“The Dyrt” is an RV park and campground site that offers users photos and customer reviews needed to make decisions on where to stay. Over the past decade, it has grown by word-of-mouth to over 30 million visitors per year. In this RV Park University Tip, we interview the founder of “The Dyrt” and discuss such topics as how to sign up for this free service, what attributes make customers more satisfied with their experience at your property, and current trends in the industry.
A Free Way To Hit Over 30 Million RV Park Customers! - Transcript
Frank Rolfe: This is Frank Rolfe with RV Park University, we have a very special guest today. Sarah from "The Dyrt". She's the founder of what is a very important and ever growing application that can get you lots of additional customers at an incredibly affordable price, basically free. And we thought it was important enough to have her here to tell you more about what she does, the story behind it, its fascinating story, and then what it has to offer RV park owners nationwide as well as those who use RV parks and campsites. So Sarah, tell us all about "The Dyrt".
Sarah Smith: Oh, well, thanks for having me. Frank. I'm I'm happy to be here and tell you more about "The Dyrt". So the easiest way to think of "The Dyrt" is kind of like Yelp or TripAdvisor for camping. We make it easier for campers to find and book campgrounds. I started the dirt years ago because my husband and I were very frustrated with the experience of trying to find a campground or RV park online and realized what we were missing were photos, reviews, other people's opinions about where to go. So spent years building up this community of camper, campers and our viewers and this great content so that people could more easily figure out where they wanted to go camp. And then recently, we've added bookings so campers can not only come to our site to figure out where to go camping. But they can also then book the campground or the RV park right on our site.
Frank Rolfe: And Sara, tell people what this cost because that just blows people away. And how you structure this in such an incredibly user friendly manner. Tell people the cost of this.
Sarah Smith: Yeah, well, for we there's no commissions for campgrounds, we don't charge anything to campgrounds, we want to make the best possible platform for our users, for them to be able to figure out where to go camping and book it, like I said. So it's totally free. People are always confused, like, well, then how do you make money, you must make money somehow. And we do we make money off what we call our "Pro Subscription". "The Dyrt" is free for campers to use to find camping. But we heard over the years that they were willing to pay for some upgraded features like a trip planner feature, some offline capabilities, and some other things. So that, if people choose to upgrade, is $36 a year. And that's how we make money, not from the campgrounds or charging campgrounds commission's
Frank Rolfe: And you have how many users right now on "The Dyrt"?
Sarah Smith: We have about 30 million people visits to our site every year. So we're it's really exciting to see the level of growth we've seen in the past three, three years, we've really, you know, skyrocketed, which is super exciting. And as you know, the founder of the company who was there when there was nothing.
Frank Rolfe: And it 30 million you are nearly half of the entire US market. Correct? People are using this correct?
Sarah Smith: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And we actually just did a survey with our campers. And it's really interesting to see how people are kind of changing how they camp, how the shoulder seasons of camping is changing. We found winter to be the fastest growing season of camping, and RVing, which I'm sure you've seen as well, which is, you know, makes it really helpful, I think for RV owners and Campground owners to have a platform like "The Dyrt" to get in front of the campers and the RV years who are looking during those those offseason times.
Frank Rolfe: Sure. So literally every single person who is watching this is going to say, "let me think here I can reach 30 million people for free. Sign me up." So tell me, me in excruciating detail how that process works. How does someone go from watching this to getting their RV park campsites on "The Dyrt"? How does that work?
Sarah Smith: Yeah, that's a great question. It's very simple. If you just go to www dot, I don't even know if we need that anymore, or thedyrt.com, which is thedyrt.com. You'll see right on the top area that says claim your listing for campground owners. So campground owners or managers can just go in and see if there's a good chance it's already listed on "The Dyrt". We have 40,000 campgrounds and RV parks, everything from national parks to state parks to RV resorts to glamping on our site. So check to see if it's there and if it is you can simply click a button that says claim and it takes you through a very easy process and we also have support staff standing by who will help. RV resorts and Campground owners get through the process but it's fairly simple.
Frank Rolfe: And what can an RV park owner do to get to the top of the pile as far as... As what tips can you give them on how to make their property more attractive to customers? How to update their look on "The Dyrt"? If they're already out there? What would be some constructive criticism and ideas for people?
Sarah Smith: Well, you know, and I've just been to a couple conferences for a Campground and RV owners over the past six months. So it's been interesting to talk to them about this. But I think, you know, there's a chance there's already a listing for your campground or RV Resort on "The Dyrt". So being able to make it your own and make sure all the information is correct, adding photos that really are representative of of how you want to show yourself to the campers out there in the RV years. But this the trick, I would say, and this happened a lot at the last conference I went to, I would be sitting there with an RV resort or campground owner, we'd look up their listing, they didn't even know is on "The Dyrt". And they had, I don't know, eight five star reviews already from campers, so campers were finding them and reviewing them, but they didn't even know about it. So encouraging your people who stay there to do a review on "The Dyrt" afterwards, if they had a good experience, I think would be the best thing that managers could do.
