“It’s been a great year for everybody,” said Brian McGuinn, business development director for the Plantation, Fla., company. “Campgrounds are doing well, the advertisers surrounding campgrouns are doing well. It’s got us in hypergrowth right now.”
Southeast Publications and SEPI Marketing have been working hard to expand not only the companuy’s reach, but the reach of the campground sector and the RV lifestyle as a whole, both online and in person, and the company’s not letting up.
“We have a lot going on here with the whole digital side and the new staffing we’ve taken on. We’re ramping up,” McGuinn said, “really trying. The industry’s growing and now’s the time to make it more sustainable and get more people involved.”
To that end Southeast Publications is growing its presence at consumer-oriented trade shows, starting this month in Pomona, Calif. Next year Southeast Publications will be at 12 of the largest RV shows next year to promote RVing, all to benefit campgrounds.
The company has a mobile app and a robust MobileRVing.com site, which profiles some 23,000 private and public campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada. And they give priority listings to their 1,500 customers.
“Basically what we do for our properties is we’ve made it so profiles can play video commercials, they can connect social media, add reservation software and we don’t charge for any of that. It provides an enhanced value,” McGuinn said.
But the online push doesn’t stop there. Like the expansion to consumer shows, the company is expanding to consumers online. “We have 7 full-time bloggers producing articles every day to keep the content relevant and show people how to live the lifestyle,” McGuinn explained, “what that means from a financial aspect, issues that might pop up when they travel, all these kinds of things they may need advice on.”
To put it simply, last year’s “Supplier of the Year” award winner from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds isn’t slowing down.
The company has been in the campground sector for a long time. The average tenure of people working there has been about 10 years, according to McGuinn, with some who have been here 15 years and the vice president, Carlene Morris, has been there for 24.
And Wally Warrick has been around since his dad, Peter Warrick, started the company in 1987.
At the start, the company did two-tone guest guides for five campgrounds, utilizing five sales representatives. Now their 100 representatives work with 17,000 small businesses who advertise in nearby campgrounds’ guest guides.
In addition to full-color guest guide maps, Southeast Publications prints everything all the way up to magazines and small books. They also offer banners for campgrounds and RV parks, especially useful in parks with lots of day-use traffic.
In the last year the company revamped its MobileRVing site, and now it’s improving its app. They have an e-newsletter that reaches 24,000 subscribers, a Facebook community of nearly 29,000 people and a series of podcasts highlighting customer properties.
In addition to all that, “We’re going to be announcing a new platform,” McGuinn said. “We have what we call Project X which will come out in the beginning of next year which will be another way to engage the RV community.”
It’s all adding value to customers and to the sector as a whole, hex explained. “One thing I think we’re seeing more of is businesses like the print but they’d also like to see more digital. We give them the one-two punch. It’s really done well for us. Not only has the industry been booming as a whole, but because we’ve been able to offer this digital element, we’ve been able to bring in more advertisers than ever before.”
So how does the company chart its course in this ever-changing landscape? “We take a lot of feedback from our ground forces, from the full time RVing community of what’s important to them,” said McGuinn. “A lot of what we do is geared toward that. That’s 70% of the equation. The other 30% is the culture we have here to always offer more value. The more we give the more we’ll receive.”
And that goes beyond growing the company. “We’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to have the money to be able to pay it forward to a variety of different causes. Carlene Morris is on the KOA Care Camps Board. That’s one we believe in strongly. We do advertisements in our guest guides we do in our newsletters. We also support the state associations as well,” he said.
The company is a “patron partner” with the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, with the Tennessee Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and the Alaska Campground Owners Association, taking their guest guides to consumer shows.
Southeast Publications is also working with public lands to improve the camping experience.
“We are a great sponsor of public lands as well as private. 66% of our business is private, and 33% is public. We’re always looking for opportunities to connect public and private to bring the whole industry up,” McGuinn said. ”Most public lands will allow private campgrounds to advertise in their publications, so we try to post that ad. We work with 26 state park systems, we have the biggest reach.”
To connect with Southeast Publications, go to southeastpublications.com or call 800-832-3292.