Summer Camp is Only 10 Months Away!
I say that not to encourage additional R&R but rather to provoke you into action. In order to present the best version of your camp in 2017, you need every minute between now and opening day to refine, design, plan and execute.
But first, let’s start the camper recruitment process! No matter how good you think your program was last year, campers will not 'magically' return and new prospects will not 'materialize' unless you are intentional about monthly connections with each of 5 Networks … 2016 Parents, 2016 Campers, New Acquisition Prospects, 2017 Parents and 2017 Campers.
Take Action Now!
- Affirm for 2016 Parents that they made a good investment. Before you send an Early-Bird Sales Promotion, give parents insight into what their children accomplished at camp and what they’ll be able to achieve next summer. Private camps often communicate personally with families while not-for-profits usually do more generic communications by gender and ages.
- Reconnect 2016 Campers emotionally. By snail or parent email, encourage campers to use what they learned about themselves at camp in school to have a great year. Or give them a link to view the slide show that you presented at the closing ceremony. The purpose here is to keep kids ‘thinking camp’ so that at whatever point a parent asks ‘Do you want to go back to camp?’ the answer is an enthusiastic and resounding 'YES!'
- Reach out to Potential Families. Those who inquired for 2016 but did not attend, those who toured this summer and 2015 (plus previous) families who missed last year are the most logical first outreaches to capture new acquisitions. Use short, powerful message of the benefits of your camp with captivating visuals. The most successful of these campaigns are personalized or targeted to each specific group. Parents report in focus groups that they want to be ‘courted to the sale.’
- Affirm the choice made by 2017 Parents. Warmly and professionally confirm registrations, thanking parents for their trust in you. Be certain that automated messages reflect your personality and further your relationships with parents. Please don’t assume that what you’ve been sending for the past few years will work now. Camps all over the country have been horrified when they follow the communication trail that a registration commences.
- Welcome 2017 Campers. Send a postcard directly to campers, give a gift or both. Just be certain to do something that will heighten camper anticipation. The price of the gift is not the issue, the connection to camp is.
Start the recruitment year off with a full-court press and do it now for maximum impact. And please, if your website is not current, get your 2017 Rates/Dates and new programs/facilities up ASAP!!!
(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 these HINTS in your email - in the left-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)