View Full Version : Trailer Life & Woodalls

07-25-2008, 08:46 AM
Is it just me or do others think Trailer Life & Woodall’s are over priced for what we get from them. Both books are owned by the same company.

Thanks to CGM and the how found tracking we are finding we get less than 1% of customers from Trailer Life books and even less than from Woodall’s. I cant see the reason to pay for adds in both books and not see the return. So we dropped our add in Woodall’s and thinking about dropping TL also.

Am I crazy? I just think for what they charge I would be better off spending it else where.

07-28-2008, 08:48 AM
I have wondered this many times myself. I wouldl like to hear any feedback available on this subject. Seems every year it gets more and more expensive.

07-28-2008, 09:28 AM

What type of returm do you get from the books?
Do you track how the campers find you?

Im still not sure why we need both books anyway. It sounds it me just a way for the publisher to get twice the money from us. And with the internet, I just don’t see the bang for the buck with the books. Like I said for less than 1% of my campers coming from the books, they charge to much money!

Any one else??



07-28-2008, 01:47 PM
Totally agree. About 7 years ago we used to do 1/2 page ads until we started tracking where people were finding us...and these books were our lowest return. Since then we have shrunk our ad to the button size so we can say "We're in the book" but don't have to pay $4000 for an ad. Plus, how many new campers, not the oldies who originally started all this, want to carry around a 5lb book? Online is a lot more convenient!

Funny, our state guide used to be our cheapest print advertising but they have now jumped to over $3000 for a year ad.

I find our strongest advertising is our customers. You give someone a good experience and they tell their friends and family and before you know it you've gained 10 new customers. And they're paying us to advertise the park!

The internet is the next big marketing tool.

09-30-2008, 08:18 AM
Hmmm.....Interesting comments above. We are careful to fill in the form for How Heard for each customer and we find that we get most of our guests from three sources. Since we have a lot of contractors in our park we get a lot of our guests from referrals. But, for the overnighters we get most of our guests from the Trailer Life directory or from visitors seeing our sign on the freeway. We get hardly anyone from Woodalls.

Being a Good Sam park also helps a lot in getting the TL traffic. We just became a GS park this year, so we will be interested to see how much our traffic improves when we are listed as such in the next book.

Overall, we are quite pleased with the exposure and results we get from Trailer Life. Since our park is right next to the freeway we also find that the freeway information signs of our campground exit is well worth the money.

09-30-2008, 12:31 PM
I’m not sure why we need two printed camping guides, when they are owned by the same mother company. It sure looks like they are trying to double dip on the advertising dollars to me. I believe that if the two books merged into one book, the camping world would be a better place.

With more and more RVs showing up in our park with lap tops and smart phones, I think the print book is soon go away. It will take a few years but the internet is the BEST bang for the buck! If anyone wants to swap web links, I would be happy to add them to our web site under “Other Campgrounds”. The more reciprocal links you have that points to your web site, the better the search engines will like your web site.


12-01-2008, 03:38 PM
We purchased our existing (run down) campground in 1997. We started with hand written receipts and were pretty concerned how our guests found us.

In the first 2 years, we showed less than 1/2 of 1% found us through a "Travel Guide" (Which includes Woodalls and TL along with others). In the first few years we didn't do any advertising per se, but did have a web site "live" 1 minute after midnight of the day we took pocession. The early polls showed us that 66% of our customers found us on the web... Yes Back in 1997 and 1998 they were searching the web for campgrounds!

The numbers didn't vary much over the next few years, Internet presence is still our #1 source for business.

We elected to NOT advertise in Woodalls, Trailer Life or any other "Book", instead we used those funds to start upgrading our facilities.

We have NEVER paid to be listed in a search engine (Never will !) Along with learning the campground business, I also taught myself how to create a web page. March 1, 1997 I uploaded a 1 page web site with basic information on our facilities. After getting quite a few calls from them finding us on the web, I created more pages and now have a web site with over 100 pages of campground AND area information. (I also have over 600 pages of jokes connected to the site.)

Considering the cost of one small ad in Woodall's, the web site costs us less than 1/2 of their rates and we have ALOT more information than they could possibly print.

Our only other means of paying for advertisements comes from our membership fees for both our State Campground Associations.

The Internet is here to stay !! :-\

03-23-2010, 08:43 AM
I am glad you posted this right now. A grim reminder of how much money some of us (me) are throwing away each year. For 9 years now I have been advertising in Woodalls and Trailer Life, and each year I panic and think I need it, even though my gut feeling AND popular belief says I don't. Sigh. The reps from both publications will be here soon.... I MUST BE STRONG :eek:

03-23-2010, 09:19 AM

Be Strong! :D

Check the how found on CGM and see if the add is working for you.
If it is and some campgrounds do have good returns from TL, then it’s a good thing to do.

