Marketing—A Never-Ending Journey
By Jessica Lippe
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / tashatuvango
Once upon a time, camp was a place to get away from it all. The nearest cell phone tower couldn’t quite reach the grounds, and if there even was internet connection, it was restricted to a single, rarely used computer for camp personnel only. And camping at a place with indoor plumbing was a luxury!
Times have changed. Many people feel unsafe if they don’t have easy access to a phone. Wifi is practically a requirement for all businesses. While you may work at a camp that has policies restricting campers from using electronics, if these policies also include staff members, you are missing out on a great marketing opportunity.
A few months ago, I met with several other staff members from a variety of camps to discuss marketing through camp media. Everyone agreed that it is practically a paradox: we want people to come to our camps to relax and unwind, but in order for them to step foot onto our grounds, we need to aggressively publicize through our website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and a whole slew of upcoming social networks. How can we be media-savvy when it comes to marketing to potential guests, but still communicate that there is a whole wide world to explore when you shut off the screen?
Because I am a part-time travel writer, on my days off from camp I am often asked to visit a variety of travel accommodations, ranging from primitive campgrounds to lavish bed and breakfasts. I regularly have discussions with the hosts of these destinations about media marketing ideas and how reaching new customers has changed over time. If it is any consolation, they are all in the same boat as camp professionals: how do we reach the over-connected customer to encourage a time of disconnection? (To be honest, most accommodation hosts are more interested in having me help reach potential guests online than they are having me write a print article!) As all of us have likely already experienced, this is a continuous process. I hope you’ll join me on this never-ending journey known as marketing!
Media Manager, Camp Rivercrest