Best Advertizing for the Buck

Discussion in 'Park Management' started by Scottam99, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. Scottam99

    Scottam99
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    I think I have found a CG to purchase. There is zero advertising of the park currently.
    What would you consider the best advertising for the Campground?
    I plan on Social Media sites, Local and state Camping publications, and a Website.
    What about Print? Radio? TV? Other avenues?
     
  2. NYDutch

    NYDutch
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    Does the park have an area draw that brings tourists into the area? If it does, then advertising in related tourist guides should work. Additionally, I think advertising in RV oriented magazines like the Escapees RV Club magazine and the Good Sam publications should help get your park's name out there. Accumulating a history of good reviews here on RVPR of course, is always a plus, although that takes significant time to build a meaningful listing. You may find joining discount systems like Passport America and the Escapees Discount Parks helpful when you're listed in their directories, at least while you build a good reputation and a steady clientele. Radio and TV ads likely wouldn't pay for themselves in the long run, since they're too transient. Us old folks that will likely constitute the bulk of your guests have notoriously poor memories... :rolleyes::D
     
  3. Pamela Wright

    Pamela Wright
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    I would strongly advise staying away from Radio and TV. Both of these work well for businesses that depend on local customers but an RV park is looking for people driving through. Since you are just getting started, I would suggest that you rely heavily on digital advertising (Facebook ads, Google Adwords, etc) Before you set up those accounts take a long hard look at the customers that the park has attracted in the past. Look for demographics like age, family or retired, size of rig, etc. This will give you a good idea of who you should target in the short term. Then decide who you want to target in the future. There is so much that will be going on right after the purchase that your marketing efforts are going to have to be easy to implement. Once you have a year under your belt you should be better able to target your ideal guest.

    Big ad dollar spends will take away from your ability to react as you get more comfortable with who you are currently attracting. i.e. If you spend $5000 for an ad in one publication for a year, you can't go in and change that ad as you learn more about your park.

    Contact your state tourism department and find out how to get your brochures into the rest stops.

    Convention and Visitor's Bureaus have Welcome Centers where they display tri-fold brochures.

    Set up a frequent guests club where you give a discount for x number of referrals from people who have stayed with you.

    There are lots of other methods you can use that aren't going to cost an arm and a leg.

    Best of luck to you.
     
    #3 Pamela Wright, Feb 17, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2018
  4. westernrvparkowner

    westernrvparkowner
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    What kind of client are you seeking. If you are a seasonal, destination park your advertising will need to differ from overnight and destination parks. If you are a resort, it will differ from a bare bones value oriented park. My experience is in overnight parks and destination location parks that do not provide their own entertainment, but rather are located in desirable vacation areas.
    For those type of parks I feel The Good Sam Guidebook gets you some customers, but it will take a long long time for it to organically migrate to your potential customer base since people only buy a new book every few years. The local Chamber of Commerce can also spin some customers your way.
    Your best option, in my opinion, is the internet. Spend the money needed to get your park on the first page of keyword searches in your area. A Good Sam Park is a very cheap way of branding. They don't have many rules and the costs are very low. Branding as a KOA or Jellystone is expensive, but may set you apart if you are in a very competitive market.
    Finally, an Interstate billboard may actually generate overnight business. And in conjunction, don't overlook tourist oriented direction signs. Logo'd interstate exit signs and a good sign at the entrance to your park are also valuable.
    You will be inundated with publications and other media suggesting they can help fill your park for a fee. Most of those are of limited value, at best. Good Luck.
     
  5. Scottam99

    Scottam99
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    Thank you for the replies. The park is located 1-1/2 hours from 3 moderate sized cities, there is 2 popular universities one is 15 minutes away the other is 25 minutes away. The major attraction to this campground is; Over 1 mile frontage on a river that is good for canoes, kayaks and Inner tubes. Good Fishing too.
    I am looking to attract people who want to " unplug from the Tech world" at least for a little while.
    The park currently has wifi I want to keep it more of a natural environment and experience. I am a trained survival instructor and think it would be fun to have introductory classes on survival as part of the park attractions.
    With that said, I'm thinking Social media would be best. Also a better website.
     
