There are still more campers out there!
If you're in the enviable position of being at capacity and managing wait lists for all sessions, BRAVO! If not, recruitment must continue until the opening day of your last program without conveying a sense of urgency or desperation.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
- Train those who answer the phones. Even though it is a hectic time of the year in the office, inquiring parents must sense eagerness for calls and not be made to feel like an imposition. Parents must be dealt with patiently and all inquiries, whatever the platform, must be responded to immediately. Avoid language that gives a negative impression … for instance a parent asks ‘do you have any spots left?’ and your representative answers ‘oh, we’ve got plenty of room.’ Rather, your rep should get the name, gender and age of the child and then respond accordingly. Be certain that the parent inquiring on June 29 or July 21 receives the same TLC and respect as the parent who inquired last October.
- Consider a final promotional outreach. 2014 parents not enrolled could respond to a reminder about the benefits of camp. Keep the message short and powerful. Use just one 'knock your socks off' visual and be certain that the outreach DOES NOT GO to any enrolled families.
- Invite 2015 not-enrolled inquiries to tour. If you've not done this before, it may need to be put on hold for next year ... but, inviting families to visit to see camp in action can be a powerful recruitment tool. Use a postcard invitation, ‘provocative message’ and a ‘resonating’ visual. Make appointments for times when camp shows best. Follow up and ‘court’ the consumer to the sale.
- Encourage extensions and returns for 2015. Please DO NOT ASSUME that parents realize that their child could stay on or come back to camp. I have had dozens of parents tell me in focus groups that they would have had their campers stay on if the camp will take care of the laundry or come back if they do not have to pay a premium charge.
- Start 2016 promotion on Day 1 of your last session. Determine dates and rates now so that you can update your website in August. Parents who hear good things about your program will be impressed that you have the current information available.
Camp promotion is not seasonal; it is a year-round effort that will move you toward capacity.
Have a terrific, safe summer!!!!!
(Note from Travis: We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith! If you don't already you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)