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Thursday, April 27, 2017

National Week of The Ocean


Sea Life Under the Ocean

This week, Sub Sea Systems celebrated National Week of the Ocean by posting facts about sea life to our social media audiences. Utilizing Sea TREK, Reef Alliance, and SSS social pages, we reflected on the beauty of our oceans and the sea life within.

Taking this opportunity to teach others about our oceans aligns with the messaging promoted through Reef Alliance. Reef Alliance is an evolving program that promotes sustainable diving practices and environmental education. Primarily delivered to individuals who participate in Sea TREK helmet diving tours, Reef Alliance focuses on educating individuals who may be encountering marine life for their very first time. The goal of Reef Alliance is to create awareness of conservation efforts, ocean life protection, and reef restoration through a variety of messaging.

Conservation

Reef Alliance is committed to conservation efforts. Embracing the slogan “think locally; act globally”, the Alliance promotes Reef Alliance Day, an event that coincides with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. All over the world, thousands of volunteers work together to remove trash and debris from beaches, lakes, and rivers. Reef Alliance Day brings together a team, which included SSS staff, to clean up local waterways. Participants can “sign up to clean up” online, and the event is promoted via social media campaigns.

Several Reef Alliance members also participate in annual Earth Day cleanups. This year volunteers from Coral World Ocean Park recovered more than 50 bags of trash and debris from a 1-acre plot of mangroves!

Additionally, visitors to the Reef Alliance’s website are encouraged to take a pledge to commit to conservation. The pledge involves a commitment to respect the ocean, reduce waste by recycling, and to “take only photos and leave only bubbles” during ocean exploration. You can take the pledge here. 

Protecting Wild Fish Populations

school of fish
Photo Courtesy Wikipedia
Reef Alliance and Sea TREK are proud to partner with Rising Tide Conservation; a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of coral reefs and wild fish populations through sustainable aquaculture. Rising Tide collaborates with research universities and public aquariums to discover new methods to captive-breed saltwater aquarium fish, in order to reduce the negative impact of fishing on coral reefs.

Donations raised through the SeaTREK program at Discovery Cove Orlando have contributed nearly $50,000 to Rising Tide Conservation - enough to fully fund the research of one Ph.D. student. A portion of every payment for a Sea TREK adventure at Discovery Cove is donated to Rising Tide.


Restoring and Enhancing Our Reefs

Photo Courtesy Nick Hobgood
One method of maintaining healthy reefs and healthy tourism is to take pressure off the natural reef through artificial enhancements. The Alliance promotes these enhancements, which allow sea life populations to thrive. Reef balls, 3D printed modular reefs, and decommissioned, stripped down vehicles are several ways to enhance an underwater area; thus not relying on neighboring natural reef environments for entertainment. These manmade structures can convert a once barren area to a thriving home– providing surfaces for new coral growth and hiding places for fish while offering an interesting scene for human visitors to observe. 

Many Sea TREK locations incorporate artificial enhancements, which not only give visitors fabulous photo opportunities, but also improve reef health and growth.



If you would like to learn more about
Reef Alliance and how you can help protect our oceans and waterways, check out 
http://www.reefalliance.com







Reef Alliance Link

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Safety on the Water: Keeping Things Fun, While Maintaining a Safe Environment


FunCat boat safety

May is National Water Safety Month! The purpose of this campaign is to bring into focus the importance of water safety in all types of swimming and aquatic environments. Swimming and other water-related activities are increasingly popular this time of year, so it’s helpful to be reminded of safe water practices. The American Red Cross, World Waterpark Association, National Recreation and Park Association, and the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals are partners in coordinating the awareness campaign.

Statistics make it clear how important it is to communicate information regarding water safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2005-2014, there were 3,536 fatal, unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States. Additionally, over 300 people die each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. The following recommendations will help your family have fun on the water while staying safe.

