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Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Increase Camper Retention Rates with a Camper Appreciation Day

As we approach the high point of camp marketing season, I’d typically share summer camp marketing ideas here about how to get more kids into camp. Of course I’ll continue doing that leading up to summer. But as long as it’s on my mind, I wanted to share with you a marketing strategy I’ve been using the past few years at Aloha Beach Camp at the CONCLUSION of the camp season which has really helped boost my camper retention rates.

At the end of each summer, we hold an organized “Camper Appreciation Day” right on the beach (our campsite). We invite all camper families who participated in the summer-just-ended to enjoy a carnival-like atmosphere with games, BBQ’s, camp staff and more.

Not only is it a total blast, it’s also one of the very last things, and happiest memories, campers take away before heading into the school year. When we survey families as to what they enjoyed the most at camp, the Camper Appreciation Day event always tops the list.

There’s no reason you can’t have a Camper Appreciation Day at your camp too. But there’s a few additional ideas you can use to really call attention to your event and even incorporate a social media aspect into it:

1. When you invite campers and their families to your Camper Appreciate Day event, make sure to tell them to also invite their friends. This way their friends can see what they missed by not attending your program all summer. This is a great way to show off your camp and get new prospects excited for next season.

2. Hire a local radio station to broadcast the event live from your site and/or tell some local bloggers and reporters about what you’re doing. In fact you could even invite them, too. This is a great way to get free PR and endorsements from influential people.

3. Make sure everyone who attends your Camper Appreciation event  “checks-in”on Facebook from their mobile devices. (You could even have an organized "group check-in" where everyone does it at the same time!) By having everyone check-in, all their friends who didn't come to the even will see what’s happening at camp at the same time!

4. Be sure to take lots of pictures and videos of the Camper Appreciation Day, just like you would if camp were in session. Be sure to post them all over your website, blog, social media sites, wherever.

And finally, be sure to let me know when your Camper Appreciation Day is because maybe I’ll even drop by to say hello! :) 

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