Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Over 1.7 Million Potential Divers Reached to Date by 2016 Media Coverage of DEMA’s Go Dive Now Pool

DEMA’s most recognized diver acquisition and awareness program, the Go Dive Now Pool Tour, has continued to generate huge exposure for the industry through mid-June by generating over 795,000 view impressions from the months of April to June alone. Since the beginning of the year, media coverage of the Pool has reached over 1.7 MILLION POTENTIAL DIVERS! During the second quarter of 2016, the Pool has continued to travel around the country making stops at the Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show (Philadelphia, PA), Chocolate Fest(Burlington, WI), and World Ocean Day (Chattanooga, TN) with an additional stop just this past weekend at Chester County Balloon Fest in Toughkenamon, PA (media results for this stop not included).
“With every event we attend, the Go Dive Now Pool continues to prove how effective it is at piquing interest in scuba diving,” commented “Big Wave” Dave Reidenbach, DEMA’s Pool Tour Coordinator. “Providing event attendees and potential new divers with the chance to try scuba for themselves in a non-intimidating environment reduces many barriers to entry and also provides a unique opportunity for family and friends to discover a new interest together. Media coverage of the Pool is invaluable as it provides the opportunity to promote scuba diving to TV viewers on a broad scale.”

The first eight events of the year promoted the Pool and the “try diving” experience as one of the top activities for show attendees. As a result the Pool was featured on news stations WOIO-CBS, WUAB-MY43, WKYC-NBC, WFAA-ABC, KDFW-FOX, KTVT-CBS, WFIE-NBC, WEVV-44 NEWS, WTTA-WB, WFLA-NBC, WTVC, and WRCB-TV. All twelve stations showcased reporters broadcasting from the Pool and interviewing “Big Wave” Dave to discuss the Pool Tour, safety tips on diving, and top dive spots for local diving.
The Pool will continue its tour as a top consumer event feature throughout 2016. DEMA Member Retailers who volunteer to work with the Pool at these events find that they reap huge benefits. By being part of a potential new diver’s first experience, these retailers are already building trust and loyalty with potential customers that could develop into a long-term buying and diving relationship. Retailers also benefit because DEMA advertises the pool event using Facebook ads targeted to the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the DEMA Member Retail location.   Retailers who are interested in participating in a scheduled Pool stop or who may be aware of an event with potential for attracting new divers are encouraged to contact Dave Reidenbach at (920) 205-3657 or bigwavedave@dema.org.
Making stops throughout the year at various consumer-oriented travel, outdoor activity and adventure shows, the Go Dive Now Pool gives anyone 10 years of age and older the opportunity to discover the fun and exciting sport of scuba diving for FREE in the comfort of a large, heated Pool. Event attendees are also able to test out some of the latest scuba diving equipment and have a photo of themselves taken underwater that can act as an everlasting keepsake. Those who take the plunge need not worry about getting wet, since the Pool provides wetsuits, towels, hair dryers and dressing rooms.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DEMA Board Reviews Go Dive Now Campaign, Evaluates Association’s Structure & Discusses Future Plans

On May 19th and 20th, the DEMA Board of Directors gathered for a Quarterly Board Meeting. Discussion included an update on the Go Dive Now consumer marketing campaign, review of the Association’s structure, discussion of Membership Benefits, a review of the 2015 Financial Audit, and more.
Following approval of the consent agenda, key topics and actions for the coming year were discussed:
Go Dive Now: Industry-Wide, Collaborative Consumer Marketing & Social Media CampaignThe Board was provided with an update on the progress of the Go Dive Now campaign by the DEMA staff. The Board discussed the campaign’s Facebook ad focus, noting that while pay-per-click advertising will be used, it will not be the main medium..  The Board reviewed the basis for Facebook advertising targeting. Currently the area immediately surrounding each DEMA’s Member Retailers’ store location is being targeted. As additional dive centers join DEMA, these will be incorporated into the Facebook advertising buy and target zip codes will be updated to include these new relevant store locations. Ongoing evaluation of the entire campaign will help determine any necessary changes to the campaign’s strategy as it continues to develop.

