The nonprofit RV Women’s Alliance, a membership organization dedicated to promoting women within the RV industry, today launches its “My Camping Dream” campaign, which is designed to promote RV life and the camping industry as a whole.
Noting that much of the country has been under various levels of stay-at-home orders these past several weeks, plus the daily stress caused by a new and sometimes-deadly virus, the campaign is designed to “give us the dream of camping again,” according to RVWA executive director Sandy Ellingson, who first announced the campaign during a Facebook Live chat Wednesday evening.
Speaking with RV PRO on Wednesday afternoon, Ellingson said that the whole consumer-oriented campaign, from concept to website, had been pulled together in two weeks with the help of many people from all across the RV spectrum, from manufacturers and dealers to aftermarket distributors, industry analysts and representatives from parks and campgrounds.
“I believe that the RV industry is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity,” Ellingson said of the public’s appetite for recreation during a global pandemic. “I don’t believe people are going to start going to big amusement parks, I don’t believe they’re necessarily going to be going to big movie theaters or big concerts, but I do believe they’re going to be willing to get out and camp.”
On the My Camping Dream website, visitors will find three buttons: Camper, Guide and Seeker. Consumers can go to the camper portion of the site, input only minimal personal information and then write out their camping dream.
Ellingson said organizers recently did a test run of about 1,000 participants, and this is what some of them posted:
“I want to take my family back to Rex Hale Campground in Wyoming and see some grizzly bears!”
“To find a permanent camping spot along a lake or river in the Midwest. Would consider any place within a 200-mile radius of Omaha, Neb. Would need full hookups, WiFi and be kid friendly!”
“My dream is to get my first Airstream. We had a small travel trailer growing up. I love this one (pictures can be inserted) and think it would be perfect to take out on weekends to do my art.”
This is where the guides come in. Industry representatives will be able to see these posts and respond to them by filling in a comment box with a link. The “dreamer” can then choose to respond to that outreach or not.
The point is not about making a sale, Ellingson says, so much as it is about making connections.
“We send out samples of how to reply to all of our guides,” she explained. “For instance, we don’t want it to be sales-y. … Speak as if you were a subject matter expert, not a salesman. People form relationships with experts, they don’t form relationships with salespeople.”
Those in the RV industry are already telling her about creative discounts they plan to extend to those who end up as a customer through the My Camping Dream website, she said.
Companies participating have agreed to email invitations to participate to all of those on their respective mailing lists, starting today. Ellingson said that when you tally up all the names on all those lists, there’s the potential for 27 million people to receive an invite.
The rollout will be incremental, she said, with about 100,000 emails a day going out to start, and then ramping up over the coming weeks. What was originally planned as a 30-day campaign has been extended to 60, and possibly longer.
A team of advisors from across the industry provided support and guidance for the campaign. The advisory committee members are:
• Andy Robinowitz, CEO, RVLife, RVTripWizard and CampgroundReviews.com
• Nicole Sult, senior director, customer experience architect, Lippert Components
• Leo Akins, general manager of Corporate PDI, Codes and Standards, Quality Assurance, and the Office of Corporate Compliance, Forest River Inc.
• Marc and Julie Bennett, founders, RVLove.com
• Chris Cieto, publisher, RV PRO
• Bob Zagami, president, New England RV Dealers Association
Participants — consumers and industry types alike — are being asked to spread the love on social media by using the hashtag #MyCampaignDream.