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Several years ago, in preparation for a trip that would blend different cultures into one ministry team, I asked 15 college students this question: What habit or trait— real or imagined—have you heard of about our guests’ culture that you fear having to deal with?

After a lively discussion, we identified three perceived stereotypes. I emailed these to my co-leader from who would soon jet in with15 American college students to complete our bi-cultural ministry team. I then received their list of three things they dreaded encountering with our team. We led our teams in no-blame discussions about these perceptions, and when the two teams came together, collaboratively came up with a plan on how we would live life together. This preparation turned out to be most valuable for the six weeks we spent together. We endured many unforeseen challenges, but it became the most rewarding cross-cultural experience I ever led.

The world is rapidly becoming more accessible for short- and long-term cross-cultural encounters, and the Christian camping world is part of this trend. My home association, CCI Eastern Africa, held its 2013 conference in Kenya, 2014 was in Tanzania, and we are planning for 2015 in Rwanda. CCI Spain’s next conference will be inPortugal, and in early December, CCI Canada holds their conference jointly with USA in Florida. Though I’m Kenyan, I now work for a camp in Northern Wisconsin, USA.

Much is written about cross-cultural missions. I recommend looking through a text on the topic by Duane Elmer, Soong-Chan Rah, David Livermore or Emmanuel Katongole, among others. As world missions “from everywhere to everywhere,” rapidly grows, what are some ways you can prepare for your next cross-cultural camp trip?

Here are a few thoughts on what to do before you get on that plane:

  • Take the time to find out What God is already doing where you are going. He is already at work there; find out how you can join in. This calls for conversations with your hosts on what their priorities are.

This doesn’t mean you ignore the skills and knowledge that God has stewarded you with. Prepare well for what you believe God is calling you to go and do. Then before you get on the plane, throw it all into a bag labeled “flex and flow.” When you get there, your priority will be to listen and to respond.

  • Learn about the culture you are going to. Learn some language, read some politics and some current affairs.  But also allow your hosts to give input to your preparation.  My co-leaders in the story above did this exceptionally well, and helped set aside what might have become barriers to ministry.
  • Undergirding all preparations, however, must be fervent prayer. Christian camping is God’s work, and all planning and execution must be precipitated by a keen sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s direction. So, as you check your passport one last time, get down on your knees once again.

 

 

Muhia Karianjahi works with graduate students at Wheaton College's HoneyRock, Outdoor Center for Leadership Development in Northern Wisconsin, USA. He is Chairperson Emeritus of CCI Eastern Africa/African Christian Camping. He is married with two teenage sons.  

 

The most successful nonprofits are counting on digital giving as the way of the future and that Millennials will lead the way. In fact, a report from nonprofit software and services provider Blackbaud shows that giving is growing – especially online.

Charitable giving revenue grew 4.9% in 2013, the largest gain since the 2008 recession. U.S.-based organizations with annual fundraising over $10 million saw 5% growth. Those that receive $1 million to $10 million in gifts gained 3.8% and the smallest nonprofits – those garnering less than $1 million annually – grew 3.6%.

However, the results of online giving revenue grew at the stellar rate of 13.5% overall and had its second consecutive year of double-digit gains. Large organizations saw 12.7% online giving growth, medium-sized organizations grew 11.4% and small organizations grew 18.4%

Year-end giving was boosted by an increase in #GivingTuesday donations. Set this year for Tuesday, December 2, this global movement is dedicated to giving back and supporting causes across the world. Now it its third year, this international trend is one to watch over time as the movement grows.

The Millennial Impact, a report that looks at the way the 18-to-32 generation gives, found that nearly half of Millennials follow between one and five nonprofit organizations on social media. More than 65% of survey respondents receive emails from one to five different nonprofits. In the report, several philanthropic leaders show recognition that in order to reach young donors they need to harness both technology and connectivity.

While we all recognize the power of technology as a transcending equalizer, we must be on purpose in the power of touch. Connectivity by definition is

“….the ability to connect to or communicate with another computer or computer system”.

No doubt we all enjoy the ability to connect and communicate with little effort in our camping communities. But I contend that to be successful in fundraising over time we must harness the tools of technology as a means to create relational connectivity coupled with …. the power of true relational touch.

An example of one such organization making the digital shift is the iconic Salvation Army’s Red Kettles, which have been an American tradition since 1891. Today this campaign allows a supporter to host their own Red Kettle - online. The supporter becomes a vital part of the fundraising effort sharing their story of why they personally support the work and mission. They are able to invite friends, family and colleagues by means of a personal email or through social media to join them in support of a ministry they believe in and support themselves. In essence they create a true relational touch and connectivity that I believe will grow in healthy sustainability.

As camping leaders consider these three steps:

1. Don’t delay – join the digital advantage

2. Harness the power of technology tools

3. Recognize ultimately the power resides in your personal touch

 

 

Ken Sutterfield spent 25 years in Christian camping in Arkansas & Texas. Currently Ken serves as Regional Resource Development Director for The Salvation Army in his home state of Arkansas.  

Fundraising and Relationships: Building a Bridge - Istvan Halmen, CEO, Christian Endeavors, Romania

Posted by Dan Bolin on November 18, 2014 @ 14:16

Fundraising is annoying because it feels like begging for other people’s money to meet our needs. But we have to look the whole picture: we are part of the great work of building the Kingdom of God. We have not only needs, but also opportunities. In this approach the main duty is sharing this vision; the fundraising is only one of the fruits or results of this. In this case we don’t ask; we offer. We try to match our structure and (limited) possibilities with other’s financial possibilities or professional skills to reach our aims.


In general, “Fundraising = Friend-raising,” meaning, it’s all about relationship. Relationships are a bridge between two parts, and a stronger bridge holds more burdens. And like a bridge, relationships must be built. In a relationship, partners have to share a common goal. The interests of the donor and the interest of the beneficiary must intersect on the Matrix of Interests (see graphic).

If the project has major interest for both parts (1), we are in the zone of success—the best situation. If the project has major interest for us, but only a slight interest for the donor (2), we have to convince them to support us. If we get support for a project with slight importance for us (3), we made a compromise. The worst situation is when we accept a sponsorship for a project without any importance for us (4), which is a trap; we have to avoid this.

If more projects can be developed in the success zone, relationship can grow and become a partnership. And of course behind us all there is the Director-God, giving His blessing to our work.

There have been many miracles during the last 15 years since we started our campsite project, and every year we can do a new step, smaller or bigger, thanks to partnership with generous donors and our faithful God. This is my personal experience in developing, fundraising and running a campsite and camps.

So what do we have to do?

1. Develop relationships, seek out Christian fellowship, contribute to building the Kingdom of God, report regularly and honestly (even our fails and mistakes), pray (this is a very important tool of fundraisers), obey God and look to Him for guidance, knowing that God knows our needs better than us and will provide in proper time.


2. We have to know that people don’t like to refuse, because this produces feeling of discomfort and frustration. We have to offer them enough possibilities to provide them the opportunity to give. Different generations have different perspectives on giving, so we must offer multiple ways for people to support what we are doing.

3. Our best fundraisers are our satisfied and happy campers, going home and relating their impression to their parents, friends and relatives (the father of one camper offered a large donation for our facilities). Offer the possibility and let them to enjoy the camp.

 

Istvan Halmen, CEO of Christian Endeavors Romania, married with Maria. We got four children and three grandchildren. I joined CCI Romania in 2002, for now I am board member in it.

Fundraising: Asking and Acknowledging - Nel Blanken, New Generations Camp, Jamaica

Posted by Dan Bolin on November 11, 2014 @ 16:48

In order for ministry to happen at camp properties around the world, camping leaders have to make sure they have all they need to keep things operating smoothly. Fundraising is an crucial part of the camping "business." It not only provides for real needs, but allows others who can't be hands-on to support the ministry. The next three issues of Setting The Table will address fundraising, a crucial piece of camping ministry.

 

 At the base of asking for and acknowledging project funding lies a relationship and a shared vision. Our ministry in Jamaica (New Generation Camp - www.newgenerationjm.org) has to raise every cent when it comes to building projects, big or small.  In addition, needy campers depend on sponsors, and 80% of our fulltime staff raise 50% of their own support. Rather than thinking “project,” we are focused daily on relationships and visioning.

Our major building project—the construction of permanent sleeping accommodations—started in 2007 and is on-going. The first cottage (concrete and steel) for 20 persons was completed in 2012 with the help of small grants and volunteers.

It has always been our experience that God provides as we step out in faith, so after a gift for phase 1 (the foundation), we called on our friends, locally and abroad, to help “raise the roof.” The response was amazing. Each person shared their story of being connected with the ministry, which became a powerful testimony of investing for the sake of another generation, “declaring God's mighty acts, one generation to another.”