Evaluation of Association Structure & Bylaws
The Board discussed the Association’s current dues and benefits structure and the possibility of offering additional tiered benefits based on each level of membership dues.

The Board also reviewed the Association’s current bylaws and discussed recommended changes as suggested by DEMA’s Strategic Consultant, including a change of elected officer titles (from President to Chair) and a change of chief staff officer from Executive Director to President/CEO. Additionally a recommendation was made to change Article IV, Section 5 to reflect that the membership application is reviewed by DEMA Staff, and to add a stipulation to Article XII to note that the sitting Board Chair cannot also serve as the Board Treasurer.  All recommended changes to the bylaws were voted upon and passed.

Developments in Public Policy
The Board reviewed the Department of Labor’s new overtime wage regulations. It was noted that the Association’s new procurement of the CQ Roll Call online service will help provide information to DEMA Members proactively.

The Board discussed inviting local Members to participate in open sessions during future Board meetings wherever they are held throughout the country and discussed engaging in local diving. It was decided that local DEMA Member retailers within 100 miles of the meeting, as well as the Retailer Resource Committee, would be invited to the Board’s September meeting.

2015 Financial Audit Review
Mark Hennelly, Association Auditor with Hutchinson & Bloodgood LLP, joined the Board Meeting and reported on the successful completion of the Association’s recent financial audit.  He noted that all operating procedures and accounting practices were being conducted appropriately according to required GAAP guidelines and that DEMA’s audit contained no significant discrepancies.

DEMA Show Scheduling
It was confirmed that the schedule of Show days for DEMA Show 2020 through 2023 will change from a Wednesday through Saturday schedule to a Tuesday through Friday staging.

The DEMA Board will meet again on September 13th & 14th in San Diego, CA. More information on DEMA’s Board of Directors and Bylaws is available on the DEMA website. Complete minutes from past Board of Directors Meetings are available to current DEMA Members from the Member Dashboard of www.dema.org

Go Dive Now Pool Makes a Splash at 2016 World Ocean Day Event

**Pool Earns Media Coverage from Top Chattanooga Print and TV News Stations**

During the weekend of June 4-5, DEMA’s Go Dive Now Pool teamed up with the Chattanooga Aquarium for the 2016 World Ocean Day Event to give attendees a firsthand opportunity to try scuba diving. Aimed at providing a key target demographic the chance to try diving, the Pool proved popular with both event attendees, as well asmedia

DEMA staff and DEMA Member Retailer Choo Choo Diving and Aquatic Center educated event attendees on the ease of learning to dive, and the fact that diving is a fun activity which can be shared by the entire family. Over the course of the two-day event, the Go Dive Now Pool had over 135 event attendees, ranging from ages 10 to 75, gear up and try diving.

“The Go Dive Now Pool has been traveling around the country for the past 18 years to different events showing people how easy it is to become a certified scuba diver,” commented Dave Reidenbach, DEMA’s Pool Tour Coordinator. “By partnering with the Chattanooga Aquarium for World Ocean Day, we were able to Show attendees that the sport can be enjoyed by individuals from every generation.”

With coverage of the Pool having appeared on WRCB-TV NBC andWTVC-Chattanooga Newsover 80,000 people have seen or heard about the sport of scuba diving due to the Pool’s presence at the World Ocean Day event. Additional coverage was featured in online publications Chattanooga Daily TimesNews Channel 9 ABC,Chattanooga MagazineNorth West Georgia News and the Hamilton County Herald.
Making stops throughout the year at various consumer-oriented travel, outdoor activity and adventure shows, the Go Dive Now Pool gives anyone 10 years old and up the opportunity to discover the fun and exciting sport of scuba diving for FREE in the comfort of a large, tropically warm Pool. Event attendees are also able to test out some of the latest scuba diving equipment and have a photo of themselves taken underwater that can act as an everlasting keepsake. Those who take the plunge need not to worry about getting wet, since the Go Dive Now Pool provides wetsuits, towels, hair dryers and dressing rooms.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

DEMA Show 2016 Registration is Now Open!