Learn to Swim!
child swimming - water safetySurprisingly, over 50% of Americans can't swim. Learning to swim is one of the most important ways to prevent water safety accidents. Getting kids into formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. Check with your local YMCA facility or swim school for a list of upcoming classes and sign up! Adults should not only learn basic swimming skills, but should consider adding water safety training to their repertoire of parenting skills. The Red Cross offers a variety of classes and life-saving training opportunities, from first aid to CPR. Check out some of the programs here.

Friend and Family Time
Lifeguard sleeping
zzzzzz....
The water is more fun with friends! Always swim with at least one companion. Don’t allow anyone to swim alone, even at pools or beaches with lifeguards. It’s a good idea to keep a cell phone nearby, in case there is a need to call for help. When you’re boating, be sure to go with a friend or two. Equip your boat with appropriate life jackets - and wear them! Even good swimmers should be properly equipped with life jackets. While boating and swimming, stay alert for dangerous waves or signs of rip currents. Some visual signs of potentially unsafe water include: water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris and moving in a channel away from shore.


photo courtesy boat-ed.com
Monitor Children In And Around Water
Never leave a child unattended around the water. Appoint a responsible adult as the “water watcher” so children are monitored at all times. Stay within arm’s reach of little ones and stay focused. Remove toys from the water when the kids are not playing with them. Toys can be a powerful attraction to inexperienced or untrained swimmers. Train children in safe practices such as walking – not running – at the pool. Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision. Additionally, remind those in charge that not all water accidents include splashing and noise. Relying on sound to assure safety is not adequate.


Create a Safe Pool Environment
pool safety gate
A safe pool is a fun pool. There are many things you can do to improve the safety of your backyard pool. Start with a professionally built swimming pool that meets local codes. If you have an existing outdoor pool, it should be enclosed with a four-sided, sturdy fence that completely separates the pool area from the house and yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet high. Use self-closing and self-latching gates that open outward with latches that are out of reach of children. Additional barriers such as automatic door locks and alarms can prevent access or alert you if someone enters the pool area. Add a safety cover, and upgrade to a pool pump with a safety vacuum release system (SVRS). Maintaining your pool on a regular basis will also go a long way to keeping the environment safe. Added safety measures should include keeping a phone within easy reach, and having a first aid kit nearby, whenever the pool is in use.


Boating Safety Measures
Take a course and know the signs! Most states require a boating license, but even if it is not required, taking a class or two to learn about boating safety can prevent unnecessary accidents. Understanding the signs you will see along waterways, such as the various markers and signals, can prevent accidents and ensure that you have a fun and memorable experience. Check out these boating safety tips from the US Coast Guard.


Spending time on the water, having fun, and enjoying time with loved ones in a safe environment can create lasting, happy memories. What are you doing to promote safety in and around the water?


FunCat Electric Catamaran Click


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ramp It Up! Marketing Ideas To Help Increase Your Sales


 Sea TREK vehicle wrap

Need some marketing ideas to promote your Sea TREK location? We’ve got some great new suggestions that can help you increase awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Vehicle wraps
We’ve all seen them- bright and colorful advertising wrapped around cars and trucks. Potential customers see these vehicles as they travel around. They’re hard to miss, which is a good thing! This is a great way to reach potential customers who are a captive audience at traffic lights or while riding in a taxi. Some companies pay their employees an incentive to wrap their cars, which increases visibility. Think about all of the places your employees drive to, and how frequently your “moving billboard” will be seen!

“We incorporated the truck wrap just a few weeks ago, and I have already had 20 calls, 10 of them for SeaTREK. The wrap is currently our biggest form of advertisement! I believe this is something all operators should use.” -Anthony Leonce, Sea TREK Manager, Sea Adventures, St. Lucia

SSS is currently offering to design a vehicle wrap for you, free of charge. Our fab Designer, Christina, will create your wrap! Login to your mySeaTREK account for more info. 