  6. westernrvparkowner

    westernrvparkowner
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    Since I never pull punches, I won't start now. I don't think your plan has a strong chance for success. The students at the universities don't have RVs and the parents, alumni, sporting event fans and the like will have zero interest in a park that is "unplugged from the tech world". Furthermore, I just don't see too many RV'ers who are looking to spend a few days survival training. They own RVs because they don't want to rough it.
    I would focus on the river, the fishing and the other water activities. But that means owning those kayaks, canoe and inner tubes and renting them out. That is a very capital intensive business with huge liability issues, as well as logistical constraints. You will need to be highly insured and have well trained employees. Just handing out inner tubes to everyone will eventually lead to serious injury or a death, which without that insurance will lead to the injury or death of your business. Also, your neighbors up and down the river likely will oppose any dramatic increase in the use of the river, so be prepared to be a pariah in the neighborhood.
     
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  7. NYDutch

    NYDutch
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    I agree with WRVPO. I did more than enough survival training in the military "back when", including jungle, desert, and cold weather, to ever want to subject myself unnecessarily to that stress again. If we wanted to go "low tech", we wouldn't have all the electronic amenities in our RV that we have, as do many other RV'ers. Being that close to a couple of universities, you may attract some visiting parents, but the likelihood that they're going to want a low tech experience is slim to none. The fishing and kayaking, etc, will attract some clientele though. I'd suggest going for more universal amenities with as much "something for everyone" as you can justify in your budget.

    We're in as low tech a park as we ever visit right now, with no hookups except 20/30/50 amp electric, and very weak cell signals with no park WiFi or cable TV in the Big Cypress National Preserve. We travel well prepared though, with a powerful cell signal booster for voice and data, satellite for TV, and portable tanks for waste water dumping and resupplying fresh water when needed. We're also only paying $15 a night here thanks to our Senior Access Pass. If your park happened to be on our line of travel when we were looking for an overnight stop, we well might give your park a try, but only because we bring our own amenities with us.
     
  8. westernrvparkowner

    westernrvparkowner
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    What Scott is describing is what is often pointed out as a classic small business error, creating a business around your specific interests and not recognizing the actual size of that market. I may only wear blue shirts, but it would be economic suicide to have an apparel shop that only had blue shirts in inventory. The soup nazi got away with serving things his way on Seinfeld, but it very seldom works in real life.
    When starting a new business, you can always discard services and tighten your business model if you are getting too much business, but to have just a couple of relatively outside the box ideas (unplugged and survivalist training) as your lead marketing campaigns in a new business doesn't sound promising to me. The great bulk of RV park guests fit neither of those two categories. An alternative might be to have an area that is completely unplugged and see if it generates any business. Same with Survival training. It can be a side business, it might even be a stand alone business, but I don't see it being tightly mated with RVing.
    It is actually a policy of many lending institutions to vet business plans before making business loans. The lending committees look for flaws in those business plans and hopefully make recommendations that make repayment of the loan more likely or prevent both parties, the lender and the borrower, from losing money.
    This isn't an indictment against Scott, it just seems his emotional attachment to what he likes might be clouding his business judgement. And it is equally likely that his close confidants also have similar likes and dislikes and therefore he isn't getting the negative feedback any business owner needs about their business. My businesses are shaped much more quickly by what I find out I am doing wrong than being told what I am doing right. Making business improvements is a life long activity, but solving problems can happen almost immediately. It might be good advice for Scott to rent an RV and stay in a few RV parks to get to know the actual clientele. He may find the average RVer is very different from what he is envisioning.
     
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  9. NYDutch

    NYDutch
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    I wonder if Scott might benefit from some of the SBA and/or SCORE programs for prospective small business owners before investing. I know a few folks that benefited quite a bit from the help they received in developing a viable business plan and arranging financing.
     