** DEMA Members, Register by October 7th to Save With Early Bird Rates **
DEMA Show’s online attendee registration system is now open to qualified Dive Industry professionals looking to expand their world at DEMA Show 2016. Thousands of attendees from all over the world will come together for the Dive Industry’s only trade-only event, taking place November 16-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.  To register, visit the official DEMA Show websiteWhile there, visitors can review exhibitor listings and booth locations using the interactive floorplan, book a room in the Official DEMA Show Hotel Block, and review information about DEMA Show Features.
Attendees can choose from three different packages when registering: Exhibits Only, the Seminar Package, and the Saturday-Only Immersion Pass.  Each package varies in price and opportunities.  You can view complete details on each by visiting DEMAShow.com. Current DEMA Members can save up to $125 on their DEMA Show registration package over the non-member rate when registering on or before the early registration deadline of October 7th.

DEMA Show will feature the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino as this year’s Host Hotel. The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is conveniently located adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center – home to DEMA Show 2016.  Those booking in DEMA’s block at the Westgate will have access to complimentary shuttle service to and from DEMA Show 2016.  Special discounted room rates are available to DEMA Show registrants that make reservations in the official block by Friday, October 7, 2016, so ACT NOW!  Room rates are as follows:
  • $106 Premium (Standard Room) for the following nights:  November 8-24, 2016*
  • $126 Signature (Upgraded Room) for the following nights:  November 8-24, 2016*
*Must be booked by October 7, 2016 in order to receive this exclusive DEMA Show rate.  Based upon availability. Rates are based on double occupancy - an additional charge of $35 per person will be added for any additional people. Tax rate is 12%. Tax rate is not included with room rate. Attendees can opt in to the hotel's resort fees at $22 + 12% per room per night. Includes: Local & Toll Free Calls / Access for two to the Fitness Facility / In-room Safe / In-room Internet for three devices.
Complimentary shuttle service will be provided to official room block guests between the Westgate Resort and Casino and the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center from Wednesday, November 16 through Saturday, November 19. Only DEMA block participants will be provided with the shuttle bus pass required to board the shuttle. Shuttle service is limited to two buses during peak hours and one bus during off peak hours.
So what are you waiting for?  Register today!  Stay tuned to the DEMA Show website for the latest details on DEMA and Exhibitor-Sponsored Seminars, Show-related activities, DEMA Awards Party, and other information as the Show approaches. To have DEMA Show news delivered directly to your email, exhibitors should subscribe to the Show’sExhibitor Companion.   Attendees are encouraged to subscribe to DEMA’s DEMAIL for important Show information, announcements, and Industry news. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Industry Alert: Your Input is Needed NOW - New Department Of Labor Overtime Rules

On May 18, 2016 the US Department of Labor released its new rules on the salary threshold for overtime pay.  DEMA is disappointed with the new rules which have been established without congressional vote and which more than double the salary threshold below which workers will be eligible for overtime from its current $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).  The rule goes into effect on December 1.

Additionally, the final rule includes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary threshold every three years (a change from the proposal of yearly adjustments). The next automatic update to the salary threshold would be on Jan. 1, 2020, and the new salary level will be announced 150 days before it takes effect.  The minimum salary level is set based on the 40th percentile of wages of full-time salaried employees in the lowest wage Census region (currently, the South).