Sea TREK helmet display
NEW! Helmet Display System
Want to get lots of attention at your location? Check out the new Sea TREK Helmet Display System! This marketing “eye candy” is best placed at or near your ticket counter. Your potential customers will get to try on a Sea TREK helmet and gain a firsthand perspective. The helmet is attached to a cantilever system with a perfectly balanced counterweight. The display also comes decorated with your company logo and branding.  The bright colors and “touch and feel” opportunity are sure to attract more guests. SSS provides the whole package at a great price. Contact us today to get your order into production!

 
Incentivize
You staff will be encouraged to sell if they have their eyes on a prize! Create excitement by holding special staff incentives. A fun incentive for staff members can create a friendly competition. Upselling Sea TREK photo packages for example, and offering a prize (and bragging rights!) to the team member with the most sales, will help you increase profits and build team member loyalty.

 
“Book now” Buttons and Calls to Action
Websites such as TripAdvisor now let guests book directly from their site. Any business that has a TripAdvisor page can set up a “book in advance” option; enabling guests to read reviews and book a tour all in one convenient location. TripAdvisor takes a small percentage of the sale, but the exposure and "instant booking" opportunity makes it a worthwhile investment. Other popular 3rd party travel sites where operators can promote and sell excursions are viator and expedia.com.

 
Sea TREK Living Classroom
Living Classroom
Sea TREK is a memorable way to take kids from a traditional classroom to a “living classroom.” Transport kids from books to real life! Work with local schools to include a Sea TREK experience within the marine science curriculum. This hands-on approach strengthens the educational pursuit through entertainment, while providing a rewarding outlet for your business to give back to the community. These programs are also excellent PR opportunities!

 
Visit Your Local Concierge
Hotel guests frequently take advantage of the onsite Concierge Desk to help them find fun things to do. A trip to your local Concierge may be just the ticket to bring in more guests to your location. Make sure your visit is friendly, informative and concise. Introduce yourself, leave your business card or contact information, and invite the staff to come try a complimentary Sea TREK experience firsthand. A small map of your location along with the discount coupons for hotel guests is also helpful.

 
Build “Character”
There’s no denying the popularity of “full size” cartoon characters and animals (a.k.a. adults dressed in costumes). Build a social media campaign around your unique mascot by featuring him on your social pages and website. Have your character available for selfies at your location. This new team member could be just what you need to draw in traffic! He will fast become a recognized symbol of your brand.

 
Special Events
Clear Lounge Cozumel Facebook
Are you having a special event? Take lots of photos and videos of participants (make sure you have their permission first!), and share them on a special events tab on your Facebook page. Tag the participants for additional shares, likes and comments. Utilize this tab for future events, showing how much fun everyone had at this event. Our partners at Clear Lounge Cozumel are currently celebrating their 2nd anniversary; they're hosting daily dance parties and promoting the fun on Facebook Live. The videos are getting a ton of attention, likes and comments. 


Send Invitations
Invite media personalities and/or popular travel bloggers to partake in your TREK, in exchange for a write-up, review or broadcast.  Make sure you link any article or video review of your tour to your social media pages, so that future guests can see the recognition you’ve received. 


What new marketing ideas have you implemented at your location? What is your best traffic-driving tool? Share your business-building ideas below!
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

2017 - The Year of Travel


Most of us have at least one bucket list item that includes travel, and 2017 is an excellent time to take advantage of once in a lifetime opportunities. In fact, Travel Pulse Magazine has declared that 2017 should be your “Year of Travel”. There are unique experiences to be had across the globe this year, many of which are one-time offerings. Don’t miss out on the following 2017-specific events.


2017 total eclipse of the sun

Total Eclipse, US
A total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun, is truly a rarity. The next eclipse will be visible on August 21, 2017 in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Otherwise you'll have to wait till 2028 in Australia! Check out greatamericaneclipse.com for a list of ideal viewing areas.



jazz festival nola
Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th Birthday, New Orleans
The New Orleans Jazzfest falls just a couple of days after the late, great Ella Fitzgerald's 100th birthday. The festival runs from April 28-May 7, and the Ella tributes will be overflowing amid the modern and traditional jazz, zydeco, pop, soul, rap and rock performances. Special performances by Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Harry Connick Jr. and many other well-known performers will leave you star struck. For information on performances and other events, check out www.nola.com for details.


