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CRVA extends reach as caravanning awareness campaign builds momentum 

May 16, 2013
CRVA extends reach as caravanning awareness campaign builds momentum

On its 21st birthday the action words at the CRVA National Conference cover everything in every medium. Stuart Lamont,CEO of the peak caravanning industry body Caravan Recreation Vehicle and Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA) told more than 500 industry delegates at CRVA's Gold Coast conference today that the mantra is: Get involved, reach out.

It is a long, strong reach he is talking about. Now it extends regularly to Canberra. The CRVA board take their meetings to politicians now, no more messing about in the foothills. Now the action words go to the mountain top. This is the national approach with the pedal to the metal. It builds partners and awareness.

The six-point strategy for the future is:

Raise visibility of the Australian caravan and camping sector.
Increase stakeholder involvement in CRVA (industry) activities.
Promote and/or deliver programs which improve product and service quality and provide confidence to the consumer.
Undertake partnership activities which present a leveraged return for industry investment.
Develop a financially sustainable model which allows CRVA to deliver on its vision.
Implement governace structures which enable CRVA to complete its vision and statement of purpose.

The awareness driveis of course the foodchain which is essential to caravan parks and the industries which support them.

But CRVA, led by Lamont, is riding with the whip out. Yes there is some celebration of the past which started the caravanning industry on its comeback from acute depression in 1990, but now CRVA's awareness campaign is trying to be everywhere in every medium.

Those words have an Irish burr to them at delivery from CRVA Manager Marketing and Operations Keelan Howard. Keelan made comment or two or tree about Irish comedians.

Your correspondent reports that Keelan's numbers and screen grabs on current and past caravanning awareness initiatives are reason for smiles of satisfaction rather than giggles of glee. The marketing direction is based on a hell of spread.

TV, radio, social media and print are under seige from the caravanning message. What is notable is the targetted, timed, cost effective campaigns and the way they are mounted.

Numbers are BDO solid. As Stuart Lamont says BDO is on board. The BDO economic reports now include the actual value of local caravan parks to their communities. As far as possible the numbers are based on real experience in the field both in and out of parks.

The number crunching extends to a careful evaluation of whether travellers who stay in caravan parks leave more of their dollars in a town than travellers who do not use caravan parks.

On the BDO numbers caravan park accommodation returns a higher return to communities than a similar search for goods and services from travellers who chose to bypass caravan parks, but shop in related towns.

The CRVA's current approach does not avoid problems. There are of course different needs in many sectors of the caravanning industry, Lamont says.

But the CRVA CEO is determined to discuss. There will be things we agree on, he says. There are many issues, we can change the way we think. We can interact. We can get involved and reach out.

Stuart Lamont looks at past  and future
Stuart Lamont looks at past and future

The Experience Caravan and Camping message includes the nagging power of children. Keelan Howard is right cross that lever.

It has produced remarkable recognition for the Royal Flair caravan brand which is used as a vehicle for the general message.

The drive to create caravan and camping advocates extends to significant interest in free competitions with numbers like 76,625 entries.

Keelan Howard recognises the pearl to be found in preaching by the converted. His ideal translation of cost effective is 100 converts talking to others about their passion.

Ebook and Itunes are fresh opportunity for the caravanning message, he says.

Facebook is also cost effective, he says, but he warns that social media is double edged and can backfire if it is not managed well. In your correspondents experience it requires daily attention to provide major plus results.

CRVA's Camping for Kids ties with Toasted TV and a 14 week road trip which provides 96 episodes to be used across all brands by CRVA. This result is a big deal as networks are usually precious about multi-useage of anything they produce. More power to Keelan's right arm which, he says as he finishes his presentation, responds to the benefits of Guinness.

Michelle Weston, CRVA General Manager Finance and Administration powers into a Training and Accredition presention.

GoSeeAustralia first reported on this industry gap in 2003 so the need is a given.

But as Michelle speaks of templates for individual industry accreditation needs, links with three industry Skills Councils and the conduit to the Federal Government CRVA's relationships with the Skills Councils the links provide, there are signs of serious intent.

Keelan Howard
Keelan Howard

The aim is to get the right person with the right skills in the right place to meet industry needs, Michelle Weston says.

She says it is the first cross industry development plan.

Momentum indeed, which is the theme for the CRVA Gold Coast Conference.

Editors note: BDO was established as an association of firms in Australia in 1975.

They are one of Australia's largest associations of independently owned accounting practices, with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Michelle Weston
Michelle Weston