Guest Post by Leslie McLellan
I’m building a destination marketing program for an area in Southern California – www.visitsanjacintovalley.com – and one of our niches is the snowbird market. The San Jacinto Valley is home to the largest RV park along the west coast –www.goldenvillagepalms.com – and they are the poster child for snowbird attraction. Our program has been quite successful once we coupled destination marketing with Golden Village Palms marketing.
Here is what has worked for us:
- Snowbirds love activities – you’ll see on GVP’s calendar (primarily during the “season” which is November – April) that they rock at hosting activities and making it just plain FUN for the snowbirds.
- Snowbirds blog – As the destination, a year ago I brought in a snowbird blogger that lived the snowbird life with us for 5 weeks. We provided a home for her to stay in along with a few restaurant gift cards and she wrote 17 articles and a few hundred posts about the area. Now we have snowbird bloggers asking us to have them visit. This is truly “priceless” as this form of marketing costs us virtually nothing and the residual results are off the charts.
- Snowbirds search the web – You’ll note on the Visit San Jacinto Valley website I implemented a snowbird section. That has been invaluable also.
- Snowbirds are part of RV rallies – Golden Village Palms actively courts RV rallies. Last week I was attending their Vintage Trailer and Camper Show. GVP worked for 2 years to get this group to the resort by attending their events up and down the west coast, following the group of Facebook, etc. Your area should start by courting Good Sam Club members and connect with various RV groups that you find via Good Sam. Invite individual members to come experience what you have to offer (meaning a few free nights, it will be worth it!).
- Snowbirds flock online – Find out where these people hang out online and connect with them there – fish where the fish are!
- Snowbirds love specials – Small businesses need to offer specials/discounts to the snowbirds know that they are appreciated and that the business community knows what their dollars do to help the local economy.
- Snowbirds are still individuals – I don’t think that snowbirds travel to their final destination in “flocks.” The flock materializes once they reach their destination. So you’ll need to work on an individual marketing approach if you are courting them to stay for a few days on their way to their final “hook up.” A different approach should be used is you are working to attract them to be snowbirds in your area.
- Snowbirds are different from rallies – Marketing to snowbirds and rallies require 2 different approaches.
- Snowbirds are easier to understand when you are one – I am an active RVer so have loved working with GVP. You might gather up your area’s active RVers and brainstorm together what you all can do.
I hope this gives you some insight! Don’t hesitate to comment or reply with any questions you might have!!