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OctopusPrime
12-05-2016, 07:51 PM
We are building an Online booking tool for dive charters. It is in development right now. Most online booking tools do not work for dive boats because they do not allow for the different rates based on dive sites selected. More of the high level features are listed below.

1.Fully mobile friendly
2.Calendar and advanced search options
3.First diver that books dives will select dive sites and that will determine price of charter
4.Additional divers will be able to see selected dives and book open seats
5.Collect information on each diver (name and email address)
6.Diver can add items to cart (rental tanks shirts etc.)
7.Secure integrated credit card billing
8.Allow certain users to pay cash or check
9.Send booking confirmation to diver
10.Resend confirmation 24 hr before boat leaves with Directions, waiver, and any other information you choose
11.Full range of Coupon codes and discount options
12.Reduce refunds by issuing credit for canceled trips. Offer upgrade to book open seat on another more expensive charter.
13.Sends Captain roster prior to charter
14.Full set of reporting options to see open seats, diver history, captain
If you have a dive boat I would be interested in your feed back and what you would want in a booking program.

Software is going to be free to dive boat. Much like ticketmaster we will add a small online booking fee for each seat booked.

notdeadyet
12-05-2016, 08:01 PM
Much like ticketmaster we will add a small online booking fee for each seat booked.

And most music fans think Ticketmaster are just a bunch of bastards, resent paying booking fees and would book direct at the venue whenever possible.

I'll stick to phoning the skipper.

You do realise that you've just announced to the diving public that you want to build an app that will charge them money for something that they can do for free for absolutely no extra value?

GLOC
12-05-2016, 08:03 PM
Welcome...if you want to advertise, we charge a small fee too...If not, expect your account to be locked.

Regards

Ken Hawk
12-05-2016, 09:05 PM
Welcome...if you want to advertise, we charge a small fee too...If not, expect your account to be locked.

Regards

PMSL very good

dwhitlow
12-05-2016, 11:29 PM
We are building an Online booking tool for dive charters. It is in development right now. Most online booking tools do not work for dive boats because they do not allow for the different rates based on dive sites selected. More of the high level features are listed below.

1.Fully mobile friendly
2.Calendar and advanced search options
3.First diver that books dives will select dive sites and that will determine price of charter
4.Additional divers will be able to see selected dives and book open seats
5.Collect information on each diver (name and email address)
6.Diver can add items to cart (rental tanks shirts etc.)
7.Secure integrated credit card billing
8.Allow certain users to pay cash or check
9.Send booking confirmation to diver
10.Resend confirmation 24 hr before boat leaves with Directions, waiver, and any other information you choose
11.Full range of Coupon codes and discount options
12.Reduce refunds by issuing credit for canceled trips. Offer upgrade to book open seat on another more expensive charter.
13.Sends Captain roster prior to charter
14.Full set of reporting options to see open seats, diver history, captain
If you have a dive boat I would be interested in your feed back and what you would want in a booking program.

Software is going to be free to dive boat. Much like ticketmaster we will add a small online booking fee for each seat booked.

That is brilliant! How has the industry survived without it for so long? Thank goodness someone is here to show what has been missing all these years. I am sure the wealthy folk running dive boats will be queuing up to spend money on this amazing idea!

I trust it also collects, and stores, card details in line with current PCI requrements? I can't wait to hear the delighted response from local dive charters when I ask when they plan to implement this? (I hope they won't be too rude)

bubbleless
13-05-2016, 01:59 AM
Using a phone to talk to people.....

You are all ludites, its an app what more do you want......

First diver puts in the dive site and that will base the charter price, you want to sink the opposition, type Titanic.

rivers
13-05-2016, 08:09 AM
Most of the dive ops I use already have this facility on their website. And it's free.

smileydiver
13-05-2016, 08:38 AM
We seem to get by just fine by phone / email / existing online booking set up. I don't think UK charters want extra costs really?

dimitri
13-05-2016, 09:33 PM
Am I the only one that thinks it's not a bad idea? What's wrong with allowing the diving market to decide whether the app/service will (excuse the pun) sink?

