The Newsletter of the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association
MRCA Board President, Phil Trusty
Crow Wing Campground
Welcome to Spring?!
The calendar says April, but yet another storm puts our hopes of green grass a bit further away. We made it through the worst of the long wintry February and cabin fever is definitely heating up. In Central MN, our bookings are looking strong for the early season. However, we know not all areas of the state are in good shape. If any owners/operators are struggling with the quick snow melt and the surprise extra inches, our member community has equipment, experience and the desire to get everyone ready for the season. It's helpful to share this anecdotal data with fellow MRCA members. We all help each other get better together.

Call or email me or any of our board members for assistance 218-829-6468/ Camp@CrowWingCamp.com. And you can always call Hospitality Minnesota, 651-778-2400.

What do your early bookings look like for the upcoming season? Email us at info@hospitalitymn.com.

We look forward to a storm-free season!
Best,
Phil
Phil and Coni Trusty
Crow Wing Lake Campground
Risk Mitigation - planning for bad weather
Weather risk management is identifying, understanding and mitigating financial exposure to the weather/climate system. Risk reduction occurs in three forms:
1. Risk Transfer: using weather index insurance, financial derivatives, and/or proof-of-loss insurance products.
2. Avoidance: use of strategies involving forecasting to optimally align operation processes to remove or reduce weather exposures.
3. Optimal Retention: apply knowledge of the weather system to develop naturally offsetting strategies like time, space, logistics, products, or take actions such as increasing weather resilience through infrastructure or engineering products.
The most effective risk management program likely includes a blend of all of the above as each are complementary and together form a full weather risk management ecosystem.
Another way to mitigate risk involves keeping your leadership and staff informed and educated of your property’s emergency response plan. Do all staff members know how to respond to severe weather emergencies? 

With technology, you can now store your Emergency Response plan on your phone via an app that can then be available without an internet connection or cell phone service which may be down during an emergency. For more information, see the Business plan toolkit
Suggestions for emergency items to have on your property:
  • First aid kit
  • Rain gear
  • Canned food and manual can opener
  • Light sticks
  • Emergency radio
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent vests
  • Blankets
Calendar notes:

Hospitality Minnesota Golf Classic, June 10, 2019
Open to all MRCA members. Guests are invited!
Sponsorships and registration open now, visit www.hospitalitymn.org/events to sign up!

Tuesday, October 1st
Save the Date! Hospitality Minnesota Conference & Expo, at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Great education, networking and new resource identification.
Exhibitor registration open by April 15 and attendee registration June 1. Watch your inbox for notices. 

The 2019 MRCA Fall Conference & Vendor Showcase will be October 29-31 at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa. Save the date, details to come!
The Pickleball craze!
In the summer of 1965, a group of Dads in Washington State were looking for a way to entertain their kids. They had a badminton net but not enough rackets, so they used ping-pong paddles and a whiffle ball. Pickles, the family dog, would grab the ball and run off with it, thus, Pickleball was born. 

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the US with 2.8M players and rising by more than 10% each year since 2010. The sport has enjoyed an estimated 385% percent increase in places to play since 2010. Today, there are approximately 5,000 Pickleball venues and an estimated 15,000 courts covering every U.S. state and all Canadian provinces, including: senior residence communities, YMCAs, local community recreation centers, schools and parks, resorts and many other locales.

Why is it Growing?
After a lifetime of activity, aching joints and knees can take a toll. Pickleball offers a low-impact sport that offers a social outlet, provides exercise and healthy competition. It can be played as singles or doubles and new players can learn the basic rules quickly in a single session. Adding to its popularity is the ease of entry. No special apparel is required, and equipment is inexpensive and easily portable. The game can be played by all ages and is particularly popular in school gym programs and in adult living communities. 

Taking Pickleball to the Next Level
Another reason for explosive growth is the sport’s surging professional game, which is now backed by TV contracts, professional endorsements and national tournaments. In fact, in 2018, more than 2,100 athletes competed in the annual U.S. Open Championships, in Naples, Florida, an event that is growing by an estimated 40-percent participation rate each year.

MINNESOTA
Google search interest in Pickleball has risen steadily since 2004 and has exploded in the last five years.
Regional interest is strongest in the larger metro areas with the Twin Cities, Rochester area and Mankato showing the highest Google search interest from 2004-2018
Does your resort or campground offer Pickleball? If not, maybe you should!

Resources:
Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2017 Pickleball Participant Report
Minnesota google web search 2004-2018 of ‘Pickleball’ by metro areas
Forest Stewardship Program helps resorts with woodland management
by John Carlson, DNR

The Forest Stewardship program was mentioned in our Fall newsletter and is worth repeating for the resort owners in our midst. 