BUT if your getting less that 1% of your customers from any add and it cost you big money for the add, why would you buy it? 88-|

Just send me the money :cool:

You may hear that “Oh we have a web site that will show your add”.
OK, talk to your customers and ask them:

1) Do you look for campgrounds on line.
2) How do you search for a campground.

You will find out that most people that will use a lap top to look on line will go to Google, MSN, Yahool or another engine to find campgrounds.
You will find that most will not just search for Campgrounds in Florida but will try to search the area that they are going to. Campgrounds in Orlando … campgrounds in Key West .... campgrounds in where ever there going to. Search your own area and see if the people who are selling you the add shows up in your search. If not….. just send me your add money. That way at least one of us will be happy. LOL :p

03-23-2010, 09:50 AM
We just met with the GS folks and increased our exposure in the Trailer Life Directory. This includes full internet listings on their website and CD. They are the only book or website we advertise with (other than our own website). Their listings are reliably accurate. We feel we will get full exposure in a variety of environments this way.

We have found listings for us in a variety of places online and most have inaccurate information that does not get updated. Google has us having two parks and we have asked repeatedly to get this fixed and they have not done so. The state park website will not change our information since we no longer advertise with them. We had to fight with Yahoo to get our listing corrected there.

Our traffic has increased significantly with the designation of a GS Park. Our overnight traffic alone has increased by 25% over last year. At the same time, we have gotten less than 1% from Woodalls or the State campground web site. We feel, for us, that our advertising dollars are well spent with GS.

I think location, type of park (destination, overnight or long term or combos), accessibility, accurate internet exposure, and what type of campers you are looking for make a big difference in how campers find your park.

I know for myself, I use ALL options open to me when I am traveling. I like the book, I use the internet and search a variety of sites to get information.

Of course, when a customer responds to How Heard with "internet"...that does not tell you what site they went to...unless you drill down further in your questioning. Many customers have one spouse doing the internet searches and the other spouse is the one checking in. Thus asking which website they went to will often get an "I don't know" answer.

Our five most common How Heards are: TL Directory, Drive by and saw freeway sign, Internet, Repeat business and Referrals.

03-23-2010, 10:10 AM
I can agree with you, if it works for you then it is a good investment. Now days you have to have a way to see if the advertisements work for you and not just take the salesman word for it. Any add that works is a good place to spend money. In your case you can tell by having more GS booking.

If you want to send me a link, ill add it to our campground link page.

03-23-2010, 10:28 AM
lol Jimmy :D How about I keep the money and take a vacation???? Not that giving it to you was a bad idea ;)

We are a Good Sam park, so half of our advertising $$$ is the membership. Maybe for this year we will drop Woodalls, and scale down the GS and see how it goes. Baby steps I guess.

Another thing, I am very lax about asking where people heard about us. Roughly 70% of our guests are repeat customers(thanks to campground Master for this tidbit of info), so I just forget to ask. My business new years resolution is to remember to ask every new guest how they found us.

03-23-2010, 10:39 AM
We set our CGM to force us to fill in the “How Found” unless the customer is a repeat.
With out the force in place, we would not ever get it filled in.
Are you sure you don’t want to send me the money?

03-23-2010, 11:02 AM
:rolleyes: hummmm let me think... No, I think not!

I will look into setting that as a must do. I forgot I could do that.

06-10-2010, 07:34 PM
Well, I have been being much better about asking about how heard and here is my findings. It is still very early in the season, but I see a trend here...
13% drove by saw sign
<1% Woodalls
8% TL
6% google or other websearch
10% heard from a friend or other traveller
61% return customers
1% other or unknown guide

Enough I think from TL to stick with that guide for another year, but Woodall's is OUT! :D

07-11-2010, 04:32 AM
I used simple math as my judgment. Number of people reporting the source of reservation. $2000 for add / $35 for reservation = 57 nights just to break even.
Trailer Life made it easier for me. Their representatives were jerks so I told them to take me out of their book and stay off my campground.
I get very few from either source. A good web page with keywords so the search engines find it gets most of my customers (after return and recommendation).

12-08-2010, 04:40 PM
Hello all,

I hope you don't mind me replying to this thread about the advertising fees of Woodall's and Trailer Life. On a related note, I noticed that some of you are commenting about moving your advertising dollars to the online market.

Our RV Park Review site (http://www.rvparking.com) is still just a pup. But we do let all park owners claim their park listing on our site and add photos of their park. We also let you see who is reviewing your park versus autonomous user profiles. If you visit rvparking.com and notice that your park listing is missing then please feel free to add it (no fees for this) or email me with your info and I can do so.

If your park is listed and you would like to claim it to for more control of your listing; here's a useful how-to for that (http://blog.rvparking.com/2010/07/09/claim-your-listing/)