ELS Teams With RV Retailers to Promote Parks
Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS), the nation’s largest RV park owner/operator, is currently testing a rather unique new promotion involving its Thousand Trails membership-based “preserves” and a few aggressive, multi-store RV dealerships in an effort to “leverage that great lifestyle and open up to more of the RV universe.”
Woodalls Campground Management reported that it’s all part of a new “global relationship” ELS is trying to foster between the industry that produces and sells the RVs and the American public that purchases and recreates in those leisure-time products – a relationship that ELS CEO Thomas Heneghan and President and CFO Marguerite Nader feel is long overdue.
Although there are other potential new components on the table, such as social media initiatives and online parts and accessories sales, the crux of ELS’s new program is that a consumer buying an RV from any participating dealer will receive a free year’s membership to access parks in one of four zones among the 80 Thousand Trails preserves in 22 states and British Columbia.
“What we’re really trying to do is develop products in relation to the RV dealer that help him and us,” says Heneghan, whose 4,000-employee company also operates 90 Encore parks as well as some 200 manufactured home communities. “We think that buying an RV embedded with the lifestyle aspects is a natural and should be something that happens much more frequently than it does. And we designed this kind of dealer program to find RV dealerships across the U.S. that were excited about the opportunity to sell RVs to consumers along with the lifestyle that comes attached with that vehicle so that they’re getting the hotdog and the hotdog bun all at the same time.
“So, that’s been the program,” Heneghan told Woodall’s Campground Management, “but it’s really part of a larger strategy. We don’t really just want to have that one event. We want to have a relationship with the RV dealerships that understand that staying in contact with the customer – meeting that customer’s needs – is going to increase his ability to sell more vehicles over time and get that repeat buyer.”
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