Well, here we are with the Snowbird season slowing down and the summer season just a few short months away. What is a poor park owner to do? Well, let’s make time to take a deep breath and get started on this year’s marketing plan and get to work implementing it.
Before we start implementing, let’s start with identifying our target market. We have all noticed a shift in the demographics of our markets. Now is the time to pull all of your information off of your reservation software.
What size rigs did you see last year?
Hopefully, you have saved your demographic information for the past few years so that you have something to compare to. Make a quick and dirty spreadsheet with a column for 25’ and under, 26’ to 32’, 33’ to 38’, and 40’ and over, and then rows for Coach, Fifth Wheel, Travel Trailer, Truck Camper, Pop Up and any other type of RV that you may have seen over the past couple of years. Fill out the numbers using your reservation software demographic report. (If your software gives you this type of comparison, you are a giant leap forward in your effort.)
Note: Once you have the information, be sure to save it for next year so that you have some way of comparing your demographics.
Once you have your spreadsheets, take a look and determine if your RV types and sizes have changed over the past year.
People are very cautious about sharing income information and rightfully so. However, you can make some assumptions based on your RV size spreadsheet. The guests that have 40’ coaches are probably the ones with the most disposable income. The guests with the truck campers and pop-ups typically enjoy hiking, fishing, and campfires.
This information should give you some hints as to where and how you want to market the park.
What was the average length of stay?
Again, make a spreadsheet with Overnight, 1-2 days, 1 week and 1 month across the top and the years that you have information for in the rows. Fill in your numbers and take a look at what the information is telling you. Are you having more weekend traffic? Do you consider yourself an overnight park or a long-term park? What are your overall percentages?
If your stays are more to the overnight side of the spreadsheet, you are going to want to consider putting your marketing efforts into those areas that cater to people driving through the area. If, on the other hand, the stays are for a week at a time, you will want to look at more of the tourism types of marketing efforts.
How many people were in each rig?
Obviously, if most of your guests have children with them you are attracting families to your RV Park. Not only will this information help you identify where you want to market but it will also help you in deciding what types of activities to have.
If your guests tend to be all adults, then it may be time to consider things like tailgate parties, adult sleep outs, or other activities that an older demographic will enjoy.
How many guests are repeat visitors?
When you look at repeat visitors, you want to know how often they stay with you and how often they come back. A person who comes back every year is just as valuable as one who visits more than once a year; however, how you market to these individuals can be very different.
Consider putting together a program that rewards your repeat visitors. One idea would be to give a repeat visitor a free night if they bring in a friend or relative to stay for a weekend.
How far did your guests travel to get to you?
A lot of the newer reservation programs will break this down for you. If not, contact your provider and ask if they can run a report for you by state at a minimum. This information is going to tell you whether you are attracting people who live within your state or whether they are coming from out of state.
Again, this isn’t rocket science, just plain common sense. If your guests are mainly from in-state, you will want to concentrate your advertising on local programs, i.e. local tourism efforts, festivals, etc.
How did your guests find you?
Hopefully, you have been tracking each of your advertising and marketing efforts with a unique call-to-action (CTA). If you have, you now need to take a look at how effective those efforts have been. If you haven’t, take the time now to decide that for every type of marketing/advertising effort you implement this year, you are going to have a unique identifying CTA on each and every one. This could be as simple as mention this ad and receive a 10% discount, to as complex as bring in this ad to receive a free gift.
What do I do with all of this data?
While you can’t combine each of these individual data points and come up with a valid answer on exactly who your guest is, you can make the educated guesses that I have suggested for each item and get an overall look at what makes up your guest population.
Once you have an understanding of your guest population, you have a better understanding of where you need to concentrate your marketing and advertising efforts and dollars. Once you understand where to concentrate your efforts, it stands to reason that you have a better chance of succeeding with your marketing.
There are a lot more statistics that you can pull out of your reservation software but you definitely need these as a minimum. What numbers would you look for?