Promoting a summer camp can be tricky, but with these effective event planning strategies, your summer camp event will see increased registration in no time.
A summer camp is essentially a three-month-long event, or series of events over a three month season, that takes a massive amount of careful planning to properly execute. When planning an event of this scale, you must pay close attention to how you are going to promote the event.
Event promotion encompasses your community outreach efforts, how people hear about your camp, and what people hear about your camp. There is no simple solution to summer camp promotion, but that does not mean that it has to be a daunting task that overwhelms your summer camp staff.
You want people to hear about your camp, be excited about what they hear, and be eager to learn more. Capturing people’s interest in your summer camp can be a very manageable task if you follow some of the best, tried-and-true strategies, such as:
- Emphasize your camp’s unique features.
- Offer registration incentives.
- Utilize effective communication tools.
- Demonstrate how much you value feedback.
1. Emphasize your camp’s unique features.
It’s no secret that there are a ton of summer camps out there that for families to choose from. Promoting your summer camp should concentrate on setting your organization apart from the crowd.
Highlight your summer camp’s most unique features to ensure you draw the attention of prospective campers and their parents.
In addition to your camp’s unique mission, history, and setting, make sure you demonstrate to parents and campers alike the important features that are facilitated by your software. When you utilize a camp management software that specializes in providing your camp with unique features that enhance the camper experience and satisfy the desires of parents you can give your camp an edge against the competition. Camp management software can come with a wide variety of tools, but look for a platform with:
- Automated housing. Campers can be matched with their ideal roommate based on age, gender, and personal preference. The campers can arrive at camp with the comfort of knowing they will be spending the summer with someone who is like-minded and will be participating in many of the same activities, due to belonging to similar age groups. Campers also have the added perk of being able to request roommate, just in case they want to room with their friends from the previous summer.
- Personal activity scheduling. Part of the fun of summer camp is getting to look forward to it in the weeks leading up to the actual camp. This tool allows campers to personalize their activity schedule and ensure they get to participate in all the programs they want while being able to anticipate their schedule long in advance. Knowing what the summer has in store for them will also help campers who may feel nervous about going away for an entire summer.
- Transportation tracking. Put parents at ease by keeping real-time records on all transportation services managed by your camp. Parents will love to know that their campers are guaranteed safe arrival at your camp and transportation for the duration of the summer.
- Digital camper check-in. Camper check-in can be a hectic time when not handled properly. A digital camper check-in system allows parents to know immediately when their child is checked in and rest assured that they will be well-monitored throughout the camp.
- Electronic health center. Identified by a barcode on their wristband, students can easily give their medical information to a staff member or camp counselor in the case of an emergency. This will guarantee that important and accurate information is always available when needed.
These features are extremely valuable for your camp and can easily distinguish your camp as you promote it in your community.
2. Offer registration incentives.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that people love free stuff. Offering incentives to prospective campers in exchange for registering for your camp is a great strategy to implement while marketing your summer camp. Offer deals, discounts, or tangible gifts to entice more people to get involved in your camp.
Promoting your camp gets a lot easier when you offer registration incentives. Despite the fact that your camp event only happens during the summer, you are likely working and planning for it all year long. It is much easier to plan for a camp when you can anticipate having campers and estimate how popular each program and event is going to be.
Early registration incentives are one of the best ways to ensure you have campers committed to your camp months before camp begins.
Early registration incentives may include a modest discount per registrant or a family bundle discount. You can even offer custom merchandise to a select number of those who register early enough to qualify. To see how you can offer branded merchandise as part of your incentive strategy, click here.
These tactics can be incredibly effective at driving up registration rates, however, this is not the only benefit. When you offer incentives, you have an easy platform from which to launch your promotional campaign.
Instead of merely explaining about your camp, you create a real reason why it is important for people to register right then and there. People will want to know what is in it for them and why they should care about registering for your event. Promoting your event can be much easier when offering incentives because people will simply want to know more when they know they can get a special deal.
3. Utilize effective communication tools.
One great challenge in promoting your summer camp is communication. It can be difficult to reach your summer camp’s audience and boost registration rates without the proper communication tools. However, when you utilize a software platform with effective communication tools, you won’t have to worry about the method by which you can reach your prospective campers.
Email is hands-down one of the most effective summer camp promotional avenues. Email communication strategies, however, have the tendency to become overcomplicated and overwhelming to some camp staff administration teams. Make sure you have communication tools that will allow you to send:
- Automated email chains. The best way to promote your camp without any extra effort, automated emails allow you to communicate with your registrants and prospective registrants about anything you deem valuable. Create a chain of emails about updates, your plans for the new season, or more and send it to previous campers to encourage them to register.
- Scheduled emails. Schedule emails to be sent at strategic times of the year to entice people to register. These emails can be immediately after camp offering an early registration discount for the following year or simply regularly scheduled reminder emails throughout the year.
- Mass emails. Whether you want to email 50 people or 50,000 people, mass emails allow you to send important messages to as many people as you want without any hassle. You can even segment your recipient list to ensure people only receive the emails that are relevant to them.
Communication is the key to successfully promoting a summer camp event. Make sure to employ these email strategies to ensure information about your camp reaches its audience!
4. Demonstrate how much you value feedback.
While your other promotional efforts are still vital to the success of your camp, it is important to remember that parents typically send their kids to a camp that a friend or family member has recommended highly. It is, therefore, extremely important that your event management team ensures that every parent and camper has a positive experience with your camp.
Demonstrate your ability to accept and respond to constructive feedback by sending out evaluation forms after each summer or camp session.
Because parents are the ones registering their kids for camp, make sure to get their feedback as well. The questions you ask them should focus on their experience registering their child, how well they trusted the camp with their child, and how satisfied they were with their child’s camp experience. Consider asking questions like:
- How easy to use did you find our camp registration software?
- What about the camp experience was most valuable for your camper?
- How can we make the camp experience better for you?
However, because parents will most likely be looking at whether their child enjoyed the camp as an indicator of whether they should send them back, make sure to perfect the camper experience as well. Consider asking campers questions like:
- What was your favorite activity this summer?
- How well did you like your bunkmates?
- How helpful was your counselor?
Showing that you care about the experience of those who interact with your camp in this way will increase the likelihood that people speak well of your camps to their friends and family. This source of promotion is invaluable and you cannot ignore this portion of your promotional strategy if you want to be successful. To learn more about this vital component of your promotional strategy, check out the CircuiTree guide to summer camp evaluation forms.
Promoting a summer-long event, like a camp, can be a daunting task but with the right strategies and tools, you can easily accomplish anything you want. Follow one of these strategies and your camp will see registration rates skyrocket in no time!
This post was written by guest blogger Glen Greenstone.