WOODALLSCM.com January 2019 - 17 Rayford Crossing offers its snowbirds a number of social events that allow them to meet other campers. At La Hacienda RV Resort a library offers snow- birds a quite place to read and work on puzzles. greatCanadianshows.TheFloridaRVSuper- Show in January alone gets about 75,000 RVers — many of them are snowbirds and our association has a booth there.” He also suggests some traditional adver- tising methods for campground owners and managers. “Whetherit’sdirectoriesortheGoodSam Guide, it still pays to advertise,” Cornwell noted. “Word of mouth is always the most effective and snowbirds are great at networking and many are members of clubs and organizations. Targeting these can also pay off.” Down in Texas, McGee makes a strong push at snowbirds in his park’s promotional efforts. “Wefocusalargeportionofourmarketing towards snowbirds,” he said. “We try to target different locations throughout the country. We know we get a lot of snowbirds from the Midwest and Canada. Our use of digital marketing allows us to do geo-target- ing to the areas we have found produce the mostresults.Thisismostlysocialmediamar- keting through Facebook and other sites.” Since Rayford Crossing is a Good Sam member, he specifically takes advantage of the member benefits — especially the Good Sam Snowbird listings that he claims is very productive. Tinfeth shared that both word-of-mouth recommendations and a solid website work hand-in-hand. She stressed that getting that initialvisitorcanpayoffwithmanymoreifthe customer remains satisfied. “Word-of-mouthisinvaluable,”shenoted. Having managed the campground for 33 years, Tineth has tried extensive advertising in the past with Good Sam and Trailer Life Magazine,butonlineadsandagoodwebsite are what is working for her currently. “MostpeoplefindusontheInternetifthey are new,” she said. “Once they get here, I think what makes them come back is they make such good friends and have such a good time.” MakeYourParkanAnnualMigration The campground owners WCM spoke with agreed that snowbirds are creatures of habit. Many migrate to the same park or resort to winter year after year. Attracting them is one thing — getting them to return depends on how good of a time they had. Campground owners related that today’s snowbirdsareanactive,vital,energeticflock that like to be entertained. “We are a vey active park,” said McGee “We do a lot of events — everything from streetpartiestopotlucks,trips,livemusic.We trytomakeitrealactiveandthatreallykeeps them coming back. Most of our snowbirds got tired of doing Arizona and have come to Texas for something new. It’s working because we have many people who come year-after-year,sotheyareoftenbookingthe year before for the following winter — a full year out.” Tinfeth shared that building a sense of communityishighonthelistforthesnowbird flock. “We have about 280 sites, so it’s pretty intimate,” she shared. “They get to know each other and have street gatherings. Each seasononestreetpreparesadinnertogether, some decorate, some clean up and some serve.Theydivideitupintodifferentjobsand that binds them together.” Tinfethsaidthatthestreetsarelikeneigh- borhoods, doing outings together, mystery trips and even get-togethers every afternoon for happy hour. “So, there is a wide variety of snowbirds inourpark,”shesaid“Weencouragepeople to know each other on their street and there are a lot of different activities where they meet people. Everybody gets personal atten- tion — we pretty much know everybody by name — they are like our family, too.” Tinfeth said the staff at La Hacienda RV Resort takes the time to organize something for everyone. “Wehaveallthesecraftclasses,”sheex- pounded. “Woodcarving, ceramics, quilting, stained glass, silversmithing, paper crafts and needlework. We have several different exercise groups — two in the pool, yoga and another exercise class that meets twice-a- week in our auditorium. There is also a group that rides bicycles both morning and after- noon and ventures clear into Mesa every Thursday — about a 20-mile ride one way.” Tinfeth went on to list other activities, ranging from hiking and golfing groups to church services in her park with the park’s own choir. There is also shuffleboard, bocce ball and pickleball. “Manyhavebreakfastinourcountrystore everydayanddecidethenwhatchoicesthey want to participate in,” she said. “In our library we have a puzzle table and they can check out books — it’s a lending library. We even have volunteer librarians who keep all the books in order. We have a fireplace in there — it’s a nice cozy room.” Tinfeth is still fine-tuning how to commu- nicate all these activities and schedules to her flock. “We do a monthly calendar and the spe- cial events are listed and there are periodic flyers about certain things coming up,” she said. “We also have a weekly park coffee hour where we introduce new people, share things and talk about events that are coming. About half of the park comes to the coffee hour, so the word gets out.” She said she is also venturing into email communicationtobetterbroadcasteventsto her campers. Inadditiontocampground-orientedactiv- ities, Tinfeth is also planning trips for her campers. “We are offering a trip to the southwest in the Spring that goes to Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Shay and Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Painted Dessert and the Petrified Forest, all on one four-day trip,” she said. Tinfeth reminded other owners to also never forget about the four-legged family members that some snowbirds will bring with them. “We have two streets that our pet owners live on and we have an enclosed pet area where they can be off the leash as well,” she said. “We have balls and water and a bench so people can take their dogs there and let them play. We also are positioned on a dead-end street, so campers can walk their dogs without getting into traffic.” “Peoplewhoaretravelingwithpetslook for special accommodations,” Cornwell agreed. “The parks that cater to pets defi- nitely have an edge with many snowbirds.” SnowbirdsPreferSmallerRVs Campground owners can prepare their sites and campgrounds to accommodate wintering snowbirds, who for the most part are savvy campers, according to the owners WCM spoke with. “We are still getting the majority who come in Class As and quite a few in larger fifth-wheels and travel trailers,” said McGee “There is a distinct difference of who you get in the summer and who you get in the winter — the type of RV, their demographic, etc. Winter guests are more affluent, more of the retirees. Many are on their fourth RV and have worked their way up to a Class A motorhome.” Along with an RV industry trend, many older birds are downsizing to smaller, more manageable Class B coaches, noted some of the owners WCM spoke with. “What I have seen lately is more smaller camperscomingthroughwhichIamkindof surprisedby,”saidGabriel.“Smaller,newer motorhomes, like the Winnebago Minnie RVs and the new cab-overs. Some folks who have been retired for a while have downsized because they don’t want to tow or mess with parking a larger unit. That’s a lottohandlewhenyouarearthriticoralittle bit older and everything hurts. It’s hard to drive a big motorhome for more than four hours.” — Ron Barger WCM Pickleball courts are a draw for snowbirds at La Hacienda RV Resort. Shuffleboard courts, like this one at Dunedin RV Resort in Dunedin, Fla., are popular among snowbirds.