Do you run an RV park or campground business? If YES, here are 20 best marketing ideas & strategies you can apply to boost your RV park’s client patronage.
Many business owners believe they need marketing and promotion only for a special event or sale. However, the primary purpose of RV Park marketing is to let the general public know you exist, especially since your target audience is not from the area.
Marketing is the entire process by which one comes to understand the relationship between product and customer. Note that knowing the relationship between product and customer is achieved by first examining the park in a rigorous way to look for problems and assets.
One way to do this is to consider what your park or campground’s internal Strengths and Weaknesses are, and then what its external Opportunities and Threats are (this is known as a SWOT analysis). From the answers, a strategy for solving the problems uncovered can be developed.
If you are looking for meaningful and result achieving strategies to market your RV Park or Campground, below are few tips and strategies to consider.
Best Marketing ideas for V Park or Campground
Participate In Local Events
You can grow your visibility by demonstrating your dedication to the local community. Sponsor charity events in your town, set up a booth at area festivals, and contact local media to get your business known. This can be an effective way to expand your local presence and stay “top of mind” for locals and residents that may be planning a staycation or looking for area campgrounds for a short weekend retreat.
With more than 400 million active users, Instagram is a great way to connect with potential and past clients. People love to look at pretty photos and videos, which is why Instagram dominates social media platforms.
Posting visually stunning photos of sunsets, fun videos of activities, or just a great image of cooking s’mores by a fire, will get a ton of likes. Also note that just posting pictures will not get it in front of the RIGHT people. Therefore, you need to add hashtags.
This will help it to reach those who love to camp and just might want to camp at your park. Additionally, you can also search for people who have visited your campground and posted to Instagram. Just perform a search for your campground name or address in the search bar.
Instagram will then show you everyone who has posted within that vicinity. You can then go in and thank patrons for visiting and invite them to return. Never forget to add a link where people can make online reservations within your Instagram bio. Then, at the end of every post, type “link in bio” so they know where to go to book.
Register with Camp and School Enrichment Directories
Note that modern parents leverage online and print camp directories to find camps. It makes sense to consider advertising your camp in a variety of local camp directories. Many online parent groups put together local resources as well, so make connections with these local influencers so they know about you.
Finding marketing tools that are designed just for your industry is key! Contribute to local fundraisers, silent auctions and more. Consider offering 1 or more free days of camp for new campers as an incentive to check you out.
Facebook Business Page
Even if you have not created a Business page on Facebook, your park has one. Facebook allow users to check into an address or a business even if the business has not set one up. The business can then go in and claim their page. Facebook’s algorithms change frequently so we will address how to get your posts seen after this.
So if not to post, then why use Facebook at all? To engage with customers and answer people messaging your business. Because people interact on Facebook so much, when people google search your business, your page might pop up.
They then can go to that page to ask questions, read more about you and check out reviews. You need to be able to engage back. Don’t forget, even if you never set up a Facebook page for your campground or RV Park, FB already has. You need to assume control of it!
Target Potential Customers With Ads Showcasing Your Park
Facebook allows you to get INSANELY specific with who you are targeting. For example, you can target people who live in your state, who love camping between the ages of 25-40 and show them someone kicking back with a beer at sunset. If you have a lot of family activities, post about those and target those who like camping or RVing and have kids. It is SO easy and SUPER effective.
Reach Out To The State’s Visitor’s Bureau
Consider how many travelers will be searching for campgrounds in your area by using the state’s visitor bureau website. Get listed on the main website and inquire about any marketing opportunities available in newsletters, brochures, and direct mail pieces the visitor bureau sends out regularly.
Develop Mailing Lists
Create a mailing lists of your best weekend customers and keep in contact by sending monthly emails that list midweek special offers and promotions. Remind them that midweek is the best time to visit local shops and attractions; away from the weekend crowd. Mail them midweek discount vouchers too.
So also, you should endeavor to print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al. Email is still a good way to deliver text, images, and video to people that you have already connected to. It is free or very cheap and you can track the results easily.
Collect emails everywhere you go to build your email list. Be sure to use an email automation software to make sending bulk emails a breeze. Send updates, pictures, customer reviews, discounts and deals to help your audience get excited about signing up and sharing with others.
Partner With RV Dealerships And Other Businesses In The Area
Co-marketing your campground may be one of the most result oriented ways to gain more exposure in the local area and reach your target market. Think about it: If someone’s shopping for an RV, they will also be needing destinations to explore!
Contact RV dealerships (both local and outside your city) to see if you can take some brochures there yourself, or mail them there, to be placed in the lobby. You can also ask if your information can be included on the RV dealership’s website or if it can be featured in any email newsletters, or direct mail pieces the RV business mails to their customer base.
When marketing your business locally, share the spotlight by talking about other businesses that your target market may be interested in patronizing at some point during their stay.
It is also effective to print out a pamphlet of “Things To Do” in the area to distribute to your guests. Local business owners may reciprocate by posting flyers of your campsite around their business, recommending you to patrons, or simply including you in some of their marketing materials.
Don’t Forget Referrals
Most modern entrepreneurs trust their close networks with recommendations on where to eat, where to find entertainment and where to send children for extracurricular activities. Not many things can replace good old-fashioned referrals.
And it is free! Make sure that you and your staff are taking the time to talk to your satisfied parents and kids. Encourage them to spread the word and to give testimonials on your website, on Yelp or anywhere else that you are collecting reviews. Offering a discount to current families for any new referrals is always a great incentive too!
Use Review Sites
Just like Facebook, even if you have not set up a business page on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, you still have one. The bad part is that people are reviewing and are going without engagement back. The best way to get repeat customers is through providing the best experience possible and this includes after they leave.
