Park Vendors Unveiling New Products for 2013
One of the relatively new entries in the RV park and campground market is Krueger Custom Steel & Machining Ltd., based in Owen Sound, Ontario.
The company began manufacturing outdoor fire pits for the retail market in 2010 and has since branched out into the park sector with the fire pits, as well as cooking grills, smokers, pokers, benches and small foot bridges, according to Bill Krueger, president.
“We can build exactly what the customer wants. For example, we have manufactured pits and rings to a specific diameter to match existing poured concrete or stone patios,” he noted.
Krueger took his products to the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) convention in Orlando, Fla., last November and received a good response from the campgrounds, he said.
“We’re feeling our way out into the states right now,” Krueger said. “We’re making a lot of contacts with campground owners to get information out in front of them. Our goal is to get as many of our units to North American campgrounds and quality retail establishments as we can find.”
His retailing partner and distribution center in the U.S. is Fleming Sales and Distribution in Elkhart, Ind.
Krueger, who founded his metal fabricating company in 1994, is currently working with Ontario Provincial Parks and was waiting to learn if his firm would be recognized as a sole supplier for the near future.
“We’re actively going after individual campgrounds,” he said. “High-end campgrounds will look at our fire pits as permanent replacements. The design is unique.”
“I think we’re going to do well this year. It’s still early with a lot of people. Time will tell,” he said.
For more information, contact Krueger at (888) 244-4187 or visit www.kruegersteel.ca.
Adventure Golf Services, based in Traverse City, Mich., had campgrounds in mind when it designed the LittleDuffer Mini Golf, which it is launching this year. The 30-year-old company planned to attend conventions in Wisconsin and Michigan this season to promote the new product, which is a low-cost indoor or outdoor modular miniature golf course.
“Adventure Golf Services created LittleDuffer to answer the customer demand for a smaller and a more economically priced miniature golf course that looks good and is fun to play,” said Scott Lundmark, vice president.
“LittleDuffer is a product launch that is a perfect solution for the client who has limited or restricted space or a need for a more portable course. The exciting part is the price: the standard 9-hole model is only $6,000 and $12,000 for an 18-hole course,” he said.
LittleDuffer also features specialty holes that can be purchased to replace individual golf holes in the standard model. These specialty golf holes feature more play options including: over and under holes and ball runs that carry a ball from one green to another, according to Lundmark.
“Low cost fun is the focus of the new mini golf course and various obstacle options,” said course designer Arne Lundmark. “Fun happens with the use of a variety of props such as colorful rubber bumps which can change the direction of the ball. Props such as a mini loop-de-loop or elevated golf hole cup and bridges make a great connection with all ages. We also offer optional colorful turf including red, yellow, and other colors to add even more eye appeal for guests. Finally we have added a touch of whimsy with the golf hole edge, which is made from heavy rope.”
The golf holes are ideal for special events and rentals as they are lightweight and can be moved from one location to another. The interlocking panel system from recycled materials makes this portability possible, according to Scott Lundmark. Because of LittleDuffer’s small size and low cost it will provide a new profit center or amenity for campgrounds.
A nine-hole course fits into a 625- to 900-square-foot area depending on the number of ADA compliant golf holes desired, while the 18-hole course requires a 1,250- to 1,800- square-foot area, according to Scott Lundmark. The LittleDuffer modular product is the fourth modular product introduced by the company. Other models are AnyWhereLinks, LawnCourt and GolfCourt. Other modular products include MiniLinks, MiniLinks Jr., and a variety of putting green products.
Lead times run from two to four weeks. The courses can be assembled in a half-day.
Adventure Golf Services is a global leader in the design, building and installation of indoor/outdoor miniature golf and other golf related, special application products. For more information visit www.adventureandfun.com or call (888) 725-4fun.
Veteran RV park and campground vendor Norman Boucher of LCN Outdoors, Windsor, Conn., a distributor of 1,800 items that are found in campgrounds and camp stores, offered several marketing tips to operators to help promote their parks.
“The lowest cost per impression is for specialty advertising products. Return on investment and value of ad specialties per impression of a promotional item can be less than $0.10. People who receive promotional products tend to see the advertiser’s message many times for a longer period of time. The best-kept items are bags, pens and T-shirts.”
Wearables are gaining in marketing strength, he continued. “Your T-shirts with your full chest or back logo and name will make you feel good, but will the average camper purchase that garment? Most often not, unless you are a vacation destination or franchise park or you have one of the seven wonders close by.”
“Now put Gus and Lucy, your mascots, on the shirt with a small name drop and Gus and Lucy will go home while your name goes for free.”
Boucher also urges operators to think of their seasonal mirror parking hangtag. “This item may have your name on it, but truly is only visible in your campground. Think of replacing this item with a rear window static sticker decal, much like the colleges use.
This will help you to identify your seasonals’ coming and going, along with advertising your park all day, every day.”
The bumper sticker craze has slowed down with the new and improved plastic bumper, but a clear outdoor decal can be placed on a window and seen by all, Boucher noted. “Maybe you should look at doing a window decal in a different shape using a 4-color process. These outdoor decals are a bit more costly, starting around $4 each. These can be sold as well as given away at different venues.”
How often do campground operators attend shows and hand nothing out? “Put a magnet in peoples’ hands with your activities listed on it,” Boucher advised. “Most camping shows are during the winter months so wouldn't an ice scraper be useful and kept handy?”
Finally, Boucher advised, “Think of your clients as a diversified group, but remember that women of the house will make most decisions, so how about a shopping or grocery bag with your information on it.”
For more information, contact Boucher at (800) 552-2267 or visit www.lcnoutdoors.com.
Murray Kramer, owner of Kramer Kreations, Pensacola, Fla., and creator of the Murbles game, has been a frequent vendor at campground trade shows since last fall, including ones for KOA, ARVC, Good Sam and FMCA. Murble sales are crossing a new threshold and Kramer is optimistic about this year.
“One driving force is the new, inexpensive Murble Activity sets for eight and 16 players,” Kramer said. “The game is easy to play, fun and exciting for all ages and abilities.”
Campground owners like Murbles as an activity because there is no designated playing area required, no capital outlay and no yearly maintenance expense, Kramer noted.
As an activity complete with winning ribbons or medals, Kramer says, Murbles will help to produce fond family memories and returning guests for years to come. “Murbles are available with custom logo bags in the two- and four-player sets, they make great souvenirs and generate additional retail sales,” he said.
Contact Kramer at (850) 458-5858 or check out www.MurbleGame.com.
This year’s focus at tricycle manufacturer Trailmate, Sarasota, Fla., started off with “an exciting journey into the leisure world of adaptive products,” said Wendy Shim, company president. “We started off by re-engineering the Funcycle so a caregiver could accompany an adult child with TARS syndrome. Our plan is to build on more adaptive technology and offer a 400-pound capacity trike for recreation and exercise for very large or overweight adults and children.
“We are looking forward to attending the WACO (Wisconsin) show, which always seems to offer its own unique brand to the trade show experience,” she said.
She concluded, “The campground business seems to be continuously evolving as they add new ways for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. I expect the 2013 campground business to be better than last year as more people discover that camping is a low-cost vacation experience where you can meet great people, build memories and bring families closer than ever.”
For more information contact Shim (800) 777-1034 or visit at www.trailmate.com.