Marketing Tips In a Post-COVID World
Many campgrounds are preparing like crazy to get ready for the season. No doubt, it’ll be the strangest season on record but there are signs of optimism that 2020 may not be as bad as people thought when the coronavirus first took hold. For example, RV sales are surging while the RV rental market growth is holding strong.
Anecdotally, I’ve talked to campground owners all around the country that not only continued to operate during the height of shelter-in-place orders but saw their best April in quite some time.
Perhaps the most encouraging survey I saw was one in which nearly 10% of Americans said they were going to a campground for their first post-COVID vacation. If you were to extrapolate 10% of 200 million American adults, that’s nearly 20 million! So yes, the campers are coming!
But how do you market to those folks? If there’s an increase in demand, it doesn’t mean you should slow down your marketing. If anything, the competition is now tougher amongst those campgrounds in your area. Unless you’re literally the only game in town, you’re going to be vying for the campers coming to your area. Do you have a plan to win them? Below are a few things to keep in mind as the country, and RVers, start opening back up.
Show your customer you’re being safe – By now, you’ve probably investigated masks and sneeze guards and posters to encourage social distancing. If not, you should! Part of providing a positive experience to your customer, whether its pre- or post-pandemic, is making them feel safe and secure. So yes, absolutely you should be purchasing PPE but you can also take it as an opportunity to reinforce your brand and your business. Branded face masks, sneeze guards with your logo, even fun floor clings that encourage social distancing – all of those things are real estate that will just go blank if you let it.
Travel will be much closer to home – The airlines have taken a huge hit from the pandemic and if 9/11 is any indication, it will take some time to recover. So what is a traveler to do for vacation? Why drive of course! Whether it’s a short road trip or staycation to a cabin at your campground, experts predict more local travel. So how do you take advantage of that? Well, if you do any kind of targeted web advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads), you’re able to narrow down the search radius of people clicking on your ad. You can narrow it down that way while advertising the fact that you are open or have cabins or activities — basically things that people in your area may not have thought about before.
As far as other forms of advertising, this may be a good time to focus or beef up your presence in your state camping guides or other local programs. If people only plan on driving three hours away for a staycation, your state guide would have them covered. Most of the associations that produce these guides also have targeted websites for consumers looking for information about their state.
Help your community to help you – If your park is reducing activities or even camp store availability, you still need to be able to provide things to see and do and purchase for your guest. Remember, we’re in the hospitality industry and all the advertising in the world won’t matter if you’re not being hospitable. So, figure out which local restaurants or pizza places will deliver to your sites or what attractions are open and their hours. Connections like this are often best achieved through some form of campground guide.
In summation, there isn’t an absolute right way to do anything in this post-COVID world we’re all going to live in, but we do know that it will be different than anything we’ve ever done. Every business, every industry, every person will need to adapt to be successful in 2020 and beyond. Are you ready? The camping public and your industry partners are. Let’s get started!