b'GUEST VIEWSo, We Built a Campground Erin and Meeting Your Guests Expectations Dan ThiemIn seasonal businesses, the absence of customers and their inherent feedback loop often makes marketing challenging. Its easier to be excited about promoting your campground when customers come through the door and say, This place is so amazing! As a campground in Northern Cali- guests be exciting? Despite the mehseasonal challenges is reminding myselfSometimes, in the thick of operating a fornia, our season for camping is latefactor, many of these tasks are importantthat with every new year and new sea- business, we forget why people want to spring through fall, with summer beingto our product and service delivery. So,son there are opportunities to reach newvisit our townnew perspectives from ourbusiestseason.Asweexitthewe have to find inspiration. For example,audiences.EvenifIhavesharedthelocals help remind us. We take the time never-ending winter weather season,Dan likes to geek out about tools andsame information before, and it seemsto remind our networks that its camp-Ive been looking at some of my to-dotechnology. Despite the essential func- repetitive to me, its new to many of ouring season and they help remind us lists and trying to find inspiration fortion of assembling check-in paperworkguests. Likewise, that same informationwhy its so cool to come visit our town! repetitive tasks. not changing, he always tries to makereminds our existing campers who weFor those of you in similar seasonal While running a campground is con- the process faster. He even bought anare and why they should come to visitbusinesses, now is a great time to write stantly full of challenges, there are cer- electric stapler so we wouldnt have toour campground. That means I spendup a press release and put it out to your tain projects that can feel daunting andkeep picking up the regular one to staplesome of my off-season time re-framinglocal newspaper and let them know overwhelmingand a bit mundane.vehicle tags to the maps. Thats a smallthe same old information, so that it isthat its time to pack the tent and head Willwerememberhowtocheck-inchange, but a good example of lookingfreshandinterestingforcustomers.outside. The local newspaper will also guests? Will we finally find the perfectat a mundane task in a new way. ForSometimes re-packaging the product ishave great information or even a new staffingschedule? Willwetransitionhim, solving a mini problem helps keepall thats required to freshen up the sametake on something exciting thats com-from project time to camping seasonthe mundane interesting. old thing. ing up in your area. Their enthusiasm is with grace? Each year we have to honeFor me, Im a visual storyteller; ImIn seasonal businesses, the absencea great source of renewed inspiration our skills and focus on getting theseconstantly looking for new and interest- of customers and their inherent feed- for your business.things rightagain. ing ways to market our campground.back loop often makes marketing chal- Finally,sometimesinspirationis Repetitive tasks and responsibilitiesIm active on Instagram, Facebook, Pin- lenging. Its easier to be excited aboutlacking not because of the mundane, can feel uncreative. How can checking interest, Twitter and TikTok. One of mypromotingyourcampgroundwhenbut because of the exceptional. In the customers come through the door andlast several years weve had a number of say, This place is so amazing!Wheninterruptions in regular business oper-yourestaringattherainandsnowations, from COVID to staffing short-waiting for camp to open.maybe itagestowildfirestoourmostrecent doesnt feel so amazing. On days likesnowstorm(knownlocallyassnow-that, I sometimes I feel like Im just talk- maggeddon2.0)etc.WhenIthink ing to myself. When I get in a rut likeabout finding inspiration for the future, that, I often take on micro challengesI take time to have gratitude that we (like Dan buying an electric stapler)have weathered these storms and were and see if I can find something smallready for the next chapter. Surviving the thatcapturesmyinterestvisually,impossible is its own inspiration. Im whether its a photo of our local statesure that every campground owner has park,abehind-the-scenesphotooftheir own unique harrowing story of cleaning the campground or a promo- survival. COVID is an obvious one, but tional photo of new merchandise fornatural disasters are another. Whatever the camp store.difficulttimeyou\'vehadwithyour Thesemicrochallengeshelpmecampground, remember you made it focusonsomethingtangiblethatthrough. Be proud of that fact, and if brings me joy. My other trick for gettingthe mundane is starting to grate on you, back into the rhythm is to rememberremember that (in many cases) we can that in July I will be busy, and every 10be happy that the mundane is all thats minutes I spend planning and organiz- bothering us today!ing content now will save me time inHard times make for hard lessons, the busy season. I get a lot of satisfac- but also for a renewed sense of pride tion in knowing Im making my life eas- and satisfaction for having persevered ier in the summer, even when Im tryingand come out the other end with a sus-to find something interesting to markettainablebusinessandonlyaverage in February. The source of inspirationproblems to deal with.When Im hav-in these examples is small, but littleing a "meh day, I remember the really pieces of motivation can be great an- harddaysandsuddenly,themeh chors for more sustained work on mun- doesnt seem so bad. dane problems. Whatever doldrums you find your-The common theme is that mun- self in, either the mundane or excep-dane tasks are an essential part of everytional, there is always a new perspective campground business, but they dontthat can help you find inspiration to get need to be overwhelmingly boring. Thethings done. Review processes to make key is trying to find ways to make thosethem faster, easier or more interesting. tasks interesting, even if its somethingTry looking at your town or location small and unique. from a new viewpoint or through the Another example from our businesslens of a photographer. is when were looking for inspiration toIf all that fails, think back on a diffi-get excited about the upcoming camp- cult time and recognize that you made ing season, we start in our community.it through and boring days of checking We network with professional contacts,people in are sometimes the best days ourcampgroundassociation,localthere are.Happy camping. chamber of commerce, tourism boards and even the local restaurants. All ofErin and Dan Thiem are the own-theseentitieshelpremindusabouters of the Inn Town Campground inwhat is so amazing about our location.Nevada City, Calif. WCM12 May 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine'