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Coopetition Helps The Campground Industry Compete

Why Should the Campground Industry Work Together?

I received several phone calls last week from industry publications wanting to discuss our recent announcement of a strategic alliance with Campground Master.  Specifically they wanted to know why either of us would work together since we had recently rolled out our Hercules enterprise class property management system and we had also acquired PARCS software.  My answer was simple:  Coopetetition.  I wish I could claim authorship to the term or even the concept, but the reality is that coopetition has been alive and well in other industries for a long time.  It is also a concept that is almost foreign to most of the campground and RV Park industry.

In talking with campground owners, I have often heard comments such as “I don’t want to work with him, he is my competitor”.  This is especially visible in the various association boards across the industry as some board members support initiatives that help their park but oppose issues that might help their competitors.  Yet, the auto, fast foods and other industries have discovered that working together actually grows the pie that they all share in, rather than squabbling over pieces of a smaller pie.  Think about it, why would numerous auto dealers locate themselves in auto malls where their prospective customers could walk next door and buy a competitors product?  Why would fast food brands locate themselves in close proximity where they could lose a prospective customer?  The answer is, because (a) for every prospect they lose, they gain one from the opposite scenario, and (b) collectively they attract more customers than they could by working independently.  The RV manufacturers have been pooling resources to promote GoRVing to grow the consumer perception of the lifestyle.  This too is a form of coopetition.

In the case of Campground Master, we are jointly working to develop 2-way integration so that our mutual customers don’t have to manage online and offline inventory.   We have also taken the relationship a step further whereby Friend can sell Campground Master software and the Campground Master staff could sell the Hercules platform.  Imagine a sales person who can actually be a consultant helping owner/operators to select the right platform for their business.

Looking ahead, we are designing coopetition type functionality into Hercules so that competing parks can book guests into other parks when they are full, or provide concierge services much like larger hotel chains.  One of our goals is to provide superior platforms and functionality to enable small to medium size campground owner/operators to operate like a large business with tools and capabilities that allow cost effective bundling of services, referral alliances, joint marketing and other opportunities that fall under the term of coopetition.  The Campground Master relationship is just one way in which we are practicing what we preach.