Value your Guests!
Caravan Parks are 100% a people business. A business reliant on travellers from far and wide. This in itself is a challenge as its a local business with a national audience. The strength of all businesses are reliant on guests, and in particular their responses to services offered as well as the duration of stay, sharing of their experiences with other potential guests and their desire to return.
So what can be done to ensure your park is exceeding guest expectations. We all know that a happy guest is a returning guest.
It is also true that it’s easier growing a business with an existing returning customer than to constantly be working at getting new customers. We have to work at both areas to ensure the growth of the business.
There are a number of key areas worth considering to have a greater impact on your business
1. You have a Guest!
Every day a caravan, camper van or motorhome pulls into your caravan park, you a have a potential loyal guest! If they were a house guest how would you approach them? What’s more, this is a guest who will pay their way. What could be better than that? You have to ask yourself what you need to do to ensure your guest offers you more than just a 1 night stay.
In effect you must look at achieving the following:
- Get the guest to stay more than one night – if possible
- Let the guest leave with an ‘I’ll be back!’ response
- Leave them with an experience that they will talk about at the next ‘Happy Hour’, or next informal chat with another traveller while on the road
- Have them leaving influencing other nomads on the road to stop off at your park
2. Your guest is not in a hurry!
The beauty of this industry is that most of our travelling nomad guests are NOT in a hurry. When you talk to them, they will often say things like:
“If I like it I will stay!”
“Don’t need to be anywhere soon?”
“Enjoying the country – taking it easy on the road!”
“Not in a hurry?”
Most nomads have no fixed plans ahead so make your park appealing enough that they stay a few days longer. Many will check in for just one night - this is because most often they want to 'check the place out'!
So what is your park doing to make the stay an experience to remember and savour. Travelling nomads generally have heaps of time on their hands, and so love to explore the local towns and areas. They are the group most likely to frequent the tourism information center as well. In fact, in our research on what travelling nomads consider critical to a park they visit is “Distance to Tourist Attractions” – 1 in 3 of them said this was important to them. This means they are looking for things to do.
Caravan parks need to make their reception areas and website a rich source of information on local attractions. In fact, a knowledge of the area is key. Invite folk to visit some of the more popular attractions. A great way to do this is arrange with the respective attraction that you offer a discount for entry to the attraction. People love a bargain! Why not put together an information pack or a one pager with a 3 to 4 day plan of things to do in the area. Think of what our travelling nomads enjoy, such as historic sites, photographic and scenic drives, golf, bowls, bushwalking and a lot more.
3. Your park should look full!
Nomads love a park that is active. It says something about the park, the region and the town. If you go to a restaurant at 7.00pm and the place is nearly empty, that raises concerns about service, quality of food and more. Caravan Parks are no different. Guests like to see activity - a sense that others have checked it out and are content to stay! “This must be a good place to be!” If the park is not full, spread the folk around – try not put them all in one spot. Nomads love room and so spreading people around gives a sense of freedom and space. In fact, allowing nomads to find their own spot is a good way to go. It will give a greater sense of being in the bush. If this is not what you like to do, suggest 3 options they can choose from.
4. Engage with your guests!
In business, the old adage “Manage by walking around!” is especially true for caravan parks. Take a walk around your park at around 5.00pm, and say G’day to folk. Ask where they are coming from and going to. Encourage them to visit local sites! Get to know them and listen to them. Check whether everything is going well for them in your park. None of us wants to know that a guest is unhappy, but not knowing is more of a problem long term than taking the trouble to listen and respond to the guests needs. This will be a talking point at the next Happy Hour, you can be sure.
Travelling nomads highly value that personal interaction..
5. Ask guests to your park to join Kui Parks!
If you are a Kui Park caravan park, the success of a loyalty program lies in the opportunity it offers travelling nomads. The more your park becomes known as a Kui Parks caravan park, the more the frequency of guests will increase as the nomads seek out your park over others on their route. In addition to providing an income with increased occupancy nomads will start recognising your park as a ‘go to’ place to stay. The benefit is that you are being recognised as a park that is committed to the core values the network of parks and Kui Parks commit to.
6. Value is not just about price!
Value is a positive experience, a perception created by the emotional feelings you get from that experience. Words that can best describe value is importance, beneficial, high opinion, respect, usefulness etc. Value for money is really driven by that experience that one has and not just about a lower price. Creating that perception of being appreciated, being felt important, valued and respected, listened to, engaged with (positively). Interestingly enough the stronger the emotional experience of value you feel the less price is an issue. They have to work hand in hand to ensure a positive experience for your guests.
Travelling nomads are the most powerful marketing and promotional tool you have. Word of Mouth is a very strong driver amongst travellers. Offering excellent guest focussed service to your guests will ensure you experience benefit from many returning guests and many new guests who have come due to your efforts making a difference for your guests.
What steps are you considering to improve your Guest experience?