Skydiving is among the considered extreme and adventurous sports. Over the reviewed period, it has studied that only a small portion of our population is engaged in skydiving, and the number of skydivers grow slowly every year. This research aimed to study the most effective marketing strategies to help the skydiving industry, particularly the indoor skydiving, experience a tremendous growth. Among the identified marketing strategies are partnership with travel and tourism key players and ministry of health, maximizing the advantage and cost benefits of the social networking and online reservations, rewarding recruitment, niche marketing, and health and safety positioning.
Indoor skydiving is a relatively new industry in the world. A research of the Florida International University stated that indoor skydiving traced its roots in the popularization of vertical wind tunnel that was introduced in 1920s, but the term skydiving was started to be used during 1950’s. A skydiver Jack Tiffany was the first to used the vertical wind tunnel for skydiving which was in 1967 (Anchundia et.al., Online). The recreational vertical wind tunnel started to became popular in 1984, and recently in the decade of 2000s, the indoor skydiving was introduced with safety positioning ((Anchundia et.al., Online and Lee, Online).
The Offtrack Planet’s website listed that 10 best places for skydiving such as Wollongong, Sydney, Australia, Seville, Spain, Russia, Zamibia, and Hawaii. It also listed Le Merche, Italy, Namibia, Mauritius, Fox Glacier, New Zealand, and Mt. Everest Nepal as the top five skydiving places (Weaver, Online). We conducted desk researches to study the effective ways of marketing Indoor Skydiving given the current market
Skydiving, in general, is a relatively small industry. The Chicago Tribune news article dated 11 July 2005 stated that about 3 million people skydive annually (Greenfield, Online). The United States Parachute Association’s website revealed that the skydiving membership of the said organization reached 34,800 in 2012, a 3.8% from the registered in the previous year. Such also signifies a slow growth of individuals engaging in skydiving (United States Parachute Association, Online). In the midst of growing skydiving and indoor skydiving entrepreneurs, coupled with the slow growing number of skydivers, competition and market growth remained a key challenge in the indoor skydiving industry.
Aside from the stiff competition, Skydivehelp news article said the price of the indoor skydiving is relatively high compared to the traditional skydiving (Walker, Online). Chicago Tribune also noted that skydiving, even if it’s an indoor skydiving, is inherently dangerous and is perceived as such (Greenfield, Online).
The low popularity of the skydiving all over the world can be attributed to the perceived danger of the said sport. Thrill seekers and adventurers accounts for smaller percentage of the sports enthusiasts. Indoor skydiving can be a way to tap the thrill seekers in the cities that have busy schedules due to the proximity of the indoor skydiving centers. However, the fear of skydiving of most individuals hampers the momentous growth of the skydiving companies despite of the increasing presence in the advanced cities such as New York and New Hampshire (Walker, Online).
Technology is another concern in the indoor skydiving business. With the high concern on safety, an indoor skydiving company needs to invest on safe and highly durable technology and machines needed to provide an excellent and harmless flying experience to its clientele. Innovations such as the incorporation of the feel of the nature in the activity are needed to win share against the outdoor skydivers.
A TechniAsia news article stated that the professional skydivers accounts for a small percentage of the indoor skydiving revenues (TechniAsia, Online). Such is detrimental to the growth of the industry as the professional skydivers can train the young enthusiasts and influence younger individuals to like the sport which can be a key to the future growth of the industry.
The last challenge which is evident in the industry is the lack or insufficient information dissemination about the indoor skydiving companies and their unique product and services offering. Rarely an individual can find an industry information, notable advertisements, and activities of indoor skydiving companies.
The current pressing concerns in the indoor skydiving industry have many implications to the entrepreneurs. For one, the limited and relatively small population of individuals engaging in skydiving compelled the indoor skydiving entrepreneurs to be creating in their marketing activities and product offering to generate ample and growing revenues.
Lawren Koh, a Singaporean entrepreneur and the founder of iFly Singapore, recognized the challenge of competition given the fact that the clients of the indoor skydiving are also the skydivers who engage in outdoor recreation. A TechniAsia news article dated 17 January 2012 described how Lawren Koh surpassed the competition challenge and profited from it. He applied strategies such as target marketing, corporate partnerships and sponsorships, investment on attractive but safe facilities, partnership to tourism related activities, tapping the leisure skydivers instead of the professional skydivers, and opening for lease of the partial properties of the iFly Singapore. In 2012, the iFly Singapore earned SGD 5 million (Lee, Online).
Many indoor skydiving companies also came up to a campaign that can attract more customers. For instance, iFly Singapore had a partnership with Canon for its Think Big advertisement while Vegas Indoor Skydiving launched the ad campaign, I believe I can Fly (Vegas Indoor Skydiving, Online and Lee, Online).
