Yesterday I popped up a link and video about the smartphone app, Allstays. It’s a game changer for the way RV’ers find out about parks where they’re going. And I can only seeing it changing the game further as time goes on.
RV Parks used to reach their consumer base through paper publications like Woodalls campground guide, club guides, etc. Each year the parks would resubscribe to whichever service they liked, and would be included in their books. Often times upon entering a new RV park I’d see a guide book or two for sale in the office. Those would normally be the guides that they themselves were listed in.
But then came the internet. It’s thrown a monkey wrench in so many things today. Declining newspaper sales, magazine sales, etc. Print media has taken a big hit. And many of the RV listing organizations have adapted to a degree. They now have search options for parks on their websites. Unfortunately, they may have lost some of their prestige with their consumer market base.
RV Park Reviews
I’ve been tracking several RV Park websites over the past few months. 3 different clients. One with a newly completed website, two waiting for their renovations. But I’ve been watching all of them through Google Analytics and their own statistics trackers as well. You know what I’ve found?
The number one referral to all three client websites is the website RVParkreviews.com. This is a free service where campers can pop up their review of a park they stayed at, the good and the bad. When you do a Google search for “RV Park Insert Town Name” you’ll often find a link to RVParkreviews.com. Why is that?
They have the latest information on the parks and who visits the parks. It’s not a static page, the information is being updated all the time by users. And that means the search engines visit the site….a lot!
The app that I wrote about yesterday also sends a lot of links to the parks I’m watching. The park owners have all been pretty amazed by the app, and by the traffic it generates for them.
Unlike the old way of doing things, the park owners are not advertisers at Allstays. They are included as that is what Allstays does. Basically from their point of view this is a free advertising service that happily drops customers off right at their doorstep. It’s up to the park owner to take it from there.
What is really missing from the parks’ traffic is simple. Referrals from the companies they paid to advertise them. All of my clients are members of one group or another. Actually, they’re signed up with several RV Park promotional groups. And until two days ago, LaMesa RV Park in Cortez hadn’t had a single referral from their primary advertising outlet.
Given the amount of money my clients have paid to advertise with different national RV Park marketing platforms I can tell you first hand they’re all pretty disappointed watching their web stats. Overall they’re happy to see all the referrals they get from RVParkreviews.com and Allstays, but they’re wondering why they’ve been shelling out thousands of dollars a year on services that are not delivering new clients to them. Honestly, I’m wondering about it too.
Social media is playing a role here. RVParkreviews depends on users to update information and reviews regarding parks. That keeps their information up to date, provides new content, and is checked by the web search engines often. Allstays is clearly keeping new content going everyday as well, and their convenient mobile application is easy for any user, not just the most tech savvy guy out there. The best part? Neither service charges the parks, that’s not their business model.
Cause for hope in my endeavors?
All of this gives me hope for what I’m working on. There are so many small parks out there that need to reach their mobile client base. Many have antiquated websites. So even if RV Park Reviews or Allstays sends them a potential customer, their own website could actually kill the final sale. The sites need some updating.
And frankly, many of these parks are still paying out huge amounts to advertise the old fashioned way. If I keep running across the same statistics over and over again it’s easy to demonstrate that their advertising dollars would be better spent revising their online presence. If you can actually show them the numbers it’s a no brainer.
So far my own clients are seeing the value in taking part of their marketing budgets and redirecting them to site improvement. Now I just need a larger client pool to really demonstrate the numbers! 🙂