Campgrounds affiliated with Campground Owners of New York (CONY) are doing their part to support Great Outdoors Month by offering fun family activities as well as significant camping discounts during the month of June.
“Camping is not only the most affordable vacation option, but it supports a healthy lifestyle, particularly when you consider the great variety of outdoor activities that are available at campgrounds across our state,” Don Bennett, CONY president and CEO, stated in a news release.
New York campgrounds will be participating in GoCampingAmerica.com’s Great Outdoors Month promotion, which involves 20% discounts on camping June 1-25 at participating parks.
GoCampingAmerica.com will also provide e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World stores and RV rentals booked through El Monte RV, which has agreed to provide 500 free miles plus 50 free miles a day to GoCampingAmerica visitors who rent an RV for at least one week during the June 1-25 period. The e-coupons will be posted on GoCampingAmerica.com on May 15.
Twenty-five New York campgrounds are also offering a “buy two, get one night free” promotion through Oct. 10. Visit www.ilovenycamping.com for more information.
Meanwhile, 15 New York campgrounds are planning special outdoor activities in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day on June 11.
“While June is Great Outdoors Month, June 11 is Get Outdoors Day, and campgrounds across New York are offering numerous activities, from nature walks to scavenger hunts and geocaching events,” said Bennett.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is bringing new camping customers and new business to the nation’s RV parks and campgrounds with its June campaign, “Get Outdoors & Go Camping America…It’s Easy!” promotion set for June 1 – 25.
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage young families to go camping during the month of June, Great Outdoors Month, using GoCampingAmerica.com (GCA) coupons for discounts on all things camping and to document their camping experience on video for a chance to win a grand prize, according to a news release.
The web promotion page on GoCampingAmerica.com is not active until May 15.
For more information on the campaign and for a peak at the 20% off GCA park stay coupon, visit: www.arvc.org/june.aspx.
ARVC will be using social media, viral video, marketing efforts and media outreach to drive traffic to GoCampingAmerica.com where consumers can download various offers for discounts on camping. ARVC will be offering a 20% off coupon for all GCA/ARVC member parks. In addition, companies like Camping World, Coleman, El Monte RV, etc. are participating by offering discounts as well. Consumers will be able to download these coupons and try out camping, hopefully becoming repeat customers at your park.
The coupon states that it is only valid June 1 – June 25. It also states that it’s only accepted at participating parks and that the consumer must call the park at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation. The guest may use the coupon for up to a seven-night stay at your park during that time frame, but they can not use the coupon on an existing reservation.
More information will be available on the video contest portion as the campaign gets closer.
Editor’s Note: The following column by Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), appears in the April issue of the ARVC Report. It concerns a program for ARVC’s more than 3,000 members but has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on all campgrounds, both public and private, across North America, as well as the nation’s RV manufacturers and dealers.
Members will soon be seeing ARVC’s first national campaign aimed at young American families come to life as several promotional components are beginning to fall into place.
Kera Tomlin, ARVC director of marketing, has done a terrific job writing the campaign’s marketing plan – which we are sharing in presentations at the spring state association meetings and conferences where ARVC staff has been invited to speak.
Our general strategy is to use two forms of video media to reach a vast audience:
- The Outdoor Channel, which has a potential U.S. audience-reach of 35 million outdoor enthusiasts (referred to as “narrowcast audience.”
- YouTube, the video medium of choice by the younger generation.
The message being delivered to the mass audience by these two media outlets will be consistent – “family camping is easy” (and a cost-effective way to vacation). Industry research has shown that less than 11% of the significant, under-40 age segment of the population owns their own RV and of these, only 1% of those under age 26 are RV owners.
Hence, the creative television and internet video marketing we’ll be deploying will invite viewers to try the convenience of rental RVs, hassle-free cabins or other types of park rental lodging or just pure and simple tent camping. Most importantly, we want families to get outdoors and experience one of the many alternate forms of camping available at our member parks.
The viewing audience will be directed to GoCampingAmerica.com. This consumer site is currently undergoing some major renovations, making it more consumerinteractive and also improving the search methodology to direct visitors to your park. To ensure your listing is as updated and current as possible, over the next two months we are proactively calling every ARVC member in our database as part of this website enhancement. Please allow us the required 15-20 minutes of your time when your call comes.
Once on the GCA website, visitors will be directed to a new GoCampingAmerica “promotion area” which will incent them to take advantage of special pricing, again, designed to make the camping experience easy and cost-effective. We have specifically chosen the campaign period of June 1-25 – typically considered a slower, just-getting-warmed-up, early summer shoulder season for most campgrounds – when site nights need to be filled.
The campaign avoids the last week of June leading up to the busy July 4th weekend.
The online campaign e-coupon available during the promotion offers our target market a 20% multiple stay discount for up to seven nights during the campaign. We particularly hope to drive business during the often-difficult to fill Monday-Thursday period via this offer. To make the deal even more compelling, we are partnering with several nationally recognized RV rental companies to offer fantastic rental discount coupons on our website promotion page.
While this campaign includes many variables that apply to the majority of campgrounds, we realize some park owners may not want or need the business during early June and for this reason, you can simply opt-out of the consumer offer being made from the website.
Finally, there is a huge public relations component to this campaign that will drive awareness and create some great local publicity for ARVC members. Under the guidance of CAMP state executives Rick Abare, CPO (Maine) and Don Bennett, CPO (New York), and working closely with sister associations like Derrick Crandall’s American Recreation Coalition (ARC) as well as ARVC’s own PR consultant, Jeff Crider, there are now 22 states/state executives that are committed to participating in the Great Outdoors publicity initiative.
Coinciding with the June 1-25 promotion and especially during the Obama Administration’s proclaimed “Great Outdoors Day” June 11-12 weekend, participating states will be involved in their own flavor of publicity-attracting events, including several who plan to demonstrate the wonderful world of camping on the grounds of their state capitals.
So now for the big question…will it all work? To me, that depends on several things. For instance, if a majority of ARVC member parks/associations get behind this project, that’s success in itself. There’s always a feeling of accomplishment whenever our associations and mutual members work together for the common good. Getting families outdoors, experiencing all our special brand of outdoor hospitality has to offer is certainly a win as well.
What about the good that could come in the form of new business? I look at site rentals as “perishable” commodities. If folks aren’t renting sites in your park, those rental opportunities are lost and can never be recouped. As a result, one of our main goals at ARVC is to help you seize this business opportunity by bringing customers to your doorstep that might normally never experience your business. In other words, we want to help you reach 100% capacity as often as possible, with you standing at the cash register adjusting for when and when not to take advantage.
The beauty of promotional marketing is that it builds on itself. The more our message is pushed into the marketplace, the more it gets seen and heard, and eventually, the more often it gets acted upon. Our marketing strategy is to develop four of these campaigns throughout the year, all with the goal of shoring up soft, shoulder periods when most parks need help.
Clearly, marketing isn’t the only value behind ARVC membership. There are many others in the form of government advocacy and industry education, however, in the months and years ahead, our promise is to make ARVC marketing value so obvious, you’ll see ARVC membership as the best investment you can make in your business.
While there was plenty of good news to share this week at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) InSites Convention and Outdoor Hospitality Expo in Orlando, Fla., several InSites speakers told park operators they will need to step up their marketing and customer survey efforts if they want to remain competitive and continue to build their businesses in the months and years ahead. They also need to find ways to maximize and improve guest satisfaction.
“I think the industry outlook really looks strong and robust, but challenging,” said Ron Beard, a Texas-based campground consultant. “I think what’s going to happen over the next five to 10 years is, possible, only the strongest, most focused operators are going to survive, at least in the upper tiers of the business. … And those that don’t quite get it … and (haven’t) locked in on how the business works and the expectations of their customers are going to settle down to the bottom of the business, possibly not making it or going out of business.”
The challenge, Beard said, is rising consumer expectations of what a private park should provide. “What used to be OK really isn’t that OK any more,” he said.
Park operators, of course, have a choice in whether they want to provide the amenities and service that growing numbers of campers now seek. “You can capture and promote and exceed those expectations. You can just barely meet them or you can turn your back on them,” he said.
Beard said it behooves park operators and the private park industry in general to figure out where consumer expectations are going and figure out how to meet and exceed those expectations on an ongoing basis.
Jeff Martin, an executive with Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, said park operators should not underestimate the importance of providing their guests with a positive experience. “At Disney,” he said, “it’s all about service. It’s all about how we make our guests feel. I have guests in my lobby every single day that say, ‘I don’t care that I’m paying $116 a night for an RV site as long as I get the service,’ and that’s what they want. They want the magical memories that we provide them.”
Martin added that for Disney, the priority is “being able to deliver every single day for every single guest that world class experience they’re looking for.”
Of course, one of the best ways for park operators to hone their expertise in guest-experience arena to participate in the GuestReviews online survey program offered by ARVC. This “state-of-the-art” on-line survey service, developed and provided by Murrieta, Calif.-based MacKinnon Campground Consulting, measures 34 different guest satisfaction elements such as site conditions, service, restroom cleanliness, facility appearance as well as their overall camping experience. Survey participants assign letter grades for each survey category, and they will have the ability to type in detailed explanations of problems or concerns.
In addition to participating in the GuestReviews program, Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO, said it’s also important for park operators to update their listings on the GoCampingAmerica website. Several park owners, in fact, acknowledged with a show of hands during an InSites meeting that they had not updated their GoCampingAmerica website listings during the past year.
Profaizer also encouraged park operators to respond to questions they receive through ARVC e-mails from Jeff Crider, ARVC’s publicist, because the information they provide they provide him can help raise awareness about their own parks, while helping raise awareness about camping for the industry as a whole.
Pat Hittmeier, chief operating officer at Kampgrounds of America Inc., said private parks also need to step up their marketing to consumers who live within a day’s drive of their parks. In fact, the latest KOA survey found that 57% of campers spend the previous night home, a statistic that not only underscores the fact that more people are camping closer to home, but the relative scarcity of vacation time that Americans have. “They just aren’t traveling as far as they used to,” Hittmeier said.
The Go Camping America.com website sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is undergoing a complete redesign and will be available soon.
According to ARVC, the new version will be filled with many new features and functions such as:
- A link to any online reservation system the campground uses.
- Instant updates from changes campground operators make on the ARVC gateway to the GCA website.
- Faster page loads.
- Interactive Google maps.
- Calendar of special events in each campground.
- Photo of each park.
- Listing of packages the park offers to its guests.
- Only two clicks to get to a park’s homepage.
- New Gold/Silver listings available for a fee that include video and an expanded photo gallery.
In anticipation of the launch, ARVC is asking its members to update the information on their own websites.