Website campsmart.com, co-founded by RV industry veterans Mark Lucas and Mark Smith along with outdoor enthusiast Brad Yoder, is “taking unprecedented steps to unite the entire camping and RVing industry in one location,” according to a press release.
The website went “live” during the first week of November. The company attended Leisure Systems Inc.’s Jellystone Parks Symposium last week, and exhibited at the National RV Trade Show and RVIA and ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo.
“We’ve been building the foundation of the site by inviting dealers, campgrounds, manufacturers, suppliers and associations to create a profile page and represent their brand to the world,” said Lucas, president of campsmart.com. “The site is free to join, free to use and free to enjoy, so that eliminates almost every reason not to participate. The basic premise is to incorporate the best parts of social networking, on both a wholesale and retail level, cater to those with a passion for camping, and give everyone an equal opportunity to showcase their brand.”
In the first quarter of 2012, the site will launch the first, all-inclusive, non-brand specific reservation system for campgrounds. The system will communicate real-time with major providers of campground management software. Lucas indicated they were expecting to close deals with at least two major providers during the ARVC show, and look to move forward with at least one more company yet this year.
For more information, or to create a personal profile or business page, visit www.campsmart.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A fledgling Elkhart, Ind., company is creating a free website — campsmart.com — with the goal of connecting campgrounds, consumers, RV manufacturers, dealers and suppliers.
‘There is a disconnect that exists between dealers and campgrounds and manufacturers and campgrounds,” said Mark Lucas, president of Campsmart LLC. ”They all are good at what they do, but nobody has been making a non-brand specific effort to bring everything together.
”With an industry that is fragmented, I thought all of us working together can do greater things, particularly when you bring in the retail owner.”
Campsmart.com intends to act as a hub where the different RV communities can interact with each other, incorporating ”the best aspects of FaceBook, LinkedIn, Angie’s List and others solely focused on one fragmented industry,” Lucas said.
”I believe the individual aspirations of each segment can be harnessed to passively weave the fiber to connect all these inwardly focused organizations,” he said.
As campgrounds join campsmart.com, the site will offer a nationwide reservation system, which Lucas said does not exist today.
The website initially will be supported by advertising while eventually, Lucas said he hopes to create a database of recreational vehicle VIN numbers registered by consumers that will allow manufacturers, for a fee, to more efficiently conduct recalls.
”In my mind, there are big things on the horizon when we get the buy-in from industry members and consumers,” Lucas said. ”Right now, we are looking for people to give us feedback about what we can do with the site and for them to understand that it’s a work in progress.”
Lucas is the former president of manufacturer CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Ind., and helped launch Gulf Stream Coach Inc.’s Yellowstone RV subsidiary. He and Brad Yoder, a camper and avid fisherman, along with Mark Smith, the former head of IT for Gulf Stream who is now an RV industry consultant, are partnering to operated the website.
With invitations sent to 250 industry members, more than 100 already have joined campsmart.com, Lucas reported.
”I want to get the foundation there so that when the retail consumers show up they can have the interaction that they need,” Lucas said.
campsmart.com will have a presence at the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Louisville, Ky., and plans are to begin marketing the website to consumers in December with ads in retail consumer magazines and websites.