At Southeast Publications, we work with over 17,000 small businesses across the United States every year. Our service affords small business an excellent way to serve an under served market in an economical way. We do this by connecting businesses with Outdoor Recreation venues through advertising within a highly-utilized publication and online resource for RV Travelers.
The advertising results speak for themselves as Southeast Publications has been around for over 30 years and the retention rate amongst all small businesses has hovered around 85%. Interestingly also is the fact that our participation rate by small businesses that have sponsored outdoor recreation through advertising within our partner resorts publications has increased steadily at 5% year over year for the past several years and shows no sign of stopping in 2017.
That’s just me talking about our business. Recently Outdoor Recreation has been credited on a much larger platform, the US Senate. Now, per the Senate, Outdoor Recreation will be included in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the first time. Why? Well now Outdoor Recreation accounts for 646 BILLION Dollars in consumer spending, 6.1 MILLION jobs and 80 BILLION in Federal State and Local Tax revenues. The growth isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2017 either because RV industry analyst Dr. Richard Curtin, indicated that 2017 will see a 4.4% RV unit sale increase over 2016.
Tapping into your local market’s visitors is nothing new. If you’ve traveled recently, you’ve probably visited a hotel with a Starbucks or a well-known restaurant either inside or adjacent to the property. If you’ve been to a well-developed travel market like Las Vegas, you’ve probably encountered people just outside the resorts handing out flyers to local restaurants or entertainment venues to that resort’s guests. Hotels bring in new business, tourism brings in the bucks and the best kept secret is RV Resorts and Campground tourism.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you open a Dunkin Donuts franchise inside your local RV Resort or Campground. (That’s not a bad idea) What I am saying is that outside of advertising within their campground guest guide and participating in digital advertising within an RV media platform, you should visit the park. Heck, rent a camper, build a fire and mingle with the guests a little. I’m sure you will quickly understand that the Outdoor Recreation community is a bunch of fun loving and loyal customers. You will also notice that, unlike a hotel, RV Resorts and Campground owners/managers will actively promote their local businesses that have cultivated a relationship with them during the guest’s check-in.
There is so much opportunity in the Outdoor Recreation space. I’ve seen RV dealerships display units within their local campground because of their strong relationship. I’ve seen local restaurants with strong ties to the campground cater large meals during events at these resorts. Salon’s advertising chair messages to guests and this is just to name a few ways. I cannot evangelize enough the importance of local businesses cultivating strong relationships with their campgrounds and RV Resorts nearest to their business.
Make no mistake, with the Senate’s announcement there are going to be large corporations that are going to start thinking about how they can better participate within these RV Resorts and Campgrounds. We already are seeing it here at Southeast Publications with larger businesses like Pilot Flying J and AAA that are making advertising purchases in over a hundred of our resorts and campgrounds. Other larger organizations are marketing through digital media platforms catered to RV Travelers too.
So, what businesses stand to benefit most from RV Tourism?
I will break down the who’s and the why’s starting from the most obvious, to the least obvious.
- RV Dealerships, Storage and RV Services –
This should be no surprise because you can’t caravan without an RV and with units getting better, more connected, and more visually appealing, customers already, “in the know” about the RV lifestyle is easy pickings. If you have ever owned an RV, you know, surviving without means your likely a rocket scientist with access to every tool in the world. Again, another needed service.
- Restaurants, Landmarks, Activity and Entertainment Venues-
Ok, so why do people travel in an RV in the first place? It’s not like there is a severely large population that uses an RV for business travel. RV Travelers and Campers are there for an experience. Some enjoy dining on local delicacies, others are looking for excitement and adventure so they look for local attractions or landmarks.
While I was on a trip to French Lick, Indiana this year I had no idea that the place I was staying at had an interesting attraction nearby. The Pioneer Village in Nashville Indiana, a Brown County Landmark is one of the first towns created in Indiana by the early settlers. If you ever go, the place is like a time tunnel back into the early settler days.
I would’ve never found this place had I not seen an advertisement at the place that I was staying and had been taken directly there by someone familiar with the area. I thought to myself, this landmark that is essentially a museum or business if you will, would’ve never received the revenues from my gift shop purchases of flour bags ground fresh at the old mill had I not seen the advertisement.
With the growth of the Outdoor Recreation Industry, I am certain that what happened to me happens at least several times a week. So, my $20 spend that day, could mean as little as $60.00 a week in revenue is floating by your business every day and sadly, the loss in business is worse for restaurants or larger ticket activities.
- Healthcare for People…… and Pets
Per KOA’s 2016 report on Camping, over 47% of campers ages 45 and older make up the entire camping space. Tis the season of life to do your regular check-ups, dentist work or cosmetic tune ups as they call them. The good news is, most of these potential customers of yours have the financial capacity and relevant insurance plans that can offer an added boost to your business’s bottom line.
Let’s not forget the best friends of our campers. With over 61% of all campers in the KOA study bringing their best friends at some point during the 2015 camping season. Vets and Dog Groomers could capitalize on this potential customer base.
- Grocery, Hardware, Sports and Clothing Stores
Businesses need to realize that there is more going on here with the RV Traveling Community. They are not taking a two-piece luggage set and flying out to an all-inclusive resort for a couple days.
RV Travelers are operating a household on wheels. You are cooking your meals, feeding friends at the park, fixing things at the ranch and most likely fishing or doing some other outdoor activity that requires equipment. Huge Opportunity here.
- Finally, …… Wait for it ……………… CAMPGROUNDS!
Yes. I said Campgrounds. Duh…
I am talking more about campgrounds uniting with each other. State Parks and Private parks, resorts and campgrounds. If you are close to a well-known Landmark that is operated by a State Park system, meet the ranger. Often State Parks will refer larger units that do not fit, or their over flow to the local privately held campgrounds that have a good working relationship with them. Some State Park systems may even let you advertise in their Guest Guides too.
I’ve seen large RV Resorts in different areas of the country referring business to each other when one season is up and the other is down. I’ve even seen Class A only resorts refer units that do not meet a certain age criteria, refer business to local Campgrounds or RV Parks.
The above list obviously leaves out some sectors that are highly utilized like Real Estate (some people like an area too much and want to stay put.) Financial advisors (Can’t stay on the road without a good adviser) and a plethora of others but I think if your business falls into any of the above 5, you are the most likely to be missing out on some good business.