  10. Fitzjohnfan

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    Small suggestion, talk to your local and state highway department about getting an official brown sign(s) installed on nearby roads and highways indicating "camping, next exit.".

    Also look into the cost of billboards in your area on stratigic streets/highways.

    These two suggestions might get you a few spur of the moment campers.

    Also, make sure your internet info is correct on this site, as well as on trip advisor, yelp, google, etc.
     
  11. Scottam99

    Scottam99
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    Thank you for all the replies. The only way to get advice is to " Lay it out there" for others to respond to. I'm thinking I will revise my plans for the campground. I know my first priority is going to be, doing a lot of updating to the bathrooms, showers and pavilion. They are quite dated.
     
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  12. westernrvparkowner

    westernrvparkowner
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    That is a GOOD plan. However, I do suggest you run the park for a while before making major changes in operations. It will keep you from wasting money. The Pavilion is a good example. By all means, make it look good and safe, but don't add a $10,000 outdoor kitchen suite or build a stage with a state of the art sound system until you are absolutely sure those would be a good investments that would actually have a positive rate of return.
     
  13. docj

    docj
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    A common small business mistake is not to consider the capital investment in improvements in terms of rate of return. For example, if the bathrooms are "dated" and need refurbishment the basic investment may have no positive impact on revenue because failure to do it may well result in loss of revenue. But beyond the cost of the basic refurbishment, additional outlays may or may not generate additional revenue. Will fancier bathrooms enable you to charge a higher nightly rate? Will increasing the size of the bath facility permit you to increase the number of sites and, thereby, generate more revenue? Every investment needs to be subjected to this sort of analysis. And never lose sight of the fact that "better" is the enemy of "good enough!"
     
  14. Scottam99

    Scottam99
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    I read several reviews for the park I am purchasing and the bathrooms was a big negative in the reviews that weren't very good. I'm thinking it's probably just a good paint job to brighten the place up
     
  15. NYDutch

    NYDutch
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    Probably the most common RV park bathroom complaints I see or hear is that they're dirty, followed distantly by the age/condition of the walls and fixtures. While most parks do a pretty good job of thoroughly cleaning the bathrooms daily, I think many parks would do well to inspect and freshen up the bathrooms more frequently than just the once daily deeper cleaning. Most of the time it would only take a few minutes to make sure the sinks, toilets, and floors are clean and the trash emptied if necessary. Even just a few paper towels dropped on the floor by careless guests or an un-flushed toilet can make a bathroom look pretty trashy in a hurry. Yes, a fresh coat of paint is a good idea, but attention to daily details will go a lot further in the overall customer satisfaction department.
     
  16. westernrvparkowner

    westernrvparkowner
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    Best tip anyone can ever give you: Don't skimp on the bathrooms. Make them pristine. The reason is simple, people will likely clean up after themselves, they will NEVER clean up after other people. If the bathroom even has a hint it isn't clean, they will shake the water off their hands, grab a paper towel and hustle on out.
    Easy to clean, flat surfaces, that are a light color work the very best. Light color because it doesn't hide the dirt they user leaves behind and would clean up if they saw it. Flat surfaces, because they aren't going to scrub corners and the like, which will eventually become gnarly and gross. Smooth surfaces like granite or even laminate clean much easier and faster then wood or anything with grout. If you have money to spend on upgrades, the bathrooms are the first, second and third choices. They create lasting memories with the users.
     
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  17. mdcamping

    mdcamping
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    We travel with a 20' TT so the campground showers/bathrooms are important to us. As mentioned earlier, #1 on our list is the showers/bathrooms must be kept clean. #2 are they functional...one example would be is the changing and shower stalls sized adequately, do they have plenty of hooks and places to put your stuff on, is there a bench in the changing stall? This is what's essential to us.

    I will not mark down on a review as much on dated showers/bathrooms as long as above is met.

    Though there have been exceptions, I have noticed most private campgrounds seem to do a better job on keeping their showers/bathrooms clean vs state campgrounds, this has been our experience.

    Mike
     

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