Olema Campground near Point Reyes CA (courtesy Markus Spiering on Flickr CC)

Relaxing at the Olema Campground near Point Reyes, California (courtesy Markus Spiering on Flickr Creative Commons)

How are your local campgrounds and RV parks doing with their marketing?

A few months ago, we saw this email marketing plan for RV parks, posted on LinkedIn by our friends at Back To You Marketing.

We started thinking about all kinds of marketing ideas for RV parks and campgrounds (especially since RV sales in the U.S. are doing very well) but a little digging revealed that not enough of these important tourism partners are where they need to be with modern marketing tools.

Particularly with digital and social media marketing, too many fall into the same trap that we see with social media for group tour operators….thinking that their guests and customers are “too old” to be active online, even though campers in general are getting younger and more diverse.

Here are some RV park and campground marketing ideas that might be helpful for owners and operators:

Three General Tips for RV Park and Campground Marketing Success

1. Activities are a must. Whether you’re marketing to long-term guests like Snowbirds, or those just passing through, the more activities you offer, the more enticing your RV park or campground will be.

Activities can be as simple as free pancake breakfasts offered during season at the KOA Campground in Cody, Wyoming, to special days for Farmers Markets, Friday beer carts, and an annual tribute band concert series that are part of a stay at the Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, California. The more fun you make available, the more appealing your park will be.

2. Work hard to help publicize local events to your clientele. Make sure you keep your past guests up to date with an email newsletter, sent at least monthly. Your past guests are gold to you, so offer specials or value-enhanced packages to encourage them to come back and attend events in your community.

For instance, Emerald Desert RV Resort in the Coachella Valley, California has special rates and lots of activities centered around both the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, including bus transportation to and from the music venue. They’ve been promoting this to past guests for months via their eblasts. You don’t have to buy a ticket to the festivals to be part of the fun at this RV resort, but they make it easy for festival attendees to attend hassle-free.

3. Be active and stay informed with your local tourism organization. Whether it’s a small Chamber of Commerce, a full-blown CVB/DMO/Tourist Board, or a more loosely knit group, be a part of it.

Your campground or RV park contributes a lot to the tourism industry in your area. Outdoor recreation is booming; your industry is growing substantially each and every year.

Take full advantage of being a valued tourism partner.

Marketing Insights From an Experienced RVer, Camper, AND Tourism Expert

Our colleague Diann Bayes just finished a whole year traveling in an RV as a pro photographer and one-half of the Eccentric Nomads.

Now in charge of Visit San Angelo, TX, she has decades of destination marketing experience plus a previous executive position with TTIA (the Texas Travel Industry Association.)

Diann has seen it all, but she found that some of her RV park hosts were a bit behind the communications curve. They especially lack good visuals (photography and video) to sell their properties, in a world full of people who want to see compelling images as they make travel plans.

“Having stayed in a number of RV parks over the past year, there is so much these parks could learn.

They seem to focus only on who is staying in the park at the time, and pay little attention to how to get new faces there, or how to follow up with those who have stayed. Instead, they busy themselves with day-to-day checking in and checking out of guests, along with facility maintenance needs.

At a trade show, I encouraged one RV park team to capture contact information with a giveaway. I explained that yes, someone would need to transcribe the name/email data, but then they would have information for future guests or potential permanent residents, and the beginnings of an email list. It’s not rocket science, but folks don’t know what they don’t know.”

Need ideas for good photos?

Look around your property and show guests what’s going on throughout the year, like this nicely composed garden photo in a tweet by New Adventure RV Park:

 

Screenshot of New Adventure RV Park tweet about gardening

 

Do you have thoughts, feedback, or suggestions about marketing for campgrounds and RV parks? Let us know down in the comments….

(Pssst. We’ve set up a special social media educational opportunity for owners/operators of RV parks and campgrounds. It’s value-stuffed, for a great price. Click here to learn more about our Campground/RV Park Training Package.)

 

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Join Us For the Next #tourismchat on Twitter

The next chat topic is about whether your CVB or DMO needs a mobile app, and if so, how it can be successful and help your destination.

Join us on Twitter on Thursday, April 27 at 2 p.m. Central for this open, informative discussion. You’ll learn a lot and meet fellow travel and tourism pros.

#tourismchat has a Facebook Page (how meta!) if you want to keep up with chat announcements and let us know you’re going.

Update – excellent chat – here is the transcript

Commenting area

  1. Diann Bayes April 27, 2017 at 1:37 pm · ·

    Thanks for the shout-out, Tourism Currents. Hoping this will help the RV parks understand the needs that need to be addressed.

    • Really appreciated your insights. It really wouldn’t take much for most places to be WAY ahead of where they are now. It’s key to see one’s facility through the eyes of visitors like you.

  2. A very insightful article and one that is sorely needed throughout the campground industry. We find that many owners or managers of campgrounds and RV Parks got into the business to avoid technology and now it is basically unavoidable. We preach things like ensuring a good social media presence, monitoring your online reputation and ensuring your website is updated.

    Hopefully, you have found success with your own course over the last few years. Keep up the great work!

  3. Thanks for your comment, Brian. Yep, lots of people want their WiFi, even out in the woods or desert. 🙂

  4. Starting our 5th year of full-timing we have traveled across the country and back. I have learned by talking to owners of RV parks that not everyone is interested in the same type of traveler. Some focus on the short stays and those just passing through. Or it may be a destination area while others cater to subcontractors that need a place to settle down in while working for large employers in the area.

    Knowing the “why” people stay in an RV park goes a long way in determining the positioning the RV park should take.

    Thank you for posting this article and keep up the great work!

  5. Thanks for that, Chris. The “why” ALWAYS matters!

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