How holiday parks and campsites should deal with coronavirus

Benjamin Franklin once said there’s only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Well, we can now safely add a third – that coronavirus is going to cause major upheaval for the travel and tourism industry for many months to come.

But don’t despair! There are some simple steps you can take to help deal with the crisis and mitigate against this unprecedented situation… and put your business in the perfect position to bounce back.

What approach should you take?

What approach should you take?

Here at Pitched we in are something of a unique place; we can see how dozens of the holiday parks and campsites that we look after are performing and reacting to the coronavirus. While we will never name names here, what we can say is that there are some very different approaches being taken out there… and it’s impossible to say which is right or which is wrong at this stage – only time will tell. So, what should you do? Speaking with our parks, we can offer a few basic pointers that we feel will stand you in good stead no matter how big or small your business.

Communication is key: dealing with concerned guests

In these unprecedented times we feel that now, perhaps more than ever, it’s vital for businesses to communicate. Silence really can be your worst enemy.
You may find that guests (and potential guests) don’t always want to pick up the phone but instead contact you via email, Facebook and other forms of social media. Our advice: be ready! The following tactics may well be of use.

  • Have a dedicated section in place on your website (that’s clearly visible) where you can direct concerned customers to… and keep this page regularly updated. Fill this with information about your policies, including how you intend to deal with cancellations and amendments. This will help reassure guests who have questions – especially those with bookings in the coming weeks.
  • Contact all guests via email to reassure them about your plans and policies and what it means for their up-coming holiday – and refer them to the section on your website.
  • Put up prominent messages and links on your social media platforms, pointing people back to the dedicated section on your website where they can read more
  • Answer all questions on social media and via email. We appreciate this could nearly become a full-time job in itself but if you ignore people on social media you are likely to face a mini-backlash, which can quickly snowball.
  • Following on from the above point… Avoid get into public slanging match with guests on social media or even via email. If you feel the conversation is heading in the wrong direction, please pick up the phone. Things can very quickly escalate and come back to bite you and your business’ reputation could be damaged as a result.
  • Remember – the way you treat your guests now and handle these sensitive issues could determine how your business fairs after this epidemic is distant memory.
Should I stop marketing my holiday park or campsite until this all blows over?

Should I stop marketing my holiday park or campsite until this all blows over?

This is a really tough question and, in the end, it may boil down to finances. We look after Google, Bing, Facebook and Instagram PPC accounts for lots of parks and, while some have paused all paid activity for now, others have continued full steam ahead.
The data we’ve seen flowing through Google Analytics is that people are still searching for holidays and, although bookings have slowed down considerably, they are still coming in. But, is there any point spending hundreds of pounds marketing to an audience about holidays when everyone’s been told to stay at home, I hear you ask? Well, maybe. Parks could consider the following options:

  • Keep your PPC, Facebook and email marketing activity running but on a reduced level to keep your costs down
  • Push forward two distinct messages: Push holidays later in the season when (hopefully) things will have settled down a little. And, secondly, promote a message of ‘book with confidence’, allowing customers the chance to either cancel free of charge up until close to their holiday start date or the option to amend their dates without penalty.

When some sense of normality returns to the world (and the travel and tourism sector) the marketing of your park will be extremely important.

A positive outlook

A positive outlook

We feel strongly that holiday parks and campsites should continue to offer some escapism at times like this. People will need something to look forward to, something that can lighten their day and provide a source of encouragement for the future. So, how do you do this?

  • Don’t go into hibernation, even if your park is closed for the time being. Keep posting and promoting your location and unique selling points. Images and videos of beaches, countryside or even park-wide shots with uplifting messages can help lighten the mood
  • Does your park offer live entertainment or kids clubs? If your staff are still on site and able to do so, why not broadcast some of the fun and games live over Facebook that kids can watch at home and interact with?

All this activity will help invoke positive thoughts about your brand and will stand you in good stead when things do settle down.

Do you need help communicating to your guests at this challenging time? Whether it’s email marketing, website amends or social media posts, the team here at Pitched can help. Contact us today on 01726 418118 or drop us an email

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