The question is, not whether or not you should be participating
in a Day Use program, but how involved should your program become?
Day Use programs and promotions should not be limited to the routine
"day swimmers" and "day picnickers". Expand
your menu by including day events, fun promotions, company picnics/outings,
group programs and the school market, to name a few - all of which
will enable you to increase your revenues.
Theme parks and attractions continually host a promotion/event
to increase foot traffic. Are campgrounds any different? In fact,
you have a distinct advantage in that your facilities can be used
during the day by the "active" fun-loving participant,
and "after five" by the camping family. A dual facility
generating a dual profit.
Before you can operate a successful Day Use program, it is important
that you formulate a basic foundation, however, you must offer
your customer a quality experience, of which, this prerequisite
will determine your overall success.
First you must start with a plan. At this point, the answer becomes
... "think small - pinpoint your targeted audience",
and bring into play your best resources. The common bond of that
company picnic, school outing, or dozens of other "special
interest" events/promotions all relate to the importance
of attracting that certain customer.
Set the goals for your business that you intend for the Day Use
program to assist in achieving. Then, give considerable thought
and thorough planning, this "SILENT SLEEPER" can help
achieve this goal in your campground.
Fun promotions are a little something extra to stimulate business
at your park.
To be successful, the promotion must be timely, novel and well
publicized. It's difficult at best to devise the right promotion
at the right time at the right price. But to get a bonus of
free media exposure thrown in is the stroke of genius that insures
a favorable outcome.
The key to a good fun promotion is to involve your customers
in the fun. Make them feel like participants. Know your public
and try to give them what they like. Use the resources at your
park to offer what no one else in the community can.
The important thing to remember is to believe in your promotion
and carry it through with enthusiasm, and do it first class.
The public will appreciate an all-out effort. Also, successful
promotions bear repeating ... at least once!
GENERAL IDEAS (COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND TRAFFIC BUILDERS):
- Candle Making
- Cider Making
1. ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Whatever day of the week your park anniversary falls on, have
a party! Use a barrage of articles in the local newspapers proceeding
Day Use admission is charged at a reduced rate. Hot dogs and
pepsis are a quarter (work out a promo with your local distributor).
Hours are extended to 10:00 P.M.
The results are phenomenal. Pay activities are on-going, anniversary
specials are available in store, hayrides and games are provided.
An opportunity to "show-off" your facilities and increase
traffic. Everyone loves a well-planned party!
Concerned about the safety of trick-or-treaters on Halloween?
Provide an alternative place for them to go!
Host a party for all the little goblins, young and old. Fifty
percent of the admission charge goes toward a Ronald McDonald
House, or like community organization, such as Children's Hospital.
Your local daily newspaper can be one of the sponsors, so there
is plenty of free publicity.
Operate carnival-type booths, hayrides, food services and offer
trick-or-treat bags. Offer prizes for best costume, young goblins
and "older" goblins.
Have your store and snack area open for business!
3. THE SCHOOL MARKET
As each September signals the start of a new school year for
students, it also marks the initial "launch window"
for school business efforts.
While most school and school related outings are held in the
spring and early summer, decisions on what classes, clubs, and
organizations will be making these trips begin to formulate
in the fall.
It's the best time to begin your school advertising campaign.
The big question here becomes, "Where to begin, and how
far can you go with school business?"
In order to reach all the schools in your market area it is
necessary to obtain a good list. Your list should be complete
in that it should match the character of your park. If your
park appeals to all ages, efforts should extend beyond teens
and into the junior high, elementary, kindergarten and pre-school
Over the years you can update this list by merging in new schools
visiting your facility while purging out duplicates and schools
that have been closed.
The school market represents a segment that can produce multiple
visits, for there are several organizations within each school
with the potential to visit your park. The marketing plan section
for school business should pinpoint which groups have the best
potential for becoming park guests, and how to appeal to those
While several mailings to different decision makers within
the school will provide more complete penetration for events
such as class picnics, club and PTA outings, band and choir
performances, etc., initial information directed to the school
principal and imprinted with a routing list should serve as
the basis in developing school business. These first mailings
are best sent out within the time frame of September through
December, saving the January through March months for possible
follow-up mailings deemed necessary. (Figure 2).
Additional inroads into the school market segment can be obtained
through planned "special events". These offer a special
activity such as a night opening for "Senior Night"
or a "School's Out" party. Another form of special
event is a band or choral festival where students perform in
a competition while enjoying the attraction during their unscheduled
time. Many parks offer a special rate for performances in-park
without any competition involved.
Obtaining success in the school market hinges upon the planning
and execution put into your advertising and the mix you select.
