By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When Marcus Lemonis took the reins controlling the Good Sam Club, it wasn’t long before many members dubbed it the “Good Spam Club.” Lemonis saw the club membership list as ripe for harvesting. It meant club members could expect to receive tons of junk mail. Mail selling everything from gadgets to extended warranty products, all at inflated prices. Get ready for more spam from Camping World.
More than “A chicken in every pot”
We’ve seen Camping World’s march for dominance across the U.S. Lemonis’ own stated goal is to have a footprint in every state in the Lower 48. It’s a promise more fulfilled than “a chicken in every pot.” Nearly every week Camping World announces the takeover of what were often formerly family-owned RV dealerships. Not much junk mail there, but wait – there’s a new acquisition that will give Camping World a real way to spam the unsuspecting.
Camping World Holdings Inc. has now taken over, not another RV dealership, but something farther-reaching. A campground “booking engine” called Nomad Reservations has now become part of the CW empire. In essence, it means yet more spam from Camping World.
We’ll try to translate the gobbledygook from a press release. “This technology platform enhances the company’s data ecosystem by providing multiple unique data points regarding the customer’s upcoming journey.” In other words, the poor schlep that uses the Nomad Reservations system will be providing yet more information to Camping World about their trip. Here’s where the spam comes in:
“These data points allow customized, relevant marketing communications while consumers are engaging in the lifestyle before, during and after their trip.” Just what we always wanted! “Spam in the mornin’, Spam in the evening, Spam about supper time.” Expect to get an email box full of helpful “suggestions.” Before you leave and after you get home. And, of course, in the middle of your trip, too.
Lemonis isn’t shy about the purpose of the buyout. Regarding the purchase, Lemonis says this: It “represents our goal of improving the RV and outdoor experience for our current and future consumers. These tools provide relevant data for real-time marketing messaging and engagement with our brand.” More spam from Camping World.
Are there workarounds?
Is there any way around it? Since the reservation system is “built into” customer websites, you might not even know you’re dealing with it. Say you log onto an RV park website that uses the system. In addition to making it “easy” to make a park reservation, you may also be offered the opportunity to plot in your trip.
Sign on, you’ll find all sorts of “points of interest” that could make your trip more enjoyable. In so doing, you’ll be “providing multiple unique data points regarding [your] upcoming journey.” Yep, imagine that, you too, can “enhance [Camping World’s] data ecosystem,” and “allow customized, relevant marketing communications while [you] are engaging in the lifestyle.”
There’s not much to be done about avoiding the use of the now-Camping World-owned system. You might not know the system is in use on a given RV park website. Pick up the phone, instead, and make an old-fashioned 20th century reservation. And certainly if you want to avoid more spam from Camping World, DON’T use a trip-planner function.
Photo: Base image by DaveCrosby on flickr.com, edited by authors