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MC Fireside Chats: Rustic Rook and Orange Valley to Join the Glamping Industry Discussion

Join us next week, June 14 2p.m. EST for an insightful discussion as distinguished experts from the glamping industry reconvene to share their perspectives on the evolving dynamics of this year’s business landscape.

Joining host Brian Searl are recurring guests American Glamping Association founder Ruben Martinez, Outside Capital founder and Managing Principal David Smith, The Fields of Michigan Founder and CEO Irene Wood, Clockwork Glamping and RV Resort Design Lead Zach Stoltenberg, and Sage Outdoor Advisory Vice President for Outdoor Hospitality Connor Schwab.

Special guests Annette Ostrander, the dynamic founder and CEO of Rustic Rook, and Dimphy Rutten, the creative visionary behind Glamping and Camping Orange Valley will also be joining the discussion.  They will delve into the latest trends and developments in the rapidly growing glamping industry, offering valuable insights from their unique perspectives.

Annette Ostrander, a trailblazer in the industry, will share the inspiration behind Rustic Rook and delve into the distinctive, one-of-a-kind amenities that they offer, meticulously designed for their customers.

On the other hand, Dimphy Rutten, with her unique international experience, will illuminate her journey of establishing her renowned glamping site. Despite being a foreigner, she ingeniously leveraged local resources to bring her vision to life.

Next week’s episode of MC Fireside Chats will be sponsored by Horizon Outdoor Hospitality, a comprehensive third-party management and consulting solutions provider for RV Resorts, RV Parks, campgrounds, glamping sites, and outdoor destinations.

From capital fund holdings to individual owners and operators, Horizon Outdoor Hospitality offers a tailored approach to each property, ensuring innovative and effective solutions to find efficiencies and increase revenue regardless of the size, location, or market of the business.

June 7 Episode Recap

In the June 7 episode of MC Fireside Chats presented by Fireside Accounting, hosts Brian Searl, recurring guests Sandy Ellingson, Mark Koep and Casey Cochran  delve into a lively debate on a plethora of topics, from traditional marketing methodologies to the transformative influence of AI.

The conversation starts with the campground maps and the efficacy of their surrounding advertisements. While Sandy advocates for traditional marketing forms, citing the relevance of physical maps in locations with poor cellular connectivity, Mark echoes her sentiments, lauding push marketing’s targeted approach. Contrarily, Brian is more skeptical, highlighting the shortcomings of these tactics in terms of data tracking and measuring return on investment. Instead, he envisions a future where AI would radically revolutionize marketing strategies.

The discourse then veers towards AI’s impact on advertising, specifically the influence of personalized search results and AI algorithms on shaping user experiences and manipulating emotions, respectively. Mark provides insights into his experiences with YouTube ads and influencers, emphasizing how a single viewed video can alter the stream of recommended content, hence potentially influencing individual perspectives on a range of subjects.

Sandy, Brian, Mark, and late joiner, Casey, then pivot to explore AI’s accelerated advancements. Sandy cites a professional instance where AI effectively traced website visitors unable to make reservations due to unavailability, thereby offering crucial data to inform potential business expansions. 

Brian reiterates the ubiquitous impact of AI across various fields, including medicine and text analysis, by mentioning an AI system that could detect cancer in radiology scans with 99% accuracy, pending FDA approval. Mark paints a hypothetical scenario involving an AI drone surpassing its programmed limitations to accomplish its target in a military exercise, underlining the potential unpredictability and autonomy of AI.

The discussion then segues into the socioeconomic repercussions of AI, with Brian suggesting that unlike previous technological transitions, those displaced by AI would have less time to adapt and prepare.

Casey sheds light on a novel role announced by Campspot, the Seasonal Chief Outdoor Officer, a unique initiative aiming to promote the company by encouraging more people to camp. Mark commends Campspot’s giveaway campaign, while Sandy provides fascinating Memorial Day statistics, revealing that glamping sites were sold out, while RV sites were not. Casey confirms a surge in camping reservations surrounding Memorial Day. Casey also introduces a new feature designed to provide park owners with a heatmap of reservations, aiming to assist in planning marketing strategies effectively.

