b'SUPPLIER INSIGHTS nBY BEN QUIGGLECampgroundViews.com Keeps Growing and Innovating by Listening to CampersMark Koep is a name that many inforcampgroundsandtheystartedA green icon helps users know if a site the outdoor hospitality industry proba- measuring these insane results. Parksis available on the date they need one. bly recognize.started to report to us that they were He is the founder of Campground- seeing70timesmorerevenuethan Views.com, a search engine of sorts thatwhat we were charging for our services hosts profiles of campgrounds acrossand those numbers repeated over and NorthAmericaandover again. features video tours ofIn the beginning, the website relied parksthatallowon campers or owners using their cell campers to see specificphones to submit photos and now the campsites before theywebsite features over 3,000 videos and book them. On top ofmore than 50,000 photographs of RV that, he is the curatorparksandcampgroundsacrossthe ofmultipleFacebookcountry. However, Koep realized that he groups, the most pop- could do so much more with video and Mark Koep ular of which, the RVlistened to the demands of campers, in-Park/Campground Operators and Man- troducing 360 videos a few years ago. agers Operations & Marketing Forum,Those videos were transformative to has over 2,800 members.the booking experience, noted Koep. CampgroundViews.com started be- It increased online bookings. One parkthe map, Koeps technology plays like aVirtual Tours of parks at Recreation.gov, cause we were full-time RVers travelingmeasureda244%increaseinonlineslow-moving video as it winds its waywhich features campgrounds in the Na-the country and trying to find a place tobookings and they dropped their callthrough a parks layoutshowing userstional Park System, U.S. Forest Service, camp, and the information sources thatvolume by 40%. The reason is that peo- the lay of the land and each individualsome state park systems and other pub-were out there just didnt have useful in- ple can now see the parks, its campsitessite. Users can put in their desired book- lic park systems. Utilizing the websites formation, Koep said. It was all review- and, if the park has a good online book- ing dates and icons on each site indicateAPI feed, Koep and his team can capture based and reviews are only as good asing engine, they could go figure it outwhether they are available to book forthe videos they need, create the experi-the people leaving them. You either haveand book instead of having to call.those days. If the sites are bookable, theence and then integrate it with the avail-amazing reviews or bad reviews, and youThat continued for a few years, butuser clicks on the icon to learn more in- able information. must guess. The entire concept behindwe started getting feedback from con- formation about the site and to start theIntheprivatesector,Koepnoted CampgroundViews.com is to provide asumers who wished they knew exactlyreservation process on the parks reser- there are many reservation companies, visual experience through photos andwhat site they were looking at and theyvation platform.which makes it more difficult to inte-video.wished there was more information onWe have been pushing to make thisgrate the technology, but he is working Overseeing all of this is a full-time jobit, to help augment the experience, hething a reality and it has been a long,to partner with reservation systems toone that Koep loves.added.hard push, he explained. Honestly,offer the same experience he is putting Several years ago, we started provid- Koep and the team at Campground- nobody believes me that this is whattogether for public parks. ingprofessionalmarketingservices,Views.com listened and took an evencampers want because most people inI think you are going to see con-specifically video production services,morerevolutionarystepthispastthespacejustarentsolvingthesumers demanding this so much that tocampgroundowners,Koepex- spring when they began introducingcampers problems, theyre solving theirreservation systems and campground plained. Wed come in and produceVirtualToursthatincorporates360problemsandnotlookingattheowners will want to find a way to inte-these various videos to help them mar- video technology and includes a newcampers. We knew what the campersgrate what we have been working on, ket because video is the single best wayaugmented layer that allows the viewerwanted so we just kept building. Wevehe said. to market a campground or location.to interact, click on a site for more infor- now created this technology and put itKoep said the process of videoing a There are data points out there thatmation and then click further to beginout into the space and the feedback ispark for a virtual tour is more than just show 73% of affluent travelers will bookthe booking process.overwhelmingly positive on what weveusing a phone camera, which is why immediately upon seeing a video. WeUnlikeGoogleStreet View,wherecreated and how we built the site.Koep works with a professional team to started doing these video productionsusers click arrows to progress throughRight now, Koep is working to addensure each video is done properly. Our goal is to fundamentally im-prove the way people find and book campsites, Koep added. In my opin-ion, the biggest barrier to our industry growing is and has been the unknown. People dont know what theyre getting into, so they guess, and then if they show up at a park thats not right for them, they end up having a bad camp-ingexperience.Ifwecaneliminate some of these barriers, campers will have a better experience and our indus-try will continue to grow. WCMKay Park Recreation Picnic Tables Despite challenges in its supply chain in plastic products, aluminum and fiber-glass materials, Kay Park Recreation is having a record year servicing the camp-ground industry from its centrally lo-cated Iowa manufacturing location. We have had no issues getting ma-terials for wood tops and benches for our picnic tables, said Marilee Gray, Supplier Insights continued on page 3412 October 2021Woodalls Campground Magazine'