Over the past 24 years of camp developments, we have learned the following:

1. Friend-raising precedes fund-raising - it is relational. This requires:

  • A clear vision both of the overall ministry and the specific project, communicated in various ways. (e.g website, Facebook, e-news, testimonies, word of mouth)
  • Buy-in that involves taking the dynamics of the ministry to the person, and inviting them to participate in an experience at the camp—tasting its culture, enjoying meaningful relationships and developing a sense of belonging. 
  • Nurturing relationships with integrity, thinking of the person as a friend with their own needs, story and desire to give rather than as a donor.This gives the person freedom to choose to invest or not in the ministry.The Holy Spirit is the Prompter!

2. Right Positioning - stewards rather than owners

  • Continually seek God's direction re: His blueprint, His priorities, His provisions, His honor. Actively trust Him!
  • Care for your team - provide growth opportunities and accountability, treasure relationships.
  • Ensure right standing with neighbors, government (audits, etc.), community (church, and other)

3. Accountability

  • Let your needs be known, at the right time, in the right manner
  • Acknowledge the giver and gift - express your excitement!
  • Be clear on how the funds are (being) spent, actively providing updates on the developments of the project
  • Express gratitude - in a personal, meaningful way

The ultimate outcome of any project should be changed lives for Kingdom living. With this in mind it is a continuous journey of trusting the One “who owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” accessing His provisions with integrity and discernment while recognizing that even in this process lives are changed for His glory.

 

 

Nel Blanken, Dutch Missionary to Jamaica since 1974, is the Pioneer and Managing Director of New Generation Camp.  Nel is also a founding member & current board member of CCI Jamaica.

 

Camper Retention - Jim Behling

Posted by Dan Bolin on November 04, 2014 @ 15:14

Jim Behling is the founder and director of Deer Creek Camp near Medina, Texas. We recently talked to Jim about retention marketing and how he gets campers to return year after year.

 

CCI-Worldwide – How many of your summer campers have attended Deer Creek Camp in the past and how many are new campers?

Jim – Our goal is to have 75% returning campers each summer.  Some years are better than others, and it seems to run in cycles, but that’s what we shoot for.  Returning campers bring a special energy with them and are serious about carrying traditions forward. Traditions are very important to returning campers. They identify and anticipate the needs of the “first timers” and take on a special role of “looking out after” so that everyone will feel included…part of the Deer Creek Family.  From the singing at Team meeting to the Bear Competition chants and cheers, returning campers turn into amazing leaders. 

 

CCI-Worldwide – Besides hiring a great staff and providing an awesome program, what do you do at camp to encourage campers to return?

Jim – We do several things. We have accomplishment levels within our program that encourage campers to progress to greater skill levels each year they come back.

At our closing ceremony, we give a wooden cross to each first-time camper and a nice, silver charm to each camper that has returned from a previous summer. There is one style for their second year, another for third year, and so on. Campers and families put these charms in shadow boxes and on charm bracelets. These are important “milestones.” Year-level charms are presented in front of all parents at the closing ceremony. A short testimony is given by one boy and one girl camper; testimony time usually touches hearts and searches souls. And, of course, we make Early Bird registration easy with a form included in each camper’s award packet. Early Bird registrations require a deposit and families are then given a discount, guaranteed bunk space, and a one-of-a-kind, very sought after Early Bird t-shirt.

It is not just that we want them back to fill camp; we think we make the biggest impact in the lives of those who come for three years or more.

Our Leadership in Action camp is set apart for those campers who have completed their sophomore, junior and senior year in high school. High adventure is included in this program along with teaching that challenges. Campers are usually ready to sign up for a counselor position as they complete their third year in LIA. Juniors and seniors in this program are awarded a discount based on how many years they have attended as a camper. Many LIA campers have eight and 10 years of longevity with camp.

We also save some special program activities—like night zip line runs—for those who are the oldest. The last year they can attend, they earn the right to throw a pair of old tennis shoes into a big tree near the campfire. That tree full of old shoes is a constant reminder that we honor those who come year after year. 

 

CCI-Worldwide – What do you do during the year to stay connected to your campers?

Jim – We do the usual social media posts along with e-mail blasts and newsletters. But the personal interactions with their counselors seem to be most effective. We encourage our counselors to send handwritten letters to each of their campers three times a year: at the start of school, Christmas, and Easter. The Christmas letter includes a picture of the camper with the counselor. When we have staff reunions, staff members are encouraged to call and check in with their campers to see how they are doing with the goals that they set when they were at camp.