In any case, forum rules dictate that advertisers should pay the small fee - I'm sure the OP won't mind (if they do, how do they expect their business model of divers paying a small booking fee to realistically deliver? :-)

notdeadyet
13-05-2016, 09:42 PM
Am I the only one that thinks it's not a bad idea? What's wrong with allowing the diving market to decide whether the app/service will (excuse the pun) sink?

In any case, forum rules dictate that advertisers should pay the small fee - I'm sure the OP won't mind (if they do, how do they expect their business model of divers paying a small booking fee to realistically deliver? :-)

Yeah, I'm all for it. If people want a system that charges you an extra three quid because you are too socially awkward to pick up the phone then you deserve to get it.

You really do have to question if they've done any market research if they want to model themselves on Ticketmaster, generally regarded as the price gouging scum of the earth in the live entertainment industry.

Garf
15-05-2016, 09:57 AM
Am I the only one that thinks it's not a bad idea? What's wrong with allowing the diving market to decide whether the app/service will (excuse the pun) sink?

In any case, forum rules dictate that advertisers should pay the small fee - I'm sure the OP won't mind (if they do, how do they expect their business model of divers paying a small booking fee to realistically deliver? :-)

No I I've toyed with building something similar. It's a pain to book individual places on boats as you have to catch the skipper at the right time on the phone, or wait on email. It's a pain for skippers to have to deal with all the admin and deal with cancelled bookings etc. it's actually screaming out for an online booking system. Done well it would benefit everyone.

As for "how has the UK industry survived" etc, it hasn't, it's dying. An online booking system wouldn't stop this but it would at least maximise the Income for skippers and encourage more people to make ad hoc last minute bookings. If you want younger people to engage and revitalise the sport then saying it doesn't need to go online is a fast way to ensure its demise. Youngsters want to book stuff now, without having to call someone, and not when a skipper reads his email.

Stumo
15-05-2016, 10:28 AM
I wish them luck. If done well - and if there's a common search - it could be really good. E.g. boats within 100 miles of home that have 2 free spaces next weekend, max depth 35m - I'd use that.

Hopefully the fees can be kept acceptable - 1% I'd be happy with, 10% seems too much.

Baron015
15-05-2016, 10:58 AM
As to the propose design for the app, I can see some issues with the first diver to book choosing the site. Some divers may choose sensible, some may not - leading to no further bookings.

No mention of how to deal with minimum numbers eg skipper will not go out with less than 4 or 6 or 8 booked.

How to balance doing same old sites every weeks, a cautious but safe choice that brings in noobs, versus some more adventurous diving that has fewer takers but is the kind of stuff that might inspire the less experienced to push their diving further so they can join in.

Or skippers who put on tech days but want some basic level of competence before putting divers into 85m. But without becoming cert checking dive police.

Don't some skippers already operate online bookings eg Skin Deep / old Scimitar ?

I would use an online system, but find current system of send SMS text to skipper and receive replies later same day, to be quite acceptable.

turnerjd
15-05-2016, 12:37 PM
I wouldn't mind something that lets me see who has places free on which day. But, as I'm a cheapo, once I knew a skipper had places available, I would just call him and book directly, cutting out the middleman. I also like chatting with the skipper before booking, particularly if it isn't a skipper I have previously dived with.

So overall, the idea of aggregating the available spaces is good, but I think you would have a hard time getting us to part with our hard earned cash to book through the app.

Garf
15-05-2016, 01:25 PM
I wouldn't mind something that lets me see who has places free on which day. But, as I'm a cheapo, once I knew a skipper had places available, I would just call him and book directly, cutting out the middleman. I also like chatting with the skipper before booking, particularly if it isn't a skipper I have previously dived with.

So overall, the idea of aggregating the available spaces is good, but I think you would have a hard time getting us to part with our hard earned cash to book through the app.

The success of systems like this depend on the supplier. I've implemented them in the past. If you call the skipper and he says "just book online through the automated system" then the software developer doesn't need to convince you of anything, in the same way you buy books from vendors on amazon and Amazon takes a cut without asking you. They don't need your buy in. They need the skippers.

