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PodcastsBuilding a Campground Brand with Ali Rasmussen from Spacious Skies Campgrounds

Building a Campground Brand with Ali Rasmussen from Spacious Skies Campgrounds

February 5, 2024

Campground Confidential: Ali Rasmussen, CEO and Creative Director of Spacious Skies Campgrounds

Ali Rasmussen is the CEO and Creative Director of Spacious Skies Campgrounds, a dynamic collection of campgrounds unified by a “cosmic” night-sky theme. Her journey into the industry began during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when Ali and her co-founder and husband, Eric Rasmussen, purchased their first travel trailer. Embarking on a three-month family adventure with their three young children, they explored over 25 campgrounds of all varieties, sparking their vision for a unique-yet-consistent "collectible" camping experience.

Upon realizing, on the closing day of campground #1, that third-party management wouldn’t meet their expectations, Ali and Eric restructured their business approach to include a solid operational foundation. In just 18 months, they successfully acquired 15 campgrounds, expanded their workforce from a team of two to approximately 150 employees company-wide, and introduced the Cosmic Camper Loyalty Program, the first of its kind in the private campground space in decades.

Ali leverages her storytelling prowess and entrepreneurship-focused education to enrich the Spacious Skies brand and foster a corporate culture of collaboration and experimentation. Taking advantage of her newcomer status in an established industry, she champions a company-wide commitment to inclusivity and proudly supports and partners with influential organizations dedicated to diversifying the camping customer base, including Girl Camper, LGBT+ Outdoors, and Latino Outdoors. Notably, in March 2023, Spacious Skies Campgrounds made history as the first private campground group to join forces with Black Folks Camp Too, serving as beta testers for their pioneering Unity Blaze Certification Program.

Prior to founding Spacious Skies, Ali held marketing and operations roles across various industries, encompassing real estate, technology, music education, and artist management. However, her most profound insights were gleaned from her five years as the primary caregiver in the Rasmussen household. Ali actively contributes to the industry, having served on the National ARVC Core Brand Team and presently serving on the National ARVC DE&I Task Force and the Campspot Software Advisory Council. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice from New York University and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University.

Campground Confidential: Episode Three Summary

On this episode of Campground Confidential, Ali shares more about the background of Spacious Skies Campgrounds and its focus on nature and the great outdoors. Allie emphasizes the importance of creating a strong brand and highlights the visual representation of the brand through logos and merchandise. She also provides insights on how to differentiate a campground brand and the importance of understanding the target customer base. 

Tune in to hear us discuss the use of dynamic and promotional pricing, the impact of negative reviews, and the tasks she just can’t seem to delegate to other team members. 

Key Takeaways for Building a Campground Brand:

  1. Create a brand manifesto that outlines what your brand stands for and who your target customer is.

  2. Develop a visual representation of your brand through logos and merchandise that align with your brand's values.

  3. Differentiate your campground brand by focusing on unique features and experiences that set you apart from competitors.

  4. Stay informed about industry trends and adapt your marketing strategies to align with current consumer preferences. Avoid raising rates too quickly when taking over a campground.

  5. Creating lasting memories for campers is the most rewarding aspect of owning a campground.

Episode Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Background

02:03 Overview of Spacious Skies Campgrounds

03:00 Unique Features of Spacious Skies Campgrounds

06:20 Differentiation from Other Campgrounds

11:00 Starting and Growing Spacious Skies Campgrounds

19:10 Taking Over the First Campground

23:50 Building an Operations Platform

24:29 Leading with Brand

26:46 Creating a Brand Manifesto

28:09 Visual Representation of the Brand

30:21 Highlighting Unique Aspects of the Campgrounds

32:45 Keeping Up with Trends

38:41 Biggest Mistake as a New Campground Owner

39:32 Favorite Thing About Being a Campground Owner

40:13 Least Favorite Thing About Owning Campgrounds

41:26 Building a Campground

42:10 Dynamic Pricing

42:40 Promotional Pricing

43:11 Unforgettable Negative Review

44:50 Task Not Handed Off to an Employee

45:27 Misconceptions About Being a Campground Owner

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