For over 35 years now AGS has been serving the publishing and internet needs of campgrounds all across America. The company is a Division of Texas Advertising, publishers of state campground listing guidebooks, and best known for the massive, award-winning Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) magazine featuring over 400 campgrounds.
“We are the guest guide division of the equation for each campground,” said Michael Moore, a certified tourism executive (CTE) and general manager of AGS.
He said AGS pulled its campground client numbers recently and found that despite the COVID crisis and shutdown in many states, the numbers of parks AGS services remained the same as at the beginning of 2019. “Some of our campgrounds will have the busiest year they’ve ever had,” he added.
Over three and a half decades, AGS has expanded from just site maps and campground guest guides into print information pages and marketing brochures, Internet website optimization services and Internet advertising, and even website development and hosting under its TXAD Web brand.
The agency is different than most in that ad representatives, many full time RVing couples out on the road, visit each customer with a hands-on approach to sales.
“At any time we have nearly 60 folks out in the field,” shared Moore. “They travel by RV and they scope out the community and the local area building relationships with businesses that will be visited by RVers staying at the local campground.”
Part of creating the guide and site map for a campground is actually selling the advertising for the guide to pay for its production. Moore said his reps go out to local restaurants, RV service centers, and even dog groomers, to solicit advertising in the campground guide on behalf of its owners.
“In 2021 our message continues to be ‘We’re ambassadors for you, we want to tell the story of camping to your community,’” explained Moore. “Many times the community doesn’t even realize that they have a terrific park down the road with thousands of camping nights representing community spending.”
Moore is optimistic about the next few years as the number of first-time RV owners has grown significantly. He thinks campers have a certain loyalty.
“If you get a first-time customer and you show them a good time, they could come back three, four or five times,” he noted. “It’s not just about getting them this year; it’s about getting them every year after that. That’s why the guides and our services are so important.”
AGS is also telling campground owners that the guides are more important than ever because it is a vehicle to communicate the changes brought on and maintained by COVID-19.
“You’re going to need some updates,” he said. “Whether you’ve got new rules, a slightly different process now as far as check-ins go, or what campers can do within the park. There is a lot of change going on. We like to think that we can help owners handle all this quickly and correctly.”
“Beyond the guides and brochures, our web design and web hosting side also offers a variety of services, whether it’s blogging for campgrounds, or a Google AdWords campaign, we become a one-source marketing firm,” Moore added. “Working with a company like ours, who’s been around a long time and certainly knows the industry inside and out, we are able to provide guidance on many aspects of different promotions.”
And he concluded that the advertising in the guide can actually act as payment for these services through the AGS Loyalty Credit Program.
“If we get enough support in a campground’s guide, they’re actually able to use credit from us on any product or service we provide,” said Moore. “That can be on the print side or it can be on the digital side. If a campground does a guide and gets enough support, and let’s say the loyalty credit is $500 for this year, they could literally get $500 worth of Google AdWords promotion with us for free.”