b'Jellystone Parks Focused on Marketing, Preparing Parks to ReopenLeisureSystemsInc. (LSI),the what you offer has changed to alignfranchisorofmorethan75Yogi withthebestpracticesforsocialBearsJellystoneParkCamp-Re- distancing and prevention/mitiga-sorts in North America, is keeping a tion of COVID-19.close eye on executive orders and Hershenson explained that someplans to reopen the economy that Jellystone Parks may have to oper-varyfromstatetostateandeven ate more like a traditional camp-county to county, according to Trent groundandthatitwillbeaboutHershenson, LSIs vice president of communicating to the campers atmarketing. that point.HetoldWoodallsCampground Just as when some of the restric-Management (WCM) that the com- tions started to come into place, wepanyhasbeentryingtoshareas had to communicate to our fran-much information as possible with chisees, he said. We normally saypark owners regarding best practices were not a typical campground, weduring the COVID-19 crisis, but that are a family entertainment destina-LSIsfocushasbeguntoshiftin tion. But right now, for those parkssome regards. that can accept people, we are act-Now what were trying to do is ing more like a traditional camp-prepare for the rollout, Hershenson groundbecausethatsjusttheexplained.We environment that were operatingdontknowwhat in.the stages will be, how to handle food service, mer- theyre going to want to go and va- Hershenson noted that LSI willandweexpect chandising and retail transactions. cationandhaveasmuchfunas be pursuing a national message atthateverystate From the marketing end, LSI is possible. the right time, as well.willdoitdiffer- helpingownersunderstandwhat Heexplainedthatmarketing Justthetimingofwhenthatently and in a dif- theyshouldbepostingonsocial during the COVID-19 crisis entails rolls out will be in flux dependingferent order. media and their websites, as well as ahostofchallenges,butthatit on what the majority of the countryTrent Hershenson Weretrying throughotherchannelslikepaid boils down to what the owner feels is doing, Hershenson pointed out.toputtogether advertising and email chains. will work at a certain point. And were working on some differ-information and recommendations Its all going to be different de- Everyone, I think, is going to be ent things this year where we createnow on how parks should start to pending on the stage of reopening trying to do their best, Hershenson marketingtoolsatthenationalreopen under a couple of different a park an owner finds themselves explained.ButIthinkyoustill level that are hopefully even easierrestrictedscenarios,headded. in, Hershenson noted. Were still have, for the most part, the same for park owners to customize re-Giving them advice on everything veryhopefulandoptimisticthat target market and the same mes- garding the timing and when theyfromcleaningandoperationsto oncepeoplecangetbackout, sage, but its just highlighting how send that out.Ben Quiggle WCMVirtual Back to Camping Summit Ontario Campgrounds in Dire StraitsUnlike some campground operatorsAttracts More Than 500 Attendees along Lake Ontario, Steve Warddoesnthave to worry too much about flooding.Even though close to 100 of his 620AmorningbikerideinearlyApril business thrives. If my business thrives, campsitesatQuintesIslePark inserved as a catalyst for what wouldthat means I get to continue RV travel- Cherry Valley,Ontario,haveadirectbecome the virtual Back to Camping ing, which I love. view of the lake, his campsites and util-Summit, held May 11-12.Focused on providing up-to-date in- ity hookups are back far enough awayWith more than 500 registered for the formation, the Summit held a number of from the water and on high enoughtwo-day event, there were more than a panels with RV lifestyle influencers. RV ground that they should be OK even if Flooding doesnt pose near the threat of COVID-dozen educational sessions heldand Love, RV Lifestyle, and Drivin & Vibin Lake Ontario reaches exceptionally high 19 at Quintes Isle Park on Lake Ontario.Toby ORourke, CEO and president of all took part in a panel focused on the levels this year, as it did in 2017 andKampgrounds of America Inc., was the mindsetofcampersastheylookto 2019.cerned they could lose the entire sum-keynote speaker.begin preparing for RV travel as restric- The bigger threat, he said, is travel re- mer because they cant get people overPresented in association with Rover- tions are lifted.strictions related to COVID-19. the border, said Alexandra Anderson,Pass, the event also featured more than Andy Robinowitz, creator of RV Life, Roughly half of Wards summer busi- executive director of Camping in On-80 vendors in a virtual expo and offered and Jon Gray, CEO of RVshare, pulled ness is leisure travelers from the neigh- tario, which represents more than 420a variety of chat rooms that allowed datafromtheirplatformsandgave boring province of Quebec, which by campgrounds.park owners and other outdoor hospital- owners a look at what they are seeing the first week of May had become the While private parks in Ontario haveityindustryprofessionalstowork in real time as people begin to plan Canadianprovincewiththehighest beenallowedtoaccommodatetheirthrough issues and questions together.trips. number of novel coronavirus cases and long term guests, much like their coun-Mark Koep, the events founder and RoverPass, an online RV park direc- deaths. terparts in the U.S., Ontarios leisureCEOofCampgroundViews.com,told tory and reservation system, announced As a result, provincial officials in On- travel business has effectively been shutWoodallsCampgroundManagement during the Summit that it had created a tario have temporarily prohibited all down for months, Anderson said, and(WCM)thatthe $5 million stimulus fund for RV parks and non-essential travel into Ontario from not just around Lake Ontario.ideatostartthe campgrounds that were current Rover- Quebec. The northern province of Ontario isconferencewas Pass customers. To learn more, go to: Ontarioauthoritieshavealsoex- very popular with fly-fishing enthusiastssparked by a de- info.roverpass.com/stimulus.tended provincial emergency shutdown and that market tends to rely on Amer-sire to help own- While the Summit went from idea to orders affecting all but essential busi- ican visitors, especially from Michiganersprepareto reality in about a month, Koep said he nesses until May 19. This means camp- and Minnesota, she said.comeoutofthe received positive feedback about the grounds,RVparksandresortsin As a result of these provincial and in-COVID-19 crisis.eventandthatanytechnicalissues Ontario will not be allowed to accom- ternational border closures, AndersonThatishow were very minimal.modateleisuretravelersduringMay said Ontario-based parks should con-theideaformed Every presentation was really good. Long Weekend, Canadas Memorial Day, sider redirecting their marketing effortsthatmaybewe Im getting a bunch of text messages which takes place the weekend before to target Ontario residents instead of re-Mark Koep needed to host a and emails from park owners who just Memorial Day in the U.S. lying on visitors from other provinces orvirtualsummitwherewecaninvite lovedtheSummit,explainedKoep. Tomakemattersworse,theU.S.- the U.S.speakers and vendors to provide own- Overall,theexperiencehasbeena Canadian border remains closed to all Ward, for his part, said he hopes On-ers with the information that is critical great one.but non-essential travel, which could tarioauthoritieswillallowhimandfor them to operate their parks in what Individuals who participated in the prevent American leisure travelers from other park operators to open their busi-willbeapost-COVIDworld,Koep summit can watch recordings of every visiting private parks in the greater Ni- nesses by June. Otherwise, he said, theadded. If they come out of this, our in- sessionthoughMay31at agaraFallsareaandotherlocations results will be financially devastating.dustry thrives. If our industry thrives, my btcamping.comBen QuiggleWCM across Ontario. The impact is potentially huge for ourPark operators are getting very con- business, he said.Jeff CriderWCMWOODALLSCM.com June 2020-3'