Creative themes became helpful in increasing revenues. iFly Singapore used airplane theme to provide a memorable flying experience to its customers (Lee, Online). Sky Venture use theme park to have a unique market positioning (Dencio, Online).
The indoor skydiving entrepreneurs also had discounts to help win customers from their competitors in the skydiving industry as well as in the other sports segment. iFly Singapore had a package of USD 27.5 indoor skydiving package which is a markdown from the USD 58.52 package (Facebook, 2012). Sky Venture, on the other hand, offered USD5-15 per fly (Dencio, Online).
There have been some efforts from the indoor skydiving companies to increase media exposure through print media advertisements. However, these are not enough to significantly increase awareness about the said sport and about the safety and other advantages of indoor skydiving. Nevertheless, articles about the health and psychological benefits of indoor were stated to be disseminated to counter the negative perspective about the news.
The marketing solutions of the indoors skydiving companies, iFly Singapore and Sky Venture are effective in increasing sales. However, to further combat the current challenges there are additional alternative solutions that we can present given the low level of popularity of the sport and the stiff competition.
As Lawren Koh mentioned, the money in the indoor skydiving is in the leisure and not in the professional skydiving. Therefore, it is very strategic to have marketing activities tying-up with Travel and Tourism industry and companies especially in the area of the sports tourism. It will also be good to participate in any government’s tourism marketing efforts to benefit the sports tourism industry such as the numerous local and international promotional affairs on sports events. It is also advantageous to check on the countries that are positioning themselves as sports destination and create a marketing activity in those countries such as trade fairs, tie-up with travel retailers, and partnership with the tour operators engaged in adventure tourism.
It is also iimportant to leverage on the social networking and maximize its advantage. Social networking sites can be a cost-saving way of marketing products and services. Indoor skydiving companies can boost social networking pages to have a large coverage of products and services views for a very low cost as compared to the traditional multi-media advertisements. It is also an effective way to sell as the indoor skydiving companies can post real-time discounts and promotions that can stimulate demand.
The other advantage of the social networking sites as a marketing tool is its viral nature. Sports enthusiast can easily share any photos with the indoor skydiving company whenever there are excellent and unforgettable experiences with the indoor skydiving company. Such can encourage more patronage from the social networking site friends of the client who tried the services of a particular indoor skydiving company.
James La Barrie, the General Manager of Sky Diving Carolina, shared in his article entitled Marketing Essentials for the Skydiving Industry some effective marketing for indoor and outdoor skydiving to achieve growth. Among those that he noted are strong advertising campaigns that compel people to act and recruitment promotion in which one company can produce a program that will encourage group utilization of indoor skydiving. La Barrie also said that online reservations are effective as it gives the customers the benefit to book reservations at his most convenient time and the cost can be lower because of less people paid for the reservation. Other effective strategies that he mentioned are sending video emails, data collection for sending newsletters, and continuous market research with interviews on strengths and weaknesses of the company to know how services can be further improved (La Barrie, Online).
Now that we already know the effective marketing strategies for indoor skydiving, we need to draw and plan the implementation strategy. Companies should plan the marketing carefully in a year span. We shall need to focus on the effective marketing activities such as tie-up with the travel and tourism companies and government activities, use of social networking sites, online reservations, recruitment, niche marketing and press conferences.
For the partnership with the travel and tourism companies and governments, it is important to be in touch with the travel and tourism trade associations in all sectors such as transport, hotel and accommodation, travel retailers, and parks and amusements. Each trade association and sector has a year-round marketing events, trade conferences, and trade fair which a company can join. It is best to book and participate to these events and schedule one big event per month with such trade associations to have an intensive marketing presence and partnership with the relevant and helpful industries.
Likewise, the indoor skydiving company should always schedule a government meeting with the tourism ministry. The government has yearly schedules of big tourism events wherein all tourism sectors can participate. Such trade conferences are held four to six times a year and being present in all of those events can boost partnerships and help increase individual and corporate client base.
The tourism ministries that are focused on promoting sports tourism can hold 50-100 sports festival in various parts of the country and internationally. Participating in relevant sports fest such as those related adventure and nature sports tourism can help increase brand exposure in various parts of the country. The indoor skydiving company can also have presence in the non-relevant sports fest through sponsorships in exchange of company banners display. An indoor skydiving company can arrange a schedule to accommodate and participate in about at least 24 sports fest in a year for a very high exposure.
