Maryland Association Mulls Google ###s
Editor's Note: The following report on the Maryland Association of Campgrounds (MAC) spring conference comes from Deb Carter, executive director.
Our spring MAC meeting was held on March 4 at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Dover, Del., on the day prior to the Mid-Atlantic Conference to help boost attendance at the conference. The meeting was well attended (13 campgrounds were represented) and everyone is anticipating a good season ahead.
I took an informal survey of the members present – the average number of years they had been in the campground business was 44 per campground. That's pretty amazing to think that we are small businesses, with all of the economic challenges we face. One of our associate members, Silvertop, has been in business for 66 years. And the newest MAC member, Bryleigh Irons from Ole Mink Farm, just turned seven weeks old.
The MAC Facebook has been online since September 2012. We are working on ways to increase viewership on the page. Several of our members have staff dedicated to increasing social media penetration and participation.
Peter Pelland, Pelland Advertising, prepared an extensive four-page report on our Google Analytics from our website, mdcamping.com. Some of the highlights:
- Total of 68,322 unique people (out of 84,151 visits) spent an average of 4.18 minutes on the site between March 1, 2012 and Feb. 28, 2013.
- Average visitors viewed 3.35 pages of content; approximately 80% were new visitors.
- 98.14% of the traffic came from within the United States, followed by 1.06% from Canada.
- Demographically the states leading the traffic in order were Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Virginia, New York and New Jersey.
- Increased viewership: Michigan (92.61% increase); Illinois (up 58.82%); Wisconsin (up by 61.68%) and Iowa (increase of 141.67%).
- Numbers suggested MAC could benefit through greater promotion in the Midwest.
- Drops in traffic from California, Texas, Maine and Oregon.
- Total of 560 direct clicks from listings to email inquiries.
- 61,094 clicks from the website listings to external websites over the past year. These numbers alone justify membership fees.
MAC Praises ARVC
Our members are very happy with the work being done at ARVC, and praised ARVC President Paul Bambei, Board Chairman Rob Schutter, Past Chairman David Berg, the ARVC Board and the support staff that works very hard to fulfill their mission of promoting the success and growth of RV parks, campgrounds and the Outdoor Hospitality industry. We discussed the number of ARVC benefits, both old and new.
Huge thanks to Jeff Sims, ARVC director of state relations and program advocacy, and all that he does for state associations across the country. The use of State Net is a very valuable tool for a small association like MAC.
In February a conference call was held with our Executive Director, Deb Carter, Bambei, Sims and other ARVC staff members. This is part of a new affiliated state association contact effort initiated by ARVC. We discussed marketing and membership – trying to find ways to work more closely together. The call was very insightful.
A discussion of the bills before the Maryland General Assembly, now in Session until April 8 included:
- Proposed increases in taxes/fees to aid with transportation funding.
- Study to move the school start date back until after Labor Day.
- Third Crossing of the Chesapeake Bay.
- Offshore Wind Energy.
- Swimming Pools: Automated External Defibrillator.
- Admissions and Amusement Tax.
- Gun Restrictions.
- Death Penalty.
- Tables games in casinos.
We are looking forward to the CAMP meeting and National Issues Conference in May.
We continue to work closely with the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, the Maryland Tourism Council and the Destination Marketing Organization of Maryland. In Maryland, at least 43% of our residents participate in outdoor recreation each year. That generates $9.5 billion in consumer spending, generating $2.8 billion in wages and salaries and $686 million in state and local tax revenue.