The process is not all that complicated. First you start with a hunter, someone who is active and invested in (or wants to become invested) the process of hunting. Once you have a customer to process, booking at your lodge is a straightforward 4 step system. This is as follows:
These four steps are driven by information, along with a willingness and commitment to continue further in the process by the potential client. This is why you must market via social media to the widest possible target market you can. The actual process of booking at your lodge will see a continued reduction of potential clients as people loose interest for whatever reason. Often it becomes clear to them that the commitment or the cost is too great to continue. That is the problem, how do we alleviate fears while providing all the answers, so that booking a hunt is the only choice left for the people in the process!
The first step is for the hunter to become aware of your lodge, of even hunting lodges in general. Potential clients must be learning about lodges, and the services they provide before they will book. This is step one, to educate the public on the service of the lodge, to show them a glimpse of what you do and how they fit into the services you offer. The way to do this is always the same, create relevant value added content. This is the point your potential clients need to learn and to have their questions answered. This is the process of educating themselves in an area that they may not know much about, so that they decide the hunting lodge experience is a valuable one to them.
Now the potential client is becoming more educated, and speaks the language the hunting world uses. They are past the basic questions of ‘what is a hunting lodge’ and moving into the specific question of what they hope for in a lodge. This ranges from types of game available, seasons they can go, accommodations, and amenities desired. In short, they are starting to plan their dream hunting trip. At this point your hope is to help the client understand what you offer, and what they actually desire. Marketing at this level looks like showing the different types of hunting and lodges that are possible, and the benefits of each. The client is a potential for a hunting lodge in general, but may not be a potential for your lodge yet. This is the time when they are asking questions that help to refine completely what they desire from their potential hunting lodge experience.
The third layer, should the potential client continue on the journey is when they begin to compare. No longer are they looking at hunting lodges in general, they are getting more focused. They know when and for what they desire to hunt. They know what they see as “must haves” and what are things they just do not care about. If the desire is to hunt ducks from a classic blind setup, no amount of black bear hunts will help you get the client booked. This is the point when specifics matter. So key words in your marketing, reviews from former clients, and very specific details on what your lodge offers and does not offer become paramount. As the details roll and match the desires, the client moves ever closer and closer to making their final choice.
This is the time that the dream becomes a reality. Specifics rule the day. Exact dates, prices that fit budgets, game hunting opportunities that are desired, accommodations, and every other detail are important. If you have done your job and moved you potential clients through the four steps and they are now booking a hunt … GREAT JOB! Now you get to do what you dreamed of doing, guiding a client out into the wilderness and hunting. You get to host and share the experience of a lifetime with someone who has chosen you and your lodge. Well done, great job on being successful.
Your hunting lodge marketing plan and social media strategy must be focused on driving potential clients through these steps and into the ranks of actual clients. You started with any number of the estimated 40% of the North American population (about 600 million people!) who enjoy hunting in some form, and in the end, the goal is a full schedule for your lodge. If you have spots that you hope to fill in you booking calendar, contact us today and together we can market your hunting lodge and fill those empty spots!
Steve McLean “The Outdoorsman Copywriter”