Welcoming New Campers
RVs are selling like hotcakes and new campers will be visiting your park soon, so let’s welcome the new camper that is helping our industry grow. Here are four new camper issues you can get out in front of for the 2021 season!
- Oops, I can’t Park my Camper! I bought a $100,000 RV but not I’m not sure how to park it or hook it up. Train your staff to ask campers if they are new to RVing and offer to help. Leading campers to their sites with your vehicle, guiding them into the spot or even parking their rig can save a lot of headaches for everyone. Fear not, most RV Park insurance policies have “Trailer Spotting” Coverage, which covers you and your staff for damages to an RV that you are parking or guiding into a site on premises. Offering to show campers how the hookups work is another great tip. It can take a little while to get the hang of it, and let’s face it, we remember the people who help us out when we start something new.
For some laughs and some tips on helping new campers check out this short video, “My friends just bought campers and they have no clue,” featuring Brian Seigerman from Marshall & Sterling Campground Insurance.
- Thinks everything is the responsibility of the park.
Common feedback from park operators is that new campers think the park is responsible to fix their RV. Of course, if the new RVers cause a collision or have a mechanical malfunction, they are the responsible party. Explaining this through the lens of customer service can help. Suggest an RV repair resource; calmly let them know their responsibilities, and make sure you have a rule that all RVs must have their own insurance for liability as well as physical damage insurance for their rig.
- Rules, what rules?
Speaking of rules, we have all been a little cooped up lately and it’s no secret people want to get outdoors and spread their wings. Of course, your campground is not the wild west, though it might seem like it to excited new campers on vacation. Reviewing some key rules can really go a long way – park speed limit, children must be supervised, quiet time, and dogs on leash all stand out as peacekeeping rules that will also help you avoid common incidents and insurance claims. Make sure you and your staff reinforce the behavior you expect while guests check in, when you interact with them in common areas and as you walk the park. Keep it conversational and teach your staff to identify new campers who may need a little extra orientation to feel welcome and understand what is expected of them. Most people want to abide by the rules when they truly understand what is expected of them
- “Is that a bug?” Some new campers want an outdoor experience but they’re not sure what to expect.
“Make sure people feel welcome, safe, and comfortable in the outdoors, especially if they are new to the experience. We often jump to 'outdoor etiquette' first (Leave No Trace, respect wildlife, don't litter, etc.), and all of that is important, but we want people to know they are welcome and safe first without immediately lecturing about the rules!” says Jen Levy, Director of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA).
Campfire programs and roving naturalists at the park provide opportunities to new campers to ask questions about the plants, animals and bugs in your area and take control of their own outdoor experience.
“In the evening, bring people together for storytelling, lectures, etc. I stayed at a camping resort several years ago that hosted evening campfires and making s'mores. It was very popular,” says Levy. “Food is a great way to introduce people to the outdoors!”
“Roving Naturalists" can walk the park and interact with people where they are,” says Jenn Wright, Director of Grass River Natural Area. Your local nature center is the best resource to find local naturalists to lead hikes or campfire programs. To find naturalists look to the ANCA at https://natctr.org/membership/find-an-anca-member. State and county parks in your area are also excellent resources.
We all need a little extra help when we start something new. Now is the time to plan how your park will welcome the new campers that are fueling our industry growth. Keeping new campers will help parks stay full for years to come. Each one of us is a RV Park and outdoors ambassador in the eyes of the new camper.
Learn why more parks and industry leaders are switching to Marshall & Sterling Insurance by connecting with us today! Start the conversation here: www.marshallsterling.com/arvc
-By Irene Jones, Marshall & Sterling - Campground and RV Park Specialty Insurance Program