Also, you HAVE to be listed on Google. 65 percent use Chrome (Google’s search engine) or google maps to look up more info on businesses. If your business is not listed, you do not show up.
Run a Simple Contest to Get People Talking
Consider asking people who have been to your park before to share pictures and memories at your park. The best one wins a free weekend. You can always choose a slower part of the season for the giveaway but the point is to get past customers to relive the fun they had at your camp.
These photos will also be great for other FB posts and your website. To make sure it gets in front of the right people, you can always run an ad to those who have liked your page to make sure they see what you are asking for.
Provide Excellent Services and Make First Impression Count
Ensuring an unforgettable first impression on those who use your recreational vehicle park for the first time will help you boost the occupancy rate of your recreational vehicle park. The truth is that a first-time customer will return to patronize your services if they are impressed with how they were treated when they came for the first time.
But if you fail to satisfy them, they may not come back again and may also discourage their family and friends from patronizing your business. On the other hand, if they are impressed, they will come back and as well recommend your facility to their family and friends.
Promote Incentives on Facebook
Campers who are comparing offerings from different campsites in the area may be more likely to pick yours when there is an added incentive, such as a discount for extended stays, a free breakfast at an area diner or restaurant, or complimentary services such as laundry service or grocery delivery.
Think of ways to cater to your guests’ core needs during a camping trip, and make sure to promote these extra services and incentives in all your marketing materials. Use Facebook to promote these special offers and encourage fans to share these posts with friends to broadcast the news to a wider network.
Use Printed Materials
In this digital world, there is still more than enough space for printed marketing materials. Here are a few ideas to compliment all of the digital marketing that you may be incorporating into your plan:
- Design and print bumper stickers to hand out to existing camper families. Everyone loves a “free” gift and if they love camp and the sticker is cute, it is easy marketing driving all around town!
- Create t-shirts to use as giveaways at local events, schools and to existing camper families.
- Print handheld postcards that have your camp enrollment and contact information. You can hand them out at local events, and leave in local businesses that cater to families.
Create YouTube Videos
What you may not have realized is that YouTube is considered to be a social media site because users can like, comment, subscribe and even post video responses on YouTube. As a video publisher, you can respond to comments and videos.
This is what makes YouTube “social” and it is also a great place to test different appeals – to see what your audience really wants to watch or to learn about.
In the bar industry, bartenders will often “salt the tip jar” by putting money into the tip jar before the evening crowd starts to pour into the bar or club. This has a suggestive effect on patrons when they order a drink and stand there looking at the tip jar while the bartender makes their drink.
In fact, many patrons will start to feel guilty if they hadn’t planned on leaving a tip just because they can see that “others” have already been tipping and they don’t want to feel like a Cheapskate. You can do the same thing with your YouTube videos by leaving the first comment on your own video.
You don’t have to pretend like you are someone else. Just leaving a comment that says you’d love to hear what people think is enough. What matters is that your viewers notice that they are not going to be the first person to leave a comment, which makes them feel more comfortable leaving a comment themselves.
Create a Website
On every site, your website is listed. People WILL go there. So if you are spending money and time marketing, you need to make sure you are sending people to a professional site. SEO or search engine optimization helps out a lot when people search for parks in your area.
With SEO, your site might not ever show up organically. Also, most people are used to instant gratification. Therefore, you need to accept online reservations.
According to reports, over 40 percent of people in 2016 booked their stay 1-5 days in advance and 24 percent booked stays the day of. Most people who are looking to book the day of don’t have time to call around. They are looking for convenience.
Attend Trade Shows and Travel Events
Set up a booth at RV trade shows, travel shows, and lifestyle events in bigger cities near your campsite. You can collect contact information of booth visitors to build your mailing database at these events; meet RV dealership owners and other industry professionals; and also promote your campground with brochures and flyers.
If you use a camping reservation software, you can even promote your online booking abilities and encourage mobile bookings onsite.
Create a Google+ Page
If Google places enough emphasis on Facebook to allow it to affect their ranking system, how much weight do you think Google gives to their own social media platform, Google Plus? Nobody can say for certain (Google is very secretive about their web page ranking system), but they sure won’t overlook theirs.
To setup a Google Plus page, just go to http://plus.google.com and follow the instructions. Your park’s Google Plus page will be similar to your park’s Facebook page. It is a place to share news, events, videos and updates while engaging in conversations with your guests.
Advertising in niche publications is a great way to get attention; however, these spaces are sometimes sold at a premium. If you can’t afford ad space, try marketing your business and city to these magazines. They’re always looking for interesting places to feature.
Gather rack cards and brochures from the most inviting attractions in your area. Include them, along with an interesting story from your RV Park. This sort of story is what niche publications want to share with readers — and it would be fantastic (and free) RV Park marketing.
It is also a great idea to start an annual festival of your own. Work hard to create an event that will consistently bring visitors to your campground each year. Consider working with merchants in your area who serve a similar demographic and could benefit equally.
Only Use Twitter If You Plan to Use It Regularly
According to statistics, twitter receives a lot of publicity and about 12 percent of people report using Twitter as their main source of news and information. Unless you plan to use it on a regular basis, creating a Twitter account and only posting a few posts is a little bit like advertising a telephone number for your business, but never picking up the phone when it rings.
Even if you don’t plan to actively use a Twitter account right now, you should still claim your park’s name (or an abbreviation of it) on Twitter before some other park grabs the name. This way, you can use the account in the future if you want to.
RV Park marketing is complex and will require a multi-faceted approach. You may not have enough in the budget to cover every medium, but it is important to do what you can. We hope these marketing tips help your RV Park or campground have the most successful year.