WOODALLSCM.com May 2018 - 25 should include a theme, such as a color or a holiday or even an activity, as well as an as- sortmentofproductsthatsupportthattheme. “What we want to do with those five, sevenandnineareasisreallycreateatheme and create something that’s engaging the customer,”shesaid.“Whatwe’retryingtodo with the display is entertain — and maybe educate—thecustomeralittlebit,butreally have them engaged in your store. You want yourstoretobesomethingthatisexcitingfor them to come to — and if you change things up they’ll come back. That’s what we want to do. We want to set the tone in these areas and create theme.” Finally, Buffalo encouraged park owners to invest in quality lighting that will help draw attention to focal areas, plus use clever, bold signage that not only communicates a message but conveys the tone you’re trying to create with that particular theme. Understanding Facebook’s New Algorithms Facebook has changed its algorithms once again, with the new model now penal- izing businesses that openly solicit comments, likes, tags and shares — espe- cially as a means for entering contests, a practice that’s known as “engagement bait.” ThatwasthemessagefromTiaAnderson, manager of the Stoney Creek RV Resort in Eau Clare, Wisc., and Ann Illig of Social Caterpillar,asocialmediamarketingconsult- ing firm, during a seminar at the WACO conference. “So,ifyoujustgotusedtohowtogetpeo- ple to go to your Facebook page, it’s all changed. The scary part about this for busi- nesses is if you’re not aware of this, they will be implementing stricter policies for pages that systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach,” Anderson said, adding that the penalties for abusers of this new policy can be severe. “They’ve reviewed and categorized hundreds of thousands of posts to create a online audience, Travis Gere, co-founder and CTO of CampersAPP, told attendees at the NCA conference that it is important to remember most of them are doing so on their mobile devices. “This has really changed consumer demands,” he said. “Your site or app has to be mobile friendly and consumers have to be able to engage with it quickly as they multitask with other things.” Gere said statistics show consumers now spend more than three hours a day in an app on their mobile device while most only spend 26 minutes a day on a desktop browser. “215 million users are dual users, mean- ing they use both mobile and desktop appli- cations, while 40 million only use mobile devices,”hesaid.“Eventuallymostwillonly use mobile devices.” GerementionedthatGooglewasshifting mobile-friendly sites toward the top of searches, which means campground ownerswithsitesthatarenotadaptablewill appear lower in searches and potentially out of view of paying customers. He said that the trend toward mobile compatible tools is allowing campground ownerstoengagewithguestsinnewways. He mentioned Disney’s Experience App, which allows guests to get updates on how long lines are at certain rides, see a sched- ule of events and much more. “You can allow guests to interact with a campgroundmaporascheduleofeventsat your campground,” Gere said. “You could highlight things to do in the area. It is about enhancing the experience through their mobile devices.” He also highlighted the fact that Wi-Fi is quickly becoming a must-have amenity. “These trends are here to stay, and it is up to owners to embrace them and to make the changes necessary that will attract and retain guests,” said Gere.— Rick Kessler & Ben Quiggle WCM machine working model that can detect differenttypesofengagementbait.Poststhat use these tactics will be shown less in news feeds — and they will be implementing stricterpoliciesforpagesthatrepeatedlyuse these,” she continued. Bottom line, said Illig, who has a number ofcampgroundsasclients,isthatFacebook’s policy change means park owners must change the way they use Facebook. “So, what type of posts still work? Any- thing where you’re not asking for engage- ment is okay. You can still post stuff on your campground, you can still use Facebook like you were using it before, just don’t ask for that extra engagement. You want to create poststhatwillauthenticallyhavepeoplewant to share it with their friends and want to comment on it,” Illig said. For example, Illig asked one campground client’s Facebook fans to suggest names for several new cabins — without using the word “comment,” which is likely a trigger term in the Facebook algorithm. “For me, I think the line is, if the way that you get entered into the sweepstakes is through engagement, then that’s clearly in violation. So, if that’s the only condition — ‘comment below or share this post, and your name will be automatically entered into the sweepstakes’ — that’s a no-no,” Illig said. The women also offered other sugges- tions, such as using third-party platforms to conductFacebookcontests,initiatingaFace- book group of your most fervent fans on your Facebook page, and perhaps even using memes or other images with text on them to convey a message that wouldn’t necessarily be in violation of the new algorithm. Golf Carts & Inflatables Irene Jones, a program development manager at Marshall & Sterling Insurance, told a group of more than a dozen attendees attheNCAconferencethatshewasn’ttrying to be the fun police. “It is important for any business to manage its risks, be prudent and make sure it is covered if an accident were to occur,” she said. Jones told attendees that if they are going to allow guests to use golf carts on their property then they need to make sure they have liability insurance and good proceduresinplacetoprotectthebusiness. “If you have a lot of claims it will affect your ability to get cheap insurance rates,” she said. Jones added that if employees are using golf carts it is imperative they are trained to use the equipment correctly and that they berolemodelsforthecampground’sguests. “Iftheunitonlyhasfourseats,thenthere should only be four people on it,” she said. “You also want to make sure if you are renting the units or using them at the camp- ground that they are in good shape.” Also, make sure drivers are licensed and that rules are well established, she said. Thesamegoeswheninstallingandusing inflatable equipment. “You need to make sure that the inflat- able is secured well to the ground, that it is not being used in high wind, that it is not rapidly deflating and that you do not mismatch age groups,” said Jones. It is also good to have staff on hand to direct traffic and make sure guests are staying safe, she added. “You need to know your coverage options before buying the equipment,” said Jones. “That way you are making sure you are protected,” adding that it is the duty of the campground owner to report any inci- dent immediately to its insurance company. “Your insurance company will immedi- ately be able to step in and begin work on your claim and investigate the incident,” said Jones. Making Your Website Mobile When it comes to engaging with an AnnIlligofSocialCaterpillar,ontheleft,and Tia Anderson, manager of the Stoney Creek RVResortinEauClaire,Wisc.,toldWACOat- tendees about Facebook’s new algorithms. Irene Jones, a program development manager at Marshall & Ster- ling Insurance, on the left, told NCA attendees that rules need to be followed when golf carts are being used by employees or guests. Travis Gere, co-founder and CTO of CampersAPP, said owners need to be cognizant of how their online tools can be used by customers on mobile devices. Kari Buffalo told WACO attendees that having a plan in place is key when starting a new merchandising strategy.