Our dive trip was organized as part of a wedding with about 25 people diving. The dive shop worked intensively with the wedding party to try and organize a good trip - and I completely understand that it's not easy to cater to so many people - however there are a lot of things that could have, and should have, been done better.
All gear needs and sizes were collected in advance and the gear was waiting when we arrived to speed up the whole process
The boat was decorated with a big wedding banner
It was nice to be able to dive with the wedding party
They tried to be flexible to meet the wishes of the wedding party
They packed way more people on the boat than it could comfortably fit and we were falling over one another not only on the boat but during the dive
We were told that we were doing 2 dives at specific sites but they only took us on 1 dive at a completely different site
There was no pre-dive briefing given to alert us of the change in plans - we found out only after getting out of the water from the 1st (only) dive
When I asked if the price was still the same the owner responded that we did 1 long dive (50mins) instead of 2 short ones (30 mins) because "it's more about bottom time, not the number of dives"...in my many diving experiences I have never heard of a "short" dive unless someone is running out of air and I feel this was a very very poor response.
Most good dive shops offer fruit or healthy snacks on the boat, we were offered a box of cookies
What they should have done:
Better communication - give a pre-dive briefing
Better expectation setting and overall trip management - if you know the boat and dive will not be comfortable with so many people then tell the wedding party it's not a good idea to go with such a large group, break it into a couple of smaller groups instead, but still hit the same sites
Don't be so greedy - charging 25 people $70-$80 for one 50 minute dive is unacceptable
Don't make excuses after the fact, admit when you've bitten off more than you can chew and try to make up for the situation.
And the kicker: After receiving a bad review on tripadvisor they contacted the groom and asked him to offer the reviewer their money back if they would remove the review... The reviewer felt so bad about upsetting the groom that he is actually trying to get the review removed...
I'm sorry but you can't buy a better reputation - you earn it by leveraging your experience to ensure that expectations are set in a way that they can be met or exceeded.
I firmly believe the dive shop should learn from this experience and improve for the next time - they are not a bad shop but they could have done better.
I am giving a 3 star (average) review only because the shop was trying to meet the requests of the wedding party...but if that had not been the case the review would have been much lower, especially compared to other dive shops I have used in the past.
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