While this may differ depending upon the benefits your facility
has to offer, the basis to expanding a facility's school group
attendance comes from creative approaches that can provide.
4. COMPANY PICNICS/OUTINGS
Primary attention in the business and industry market segment
goes to the highly incremental picnic and company outing services
that parks offer.
For picnics and outings, mailings to company presidents, personnel
directors, and company recreation committee presidents, serve
to introduce your park's ability to provide service. The chief
idea of these mailings should be to obtain feedback from the
organization that can serve as a basis to make a meaningful
contact. Methods for feedback can range from obtaining the number
of people the organization expects at a picnic, so that you
can develop a quote.
Another alternative may be to take the interest stimulated
by a mailing and invite key people from these organizations
to VIP parties at your facility to give them an on-site example
of how they can benefit from your services.
Prerequisites to a successful company picnic are:
5. CHURCH & YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS
As a crossover from the school market segment, church youth
organizations along with other youth groups, such as Boy Scouts,
Cubs, Girl Scouts, Brownies, and recreation leagues extend activities
into late spring and early summer months.
Generally this market segment is much more diverse than schools.
Churches alone could represent from two to five times as many
locations as found in the school market segment.
Many parks have found that success in the church and youth
group segment relates to the ability of the facility to stage
"special events" with an appeal to generate advertising
from within the group. Some examples include "Church Family
Days", "Scout Weekend", and "4-H Days".
In this area of special events there also is present the possibility
of establishing an exclusive special opening in which the group
can use the park's facilities to stage their own entertainment.
An example of this would be a church district buying out the
park on a spring or a fall Wednesday night or a non-operating
weekend for the purpose of establishing their own entertainment
on grounds and in the park's pavilions while setting the operating
schedule for other activities at the facility.
To view a Sample Letter for Youth Groups, click
6. DAY CAMP PLAN
OFFER A "DAY CAMP" FOR SUMMER! HOLD MONDAY THROUGH
FRIDAY FROM 9AM TO 3PM.
*** Consists of games, activities, sports, hiking, field events,
theme days, swimming/swimming lessons, arts and crafts, possible
introductory tennis and golf lessons - use the imagination!
Age group for the weekly day camp would be 6 to 12 years of
age. Pre-school day camp could be offered on a 2-3 day basis
for the younger age group.
Camp counselors are recreation and education students or graduates.
Counselor/camper ratio is 10 to 1. Suggested cost would be for
the weekly day camp at $65-$75 per week per child. A discount
for multiple week reservations could be offered or multiple
children per family discount offered. "Mini-Camp"
for pre-school or other on a 2-3 day basis would be suggested
at $40-$45 per child for the session.
7. TOUR TRAVEL GROUPS
As the tour and travel market grows, your park, if location
is appropriate, has a great opportunity to increase day traffic.
Through the travel industry, make your facility and services
known - welcome the tour buses as they are traveling through
your area. Advance planning and advertising can create a segment
in this market whereas the tour buses may stop for a few hours
or plan a 2 day outing at your park.
Offer a video of your area, use of all your facilities, a hayride,
group activities, etc.. When a group plans on spending an entire
day, offer special events.
Remember, these are tourists - stock those souvenir shelves,
especially with your area and state articles.
8. PARK "CLUBS"
Establish your own type of in-park clubs.
Birthday Club. Have all children ages 1-12 sign up for the
club - you follow up by sending them a birthday card prior to
the "big day" and invite them to bring Dad & Mom
& family out for the day. Plan the party and have cake (all
for a fee of course). Have party favors available in store.
Athletic Club. Cater to the health and athletic club clientel.
Offer relays, swim meets, competition games, etc.. Menu for
the day is health food and snacks. Sell health impulse items
and athletic wear in your store.
Don't forget the "GatorAde".
...............CREATE YOUR OWN ALONG THESE GUIDELINES
9. GRANDPARENTS DAY
Bring the Grandchildren for an entire day - Grandparents
are admitted FREE!
Offer games, hikes, hayrides and fun. Gear your
programs to your age groups. Prepare a "Kids Meal"
box lunch at a minimal fee and include an "Older Kids Meal"
for Grandma and Grandpa. Plan to have store specials so Grandma
10. SENIOR CITIZEN GROUPS
A spin off of the School Market. Seniors spend
the day fishing, visiting, picnicking or just relaxing. They
arrive mid-week when you are slow and require little attention.
Offer them a hayride, games (a good bridge game is always challenging),
sing-a-longs, exercise walk, etc..
Plan your store specials to include items appealing
to the type of group you are hosting.