Saturday, July 23, 2011
It's about time to make this post again. It's that time of the year where it's busy in Kona and elsewhere. I've been getting lots of phone calls the last few days from people that I just can't help out because they've either been beaten to the punch and I'm full, or they're calling so late I don't have the ability to set up charters or add on enough passengers to make a charter worthwhile.
I got a couple of interesting phone calls this week:
One was from a person who flew over to this island, for one night, specifically to do the manta dive. Unfortunately for tehm, they waited 'til they arrived to try to arrange for the manta dive. From the list of operators that had turned them away, it appears everyone was either full or not going out. I gave them the list of every one I knew of that might possibly be going out that night, hopefully the found a ride and weren't disappointed. I had a similar call the next day, but at least they had one extra day available to go and I was able to take them.
I received another phone call from someone who had seen that I'm one of the few, if only, charters here that goes out with only two divers, problem is they wanted it in a time frame that made it very unlikely for me to even break even (not to mention they said they were open to either of two days, until they found out I already had someone on board the other day). I'm happy to guarantee charters for two divers if they can give me at least a week to try to book on top of it... when that happens, more often than not I'll get an extra body or more on board to make it worthwhile, so it's worth guaranteeing the dive. When people are looking at booking within a week, hopefully they have a flexible schedule and can join in when there are existing charters. I even guarantee charters for singles from time to time (most are long time customers I consider to be friends, or it's during a busy time for me and I'm quite sure I've got a good shot at booking on top) Historically, 90% of my business is booked a week to months in advance...It's July and I had two inquiries yesterday for February and April (didn't book yet, but I bet by November I'll have a couple of firm bookings for late winter or spring)... I've historically been getting very few short notice bookings, as the new shop starts to generate more traffic, that'll change and the issue may never come up again.
From what I've seen over the years, many companies on occasion do a last minute scramble to cancel or reschedule charters with people who've already booked because there weren't enough to make the charter a go at a profit. I try not to go there by either guaranteeing my bookings, or not taking them if it's what I'd consider to be realistically too short of a time period to book enough to make it worthwhile. Luckily most of my weeks have enough charters already going out that last minute couples or singles with flexible schedules can get out with me.
Anyway, from what I've seen, there are lots of people scrambling to find spots with local activities (not just scuba) on short notice right now. I've been there myself when I've travelled, but my recommendation is to try to arrange the activities you really want to do at least a week in advance, it'll likely save you some phone calls and frustrations.
The photo above is of an Imperial Shrimp that lives on a Spanish Dancer Nudibranch. I was lucky to spot this one, we don't see either of them often enough.