Niching Above Competitors
Millions of children attend summer camp each year, with more and more facilities popping up regularly throughout the United States. As the industry’s competition continues to become more aggressive, so does the need to stand out in a saturated market that’s why niching above competitors is so important.
So, how do you rise above your competitors while offering an exceptional experience for everyone?
Work on Perfecting your Niche
The key is to identify the one thing that you do better than anyone else in your market. That is what will help you promote your programming, retain your campers, and remain viable. It may sound simple enough, but we’ve found that not everyone understands what truly sets them apart from their competition.
Recently, I was speaking at a conference and asked the question, “What does your camp do better than everyone else?” An executive was quick to answer saying they “do friendship” best. So in return, I asked what they do to foster friendships that other camps do not. Although he told me that people make lasting friends quickly at their camp, he could not identify one thing that they do differently to make that happen. Herein lies the problem.
If you cannot identify what makes your niche specialized, chances are others cannot either.
Asking the right questions
If you are having trouble identifying what is specialized about your camp, you may need to do a deep dive with your team and evaluate your current programming. Start by asking questions such as:
- What are we best at?
- What problem are we solving?
- What makes our experience unique?
- What are our primary outcomes?
- What value are we adding to campers and their parents?
You may also find it beneficial to research competitors as an interested parent or guardian. This can give your team a better understanding of where your camp excels and what makes your programming unique.
Training your Staff
Once you have a clear understanding of what differentiates your camp, make sure that your programming is centered around that activity or outcome. This includes hiring and training your staff to support your niche. If friendship is, in fact, your differentiator, then equip your staff to look for opportunities throughout the day to foster it. This may mean you need to provide them with more specialized relationship training or have an arsenal of ice-breaker activities ready at the drop of a hat for your volunteers. Regardless of your tactics, if your team understands your camp’s missions and specialties, they can collectively enrich programming with those things in mind.
Ultimately, if you’re promising that your campers will have the “best summer ever,” you better be able to back up your statement with specific program features, outcomes, and even testimonials that prove it to be factual.
Identifying what sets your camp apart and niching above competitors may take some deep reflection and evaluation, but it is a necessary step to attract and retain campers. Remember to reevaluate your specialty regularly, in order to ensure you are still offering a program that outshines your competitors and helps your camp prosper. Although summer camp season is right around the corner for 2023, now is the time to plan accordingly for next year and become the superior choice for summer camp in 2024.
If you are looking for additional support with your programming and strategic planning, feel free to book a call with one of our consultants.