30 - May 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management Q&A CONVERSATIONS change over the next decade. WCM: What other differences are you seeing between the generations? Schueuermann:The“silver-agers” are a good market, but we urgently need to address the younger people. The WCM: Are you seeing wide demo- graphic differences in your customer base? Schueuermann: Yes. The market is still strong with what we refer to as “born campers” — an older genera- tion that has been camping all their lives. The 40-to 45-year-olds and younger, however, may not have been brought up on camping. Instead, they have experienced many different types of tourism. Wanting to see what camping is all about, they are interested in cabins and rental RVs. The sharing economy is their pre- ferred method of using an RV, much to the chagrin of the born campers, the ones that own most of the RVs. These owners are not comfortable with let- ting strangers use their campers. RV rental companies are the beneficiaries of this current situation, though these sharing attitudes are expected to Much like in the United States,outdoor hospitality in Europe is booming. Many of the same trends are appearing on both sides of the pond. It’s these similarities that Woodall’s Camp- ground Management discussed with Eicke Schueuermann, executive director of LeadingCampings of Europe. Leadings is, at its root, a marketing group consisting of 39 parks spanning 12 countries across Western Europe. In fact, it is the only European-wide camping group, according to Schueuermann, who added that its commitment to outstanding guest experi- ences across the network,combined with savvy marketing and promotion, has seen it grow reputation and bottom-line busi- ness over the last 24 years. Below is our edited conversation. Eicke Schueuermann LeadingCampings Capitalizes on Camping Boom, Offers 39 Parks Spanning 12 European Countries older generation knows how to find a campground, they are used to reading maps. They appreciate a digital version of a camping guide, but for them the need for digitalization ends with the basics. As for the younger generation, if it’s not swipeable it does not exist. For them we are adopting new technologies, such as three-word addresses. In fact, Leadings (in the company of Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover) is the first camping group to take advantage of a new addressing system called what3words. An exception to that rule is our printed campground guide.We’ve dis- cussed getting rid of it, but the high- quality glossy Annual Holiday Guide is popular, even with the younger crowd. We track it and it continues to pay off for Leadings’ members. WCM: What are park owners’ biggest concerns? Schueuermann: The inability to cope with the demands of the camping boom.They recognize that with many new guests coming from cruise ships or hotel holidays it is critical to live up to their service expectations. The fear is that if we disappoint them they will not return, affecting the future of the industry. WCM: Have you launched any new marketing promotions recently? Schueuermann: Yes, we’ve recently had two successful cooperative marketing promotions. The first was an awareness campaign that reached 350,000 prospects. Partnering with a men’s leisurewear brand that has a strong presence in department stores in several cities, we gave away seven- day stays — complete with a rental RV that we transported and set up. While we can’t add the 350,000 email ad- dresses to our email database without explicit permission because of new European Union email regulations, we feel that we raised the awareness of Leadings with a very large and targeted market. The second was a partnership with our organization of RV manufactur- ers, much like your Recreation Vehi- cle Industry Association (RVIA). Using Facebook, each week of the summer we raffled off a weekend stay at various Leadings locations. We drew the winner on a Monday and they had to be available that week- end. The campers were pampered with a completely outfitted RV, candlelight dinners, sports, etc. The winners were required to post pic- tures and stories of their experience on Facebook, garnering an abun- dance of social media engagement. WCM: What is the top park amenity — and what’s fading from popularity? Schueuermann: New wellness trends and treatments are very popular. Some parks even have their own branded beauty products, based on their region. Tennis is old-fashioned and park owners are converting courts to multi-sport fields. I don’t want to leave out a new con- cept we are planning to debut in the near future.We’re calling it a glamping site. This site is very upscale and very expensive. The test site has a privacy fencearoundits600squaremetersand features a private bath, spa, terrace, barbeque, kid’s playground and herb garden. We may even offer on-site restaurant meals with table service. It’s got to be something really special.With only one glamping site available, the park owner is expecting bookings 18 to Partnerships and a focus on park quality has allowed LeadingCampings of Europe to realize success at their 39 parks spanning 12 countries.