The DNR can help maintain and manage the beautiful trees and woodlands of your property through advice and technical assistance, cost-share programs, and Woodland Stewardship Plans.

Financial Benefits of a Woodland Stewardship Plan:

Cost-share Program: The DNR has cost-share funds available to help woodland owners complete projects to improve your woods. A DNR forester works with you to develop a project plan and project work can be done by you or a contractor. 
Sample projects include: wildlife and pollinator habitat improvement, tree planting, bud capping, invasive species removal, tree thinning, and forest road work

Incentive Programs: Sustainable Forest Incentive Act (SFIA). Landowners with at least 20 acres of forest land under a registered Woodland Stewardship Plan may be eligible.

Reduced tax rate: 2c Managed Forest Land PDF Owners who actively follow their registered Woodland Stewardship Plan may be eligible for a reduced property tax rate of .65 percent.

The Forest Stewardship Program is funded by the USDA Forest Service and run by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Congratulations!
The Crazy Tourist, an online travel resource covering destinations all around the world, published their "15 Best Resorts in Minnesota." The list is created by freelance travel writers based on their own experience and web-based research
Read the article here
MRCA Consumer Website:
SEO Changes, Google Ads Campaign and Outdoor News
The MRCA consumer website is off to a successful start. We engage with ongoing monitoring to optimize the site and the experience of the user. Recently, we noticed that campground keywords were performing somewhat more effectively than resort keywords. To balance these types of keyword searches we made SEO changes and adjustments to the site. Specifically, we restructured the site to create landing pages for high volume keywords which included various lake areas across the state. To complement these new landing pages, we created new corresponding Google Ads groups. As we launch our Google Ads campaign from May 1 – August 31, we will be able to assess how effective these changes are in improving our SEO ranking.

Further, we recently collaborated with Outdoor News to promote the consumer website. Outdoor News is one of the Great Lake states’ most popular outdoor sources of news and information. From February through April, Outdoor News ran native advertising on their site promoting our MRCA consumer website. Check out our landing page on the Outdoor News site. Included with this native advertising are two social media posts per month to Outdoor News’ Facebook (40,000 followers), Twitter (50,300) and Instagram (17,400) followers. Outdoor News will also be sending out an Eblast in early April promoting the consumer website to their lists of subscribers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska (52,215 subscribers). With these changes and promotions, we are aiming to have another successful year to promote the properties of our MRCA members!

Glossary of terms:
SEO – search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through users searching online
Native Advertising – Native Advertising is advertising that resembles the publication's editorial content but is typically paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser's product.
Google Ads – is an advertising service for businesses to display ads on Google and its advertising network. The AdWords program enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. 
Member Benefits through our partners!

A valued strategic and endorsed partner of Hospitality Minnesota, Heartland Payment Systems offers your small business a full suite of solutions to help you provide impressive service and establish strong connections with customers. This includes:
• Convenient payment processing–Heartland can help you deliver flexible payment options with secure mobile payments, online stores and complete point of sale packages. 
• Painless payroll and HR–No more headaches. With Heartland, payroll is easy. And with application management, new hire compliance, and HR management tools, you can do everything in one place. 
• Valuable customer engagement–Relationships don't end at a sale. With a loyalty program, email marketing and customer intelligence tools, you'll be able to grow meaningful, long-term connections with your customers.
• Helpful analytics–Are your marketing and advertising dollars being spent effectively? Get answers that you can bank on. 
• Local partners–Heartland's local service team is ready to help, meeting you in-person or over the phone. 

For over 20 years, Heartland has supported businesses in meeting challenges and making the most of opportunities. Together, we'll help your business take the next step. Call 651.778.2400 to learn how Heartland can help your business grow.


Minnesota’s most respected publication for outdoor enthusiasts is available to your business for the 2019 summer season. Outdoor News will send your business *5* weekly copies for you to utilize as a retail item or give to guests.

These copies are yours to use! Supply them to your guests, or sell them for the retail price of $2.50 per copy. Your cost of this 15-week program of 5 issues per week is only $50. With a single issue subscription rate of $39 and newsstand price of $2.50, the retail price would be $187.50. Your value-priced 5-issues per week for the 15-week season of only $50 is a significant discount. 

Order by May 1, 2019, to receive additional two weeks including the Minnesota Fishing Opener at no additional cost!

Issues available May 24 through August 30, 2019. Order by May 1 and receive May 10 and May 17 issues at no additional cost. Copies will be sent weekly via US Postal Service in a banded package. (unsold copies are not returnable).

To participate, visit www.OutdoorNews.com/MLRCAoffer, email Evy: evy@outdoornews.com or call 763-398-3455.
Interested in reaching the readers of Lakes and Loons?
Contact Kathleen Pishotta at (352) 371-4933 or kathleen@associationadvertising.net .