Gaining new customers at your RV park can be costly, especially if done through traditional marketing channels like ads, social media campaigns, online placements, and direct mail.
It is far less costly—and usually more rewarding—to deepen your connections with current customers.
According to Forbes, it can cost up to five times as much to gain a new customer than to sell to an existing one.
While it’s important to seek out new customers, it is even more important to create lifelong relationships with the guests you already have. Let’s talk about the strategies you can employ at your campground to build lifelong guest relationships.
We all know first impressions are important, but how much energy are you putting into wowing your guests from the minute they arrive?
Little things like check-in complications, difficulty locating sites, and a scarcity of friendly faces can leave a sour taste in your guest’s mouth—and once that sour taste gets started, it’s tough to wash away.
The best way to make a stellar first impression is by managing and exceeding expectations. Combine campground booking technology with the perfect staff to accomplish these two key tasks for excellent first impressions.
Manage expectations with campground booking technology, like that from Good Sam Campground Solutions, which allows guests to see a satellite map of the campground and their campsite before they arrive. Plus, use that same tool to make check-in simple, easy, informative, and quick.
Your staff can pick up the ball as soon as your guest arrives to ensure your guests reach their site, get answers to any questions, and know you’re there for anything they need during their stay.
Is your park clean and uncluttered? Is your infrastructure up to snuff? Do you offer speedy and reliable WiFi?
The fundamentals that make for a great RV park are the foundation of lifelong guest relationships. You don’t need to be perfect, but it’s important to understand that no level of customer service and friendliness can make up for failing infrastructure.
Guests simply won’t come back if stuff like water, sewer, electric, and showers don’t work as they should. Guests read reviews–so earn good ones for each of these items.
And in the case of Good Sam campgrounds, they are rated on a Triple Rating System each year to demonstrate to campers that their cleanliness and infrastructure are top-notch.
Once you have the right team at your RV park, it’s important you continually provide your staff with the resources and encouragement they need to serve your guests.
It’s worth spending a significant amount of energy and resources on training your team on the customer service experience you expect at your park, so your expectations are met even when you are away.
When guests feel at home, they’ll keep coming back for more. Simple things like hosting s’more nights, bringing in local live music, or offering coupons to local attractions help build memorable guest experiences that lead to lifelong customers.
Take stock of the opportunities in your local network, and source what you wish to highlight. This builds relationships on authenticity.
It’s also important that you and your team express a genuine desire to get to know your guests—ask them where they’re from, ask them their story, get to know their kids, and offer them local recommendations based on what they tell you.
Little things like that go a long way in guest satisfaction.
What makes your park stand above the pack? By knowing this answer, and highlighting it for your guests, you’ll create experiences that people will associate uniquely with your campground.
Partner with local companies to offer discounted excursions for your guests to explore any natural wonders in your area. Or you could host an owner’s “happy hour” where you mingle with guests and provide refreshments. Common areas such as outdoor kitchens, communal fire pits, and clubhouses with board games are simple but effective ways to set the stage for memory-making experiences.
Have fun with this. Take the things that you and your team love to do and share them with guests to create wonderful relationships.
Nothing sours a relationship faster than an unresolved complaint. When guests arrive, be sure they know how to promptly reach your team for any concerns that might arise.
If concerns do pop up, ensure your team is empowered to promptly address those concerns. Believe it or not, negative experiences can be one of the best ways to create lifelong guest relationships if you handle them properly.
That’s because a negative guest experience gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how much you care and how far you’ll go to make things right. Managing unexpected guest experiences in the right way will leave an unforgettable impression with your campers.
Maintaining lifelong guest relationships hinges on consistent guest experiences. If a guest has a stupendous experience at your park for several years and then suddenly they come back to a dramatic change, they may look elsewhere.
That’s why it’s important to build systems into your business and your customer service processes that ensure a consistent guest experience time and time again.
These are the guests that love you, come back every year, and bring their friends. While remaining fair to all your guests, always keep an ear out for creative ways to make your return guests’ experience better and better each year or trip.
If it’s a care package when they arrive or simply remembering them on a first-name basis, it’s important they feel special when staying at your campground. Reciprocate the relationship.
Raving fans are the ones who shout to the mountaintops about how awesome you are. Keeping them happy is key to creating more lifelong guest relationships at your park.
Have a strategy in place to ask each guest how they enjoyed their stay. This could be as simple as sending a short text a day or two after they leave asking for feedback on their stay.
As you gather more feedback, look for consistencies and use them to continually improve your guest experience.
Keeping yourself top of mind is an important part of maintaining guest relationships. Here are a few tips for doing that:
Send all past guests a welcome email as you open each season and offer them a special incentive to come back.
Lifelong guest relationships are the mojo that’ll keep your park growing. By taking the proactive approach listed above, you’ll be set to cultivate long-lasting guest relationships. Have fun with it, get creative with it, and enjoy the ride as you create wonderful memories for all who visit you.