IanB
15-05-2016, 03:51 PM
Sure some of the boats I was using 5 - 10 years ago were suing an online system then. Plus ša change

turnerjd
15-05-2016, 04:48 PM
Sure some of the boats I was using 5 - 10 years ago were using an online system then. Plus ša change

some of them are still using the same, clunky, outdated system

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:28 AM
That is brilliant! How has the industry survived without it for so long? Thank goodness someone is here to show what has been missing all these years. I am sure the wealthy folk running dive boats will be queuing up to spend money on this amazing idea!

I trust it also collects, and stores, card details in line with current PCI Requirements? I can't wait to hear the delighted response from local dive charters when I ask when they plan to implement this? (I hope they won't be too rude)

Thanks that is the feed back we have heard so far. Skippers are tired of answering the same questions all of the time... Are there any open seats on XXXday? Where are you going... most of which does not turn into a charter. This all started when I was trying to book a charter with my local dive boat. I needed to coordinate with my instructor and the boat to complete my wreck specialty. I called the boat for suggestion on a site for check out dives. Then found next available dates. HUNG UP. Called my instructor... he was not available.... Call Dive Boat find other possible days and times... back and forth. I think it took 10 phone calls over multiple days + emails and I was just tired. If the info was online this could have happened quickly and easily. If there was a dive boat with the info online i would have booked with them.

Yes, we handle all of the secure credit card info. We also track a divers dives so they can see what sites they have been to and where they have not.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:33 AM
I totally understand how you feel. The best part of this is by eliminating time wasting phone calls that result in nothing, now the skipper has time to talk to you in depth about your needs, rental gear and much more.

As far as people doing it for free... I guess they could if they have the skills. If they want to spend hundreds of hours programming and maintaining an application that will maintain their schedule notify and remind divers, manage credit cards securely and manage rentals and add-ons. We have launched the app and many dive boats are interested. Some people pay a marketing company some do it themselves. Others pay for someone to do their taxes others do it themselves. It just comes down to do they have the skills and time?

All feed back is appreciated. Thanks again for your comment.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:34 AM
Welcome...if you want to advertise, we charge a small fee too...If not, expect your account to be locked.

Regards

I am open to advertising. How do I get more info?

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:40 AM
Most of the dive ops I use already have this facility on their website. And it's free.

Thanks Rivers, Yes there is some options out there. Some have integrated google calendars to show dive sites. When they do this is does not update when the book a charter over the phone and you can not buy online. This is very time consuming. Also it does not promote rentals or other add-ons which are higher margin items.

There is also some other online booking tools that will allow people to pay online but it does not allow divers to pick dive sites. Almost all of the solutions out there that provide secure credit card processing and a live up to date calendar have a fee. Many of them are taking up to 10% of the revenue from the dive boat causing the dive boat to raise rates. The diver only sees the higher rate causing the diver to shop on price.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:45 AM
Thanks Smiley Diver. All comments are appreciated. Businesses have lots of options on how to service their customers. Some have to pay people to answer the phones. Other Boats have Local Dive Shops booking for them and get paid a commission. With either of these solutions the dive boat is out money and there is no one to hold accountable or to measure results.

With Dive Scheduler we only get paid if the dive boats books charters. So it is in our best interest to help the dive boat fill the boat and book as many charters as they would like.

It is not for everyone but the demographics are changing in diving and as divers get younger they do not want to pick up the phone. if they can not get the info they want when they want it they will purchase from the site they can.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 01:52 AM
No I I've toyed with building something similar. It's a pain to book individual places on boats as you have to catch the skipper at the right time on the phone, or wait on email. It's a pain for skippers to have to deal with all the admin and deal with cancelled bookings etc. it's actually screaming out for an online booking system. Done well it would benefit everyone.

As for "how has the UK industry survived" etc, it hasn't, it's dying. An online booking system wouldn't stop this but it would at least maximise the Income for skippers and encourage more people to make ad hoc last minute bookings. If you want younger people to engage and revitalise the sport then saying it doesn't need to go online is a fast way to ensure its demise. Youngsters want to book stuff now, without having to call someone, and not when a skipper reads his email.