Despite acknowledging the significance of data analysis, Brian expresses concern that many park owners might disregard the value of websites and other tech-driven strategies due to time constraints or technological apprehension. In response, Sandy proposes outsourcing these tasks to experts and suggests an innovative feature for Campspot, a platform that continually searches for canceled reservations, enabling users to snag spots at otherwise fully-booked locations.

They further discuss potential improvements to campground booking procedures and capacity issues. A brainstorming session on various ideas, such as a notification system for park availability, a tiered system for alerts, or a bidding system for popular sites, concludes with the consensus that the viability of these ideas largely depends on data surrounding park capacity trends and camper booking habits.

The conversation wraps up with a contemplation of the potential threats posed by Google and AI to the camping reservation industry, with Mark emphasizing the importance of niching down in the technology realm. Casey extols the virtues of AI, such as personalizing and simplifying campground searches, while acknowledging current systems’ complexity and the significance of user comfort concerning data privacy.

Brian anticipates that Google’s AI would soon make personalized recommendations based on collected data, necessitating privacy regulations. Sandy, however, raises a skeptical viewpoint that AI may not honor human-set privacy rules, but recognizes people’s increasing willingness to share their data as it simplifies processes.

Mark’s concluding remarks express enthusiasm over the post-Memorial Day surge in camping bookings and commend Michael for his invaluable contribution of aggregate data, which can significantly inform industry insights. Brian concludes the lively debate, highlighting AI’s democratizing influence, which allows small businesses to compete with major operators and grants underprivileged teachers access to new resources. In this wide-ranging conversation, the group not only underscores the transformative potential of AI and data analysis

The conversation concludes with Mark reflecting optimistically on the uptick in camping reservations following Memorial Day and commending Michael for contributing valuable industry data insights. Brian wraps up the dialogue by underscoring the leveling impact of AI, which allows small businesses to compete with major operators, while also providing unprecedented access to resources for underprivileged educators. Throughout the spirited discussion, the group highlights the transformative power of AI and data analytics, envisioning a future where these technological advances profoundly reshape the camping industry, and possibly beyond. As they look forward to the evolution of their industry in the hands of AI, they remain both vigilant and excited, ready to embrace the inevitable changes and challenges the future may bring.

About MC Fireside Chats

MC Fireside Chats is a weekly show devoted to the outdoor hospitality industry. The show is hosted by Brian Searl, the founder and CEO of Insider Perks and Modern Campground, and Cara Csizmadia, member services coordinator at the Canadian Camping & RV Council (CCRVC).

Airing live every Wednesday at 2 p.m. (ET), MC Fireside Chats features guests from the camping and RV industry who share their take on the current state of the camping, glamping, and RVing sectors as well as upcoming innovations in RV parks, campgrounds, outdoor resorts, glamping, and the RV industry.

To listen to previous episodes of MC Fireside Chats, visit: https://moderncampground.com/mc-fireside-chats/

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March 23, 2024 3:38 pm

The chat we’re diving into looks at the ethics of using personalized data in ads, touching on how it affects user privacy. We’ll also chat about the trust between consumers and brands in the age of algorithm-driven ads. It’s a hot conversation on balancing marketing and privacy!

April 20, 2024 8:31 am

Check it out! In the next Fireside Chat, Rustic Rook and Orange Valley pros will drop knowledge on glamping trends. Get ready for sustainability tips and tech talk. Can’t wait!

May 14, 2024 10:01 am

Let’s jazz up our glamping chats! Rustic Rook and Orange Valley can amp up the fun with chatbots for better bookings. And how about going green at campsites? It’s a hit with eco-minded travelers. Let’s make glamping even more awesome and eco-friendly!


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