Is your park ready for the new 2018 season?

Posted in topic Marketing insights on 27th February 2018

As the saying goes, it always pays to be prepared. And the same can be said for the holiday park industry. The close season is the perfect time to take stock, review and get ready for the busy season ahead.

Whether you had a quiet season or your busiest on record in 2017, there is lots that can be done in the winter months to prepare yourself for the 2018 season – after all this is arguably the busiest time for advance bookings, so you don’t want to miss out on all the action. So, to help, we thought we’d highlight 5 things you could and should be doing now before everything swings into action for next season, which is just a few weeks away…

  1. Before you dive head first into planning, printing and spending why not take a few hours to review your 2017 activities. After all, you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes over and over, do you? One easy way of doing this is to use software like Google Analytics (GA), which tracks user behaviour on your website and helps you measure the success of your campaigns, tracking everything from the number of brochure requests to online bookings. Crucially, GA will also allow you to see how your visitors find you (organic, paid, direct, referrals), what medium they used and even what device they used. If the majority of your users used a mobile phone is now the time to look at whether you could improve your site for mobile users to make the most of this valuable market?
  2. It’s always best to get ahead if you can, and that goes for your website too. Make sure all the key information is up there before the start of the season. That means tariffs (if you display them) and any amends to your accommodation offering. And, if you’ve just invested heavily in some new statics or lodges, then tell the world about it – get it onto your site asap with lots of lovely images and maybe, even, some video….
  3. It’s not all about social media these days and print is most certainly not dead, despite what you may read. Now is the time to get those brochures sent out and to formulate a plan for other printed material – perhaps a follow up postcard or mailer to those customers who have received a brochure but not booked?
  4. Formulate your marketing action plan – Now is the time to plan out your marketing strategy for 2018. Make a clear and detailed plan of your proposed marketing activities, from social media and pay per click to printed media and newspaper advertising. Look back at previous years and focus on what worked and plan your spend accordingly.
  5. GDPR – We’ve talked about it a lot already in this guide but it is worth mentioning again. Use these next few weeks to get yourselves GDPR ready and fully compliant. Get some legal advice and draw up an adequate privacy policy, check your website is compliant (or get in the experts to help) and contact your existing customer database and get them to opt-in. Read our GDPR guide for holiday parks here.

Social media marketing for holiday parks2018 social tips

For the holiday park industry social media has been about just one word in recent years – Facebook. It has been the platform of choice for parks; the one that has been the best fit for most and the one that has provided the best level of engagement. And, for all intents and purposes, continuing to invest the majority of your time in this in 2018 will do you no harm at all.

However, there are one or two relatively new kids on the block that may well be worth a look. Well, when I say ‘new’ I don’t really mean new. I just mean ‘new’ if you aged under 35. The first one to mention is Instagram. This photo-based platform has grown massively and is now second only to Facebook. It has become a big market for businesses too and can often get better engagement for your content than Facebook and certainly better than Twitter.

Video, video, video. So important that it was worth saying three times. Put simply, video posts on social media enjoy crazy levels of engagement compared to static image posts or plain text posts. If you’re out and about on park, having a new caravan being delivered or are just out for a walk on the coast then why not take a video on your mobile and post it up? It doesn’t have to be TV quality and often the more rough, ready and ‘real’ the better.

google_logo2018 PPC tips

Google AdWords is still the king when it comes to pay per click. This platform will drive the most amount of traffic to your site for the least amount of cost. But AdWords continues to change and one key switch recently was the way in which it optimises your ads – and this is well worth keeping an eye on. Previously you could tell Google whether you wanted your ads optimised for conversions or whether you wanted your ads to be rotated evenly and then optimised. Now, Google wants to push you into showing ONLY your best performing ads – so make sure this doesn’t have an adverse effect on your campaigns. If need be, separate out your ads into even more focused campaigns and ad groups and monitor closely.

If you also keep a close eye on your spend then you need to be aware of a subtle but crucial change that occurred towards the end of 2017. Google AdWords can now spend up to TWICE your daily budget “to help you reach your advertising goals”. Called ‘overdelivery’, this process will see your ads shown more often to those who are more likely to convert. Google has always had the ability to spend over your daily budget but whereas it was only 20% before now it’s, you know, 100%.

Something else to try in 2018 is remarketing. This is basically targeting your ads at people who have already visited your website. Very useful indeed. This way you know the people who you are serving ads to are more likely to be interested in your product as they’ve been onto your website already. It’s far more focused and far likely to lead to conversions and bookings than a campaign targeting a wide and varied audience. Give Facebook a go for this – it’s cheaper than Google and, we find, gets better results.

Do you need help with holiday park’s marketing? Unsure how to best spend your time? Why not speak to the experts at Pitched today. Call us on 01726 418118 or drop us an email