The Chesapeake Bay-side campground creates lifelong brand ambassadors.
Imagine owning your own campsite for life. For campers at Buttonwood Beach RV Resort, they don’t have to imagine – they do! A bayside campground unlike any other, Buttonwood is incredibly unique in that guests sign a 99-year renewable lease on the properties. In some cases, up to five generations of campers have enjoyed going to Buttonwood, finding seashells by the Chesapeake Bay and getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In this podcast, Deb will share with us some of her marketing success, including how she and her team planned and celebrated Buttonwood’s 45th birthday last summer, which turned out to be a smash hit that campers of all ages loved! She’ll talk about the importance of forming real, authentic relationships with your customers and the power of word-of-mouth marketing, so listen up!
Deb Carter has been in the campground business since 1975, and she operates and markets Buttonwood Beach. It’s not always an easy task, since it’s such a radically different kind of camping, but Deb and her team have built strong relationships with many generations of campers who keep coming back with their families.
Buttonwood’s marketable amenities keep millennial campers coming back
As Deb says, “What’s called glamping today, we’ve been doing since 1973.” Not everyone is content sleeping in a tent out in the woods anymore, and “glamping” (glamorous camping) has risen in popularity over the years. Nowadays, people are just as likely (if not more likely) to opt for cozy cabin hideaways with all the comforts from home as they are for tents!
Buttonwood is a campground unlike any other, since it’s more like running an apartment complex than a transient campground for weekend adventurers. Many of the trailers at Buttonwood feature central air, insulated sunrooms, and full-sized appliances. And of course – WiFi!
However, with the rise of popularity in glamping, these amenities aren’t as uncommon as they used to be in the campground industry. For instance, Jellystone Park also offers these upscale camping experiences (Hear how Jellystone pulled off a wildly successful “Camping Hacks” campaign that targeted their millennial audience!).
But Buttonwood has one feature that differentiates them from their competition: 99-year leases. Deb claims that millennials are interested in “authentic experiences,” and Buttonwood provides just that: a beach with boat ramp access, community green areas, walking trails around a pond, and more give millennials the kind of real experiences they’re looking for: a place to spend quality time with their families, including their pets. And better yet, the long-term lease allows them to keep coming back to make more memories and pass those experiences onto their children.
Authentic relationships and community events
Because Buttonwood is so special, it gives Deb and her team a chance to form relationships with families who come back every year, generation after generation. Sometimes, people will submit old photos of their families members at Buttonwood, and the marketing team will post them on social media. Family history, for many campers, is rooted in their experiences together at Buttonwood, which is what bring them back every year.
Learn more about turning your patrons into brand ambassadors from arts and destination marketing pro, Anneliese DeDiemar, from Imagination Stage!
Forming this kind of family-oriented community around Buttonwood brings everyone together, campers and campground staff alike. Last summer, Buttonwood celebrated its 45th birthday. Deb and her team planned a special birthday party for the resort, giving away free ice cream and cupcakes on the beach. The party was super hero themed, a classic nostalgic theme that people of all ages enjoyed, whether it be old fans of the comic book characters or young fans of the blockbuster hits.
The birthday party only cost Buttonwood around $1,100, so it was an incredible low-cost event that resonated with all of the guests. Deb says the key to Buttonwood’s success is making their current customers feel special.