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Maryland’s Cabin Rentals Site A Success

August 21, 2015 by · Comments Off on Maryland’s Cabin Rentals Site A Success 

The decision whether or not to maintain standalone “Cabins & Cottages” content seems to be a question that is often on the minds of executive directors of state campground associations, Pelland Advertising said in a written announcement. Will members embrace (or balk at) the opportunity to participate, what are the costs, and will the venture prove profitable for participants? These are all important questions.

Pelland Advertising has been the website development and hosting services provider for the Maryland Association of Campgrounds since 2009. According to MAC Executive Director Deborah Carter, “The Maryland Association of Campgrounds is a small organization, with an equally small budget. We volunteer our time, and we work together as a team to promote our industry.” With only about two dozen members, there was nonetheless an interest in exploring this new direction in late 2014. Eight of the members ultimately participated in the program in its first year, and a bit of brainstorming and technical creativity were required to find ways to minimize costs.

The MAC website was built with a custom-programmed, searchable member database. Listings of campground members in any of the state’s six tourism regions were already generated through navigational shortcuts, and only a minor database revision was necessary to trigger a list of members with cabins or park models who chose to participate in the new program.

The search shortcut added to the site’s navigation was mdcamping.com/search.html?Rentals=yes. To increase awareness of the new program, Pelland Advertising also designed a four-color rack card that included the new MDCampingRentals.com address that redirects to the search shortcut. The result was both simple and inexpensive to implement.

Carter continued, “Peter and Josh Pelland worked with us to put the card together, came up with the layout, and made all of the technical aspects work.”

The lingering question was whether, despite the minimal costs, the new project would prove to be effective. According to Peter Pelland, CEO of Pelland Advertising, “Thanks to the use of click tracking in Google Analytics, we were able to uncover some impressive results. Since the new content was introduced on Dec. 12, 2014, there have been 8,238 page views from 5,588 unique users, spending an average of 3:17 of time on the ‘Cabins & Cottages’ data output page. Within that time period, this page has accounted for 5.68% of the MAC website’s overall traffic. In fact, the rentals page is the site’s fourth most popular content.”

He continued, “What is even more interesting is that the eight parks that participated in the Cabins & Cottages program all ranked among the top 10 recipients of outbound click traffic, which is a very healthy measurement of performance. This could be coincidental, but it is a likely conclusion that participation in the program helped to enhance these statistics.

“Each of these participants received anywhere from 1,046 to 1,930 clicks. If only 10% of that highly pre-qualified traffic is converted to reservations, and if a typical two-night stay generates an arbitrary $100.00 in income,” Pelland continued, “participants in the program realized roughly $10,000 to $20,000 in income from the MAC website alone. It is fair to say that the parks’ membership fees and the small added fee to participate in the Cabins & Cottages program were easily recovered many times over.”

According to Carter, “One of the best business decisions we’ve ever made was to work with Pelland Advertising. Peter created our very first website, and the company maintains updates and re-energizes the latest incarnation of our website to this day. His company also produces our ARVC-award-winning print directory. Having Peter Pelland on speed dial is just like having an easy button.”

New CAMP President Hit Ground Running at InSites

December 29, 2009 by · Comments Off on New CAMP President Hit Ground Running at InSites 

CAMP President Rick Abare of Maine and his wife, Gayle

CAMP President Rick Abare of Maine and his wife, Gayle

Advocacy. Education. Marketing. It’s essentially the code of honor for Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP) and something newly elected president Rick Abare takes seriously.

Abare, who is also executive director of the Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA) in Lewiston, Maine, says he is honored by his new position with CAMP.

“I am very happy and humbled at the concept that these executive directors who make up our organization think they would like me to lead their organization,” he said. “I am pleased to be asked to do it and I look forward to my tenure as president. The shoes will be hard to fill as Deb Carter was a wonderful president.”

Carter, previous CAMP president for two years, is executive director of the Maryland Association of Campgrounds (MAC) and now also CAMP representative to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC ) board.

“Rick was elected by a unanimous vote of his peers at Insites 2009 in Orlando,” Carter said. “He hit the ground running. He began running the CAMP meeting the very next day. He is brilliant and challenging.”

Founded in 1991, CAMP provides state executive directors and a few association leaders the opportunity to meet with peers from across the U.S. and Canada. CAMP officials spend time with the ARVC Leadership, participate in joint sessions with the Council of Delegates, receive updates from industry partners, listen to CPO approved classes and discuss what is working and what is not with state associations.

The projects that Abare and his team are working on include a CAMP Impact & Partnership Award, CAMP Scholarship Award, upkeep and improvements to the CAMP website www.campgroundexecs.org and working on a template report for state executives to use to help make better use of meeting times.

CAMP logoAbare first started attending CAMP meetings many years ago when he was president of the Vermont Campground Association.

“That allowed me to go to CAMP meetings and learn more about what other association executives were doing to make their associations better, more responsive to their members,” he said. “We have many very strong campground associations in CAMP. I’m always trying to find out what it is I need to be doing to make my association better, but it’s at CAMP that I hone my skills and find those things that are most important to campground owners’ associations. CAMP reels us in and gives us a perspective that is nationwide.”

CAMP largely focuses on three things – marketing for its members, advocating for members and educating members.

At the CAMP meeting at the ARVC InSites convention, Abare said one of the issues discussed concerned membership.

“We have been questioning for some time whether or not associations, and this is true of many associations, can exist and do the best job possible if they are serving more than one kind of member,” he explained. “ARVC is facing the issue of whether or not it should be an association of affiliated states or of individual members. CAMP has been asking ARVC to come up with a clarification of how to handle this as we move forward and ARVC is working on it.”

This issue concerns CAMP as an association as well.

“Is CAMP an association of campground associations or are we an association of people who manage campground associations,” Abare said. “I don’t see any of this as a problem, but an opportune time to define who CAMP is reaching out to as members. The goal remains the same and that is to help make campground owners more successful through participation in their state and national associations.”

Other CAMP officers for the next year are Vice President Lori Severson, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Campgrounds Owners (WACO); Treasurer Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC); and Secretary Cyndy Zbierski, executive assistant of the  Northeast Campground Association (NCA).

This year CAMP members attended the first ever CAMP College – a full day of educational sessions taught by nationally recognized association management educators and leaders, sponsored wholly by Evergreen Insurance. The second annual CAMP College is set for April 26 in College Park, Md.

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