SMS Marketing Ideas for Campsite and Touring Park Operators
Once much-maligned as a basic budget getaway, the popularity of camping and caravanning holidays is soaring and is continuing to grow. According to Mintel and the National Caravan Council (NCC), an estimated 17 million camping and caravanning trips were taken by UK adults in 2016, of which 15 million were on our home soil. This is expected to grow to around 17.9 million this year and Mintel’s forecast is that by 2020, the figure will reach 21 million trips and the market will be worth 3.2 billion – and SMS marketing may well play a key role in helping to achieve this.
There are several factors that have facilitated the growth, especially the weak pound at the moment making holidays abroad more expensive for Brits compared to previous years but more affordable for foreign visitors to visit the UK. Fears over stability, security and terrorism threats in other countries is behind more choices to take a staycation and new target markets have been attracted by the trend towards more luxurious or distinctive camping experiences which has coined the term ‘glamping’.
This is all encouraging news for the industry. Right now it is peak season; the middle of the British summer and school holidays have begun, even the great British weather has been relatively kind this year so far. It is the busiest time of the year for camping and caravanning parks and marketing strategies are probably not priority, especially for the many small owner run businesses within the industry and those who are reliant on returning customers. However, marketing should not be forgotten as in a seasonal industry, time moves fast and regardless of the time of year it is, empty pitches are not generating revenue.
So how can SMS marketing benefit campsite and touring park operators and support the growth of the industry?
It offers a simple, cost effective and time efficient way to reach both existing and new customers to promote your business by direct contact to their mobile phone, helping to fill those pitches. Here are eight marketing and promotional ideas which could be used in text messages:
- For regular and return bookers – offer a discount or an extra free night if they book a minimum number of nights. If they tend to return annually at the same time each year, try offers for other appropriate times of the year eg. if a family always stays in the summer holidays, send an offer to encourage them to book during Easter or half term holidays as well. Specific time periods and stay lengths can be applied, especially when trying to bolster off-peak season sales but remember not to get too restrictive or it will defeat the purpose.
- For bookers who have only stayed once, motivate them to return with a personalised discount on pitch rates, this can be targeted to be for a similar time of the year to when they previously visited and to the same sized group eg. if they were a family of five, make sure the discount applies to a family of five – don’t then send them a discount for a couple with no accompanying children as it is likely to be ignored.
- Offer partnership promotions with local attractions. Network with local organisations and tourism boards and try to strike up deals such as money off entry tickets or parking. This can be mutually beneficial for both sides to increase visitor numbers.
- Text information about prominent upcoming events near you. If there are shows, music or sports events due to be held near you, there will be people interested in attending so reminding them that you have space available may just be the impetus they need to book. It is important to get the time frame right for this one – too far ahead and people will forget but too short a time frame and people may not be able to make the arrangements such as taking time off work.
- Don’t be afraid to use text messaging marketing as a way to survey customers and seek feedback. Get direct and reliable information rather than trawling through websites such as TripAdvisor, Pitchup.com or ukcampsite.co.uk for reviews which may not be genuine. Answers might not be what you expect but it will help to pinpoint where service or facility improvements are needed.
- If you have made recent improvements or added new features to your site, let your previous customers know. It could have been the one and only thing that annoyed them enough to not return, if they know it’s changed then they may want to come back.
- Send reminders or confirmation of bookings and associated details by text along with any useful relevant information such as planned local roadworks or road closures in the local area.
- To really tailor the customer’s experience, one to two weeks before booking, you could text helpful tips and ideas to get the most out of their holiday, such as a list of fun outdoor games to keep children (and adults) occupied, local food produce and specialities worth sampling or notes on what flora and fauna to look out for at the particular time of year they have booked.
- When booking pitches for their tent or caravan, people are buying an expectation of a great holiday experience, not just a space on a field for a few nights, which makes for a very discerning and demanding customer base. Ignore them at your peril, this is an industry where word of mouth really counts. Clear and well targeted SMS marketing campaigns can give your business that friendly, approachable and memorable touch that holidaymakers want, provide you with a valuable insight into your customers, give you the edge on the competition and increase sales by filling those empty pitches for as much of the season as possible.
Here at Fastsms, our experts know exactly what it takes to succeed in SMS Marketing and are more than happy to help you get to grips with how to make the most of the opportunities it has to offer in your sector. To talk to a specialist today, give the team a call on 0800 954 5305.
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