Cannes Film Festival 75th Anniversary, France
The world's best-known movie festival always puts on a show, but on its 70th anniversary, you can expect something special. U2 performed a 10-minute free concert on the steps of the Palais for its 60th. How will they top that next May 17-28? See http://www.festival-cannes.com.


Canada birthday ottowa
Canada’s 150th Birthday, Ottowa, CA
Ottawa kicked off Canada’s 150th Birthday celebration with more than 400 youth, each carrying a torch, forming a human chain from the Ottawa 2017 Cauldron to Parliament Hill. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Exceptional events like the pyro-musical fireworks, concerts, and the very cool Kontinuum, the ultimate underground experience with a futuristic and immersive multimedia production. The entire country will celebrate by having free admission to the National Parks throughout they year. Read about these unique events and activities here. 



100th Anniversary, Finland
This year, Finland is celebrating a century of independence from Russia. The festivities were launched with vibrant blue and white fireworks in Helsinki on New Year’s Eve, 2016. The theme of the celebration, “Together”, reaches out to Finns and friends of Finland to unite over events that honor the country’s culture and history. Luminous light art installations will come to life, outlining Finland’s natural and historical sites. Children (in life and at heart) can revel in the world’s only Moomin Museum, inaugurated for Finland 100, complete with over 2,000 original works from Finnish children’s books. Read more at http://www.ottawa2017.ca/. 


Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – 125 Years, Great Britain
For fans of Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Britain's infamous detective, there's reason to celebrate! 2017 marks the 125th year of Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Visit Sherlock and Watson’s famous address, 221B Baker St. While it doesn’t actually exist, the exterior of their flat as seen in the series is shot on a quieter west London road at 187 North Gower Street. Other opportunities sure to be of interest to Sherlock fans include, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, a Grade II-listed building devoted to the detective. It features a re-creation of his sitting room, and a gift shop. The Sherlock Holmes Pub in Westminster is stuffed with memorabilia, including Dr. Watson's old service revolver and his favorite food, Cumberland sausages. Details can be round here.


San francisco love festival 2017
50 years Summer of Love Festival, San Francisco, CA
For San Francisco visitors, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the cultural revolution that rocked Haight-Ashbury. The City will celebrate with major exhibitions at some of the region’s top museums, featuring art, photography, posters, fashion and musical events. There will be lively festivals, special events and performances reflecting the Summer of 1967, and a wide variety of opportunities to explore what that period meant to the people of San Francisco. The celebration will also include a range of service and volunteerism events inspired by the original Summer of Love. Wear a flower in your hair and take a step back in time! More information is available at sftravel.com/summer-love-2017.


The Virgin Islands Become Part of the U.S., 100th Anniversary
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the transfer of the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas from Denmark to the United States. Located about 40 miles from Puerto Rico, the islands offer numerous opportunities for exploring the natural world and the history of the Caribbean. Visitors can snorkel Hurricane Hole off St. John, a vibrant coral reef filled with a rare abundance of species, or stop by the Whim Plantation Museum on St. Croix to see an authentic Dutch sugar estate from the 1700s. To make this adventure even more enticing, the U.S. Virgin Islands Centennial Commemoration is offering $300 in spending credits for anyone who comes to one of the three islands for three nights or more, books their travel before October 1, 2017, and stays at a participating hotel. For more information about the festivities, go to www.visitusvi.com/. While visiting St. Thomas, you can also check out Coral World Ocean Park a 5-acre attraction with exotic aquariums, marine pools, and Sea TREK helmet dives. Check out Coral World's website for park hours and directions.
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