The second important marketing activity is the leveraging of technology. The global use of internet is drastically growing. Hence, it is best to tap the market in the internet. If a skydiving company has no social networking site, it is best to start putting up accounts on the most popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumbler. Boost such page to have several thousand or million likes to establish a market audience for any marketing activity or real time discounts and promotions.
A discount and promotion post can also have several thousand and even million views by paying a social networking site a minimal payment. It is much cheaper than the multimedia advertisements. It is good to provide a link on online reservation and online payment in the social networking sites so that potential clients can book their reservations or avail services at any time they prefer. Similarly, the indoor skydiving company’s website should also have a portion wherein a customer can book online to avail its products and services. Such can add to the convenience of the potential clients which they can greatly appreciate given the increasing busier lifestyle of most individuals. It also helps reduce the reservation costs for the client and for the company as technology reduces the manpower expenses.
Recruitment can be effective by providing programs that will induce more visits from a client’s friends and relatives. This can be realized through providing freebies for bringing a buddy and for providing significant discount for a specific number of people using the services as a group. For example, free family pizza for a group of five and group of three for free healthy snacks. Such promotion can vary and can be applied four to six times a year to significantly increase the number of indoor skydivers. Implementation of a loyalty program such as yearly and semi-annual membership with extra benefits assures a fix income for a specific number of months.
Creating a program for niche marketing on one segment of the business or company’s services can also help incur fixed income. According to the United States Parachute Association’s website, large numbers of skydivers are military people. The other professions with high number of skydivers are computer professionals, building trades, and business managers (United States Parachute Association, Online)
. It is best to create a program especially for military people such as provision of a state of the art facility in a portion of an indoor skydiving area intended to suit the needs of the military people. Membership with freebies from the military market segment will also help an indoor skydiving company a profitable and sustainable income.
Lastly, the press conferences are effective ways to communicate about the company, products and services, and on-going marketing activities. The topics can be about new services launched, new corporate partnerships interviews, seminars, and communication of safety and health benefits of indoor skydiving.
An indoor skydiving company must assure that all of the activities and big events that it is engaged should be communicated with the press whether it is a company’s expense or other entity or association’s expense. Press conferences are cheaper ways to advertise products than placing ad per se in various media outfit. Through press conferences, an indoor skydiving company can inform the public about the current products and services and positive developments about the company. Such is more than 50% less expensive than placing multi-media ad campaign. A press conference should be conducted as often as necessary.
There are various marketing strategies for specific industries, but the proposed strategies in this paper are the most reliable ones given the size of the industry, competitive landscape, and the profitable market segments in the skydiving sector. However there are other business strategies that may or may not part of the marketing tasks that can play in important role in the company’s revenue growth and expansion. One of them is the continuous innovation of services. Such innovation can be achieve through constant market research to be updated on what the customers currently want, their lifestyle, and potential new market segments. With that having in mind, a company can formulate a unique indoor skydiving service that will be a hit in the market.
Aside from innovation, an indoor skydiving company should continue look for new and emerging markets where indoor skydiving services. Although such expansion can mean higher capital especially if an indoor skydiving company wish to expand overseas, merger can be a strategy that the company can apply to reach the untapped markets. Merger activities can strengthen capital, products, and services while it lessens the risks. Further, mergers can also result to clientele base sharing which can be beneficial to both companies.
The strengthened capital can be used to purchasing high quality equipment that guarantees safety of the customers. As such an indoor skydiving company could create a new advertisement that can guarantee the safety of the participants. Such will be a key to the radical increase number of people engaging in skydiving activities. The safety guarantee will elicit interest and trials as all people wants to experience something new and enjoy from time to time. Once such safety guarantee is assured, an indoor skydiving company can also allot a portion of skydiving area for kids who can have similar experience at a very high level of safety.
Recreation and health are the other market positioning that the indoor skydiving company can apply. Such can be achieved by having a store or room layout that fosters the spirit of recreation. Allocate an area where a company can post information or arrange set up that communicates the health benefits of the indoor skydiving to its existing clients for a repeated sales. If the budget allows, an indoor skydiving company can also tap a famous sportsman and celebrity that can use the skydiving facility. Such will bring confidence and regard to the indoor skydiving company as well as to the activity per se.
The rapid development of the high rise condominium and the trend for developing various areas into a metropolis is providing the indoor skydiving industry a momentous growth opportunity if skydiving will be promoted effectively and will assure utmost safety to the consumers. The stressful works on the offices is creating a demand for recreation and sports that can improve strength, agility, endurance, and peace of mind. Indoor skydiving can be the sport that can meet that needs and can be the most preferred sports given appropriate and high quality facilities, soothing experience of the fly, and aggressive marketing activities.
Works Cited Page
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