelled. Make it clear what is refundable and what isn’t. If someone pulls out of a trip and it’s already full, and they find a person to take their place then I’m not worried about the deposit. However if there are any costs involved or the place isn’t filled then the deposit is non refundable.
Filling the places We will offer all trips to the club first. If the places aren’t filled then we put them out to facebook groups which is generally successful. Buddy up with other dive clubs and offer trips to each other.
Who’s responsible? If you’re a DM or an instructor are you there in a work capacity or is it a personal dive for you? If it’s the latter then that needs to be made clear from the start. One way of covering costs is to offer training places on trips such as Discover Local Diving or Boat Speciality.
Staying organised! Keep all the info on payments and people. I use a simple spreadsheet and update it as soon as payments are made or information that I need is given. It’s so easy to get lost very quickly! People are asked to pay electronically with a reference to the trip e.g. “Plymouth” which helps me to check through if need be.
Have fun! It can be difficult to organise a trip but the purpose is to have fun and enjoy it – so make sure you enjoy your diving and the company of the group!