 

CCI-Worldwide – So what’s more important: getting new campers or retaining the current ones?

Jim – It is a very special balance and you need both. Our campers are sent two “live-strong style” bracelets around Christmas time. One bracelet is for the camper and one is for the friend they invite to come to camp with them the next summer. “Friends don’t let friends not go to camp” is one of our favorite encouragements.

 

Jim Behling is the founder and director of Deer Creek Adventure Camp near Medina, Texas.  Jim is a graduate of Texas A&M University, a Navy veteran, and has almost 30 years in Christian Camping leadership.  He has served on the Board of CCCA (USA).  Jim and his wife Pam have two grown sons.  You can contact Jim at papabear@deercreekcamp.com.

 

Marketing - Martin Lord

Posted by Dan Bolin on October 20, 2014 @ 16:53

The camping hospitality industry has changed dramatically over the last 10 years; many services that we now offer did not exist then. Just look at Internet usage over the last decade—we used to struggle to download emails and today, you will have hundreds of campers looking for an Internet service on site.  As a fairly large venue averaging 19,100 guests a year, we at the YFC Training Centre try to evaluate our marketing strategy regularly. Ten years ago we sat down as a board and looked at a 20/20 strategy and marketing plan. Our goal was to determine what we needed to look like by the year 2020 and then determine the services we would need to offer to our more than180 different group types a year. There is ever-growing competition in our industry. Ten years ago, there were four campsites in our area. Today, it’s grown to more than 15 and that includes many non-Christian sites as well. How will we attract more ministries, churches, schools, government and public benefit organizations to our venue and keep them coming back?

We started by doing an intense self-assessment—Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats analysis—for our centre (20/20) with our board, staff and some of your best customers. What did they want to see more of going forward and what did they like the least?

These are some of our lessons:

First Lesson: It is easier to keep a customer than to find a new one. Build the relationship! Use newsletters, meetings, phone calls, Facebook page (use It to market new projects, improvements, special camps etc.) etc. to stay connected.

Second Lesson: Word of mouth is the greatest and most effective marketing tool.

Third Lesson: You need a GREAT Website. We get more new business and responses through our website then all other marketing tools put together. This includes print media!

Forth Lesson: Product development. All the services we provide for our customers need to be constantly improved and upgraded. Product examples are catering (menus), facilities, equipment, programs and facilitation, and ground and gardens. A fresh coat of paint speaks volumes to clients about care and renewal. Your clients need to be impressed and have a “value for money” (price) experience.

Fifth Lesson:  Your staff is at the face of your marketing. They need to see the need meet the need!

 

Martin Lord has been the Centre Director at The YFC Training Centre since Jan 2004. Martin has been married 13 years to Shannan and they have three young children. Martin has a passion for mentoring, coaching and is involved with various ministries. Visit him at www.yfc-cyara.com 

Marketing - Daniel Wawrzyniak

Posted by Dan Bolin on October 14, 2014 @ 14:49

Have you heard the statement, “If it is not on the Facebook it doesn’t exist”? Obviously it is exaggeration, but there might be some truth in it. I don’t know how it is in your country, but in Poland, Facebook is the easiest and fastest way to share information about anything, especially camps. People are spending so much time on the Facebook, that it is a natural to look up for whatever they need right there. 

Facebook is full of likeable and shareable things; with one click people will share picture, video or statement with hundreds of their friends. Don’t you think that kids or teens doing cool things in the beautiful surroundings of our camps are very likeable and shareable? 

We do. That is why we think that we can’t afford to lose a chance to spread the news about our camps. Facebook is a place where people are, and it doesn’t matter if you think if it is good or bad – that is a fact that cannot be ignored. And that is why you need to be there. 

Keep your Facebook account alive and allow others to spread the news about you. Your campers and their families will do that by “liking” and sharing your Facebook posts. And that will allow you to reach totally new people, people that you will not have a chance to reach any other way.

There are few rules if you want to take advantage of Facebook: 

  • Your posts need to be COOL. Your pictures or videos need to be good quality, fun and creative.
  • Your posts need to be CURRENT.  Do not wait until winter to post your summer camp pictures or videos. You will loose momentum. People will not be excited about old stuff.
  • Your posts need to PERSONAL. First of all, people are looking for themselves. Make sure they will find themselves. Try to include everybody in pictures and videos that you are creating.

