Pelland Advertising Blog – Web Site Development for Small Businesses » campground directories

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All Links Are Good … or Are They?

April 4th, 2016

One of my clients recently contacted me, concerned that his New Hampshire campground was listed without his prior knowledge or authorization on several websites that purported to be online campground directories. He discovered this when one of the sites contacted him on behalf of a camper who wanted to make a reservation to stay at his park and another contacted him to “claim” his listing. At first glance, these would appear to be good things, wouldn’t they? Any resource that is sending you business is generally welcome to do so. After all, your campground is probably sent online traffic from a variety of referring sites – everything from Go Camping America to your state association website to Good Sam to your local tourism association.

In the instances that my client described, something just didn’t seem right.

Over the years, a number of websites have sprouted up that are essentially directories of local businesses. Many of these have evolved from so-called “yellow pages” companies, and their business model is to persuade gullible business owners to pay for enhanced listings. In my own instance, about a third of these local directories lists my company’s street address correctly, but then locates us in the next town. Another third list our fax number as our phone number. Do I care? Not really, because these sites get close to zero traffic, and they have little if any effect – either positive or negative – upon the SEO of my company’s official website. These websites are working with compiled data, obviously harvested from unreliable sources.

The sites that my client described were an entirely new breed. Also based upon compiled data, their business plans are no longer focused upon selling enhanced listings but in providing reservation services where they collect referral or transaction fees. These can be problematic indeed. My client has gone through a fairly labor-intensive process of getting his business de-listed from several of these sites. The more that I looked into them, the better my understanding of how my client’s instincts were probably right on target.

Campground reservations are accurately perceived as a multi-billion dollar business, and companies that would like a piece of the action are suddenly coming out of the woodwork. Funded with infusions of venture capital, the focus is on generating income from the collection of processing fees on those reservations, either in real-time (with campgrounds that get on board) or with the type of delayed booking that initially caught my client’s attention. One such site posts that it “anticipates” use by 1 million campers per month, even though it does not currently show up as even a blip on the radar at Alexa, the leading provider of comparative website traffic analytics.

What is the problem with these sites? Well, first of all there is a problem with compiled data. How often is the data updated and how accurate is the initial source? (Think back to those local sites that list my business in the wrong town or with our fax number as our primary phone number, where incorrect data tends to perpetuate itself.) On one of these sites that my client called to my attention, I perused the campgrounds listed in my home state of Massachusetts. I am intimately familiar with the industry players in my home state, and I found fictitious listings, listings for municipal parks that have nothing to do with camping, listings for campgrounds that have been out of business for several years, and listings for summer camps.

The second problem is the potential for these sites to compete with your own official website and your own chosen online reservation engine, a situation that can only serve to confuse consumers and that could inflict harm upon your business. I know that I do not want any other company representing my business, and I would be feverishly protective against any threats to my company’s unique online identity. Particularly if pricing (that may or may not be accurate) or reservations enter into the equation, the potential for problems is very real.

Thirdly, if you choose to get on board, be sure to read the fine print. The “Terms of Service” listed on one of these websites, when copied and pasted into a Word document, consisted of over 20,000 words that ran 42 pages in length. That’s a far cry from the old-fashioned handshake agreement of years past and probably reason to proceed with caution.

Keep in mind that any online directories or search engines built upon compiled data (even Google itself!) need businesses like yours as much as you need them. Without listing real businesses that consumers are seeking, they have no product to offer. It is your decision whether or not to get on board with any particular website. Understand the potential risks and benefits, and then make a decision based upon what is best for your business and how it can most effectively meet the needs and expectations of its core clientele.

This post was written by Peter Pelland

Special for Campground Owners: Over 25 Directories to List Your Campground’s Website – Mostly for Free!

July 23rd, 2008

The number of links from established websites (including search engines and directories) helps to determine the search ranking of your own site. An extremely small investment of time on your part can immeasurably enhance your site’s search engine position. You’re no doubt familiar with Woodalls and Trailer Life, but there is a growing number of smaller, independent campground directories. In total, these sites can send you plenty of traffic, along with improving your own site’s link relevancy! Most of these sites offer free links and quick submission forms. Directories that only offer paid listing options or do not include online submission forms may not be included in this alphabetized list. Simply take a few minutes to click through the links. Remember to search for your site at each search engine or directory before submitting your site. If your site is already listed, do not resubmit your listing.

All Campgrounds
http://www.allcampgrounds.com/
http://www.allcampgrounds.com/state.html
(Choose your state to add URL)

America On Wheels
http://www.americaonwheels.com/
This is one of my newest finds. An excellent directory, with hard-hitting reviews.

