How one semiSUBMARINE transformed a French diving centreinto a lucrative business that is easy to operate
“This is our first season and the earnings absolutely exceeded our expectations. We were able to operate from June to November, selling more than 7.000 tickets”,
said Sylvain Zind.
Sanary Explorer’s challenge
Lydie and Sylvain Zind from Sanary Sur-Mer at the beautiful French Riviera needed a new business. They enjoyed their snorkelling and diving centre Sanary Explorer that they ran for many years, but times started to change when Lydie, who is a professional diving instructor, suffered an injury.
“Even before my wife’s health issues, we were slowly getting tired of classic snorkeling tours that took a lot of our time and energy, so we started to look for other options that would include touristic sea activities. While browsing the Internet, we stumbled upon the semiSUBMARINE vessels”, said Sylvain.
The attractive, bottom-glass boats seemed like a perfect substitution for their diving business, so the couple contacted Agena Marin for details.
“The product seemed like a perfect solution for us but, to be honest, our very first communication with the manufacturer was not looking good. We felt that we didn’t get proper support in this stage where we needed a lot of details and answers to make the buying decision. We run a small family business and the investment that was in front of us was a huge deal to us, so we needed much more than what Mladen of Agena Marin was willing to provide”, said Zind openly.
The “collision of characters”, as Zind called it, almost made them rethink the entire project and turn to something else. But then Sylvain and Mladen met in person, at a boat show in Genoa, Italy.
Customer support evolution
Said Zind: “While we felt a bit neglected in our email communication, the personal encounter was entirely different, and our relationship evolved from bad to extremely good.”
It was then that Sylvain understood the background of the previous poor communication – Agena Marin was simply taking a logical business approach that grew out of their experience. Responding to many different inquiries from various interested parties used to take a lot of their time and effort, without any guarantees that they will end up with a contract. That’s why Agena Marin limited their information exchange in the initial stage and focused more on serious buyers, willing to prove their interest with a paid advance. From that point on, the customer gets full and personalised support and Sylvain felt it right away.
“The connection that we created then continued in the following months and that’s when things completely changed for us. Mladen became available whenever we reached out to him and he was personally present on the boat delivery and assembly. To have a company’s executive at the boat delivery and so easily reached is a very rare thing to experience in the boat industry.”
Right upon the boat delivery, the vessel was assembled in a matter of hours, which gained a lot of interest in the Sanary Sur-Mer’s marina. The new owners got the required training and after three days of their time together with the Agena Marin team, the communication issues were quickly forgotten.
“We forged a strong business relationship and discovered that we share a lot of common values. Mladen is a hard-working professional and a good person, which is very important when you choose your business partners and investments”, said Zind.
That is how Sanary Sur-Mer got its first semiSUBMARINE but the story doesn’t end there.
Results that exceeded expectations
The boat started to operate June 1st, 2019 and it was working for full five months, with maybe 15 days off, due to bad weather and heavy winds.
“This is our first season and the earnings absolutely exceeded our expectations. We were able to operate from June to November, selling more than 7.000 tickets”, Zind shared.
Next Sanary Explorer tours are planned around Christmas time and the season 2020 will already start in early spring.
And what happened to the diving centre? That part of the business was finally retired as the semiSUBMARINE took over – with much easier operations and higher revenue.