b"State Association Conference Sessions Highlight Social Media Marketing, Real Estate Market, Emergency PlanningnBY BEN QUIGGLE pre-COVID, that number had jumped to 12 EditorsNote:WoodallsCampgroundtimes during the peak period in 2021 and 2022, Magazine (WCM) had the opportunity toand has now settled to 11 times. travel to several state association confer- Simplemath,ifyourparkgrossed ences this spring and attended quite a few$500,000 and your cash flow is $250,000, educational sessions to learn about emerg- today your campground would be worth $2.75 ing trends and gather valuable insights intomillion, she said. In 2021, it would've been operating a park. worth $3 million on the same numbers, and in Below are some snapshots of those ses- 2019 it would've been worth $2.5 million.sions that WCM hopes are valuable to parkNow, this year, chances are, if you're full, owners who couldnt attend those sessions.you are going to see an increase in revenue, Johnson added. If you're not going up, some-Should I Stay or Should I Go? thing's wrong, whether it's you've got to adjust MiaCaetanoJohnson,thefounderofyour rates, you've got to do marketing, you've Northeast Campground Brokers, offered ad- got to tweak your business model. vice to park owners who are debating whetherLooking ahead, Johnson said that if interest they should sell their parks. The presentationrates continue to climb, values will start toMia Caetano Johnson, founder of Northeast Campground Brokers, speaks during her came during the Northeast Campground As- come down. session on the real estate market. Photo: Ben Quigglesociations Conference on Camping & TradeAs interest rates go up, the cap rate multiple Show from March 9-11.will continue to go back down a little bit because Johnson noted that the industry is firing onit's going to offset how much return on the in- the business and impact their profits. tions. It's going to always be updated. I like to all cylinders, but that campers are more de- vestment that a buyer will make and investorsI cringe when I hear that they still have theirthink of Twitter as you're getting your quick up-manding and some park owners are just readyare the only buyers out there, she explained.business in a C-corp, she noted. That is thedate. TikTok is going to be just like Instagram, to move on. She also said that other factors canOne hundred percent of my sales this year andabsolute worst possible structure for you tobut it's going to be for only video. This is going sometimes force park owners to sell, includinglast year were to investors for every size camp- hold your business in because you get doubletobethenewestplatformandhavethe health issues.ground. I sold a 27-site campground last year totaxed. What ends up happening is when youyoungest audience, and it's the easiest platform Planning is key during this process, shean investor if that gives you any indication ofsell, the C-corp holds the business and they getto go viral on now in comparison to Instagram. explained. You want to have plans in place forwhere the market is. There are some owner/op- taxed 23.8%, then the money is sitting in thatA couple of other platforms that are out where the money is going to go, how you areerator buyers out there, but very few, and theC-corp. The C-corp is not a real thing, it's justthere include Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, going to tackle improvements at the park beforeones who are out there are competing with allan entity. To get that money out, you have toSnapchat and BeReal, Geary added.you sell it; and if you are not selling right now,the investors that can buy with cash, so theyhave a shareholder distribution. When you getShe told park owners in attendance that what are your plans for the future?can't afford them. They can't compete with thethe money, you get taxed again. there are four pillars to creating contented-Johnson said the market is still hot for sellersoffers, so very few owner/operators are buying.Your accountant should be pushing you toucational, entertaining, promotional and engag-and that while interest rates have ticked up, in- Johnson said that park owners need to keepmove out of the C-corp, Johnson added. ing.creased revenue from campers and continued in- all of that in mind as they form their plans forShe noted that she works with a lot of park On the educational side, a park owner terest from buyers are keeping park values high.the future. owners who are just burnt out and want to sellmay create how-to videos or offer tips for com-ChancesarethatyourparksvalueisThe economy and the upcoming electionas quickly as possible. Johnson said that it ismon questions.maybe a little higher than it would have beencycle are going to impact things and that needsnever good to sell in that frame of mind and that Entertaining includes posts that focus on last year, she noted. Even though maybe lastto be reflected in your one-, five-, 20-yearshe has worked with some owners who sawmemes, pop culture, behind-the-scenes items year was the peak marketmaybe I only haveplans, she noted.numbers tick down slightly last year becauseand more.one or two offers this year versus six last yearJohnson explained that she speaks withthey are just so tired.Promotional posts focus on sales, up- it only takes one to sell a park.people all the time who dont have plans inYou cant just give up. If you are at thatcoming events and bookings.How do you know what your park is worthplace. They havent met with their accountant,point it may be best to look at hiring a man-Engaging posts ask questions or focus on though? Johnson said that while most see aabusinessattorney,oranestateplanningager, she explained. It's better to hire a man- ways to get followers engaging with the con-park was worth about 10 times its cash flowlawyer, which could impact their ability to sellager for $50,000 a year to give you sometent.peace of mind and to give you some extra freeIt all starts with creating and filling your time during the season so you don't have acontentcalendar,Gearyexplained.Think nervous breakdown. Hiring a full managementabout your upcoming events, any new devel-company can be an expensive proposition, soopments or projects you are working on, mark I think most are better off just hiring a full-timedown which holidays are coming up.manager and overseeing that one person. She highlighted recent social media trends If you dont want to hire a manager, thenlike featuring the now famous picture of Bernie hire an assistant, Johnson added. You alsoSanders seated at the Biden inaugural, the point then have someone you can market to a poten- being that park owners can use popular trends tial buyer. You have someone in place who canto create content.continue with the business and knows how toForcontentcreation,you'regoingto operate it, so the transition is smoother.choose the goal of the post, or your call to ac-tion, and you're going to grab an image or a The Ins and Outs of Social Mediavideo. You're going to write a story or intriguing Carrie Geary, director of project manage- caption, and you're going to add in your hash-ment at Severson & Associates, spoke abouttags and respond to comments, Geary said. social media management during her sessionYou want to keep everything to the point be-at the Wisconsin Association of Campgroundcause attention spans are short. Owners 60th Annual Convention and TradeGeary noted that there isnt a set number of Show in mid-March.posts a park owner should aim for every day, She went over some of the basics of socialbut that the posts should remain engaging and media marketing, offered her thoughts on howthat park owners should remain consistent with to create content and also highlighted the rolehow often they post.that branding should play in an effective socialIf you are just posting to post, then I would media marketing plan.scale back, she mentioned. Flooding the feed Facebook started in 2004 and the audiencecan be an issue. is older than most channels and content typi-cally doesn't go viral, but you can see it go viralPreparing for an Emergency with shares or comments at certain times, sheJim Button, owner of Evergreen Campsites explained. It's very versatile with what it can& Resort in Wild Rose, Wis., and the Area 3 do. With Instagram, it's going to be more visualrepresentative on the National Association of than Facebook, over two-thirds of its users areRV Parks and Campgrounds (National ARVC) 34 years old or younger. Over half of its usersboard of directors, spoke on how parks can are women. Twitter is now mostly more menprepare to handle emergencies during a ses-than women. The Explore page makes it easiersion at Camp Michigans annual conference in to find trending content and join in conversa- Conference Sessionscontinued on page 4018 May 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine"