Parents have an unlimited variety of summer camps to choose from for their children. What makes your camp stand out? What keeps your campers coming back year after year?
No camp is a perfect fit for every child. But when you find the campers who should fit, how can you make sure they do? After all, the activities matter. The food matters. The counselors matter. Location matters. Due to personal preferences and factors outside everyone’s control, there’s no magic formula for getting all those moving parts “right.”
The good news is, you don’t have to. You couldn’t even if you tried. Instead, plan your best camp experience, then top it off with these 3 vital components that are most likely to create loyal return campers.
Create a Positive Emotional Investment
A week of summer camp can be a microcosm comparable to months of life on the “outside.” Being away from home, every experience a kid has is amplified, so feeling connected to a camp is a necessity. You can’t afford for anyone to feel left out, and you need to continue the connection outside of the camp season—for both the kids and the moms.
Initially, moms are your target audience, even more than kids. They have no greater joy than seeing their children happy, but they need to feel connected too.
Moms are the main audience in the blogosphere, so use your camp blog. Your blog is a great place to start—and continue—the emotional investment they’re looking for when it comes time to choose a camp again. That emotional investment is best accomplished by sharing camp experiences and personal testimonials.
Shared Camp Experiences
While kids are at camp, moms find ways to keep in contact. They search your website for photos of their children, hoping to see them full of excitement or completely covered in s’mores by a bonfire. This connection enriches the experience for both the camper and the parent.
Revisiting those experiences on your blog will help build your community online and lead to more continuity with your campers. (Note: This blogpost reviews legal guidelines and best practices about sharing photographs and other information publicly.)
Word-of-mouth experiences from camp carry more weight than what you say about your camp. This is the most important currency your camp can have.
Captivate the moms of the blogosphere as they research which camps are best. Draw them in with the actual voices from your camp through personal testimonials.
Keep testimonials updated and fresh. Not only will parents researching camps take note of how recent the comments are, the parents who gave the testimonial will feel honored for being highlighted, which could tip the scales if another camp option has caught their eye. Both perspectives create excitement and anticipation for their child – your future camper!
Remember: Community = Continuity. Stay engaged!
Bonus: What’s better than a camp mother’s perspective? A camp mother who works for a camp management software provider! Check out our own Camarin Wanaker’s camp parent perspective on camp engagement and loyalty in her blog post that compares camp to dating: Spring Fling or Summer Romance?