b'CAMPING DOWN UNDER BY EVANNE SCHMARDERAustralian Travel Experts Predict a Busy Summerfor Aussie Park Operators Amid the COVID CrisisWith their countrys official start ofsummerunderwayandmonthsofcoronavirus restrictions finally eas-ing, Aussies are eager to break out ofthe four walls COVID-19 has cleverlyconstructed. The October 2020 con-sumer sentiment report conductedby the Caravan Industry Association(CIA) of Australia reveals that whilecamping consumers are cautiouslyoptimistic about the future, they areunderstandably risk-averse.Whiledemandforcaravanandcamping travel is strong, consumersnot only deeply care about COVID-Safe measures taken to assure thesafest environment, they also wantto be kept apprised of the actionsbusinesses are taking to safeguardaccommodations and amenities.As weve seen in the U.S. and Eu-rope,interestincityadventures,cruising and international travel hasdramatically decreased with 62% ofrespondents suggesting they weremore likely to take a caravan andcamping trip than before COVID-19and50%aremorelikelytonowtravel on a regional holiday, accord-ing to the CIA report.Asrestrictionsarelifting,thatsexactly whatTerry Goodall, manag-ingdirector,andShereeGoodall,marketing director, at PathFinder Like in the U.S., the caravan and camping sectors in Australia are poised to seeOutdoor Destinations, a boutique a ton of traffic this year, as parks work to implement COVID-safe procedures. marketingagencyservingholidayparks,accommodations,andtourism, expect to see. Coupled with consumers to control their environ- thing huge. media campaigns, and with the helptheconcernsandrestrictionsof ment, it makes abundant sense that Alargepartoftheexpected of national sponsorships from largetravel during the pandemic and the the Australian caravan/camping in- camping tsunami will be due to tar- corporations with a stake in the suc-abilityforcaravanandcamping dustry is on the precipice of some- getedadvertisingdirectedatthe cess of the industry. And expectationsnon-considermarket,thosejust are high, potential sponsors are liningbecoming aware of or interested in up to be involved in the campaign.thistypeoftravel,Shereetold Belonging to Big4 or other mem-WoodallsCampgroundManage- bership-style collectives, includingment (WCM). Discovery Holida y Parks, delivers aSuper-chargedbyCOVID-19, tremendousmarketingoutreach.Terry has seen this trend develop However,theentireindustryisover the last 20 years. What used to poised to benefit from this promo-be the exclusive purveyance of gray tion. To maximize the publics newnomads, or as we call them in the take on this type of holiday, parksU.S., snowbirds, the demographics must develop a detailed marketingof caravanners/campers in Australia plan, including more common tac-now reaches all walks of life. Young tics, social media, and lesser under-couples, families with children, ac- stoodonessuchasSEO(searchtive vacationers, and yes, gray no- engine optimization). Mirroring car-madsare,orareinterestedin, avan/camping marketing on otherhitting the roads in record numbers. continents, this is where independ-While the current interstate travel ent parks need special considera-restrictions are having a slight im- tion. These parks, in particular thepactontheindustry,oneofthe small or mom-and-pop properties,largest marketing cooperative cara- shoulder the responsibility for theirvanorganizations,Big4Holiday marketing programs.Parks inpartnershipwithAus- Large,successfulparksaretralian Regional Tourism (ART)is highly skilled at marketing. Thatsbetting big on the future. So much one reason they are so successful.so, they are embarking upon a co-op No one can do it better than they doadvertisingcampaignworthhun- for themselves. But its the smallerdreds of thousands of dollars. Its de- parks that we find need a bit of guid-signedtoexciteandencourage ance to move the needle, remarkedtravelers to explore the countrys re- Terry. This requires a constant pres-gions and extol the benefits of a car- ence on Facebook, posting relevantavan/camping trip. and eye-catching content, engagingThis will be expressed by sponsor- with the audience, promptly reply-Terry & Sheree Goodall ingon-demandtelevisionshows ing to messages, and adding a per-(think Netflix), through major social sonal touch. Not an easy online task.26 -January 2021Woodalls Campground Management'