Thanks for the feedback Garf,

We are seeing it here in the US also. There are less and less dive boats out there. They are struggling. Some have been around the block and are just tired of the grind to make a buck. Others are sending money on websites, social media and none of that makes you any money until someone books online.

If they are really successful they are really busy and their time it very precious to them. If they are not filling to boat regularly they are not willing to pay some large upfront fee to purchase a software package that may or may not help. As a dive this was something I want. I am tired of dozens of phone calls and emails trying to plan a trip. I start looking for a dive boat before we pick a date. I want to make sure that the boat is going to places I want to see.

The best part is there is NO RISK for the dive boat. No software to buy... For now there is no set up fee... We make nothing unless the boat books a charter. we will do what ever it takes to help the boat be successful.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 02:01 AM
I wish them luck. If done well - and if there's a common search - it could be really good. E.g. boats within 100 miles of home that have 2 free spaces next weekend, max depth 35m - I'd use that.

Hopefully the fees can be kept acceptable - 1% I'd be happy with, 10% seems too much.

Thanks for the feed back Stumo. There is an advanced search option. You can search for open seats based on dive site, number of open seats and more. It also tracks where you have been before so you can see where you have not been.

we are planning in the future when we have multiple boats in an area we can turn up a site that you could book on multiple boats. For example if we have multiple boats in Spain. We can build a site that will show open seats on all of the boats on our service in Spain. This will allow divers to plan a trip on multiple dive boats.

As far as the fee, I totally understand. Must of the dive boats we have talked to do not have a $70 charter so the fee is more like 5% instead of 10%. However it is about the scale. we will take into consideration the average dive price when negotiating the booking fee. Also the more boats we get on an the more seats we book the more we can lower the fees. Currently there is a lot of overhead maintaining the credit card security, the servers that it is running on and we continue to develop new features.
we need about 3 more boats before i expect we will break even on monthly expenses not counting marketing budget or making any money.

We spent the time on this app to help dive boats grow and because I am a diver and want the process to be easier. We are all busy. Jobs, family and scuba. Lets make it easy to book dive boats.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 02:03 AM
I wouldn't mind something that lets me see who has places free on which day. But, as I'm a cheapo, once I knew a skipper had places available, I would just call him and book directly, cutting out the middleman. I also like chatting with the skipper before booking, particularly if it isn't a skipper I have previously dived with.

So overall, the idea of aggregating the available spaces is good, but I think you would have a hard time getting us to part with our hard earned cash to book through the app.

Thanks for the feedback. I get it but the app provides a lot of value. If the Dive boat wants the open seats to keep up to date they will have to use the system to book the seat on the boat. Another Cool feature is the dive boat can assign crew. Some boats have multiple captains. Some divers want to dive with a specific captain. You will be able to see what captain is working that charter.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 02:15 AM
As to the propose design for the app, I can see some issues with the first diver to book choosing the site. Some divers may choose sensible, some may not - leading to no further bookings.

No mention of how to deal with minimum numbers eg skipper will not go out with less than 4 or 6 or 8 booked.

How to balance doing same old sites every weeks, a cautious but safe choice that brings in noobs, versus some more adventurous diving that has fewer takers but is the kind of stuff that might inspire the less experienced to push their diving further so they can join in.

Or skippers who put on tech days but want some basic level of competence before putting divers into 85m. But without becoming cert checking dive police.

Don't some skippers already operate online bookings eg Skin Deep / old Scimitar ?

I would use an online system, but find current system of send SMS text to skipper and receive replies later same day, to be quite acceptable.

GREAT feed back we have thought of this. it may be hard to explain in text but when setting a departure time you can select a group of dives or pre-select the dives. For example you can make a group of dives that is Sat AM dives. This selection may have 2 wrecks and 2 reef dives. But Sat PM dives may be a technical 2 tank 1 dive site dive. We have talked to boats that need to limit the sites for their AM dives because they will not make it back for afternoon dives.