So, how about our web page? Do we still need it? Yes we do! There is only so much information that you can include at your Facebook account. And this is not enough. 

Your web page needs to contain extended information about your ministry, camps and campground. There should be easy and clear ways to find information about your camps and how to register for it. So make sure that you are creating your web page as good as possible.

Remember that even if you have the greatest web page ever, it won’t do you any good if nobody looks at it. So make sure you will take advantage of countless ways to be heard online.

 

 

Here are our main webpages:

facebook.com/fundacjaproem

proem.pl

proem.tv

 

 

Daniel Wawrzyniak is the director of Proem Christian Centre near  Zakosciele, Poland. Proem Ministries is a nonprofit Christian organization founded in Warsaw, Poland in 1990. Proem Ministries partners with churches in Poland and eastern Eurpor to create camp experiences that focus on recreation, education and inspiration. Daniel and his wife Edyta have lead Proem for more than 20 years and have two children.

Parent Evaluations - Matt Edwards

Posted by Dan Bolin on September 30, 2014 @ 20:03

When it comes to receiving feedback on the camping experience, listening to parent perspectives is just as important as hearing what the campers have to say. Pine Cove COO Matt Edwards explains the tools his East Texas camp uses to engage parents in communicating their feedback.

World-renowned management guru Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

At Pine Cove, we engage our camper parents through an online survey tool developed by Qualtrics. This digital survey is e-mailed to all camper households on the Monday following their most recently completed week of camp.  This past summer, 27% of the 14,307 households that attended overnight youth camp responded to our request.

The information we gather through these surveys is a direct result of listening to our parents over the years. They have consistently reported that their biggest concern about camping is safety, which takes on many forms in their mind’s eye including bullying, abuse prevention, physical facilities and medical care.  So we ask for their feedback on these issues. We also ask parents to respond about: 

  • their child’s spiritual experience at camp

  • the overall value of their Pine Cove experience

  • how they felt they were treated through the entire process from pre-registration to pre-camp contact

  • satisfaction with their child’s counselor

  • the overall value they perceived for the investment that they have made 

We take the results of each survey and evaluate them as the responses come in weekly. Any area that scores below the top two options for rating satisfaction automatically generates an e-mail to the appropriate camp director. The camp director has two days to call the parent (while the experience is still fresh) and discover how we missed the mark and what we need to learn in order to make sure the experience improves wherever possible. 

The notes from this conversation are captured in our registration system so our registration team has the full picture when communicating with this camper family throughout the year. If we claim that we really care about one of our camper families yet continue to fail to address a concern they’ve brought to our attention, then we are viewing them as more of a transaction rather than a life-long relationship.  

Parent evaluations are critical in helping us measure if we are fulfilling our organizational mission: “Pine Cove exists to be used by God to transform the lives of people for His purposes and His Glory.” Our goal is to engage our camper families 365 days a year, coming alongside them as they raise their kids to grow in their knowledge and application of God’s wisdom in their lives. 

Matt Edward is the Chief Operating Officer of Pine Cove Camps in Tyler, Texas. He and his wife Karen have been married for 25 years and have two daughters. Matt loves seeing how God uses camping to bring people into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus.

 

Staff Evaluations - Dr. Phil Simpson

Posted by Dan Bolin on September 22, 2014 @ 13:30

It seems simple – get feedback from your staff team to help evaluate the camping experience you are providing. Depending on the size of your team and the camp, simply set up any one or more of an online survey, distribute feedback forms, hold focus groups and it’s done.

The Problem

Well, there are two main problems actually. Firstly, the team will partly be evaluating their own performance. If the experience for the campers isn’t good, then it might come down to what the team members are doing. It is difficult to be brutally honest about such things, even with the most realistic servant heart. If they are delivering well and the campers seem to be having fun, then it is easy to be simplistic or complacent and report that everything is fine.

Secondly and maybe linked to the first, it is very difficult for team members to evaluate another’s experience. What they usually do is evaluate their own experience in providing a service. A simple example: I recently sat in on an evening session where part of the gospel was being presented. It was okay. The following morning the presenter’s report to the staff team meeting about the session majored on, “It was great, we had a great time, the kids listened.” While my evaluation was that it was only “okay,” the staff team evaluated their own experience highly. But it was not that of the campers.

The Answer

There is no one, simple answer, but steps can be taken to get useful feedback from the staff.

Firstly, make sure their training is based on what the campers are getting, not just on what the staff are providing. Simple I know, but….

