Growing your campground is not always just about revenue. This is what Campspot’s Michelle Hollenbeck and Erin Stender highlighted in today’s morning session of the Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo happening February 15-16.
Campspot’s Michelle Hollenbeck, senior manager of Demand Generation, and Erin Stender, chief marketing officer, discussed growth strategies for campground owners, covering three key categories of growth: building a strong foundation, marketing like a pro, and optimizing revenue.
Defining your purpose
For aspiring campground and park operators, starting in the industry can be daunting and sometimes overwhelming. How do you start? Where should you focus? Service, food, amenities, facilities, or experience? For veteran owners, how do you level up and adapt to the ever-growing market?
According to Hollenbeck, to build a strong foundation, owners should establish their “north star,” partner with the right people, and build community.
“So that first piece, north star, it’s common these days for all kinds of businesses to define their core values or guiding principles. The purpose is to give yourself a guide post and to unify your staff. Even as they come and go, under a common purpose and ensure the team is always working toward common goals,” she added.
Hollenbeck emphasized that the “north star” should help everyone, from leadership to managers, to staff, to make decisions every day that are in line with the business and help everyone stay oriented and pointed in the right direction.
“Another key to building a strong foundation is to build community. And by partnering with the right people, you’re on your way there. Once you have the people you can trust, these experts become part of your larger community. They are people who support you and are aligned with your common purpose,” she added.
Marketing Like a Pro
For Stender, the fundamental power of defining what’s important to park owners allows them to really understand and represent what their park stands for.
“So marketing is a recipe that comes with a lot of experimentation and just fine-tuning and adjusting things as you find the right mix of ingredients that work for you. And the best part is like; this is really a very personal experience. It’s about understanding your part, your audience, and what’s ultimately right for you,” Stender said.
Campground owners can improve their marketing efforts by getting to know their customers and understanding their demographics. This information can be used to build a strong brand through storytelling, highlight the unique features and experiences that the campground has to offer, and develop a marketing strategy that utilizes a variety of channels, such as SEO, social media, and events.
By standing out in a crowded market and providing a memorable experience, private campground owners can create a strong brand that draws in new customers and boosts revenue.
To optimize revenue, park and campground owners should ensure that their revenue goals align with their overall business strategy. This can involve exploring new revenue streams, such as offering additional amenities or services or optimizing existing revenue streams, such as adjusting pricing or improving operational efficiency.
By focusing on revenue growth while maintaining a strong commitment to customer experience, private campground owners can ensure long-term success and stability, they said.
Hollenbeck shared stories from park and campground owners who have implemented these strategies and achieved significant growth.
One of our experts they interviewed is from a larger ownership group, and the other is the owner of a smaller 51-site park in North Carolina. According to Hollenbeck, It was important to capture perspectives from each end of that broad spectrum.
“Even with the different profiles, there were a lot of similarities when it comes to the things that these owners deem important for growing a Campground business,” Hollenbeck highlighted.
For rookies and veterans alike, campground owners and operators can achieve significant growth and success in the industry by establishing a strong foundation, enhancing their marketing efforts, and optimizing their revenue streams by focusing on customer experience, building community, and developing a strong brand.
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