Importantly, the Labor Department decided not to make changes to the “duties test,” part of the three-pronged test for establishing exemption from overtime eligibility. In a draft rule released last year, DOL hinted that it might limit the definition of “primary duty” to duties on which an exempt employee spends 50% or more of his or her working hours. In many situations, that would have meant that employers would need to track the hours and tasks of exempt employees to ensure that they had accurately identified the employee’s primary duty. So with no changes to the duties test, the basic test for determining who in your organization remains exempt from overtime eligibility under the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions is as follows:
  • The employee must make over the new salary threshold of $47,476;
  • The employee must be salaried;
  • The employee must perform exempt duties (executive, administrative, or professional). 
While DEMA supports the principle of modernizing and streamlining the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the overtime rules, DEMA’s written public comments, filed last September, expressed our concerns that this rule, as proposed (and as now enacted), contains a threshold which is too high and that the minimum salary level for exempt employees should instead be keyed to government data on regional cost-of-living differences or keyed to the Consumer Price Index.  Such a dramatic increase will create the necessity for many workers in every sector of the diving industry to be re-classified as hourly, increasing costs with the result being that it will be difficult to allow these individuals to attend educational and technical conferences which are critical to maintaining their expertise and their positions with an employer.  DEMA’s comments also pointed out that these rules may cause employers to consider reducing their work forces, and they do nothing to help employers and employees account for the way people work today; the rules actually discourage the concept of working remotely; they favor elimination of mid-level management and entry-level administrative positions, and they make it more difficult for lower-level employees to climb the professional employment ladder.  The rules attempt to create a one-size-fits-all framework in a modern work environment that otherwise rewards flexibility.

Earlier this year, before the announcement of the final version of these rules by the Department of Labor, DEMA approached members of Congress and asked for their support in delaying or overturning the plan.  Now that the rules have been announced they are subject to a 60-legislative day provision in the Congressional Review Act, permitting 60 legislative days for the Congress to vote to overturn the rule with a simple majority.
If you are concerned about the impact of the overtime rule on your company, we strongly urge you to contact your elected representatives in Congress and share how this change will affect your company’s bottom line.



Your message to your Representative and Senator should be personalized and we encourage you to add details about the work of your organization and how the final rule would impact your company.  The following text may help guide you:

DEMA continues to believe that the salary threshold is set too high, and that the minimum salary level for exempt employees should instead be keyed to government data on regional cost-of-living differences. The final rule includes a 100 percent increase to the minimum salary threshold. This is likely to disproportionately impact small businesses in the diving industry and their employees, especially those in low cost-of-living areas.

DEMA will continue to work toward a legislative solution to keep DOL’s overtime rule from taking effect in December, and will continue to share updates on this important issue as they become available. If you have questions about this issue, please email DEMA at publicpolicy@dema.org or contact us at 858-616-6408. 