Secondly, keep reminding them of that; it is the easiest thing to forget.

Then, work out what you want to evaluate. There is no point getting feedback about something that is poorer than you would like if can’t do anything about it. “The cabins are too small and need ventilation/heating/cooling.” “I know but I can’t change anything this season.”

If your priorities are that the campers are safe and feel safe, are having fun and learning something, then the staff training and the evaluation sought should focus on those things. Include the content of what they are learning – is it all about the gospel or are there other things in there?

The Data

Plan (before you ask) what you are going to do with the information you get back. If you want to create pie charts and graphs that will help to make a case for structural change, then ask questions with answers ticked on a scale of good to bad.  Even this sort of data will need interpretation. (What does it really mean if something is reported as poor or excellent?) Maybe it is neither of those things, but instead is a problem with the expectations you raised before the staff/campers arrived or the evaluation sought.

If you want to make a change to the lived experience of your campers, seek evaluation of how they feel or respond to something. The interpretation probably needs a follow up question or two, suggesting one form of small group conversation or another.

The Key

Putting the bones of a system in place is the easy bit – whether a survey, small group conversation or verbal reports at team meetings. Interpretation of all this is essential and only effective if you know your people and see them in action. Get out of the office and chat, ask the difficult follow-up questions: What does that mean? How do they feel about it?

Conclusion

Evaluate but don’t measure. Seek understanding. Find the things you can change. Don’t worry about the things you can’t.

 

 

Dr. Phil Simpson is chief executive of Abernethy, a provider of residential adventure programmes in Scotland. Abernethy seeks to grow the likeness of Christ in people’s lives through helping them to learn about themselves, others and God.  Phil and his wife Rosemary make their home by Loch Tay in the heart of Scotland.

 

Camper Feedback - Dave Tolman

Posted by Dan Bolin on September 15, 2014 @ 21:47

Gathering feedback from camp guests is crucial to improved service and also helps sustain relationships. In this issue of Setting the Table, Dave Tolman shares what works most effectively at The Tops Conference Centre in Stanwell Tops, Australia where he serves as executive director.

 

It’s Changeover Day, and the big question in our minds is, how did we do? How well did we look after those we served? This is a highly-sought-after piece of information that provides valuable third-party feedback on our performance.

When hosting approximately 45,000 guests annually via some 700+ groups, what the guest says provides key performance information. How to obtain cost effective, accurate, timely and useable feedback is a big question.

The cost to obtain feedback has historically been an onerous administrative task – how do we gather, sort and summarise it into meaningful information? We have until recently opted for leader summarised responses which hopefully adequately reflected group sentiment.

Currently we seek scaled (1=Poor to 9=Excellent) feedback from group leadership on the following criteria: Pre-arrival, Accommodation & Amenities, Staff & Service, Food Service and Activity Facilities & Program.

We further seek written comments on:

  • What did you most and least enjoy?
  • How can we improve?
  • General comments?

Prioritised responses on considerations for choosing our facility are also canvassed.

Each of these areas and, in particular, the written feedback provides some of the most meaningful input on what key pieces have or haven’t worked from a guest leaders perspective. Upon collection, these forms - which are marked with a system generated QR code - are scanned. This then triggers the electronic filing and automatic generation of a group email, instantaneously sending the feedback to departmental leaders for review.

This process, where practical, permits departments to quickly review and respond if anything has been raised that can be addressed prior to the group departing. Where permitted, we always follow up all negative comments to remedy any relational or performance deficit. We ascertain from detail what we can improve. For the guest, a quick response indicates a proactive, positive approach.

It’s a new world, and the opportunity to now canvass campers directly during their stay in effective, non-intrusive ways is growing rapidly. We now utilise specifically generated QR codes at various locations around the site with prompted questions targeting the collection of information on a new menu, activity or other experience. QR codes will take the user into a short survey menu or simply ask them to share their experience. Responses are monitored and screened (for appropriate content) prior to posting on the site’s website experience wall or otherwise used internally.

Technology, including the rampant use of smart phones, is now providing a unique interactive opportunity that will undoubtedly provide portals to gather guest experiences and feedback previously deemed way too onerous and costly to harvest.

How are you gathering and using your feedback?

 

Dave Tolman has been the Executive Director at The Tops Conference Centre since 1998. Dave has been married 24 years to Tammy and they have two children. Dave loves people and is involved in creative arts ministries in his community and in mission work around the world. Visit him at www.thetops.com.au 

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