CampUSA
http://www.campusa.com/
http://www.campusa.com/cu_submitcamp1.html

Camping-USA
http://www.camping-usa.com/

Campgrounds By City
http://www.campgrounds-by-city.com/
http://www.campgrounds-by-city.com/add_a_campground.php

CampRate.com
http://camprate.com/
Your campground is probably already listed, but follow the links to confirm your listing,
submit a listing (if necessary), and to check for consumer reviews.

eCampsite.com
http://www.ecampsite.com/
http://www.ecampsite.com/register/campground.php

Leisure and Sport Review
http://www.lasr.net/
http://www.lasr.net/addAttraction.php?Request=RV Parks
Another new find, with a nice, clean look.

Recreation USA
http://www.recreationusa.com/
http://www.recreationusa.com/rusaquote.html

Recreational Vehicle and Campground Directory
http://rv-directory.com/
http://rv-directory.com/cgi-bin/pseek/addurl.cgi?cid=77

Re-QUEST.net
http://www.re-quest.net/
http://www.re-quest.net/add-url.htm

Road Camping
http://www.roadcamping.com/
http://www.roadcamping.com/rv/add_my_campground.html

Roaming Times
http://www.roamingtimes.com/
http://www.roamingtimes.com/controlpanel/index.htm
(Follow the simple procedure to see if you are listed. If not, follow the links to submit the form.)

RV-Clubs.us
http://www.rv-clubs.us/
http://www.rv-clubs.us/rvcampgroundlisting.php

RV-Coach Online
http://www.rv-coach.com/
http://www.rv-coach.com/company_register.html

RV Family Fun
http://www.rvfamilyfun.com/
If your park is not listed, click on the “Add Campground” link in the upper right.

RV Mechanic
http://www.rvmechanic.com/
http://www.rvmechanic.com/current_category.2104/links_list.html
(Choose your state to add URL)

rvNetLinx
http://www.rvnetlinx.com/
http://www.rvnetlinx.com/wpsubmitsite.php

RV Park Hunter
http://www.rvparkhunter.com
If your park is not listed, send an e-mail to:
submit@rvparkhunter.com

RV Resources
http://www.rvresources.com/
http://www.rvresources.com/addsitenew.php

RV Toads Campground & RV Park Directory
http://www.rvtoads.com/rvparks/
http://www.rvtoads.com/rvparks/addproperty.php

RV-Travel.info
http://www.rv-travel.info/
http://www.rv-travel.info/addyourpark2.htm

RVZone
http://www.rvzone.com/
http://www.rvzone.com/SuggestASite.cfm

The Outback Guide
http://www.modernoutback.com/
http://www.modernoutback.com/addlisting.html

Travel & Tourism Guides by WorldWeb.com
http://services.worldweb.com/
http://services.worldweb.com/tourism-edit.html?mode=pickcategory

Travelhops
(Based in New Zealand, an international directory of travel resources.)
http://www.travelhops.com/
http://www.travelhops.com/submit3.asp

TravelLibrary
(Another international directory of travel resources.)
http://www.travel-library.com/
There are separate listing categories for “Campgrounds” and “RV Parks”
This first link is for the Campground submission form:

http://www.travel-library.com/formaccomodation/35.html
This second link is for the RV Park submission form:
http://www.travel-library.com/formaccomodation/38.html

USAtourism.ca
(A Canadian directory of US vacation travel destinations)
http://www.usatourism.ca/
(Click your state on map to add URL.)

WorldWeb Lodging & Accommodations Listings
http://www.usa.worldweb.com/
http://www.usa.worldweb.com/WheretoStay/index.html
(Select your state and follow the links to see if you are listed or to add your site or correct your listing.)

Two Bonuses: “Pet Friendly” Directories & Wi-Fi Hotspot Directories

Every campground has some sort of pet policy. If you consider your campground to be “pet friendly” by one definition or another, you should do your best to let people know.

DogFriendly.com
http://www.dogfriendly.com/
http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/general/forms/rvform.shtml
(Free listing. Paid advertising options.)

PetsWelcome.com
http://www.petswelcome.com/
http://www.petswelcome.com/milkbone/pawframestore.html
(Free one-month trial listing. Fee if you choose to continue beyond the trial.)

A recent survey showed that wi-fi access is a more important factor than the presence of a swimming pool when choosing a campground. Prospective campers, particularly those who find you online, will go out of their way to stay at a campground with wi-fi Internet access (particularly if it is free). If your campground offers wi-fi, go to the following site and be sure that you’re listed.

Wi-Fi Free Spot
http://www.wififreespot.com
http://www.wififreespot.com/form/form.html
(Free listings of campgrounds offering free wi-fi.)

Particularly in challenging economic times, it is important to not simply sit back and wait for business to find you. Take a proactive role to insure that your campground continues to thrive in both good times and bad.

This post was written by Peter Pelland