DEMA Kicks Off New Marketing Campaign, Launches GoDiveNow.com

On May 24, 2016 the website for DEMA’s new national marketing campaign, Go Dive Now went live. The campaign itself includes the Go Dive Now website, providing direct links to local DEMA Member retail stores and dive vacation destinations, highlights the many benefits of diving and eases barriers to entry by offering information and resources for potential new divers.  DEMA Member Retailers receive free Facebook advertising focused on the customers near their stores, and the opportunity and resources to market their own services and businesses by engaging in this US and International Member campaign. The ultimate goal of this new marketing campaign is to help drive growth for the diving industry.
The official website for the campaign,www.GoDiveNow.com, is now live. Potential divers will find a wealth of information and resources available to them to help them learn more about diving and begin their journey into the sport. Among its many resources, the website includes a helpful professional dive center locator, listings of DEMA Member international vacation destinations, FAQ’s, videos, and ways to connect with other divers through social media.
Through the Go Dive Now campaign DEMA Member Retailers will also have access to campaign tools which can help them engage with and take advantage of the Go Dive Now brand.  DEMA Members will be able to access, at no charge, a Member Toolkit containing an email ad template, Facebook ads and images, digital banner ads and receive a bi-monthly touch point that recaps all social media posts, making it easy for dive stores to like, copy, share, repost, and retweet all the Go Dive Now social media posts.  Members will also receive professional tips for using social media to get more store and web traffic. Additionally, all DEMA Members will receive their very own evaluation to determine the local zip codes that should be targeted near their store when conducting their own promotional efforts. Non-Member retailers are encouraged to join DEMA so they too can capitalize on the additional exposure they can receive through this campaign and the resources available within the Member Toolkit.
Beyond the website, Go Dive Now will focus heavily on marketing through social media (such as targeted Facebook and YouTube advertising) and pay-per-click ads around the country. These Facebook ad buys will be focused mainly around local DEMA Member retail stores. Now is the time to become a 2016 DEMA Member to make sure your location is included. As the campaign evolves, other advertising opportunities will be evaluated including Twitter and Instagram channels. More than a way to drive just certifications, Go Dive Now utilizes industry research to locate and target the audiences that will be most likely to fully engage in diving, including buying equipment, diving locally and buying dive travel. Go Dive Now, is expected to be a multi-year campaign and has been and will continue to be, a collaborative effort amongst industry stakeholders through the gathering of marketing insight, coming together for brainstorming sessions, and sharing media files for promotional efforts.
The DEMA Board of Directors and Consumer Marketing Committee have spent the past year developing this campaign. The Consumer Marketing Committee is headed by Kristin Valette, Chair and additional Committee members include: William Cline, Stuart Cove, Scott Daley, Doug McNeese and Laura Walker.
Visit www.GoDiveNow.com to learn more; follow @GoDiveNow on Facebook and Twitter; and use hashtag #GoDiveNow with all your scuba-related social media posts!

Public Policy Alert: New Department Of Labor Overtime Rules Announced

On May 18, 2016 the US Department of Labor released its new rules on the salary threshold for overtime pay.  DEMA is disappointed with the new rules which have been established without congressional vote and which more than double the salary threshold below which workers will be eligible for overtime from its current $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47,476 per year).  The rule goes into effect on December 1.
 
While DEMA supports the principle of modernizing and streamlining the Fair Labor Standards Act, including the overtime rules, DEMA's written public comments, filed last September, expressed our concerns that this rule, as proposed and as now enacted, is too much, too quickly, and will create the necessity for many workers in every sector of the diving industry to be re-classified as hourly, increasing costs and thus making it difficult to allow these individuals to attend educational and technical conferences which are critical to maintaining their expertise and their positions with an employer. Further, DEMA's comments pointed out that these rules may cause employers to consider reducing their work forces, and they do nothing to help employers and employees account for the way people work today; the rules actually discourage the concept of working remotely; they favor elimination of mid-level management and entry-level administrative positions, and they make it more difficult for lower-level employees to climb the professional employment ladder.  The rules attempt to create a one-size-fits-all framework in a modern work environment that otherwise rewards flexibility.
 
In March, DEMA Executive Director Tom Ingram met at the Washington, DC offices of the following California legislators, bringing our concerns to them and asking for their assistance:
  • Congressman Ami Bera
  • Senator Barbara Boxer
  • Congresswoman Judy Chu
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Congressman Devin Nunes
  • Congressman Scott Peters
  • Congressman Mike Thompson
 
Support was forthcoming from some of these members of Congress, while others were in favor of the new rules as proposed.  To date the Department of Labor rules have yet to be scrutinized by the full Congress, and are subject to a 60-legislative day provision in the Congressional Review Act.  Once a new rule such as this is made final, the Congressional Review Act gives Congress 60 legislative days to vote to overturn the rule with a simple majority. In the next few days, DEMA will ask all members of the Industry to reach out to their own federal legislators and express opinions and concerns regarding how this new rule will impact their own businesses.  Please look for the Industry Alert early during the week of May 23.
 
In addition, DEMA plans to conduct seminars on the rule at DEMA Show 2016 in Las Vegas to assist industry businesses in their implementation of the requirements of the new Department of Labor rules.  Attend DEMA Show and these free seminars to learn about the rules and how to protect your company from lawsuits, increased labor costs and other disruptions.