Frank Rolfe: And we can't all have nothing but happy customers, I'm sure even "The Dyrt" has someone out there who's not happy. What is the best thing RV park vendor can do when there is an unhappy review? What would you tell people would be the smart move when that happens?
Sarah Smith: I think you know, we all deal with unhappy reviews over the course of time. So I think the trick is to get as many reviews as you can to kind of make sure that your listing is representative of your campground or RV Resort being good. I know even when I look on Yelp, for example, I'll see bad reviews of a restaurant and think Well, I'm gonna take that with a grain of salt because I'm looking at the context of all the other reviews.
Frank Rolfe: And as someone who's both founder of "The Dyrt", but also an avid camper, RV user, what are some of the things you see typically in an RV park to you, they're the most important items that makes... flavours your opinion of whether or not it's a business you would want to come back to or not what are some of the top top three or top five? RV park things that all owners need to be aware of that they might be failing in? Just because they're not thinking about it? What are some of that? Just from literally from the beginning? What are some of the top things?
Sarah Smith: I think just having a welcoming experience when you arrive is super important. And you know, Kevin, my husband and co-founder and I just spent six months in our van traveling around the US. Stayed at a lot of different RV resorts and campgrounds. And so this is like literally at the top of my mind right now because I experienced it. But really that welcoming experience from whoever's working the front desk is so important. And I'm sure that's obvious, but just kind of reiterating that. And then bathrooms, of course, having clean bathrooms is always an important thing, which I'm sure everyone has heard many times but...
Frank Rolfe: What are the key ways people find their destinations? Obviously, you have "The Dyrt"? What are what are some of the primary ways to reach out for someone who's trying to bring an old RV park campground back to life after decades of mom and pop perhaps not really putting in much effort. And given the fact we're now in a modern world of the internet, what are some tips you could give people on ways to improve overnight their marketing and their outreach to customers?
Sarah Smith: That's a great question. And it's really interesting to talk to these camground & RV park owners that these conferences we went to and I think you know that you might have a chance of getting you know updating your own website and getting people there. But that's hard to do. And we already have the platform for for campers to come look for camping. There are other platforms like "The Dyrt" think like getting your inventory your campground your RV Resort out there to places where campers are going to see them. We actually also integrate with different management systems like Nez Roxas you know, new book, booking software companies where you can use their software and then also list on "The Dyrt" through that experience. So just I think getting your campground in front of campers in however, however you can is super important.
Frank Rolfe: Got it? And obviously you talk to a lot of people both campers, RV owners and RV park owners. What are some of the industry trends you're seeing right now that people should take note of?
Sarah Smith: Um, that's that's It's so interesting to see that 8 million more people went camping and RVing last year than the year before. So we're seeing a lot of first time campers and RVers out there. So something to be aware of as an owner or managers, they might be kind of new to camping or RVing. So keeping that in mind, we're seeing a much more diverse population, I think of the 8 million new new campers 40% Or from non white community. So a much more diverse, you know, population of campers are joining the camping community.
Frank Rolfe: Well, great. Now Sarah, anyone watching this? Who is paying attention is definitely going to want to go to "The Dyrt" and take all the steps to get on because why would you not it's free and it reaches 30 million people. One thing I noticed from our discussion is number one, it's "The Dyrt", DYRT, I think they people might miss that out and try and put in DIRT and say what in the world I can't find Sara and I can't find her amazing, amazing opportunity, because I'm spelling it wrong. But also give people further contact information. Are there any phone numbers they should call? Or is it all done online? Or just how is the best way to ensure that every single person who watches this is able to go out and get signed up and reach 30 million people for free? What what can they do
Sarah Smith: So the very best thing they can do is go to thedyrt.com. At the top right, you will see a little column that says list your campground, click on that and then just put in the information very brief information. Every time a campground or an RV Resort does that we get notified and we have a support team ready. And they will call they will follow up and make sure you know what to do to get to get going. It's we make it super easy. We don't want this to be a complicated burden, because we know Campground and RV managers are super busy. So that's part of the reason we're also trying to get the word out now before people are completely slammed for the summer.
Frank Rolfe: Sure. Well, Sara, we really appreciate you being here with us. Obviously it's a it's a tremendous deal for RV park and Campground owners because it's it's free and it reaches a millions of people. So it's not a hard it's not a hard sell. But we want to be on here just to spread the word because people don't may not realize this opportunity is out there and wanted them to be aware of. So again, we really appreciate you being here. Thanks for all the great work you do for the industry. And we'll talk to everyone again soon.
Sarah Smith: Thank you, Frank. I really appreciate it.
Frank Rolfe: Thank you, Sarah.