Guide Provider AGS Marks 25th Anniversary
Affinity Guest Services (AGS), a leading provider of guest services guides to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in business in 2011 and recently announced a new partnership with three major camping brands affiliated with its parent company – the Good Sam Club, Woodall Publications Corp. and the Trailer Life Directory – to expand its lineup of Internet benefits for customers.
All three of those brands are sister divisions of Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc., publisher of Woodall’s Campground Management and WOODALLSCM.com.
The new partnership allows campgrounds, RV parks and resorts to display custom AGS site maps as part of the park’s online listing on each of the three major brands’ websites – www.goodsamclub.com, www.woodalls.com and www.trailerlifedirectory.com. In addition, the websites showcase area businesses advertising in AGS Guest Services Guides, offering them an opportunity to reach millions of potential guests.
“These three websites draw 4.9 million visitors every year,” says Ann Emerson, vice president and publisher for Affinity Guest Services. “And these visitors are active and affluent RVers who come to our websites looking for places to stay in their RVs, and for things to see and do while in a community.”
Today’s AGS builds on the original business plan created by Lynn and Louise Rogers in 1986. The earliest vision was to provide a way for full-time RVers to earn a living creating guest service products for campgrounds. The first office was a small RV parked at a campground in Port Angeles, Wash., where the couple was producing the first ever “site map.” At that time, spot color was a luxury; but today, every single AGS guide is printed in four-color.
Since selling AGS to Affinity Group Inc. in 2006, the Rogerses spend most of their time caravanning in Australia.
Now, 23 independent rep teams work with campgrounds providing guest service guides. Most teams are full-time RVers who work year-round creating custom guides. The 4-color glossy site maps showcase the features of each campground, including a map of the surrounding area that highlights “preferred” businesses that advertise in the guide. Guide formats include 5-by-7 booklets as well as 8 1/2-by-11 standard guides. In addition to custom guides, AGS offers additional promotional product support with business cards, rack cards, padded area maps and web design and hosting services.
It’s free and it’s easy for participating parks, say AGS representatives.
“We put together guides at no cost to the parks,” says longtime AGS representative Francis Collins, who works with husband, John. “The only thing the parks have to supply is a two- to three-week free site once a year.”
During their stay, reps sell advertising to local businesses. “We work with the park to get what they need in their guide – the type of advertisers they prefer,” she says. “The park is our boss. We have to please them or we don’t have a job.”
“We are very proud to celebrate 25 years in this great industry,” adds Emerson. “As I look back on all the innovations that AGS has brought to the market – including complete 4/C Guest Service Guides, custom site maps and area maps as well as website design and hosting – it’s truly amazing. And none of this would be possible without the support of our customers who have helped mold AGS into the company it is today.”
The AGS family celebrated the organization’s 25th anniversary at its annual meeting in February.