As for certification levels. There is reminders during the booking process the diver MUST provide C-card and be certified for the conditions of the dive. We are working on a new feature that the administrator can mark a dive site as advanced. This will then create a pop up warning with a message specific to that wreck. We also may ask for Cert number so dive boat can confirm before the day of the dive. Then captain can call to confirm.

For minimum divers. Most dive boats already have disclaimer about min number of divers to go out. To help with this we have built a cancellation feature. It automatically credit back to divers and send notifications to divers and captain that charter has been canceled. Also the captain gets an email with diver contact information as a dive roster so if it is last minute they can call or email the divers for any last minute updates.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 02:19 AM
The success of systems like this depend on the supplier. I've implemented them in the past. If you call the skipper and he says "just book online through the automated system" then the software developer doesn't need to convince you of anything, in the same way you buy books from vendors on amazon and Amazon takes a cut without asking you. They don't need your buy in. They need the skippers.

Great point Garf. Yes it is still VERY important for the dive boat to service and help their customers. Lets face it Scuba is a social sport. With surface intervals most divers are social. Divers still want to talk to the skipper. But hopefully if we can help the skipper answer the simple questions they will have more time to have an in depth conversation with the divers that need some help or what to be social.

OctopusPrime
08-12-2016, 02:23 AM
Sure some of the boats I was using 5 - 10 years ago were suing an online system then. Plus ša change

I have seen some others but many of the boats I talk to are trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I saw one dive boat that basically had 5 paypal buttons to pay online but when you went to check out it did not say what you just paid for, when you were going. I do not know about you but I'm not giving some random online store $200+ and not have anything to show for it. Others have online calendar but not online payments. This means someone needs to update the calendar every time someone books.

We have also built a robust set of coupon options and notifications to make sure the diver has clear instructions on how to get to the boat, what to bring, waiver to print and much more.

PhilPage
08-12-2016, 10:50 AM
I think it's a great idea. As Garf says, however, our buy-in is largely irrelevant. It's the skippers he has to bring on board.

dwhitlow
08-12-2016, 03:39 PM
I think it's a great idea. As Garf says, however, our buy-in is largely irrelevant. It's the skippers he has to bring on board.
From a diver perspective, it may seem attractive but.....

I am pretty sure what the skippers I know would have to say about a system that diverts some of their money to make it easier for divers to leave booking until the last minute, when they have an idea of the weather and conditions.

If however, someone were to charter the boat and use the app to fill the spaces then I am sure they'd be much more sympathetic.

AxeMan
08-12-2016, 04:47 PM
All this talk of stores, marking dives as 'advanced' and certification numbers just goes to show how different the UK dive charter business is to the US.

Never quite sure how to reply when someone asks me if I'm open water or advanced as if they're the only two options

Garf
14-12-2016, 04:19 PM
From a diver perspective, it may seem attractive but.....

I am pretty sure what the skippers I know would have to say about a system that diverts some of their money to make it easier for divers to leave booking until the last minute, when they have an idea of the weather and conditions.

If however, someone were to charter the boat and use the app to fill the spaces then I am sure they'd be much more sympathetic.

I agree. Right up to the point where a skipper wonders why all the youngsters are booking with someone else. Then they will get on board with the idea quickly. I know quite a few skippers in the early 00's who said a lift was a bollocks idea that was completely unnecessary. All of a sudden people start booking based on whether the boat has a lift and it becomes urgent to get a lift fitted. the same would be true of an online booking system.

To get this working, the guy really only needs 1 skipper in an area to use it heavily. I'd give it to the skipper and their users free. I would even give that skipper a quid per booking for using it. Once that boat starts getting more bookings then get another skipper on board. now people are using the app to find spaces in a dive area. The other skippers would soon catch on. The challenge here is not how to monetise it, it's how to generate a market. I personally think this is a goer. If I had the time, I'd build it myself.

Ken
14-12-2016, 04:44 PM
I have a thing like this partly done. My aim is to make administrating club dives easier for me, knowing who needs chasing for money etc. I can't see making money on it though.