Your Business Survived COVID, Time to Step on the Gas

There’s not a business in America that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 this year. Most were especially impacted during those rough months in Spring where no one knew what was happening, communities were on lockdown and the future looked bleak. And while we’re certainly not out of the woods, and a long way from returning to normal, all signs point to a more positive outlook.

The campground industry is one of the more fortunate ones. Being outdoors and socially distanced is an inherent camping experience and has been deemed one of the safest things to do during the pandemic. This has resulted in a boom for those campgrounds in cities and states that have reopened and allowed people to move more freely than they had. The busy summer has also allowed campgrounds to feel better about their business heading into 2021.

As the general manager of an advertising company in the hospitality industry, I’ve come across thousands of businesses this year who usually take ads out in campground guides. It’s certainly a tougher economic climate than we’re used to but entering fall it’s clear which of those businesses will be sticking around next year. Whether it’s PPP money or just a pivot to another sector, businesses that made it to this point have something to look forward to.

  • With that said, there is a natural inclination for any business owner to start cutting expenses with so much uncertainty around. Marketing is typically the first to go. But should it be? Sure, you can save a few bucks but the point of advertising is to bring in more than you spend. Take these examples of successful companies and how they handled economic crises’:Kellogg’s: During the Great Depression, the market leader in breakfast foods, Post, cut back significantly its advertising budget and rival Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spend, investing heavily in radio and introducing a new cereal called Rice Krispies, featuring “Snap,” “Crackle” and “Pop.” Kellogg’s profits grew by 30% and that campaign was the catalyst that allowed Kellogg’s to become the category leader.
  • Toyota: During the recession of 1973-75, the US government issued its first miles-per-gallon report in which Toyota Corolla was second to Honda Civic in fuel efficiency. By adhering to its long-term strategy and not cutting back its marketing, Toyota surpassed Volkswagen as the top imported carmaker in the U.S. by 1976.
  • Pizza Hut: In the 1990-91 recession, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell took advantage of McDonald’s decision to drop its advertising and promotion budget. As a result, Pizza Hut increased sales by 61%, Taco Bell sales grew by 40% and McDonald’s sales declined by 28%.
  • Amazon: Amazon sales grew by 28% in 2009 during the “great recession.”
    The fact of the matter is as your competitors scale back and remove themselves from the conversation, there’s an opening for you. Getting one size larger of a print ad or adding a few bucks to your PPC budget can go a long way.

And what about the pie we’ll all fighting over? According to recent Ipsos research, 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the coming year. How many of those 46 million Americans do you need to have a record year?

And don’t forget to look beyond 2021. Every businesses’ top source of business’ are repeats and referrals. If you give someone a good experience, they’re your customer for life. That’s especially relevant now. According to RV rental site Outdoorsy, 93% of their bookings in May and June were first-timers. If you’re able to show a first-timer an amazing experience, don’t you think they’d come back?

That’s why it’s crucial to get your name out front. The market is literally flooded with RVers who are looking at places to stay for the first time. Most industries would kill for the opportunity to welcome so many new leads.

Don’t fall asleep at the wheel.