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Old 09-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
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Improvements in club membership

I just have to say that the past year and a half, working to help put the club's web infrastructure on track and working for change in the club has been a challenge and a blessing at the same time. Many know I have been outspoken about how the club's online assets have been managed in the past and that a new way of doing things needed to happen. The leadership of the club did take heed of not only my thoughts, but many others and have opened the doors to change. The results are coming in - these changes are working. The web site is now a part of a collaborative effort to bring in new memberships and increase involvement in units. This effort also includes work being done by Fred Richardson's Marketing Committee and together we are seeing positive results. I for one am glad to see this happening. It energizes me and keeps me going.

I don't know the exact numbers, but I have been told that new registrations to the club are up. From John's message in the Blue Beret....
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Boutwell
A very encouraging trend is that the number of new members thus far this year has increased substantially with two important changes in the statistics. Since we opened the opportunity for members to join a Unit online in addition to the Member at Large (MAL) category there has been a reduction in MAL applications and a significant overall increase in Unit membership applications.

My only question is what can we do to keep making it better? We are listening and doing what we can as a committee. I hope this thread can offer positive thoughts and ideas we can work towards.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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I think the ECC is doing a great job setting up what is needed to help drag the club , perhaps kicking and screaming, into the modern world.

At this point perhaps the need is to get the officers to start communicating with the membership both frequently and in a timely manner.

The old military style system of president to region president to unit president to members is archaic, involves over 100 people, and also does not work.
I can not ever remember getting any info on upcoming events etc. directly from region 6 and only rarely sent on by the unit.
There is a need for info to be sent to the membership by constant contact
or at least by posting on the new website.

As anyone who belongs to Good Sam or Escapees knows, there is no lack of information flow from these clubs. It is nice to have a coupon in the BB, but it is simply not enough to get the job done as we need reminders from time to time as most of us have a lot of non Airstream stuff going on in our life also.
It looks to me like a lot of people have done a lot of hard work to get the tools in place. The officers need to use them
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Rick, as a member of Region 6/Mississippi I feel pretty much the same as you do. By the time I find out what is going on it is too late as other plans have been made. The WBCCI needs to lean down big time and on-time communications with the current membership needs to be greatly improved. I donít really feel that I got any worth out of my first years membership but decided to renew for another year in Region 6/Mississippi with reservation in hopes that next year things with improve.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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Tim

Thanks for your work on the web site. I have to make one comment on the awareness of the site. It was only after reading your post on Air Forums that I was even knew there was a new web site. Armed with the knowledge that there was I had to go looking for it. .com was the first choice and it was not there. I found it on the second or third try.

If the Club is behind the site why not send every member an invitation to take a look via Constant Contact that it is up and running so they can bookmark it and use it.

One of my long time frustrations with the Club is the fact that the Blue Berte historically has published upcoming rally information one month after half of the rallies listed have taken place. I have suggested that they try and change that so one could plan before the fact rather than miss a rally altogether.

Along those lines I see no reason why the web site could not publish rallies as soon as they are scheduled by a unit or at least 3 months in advance. Yes this would produce a lot of information on the site. But it is not impacted by the historical refusal of the Leadership that it would increase publication cost as there is no cost to the web once up and running.

If links were included with the listings I can only see attendance at rallies going up. Currently the Air Forums rally list gives that information and I use it while planning my travels.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE
Tim

Thanks for your work on the web site. I have to make one comment on the awareness of the site. It was only after reading your post on Air Forums that I was even knew there was a new web site. Armed with the knowledge that there was I had to go looking for it. .com was the first choice and it was not there. I found it on the second or third try.

If the Club is behind the site why not send every member an invitation to take a look via Constant Contact that it is up and running so they can bookmark it and use it.

One of my long time frustrations with the Club is the fact that the Blue Berte historically has published upcoming rally information one month after half of the rallies listed have taken place. I have suggested that they try and change that so one could plan before the fact rather than miss a rally altogether.

Along those lines I see no reason why the web site could not publish rallies as soon as they are scheduled by a unit or at least 3 months in advance. Yes this would produce a lot of information on the site. But it is not impacted by the historical refusal of the Leadership that it would increase publication cost as there is no cost to the web once up and running.

If links were included with the listings I can only see attendance at rallies going up. Currently the Air Forums rally list gives that information and I use it while planning my travels.
Just putting in my two cents. Our San Diego unit already has 2013 rallies up with the host that will be running them. Registration doesn't happen until a 2 or 3 months before the rally but we give the entire year out for members to plan. Feel free to check it out. Airstreamsandiego.com
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:04 PM   #6
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During the official grand opening of Rick Foley's Airstream of Mississippi in Gulfport this past weekend, I spoke with him about setting up a bulletin board for all of the "local" WBCCI Units to post information about their activities and membership opportunities, so that people who visit the dealership can get more localized information than is available in the standard brochure. It might end up being more of a kiosk than a bulletin board, and will probably be in the dealer's waiting/lounge area.

It might help if the Blue Beret would publish a free "introductory" issue, along the lines of a "best of" selection of articles— and including a special article on how to join, and how to find a Unit in the buyer's area— that could be sent in bulk to Airstream dealers to put in their waiting rooms and hand out complementary copies to customers. Thinking ahead, a new "introductory" issue could be prepared once a year, collecting the best articles from the previous year and updating the "how to join" information as the points of contact change.

Such an introductory issue wouldn't negate the need for the brochures already being published; it would supplement them by adding a more personal touch to the sales pitch.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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I'm responding to the discussion above how how to target younger members.

Basically we're a young family with 10 year old twins. At this age (kids around 5th grade) many of our friends at our elementary school are starting to experiment with RV trips with their families, which could easily be a gateway to owning an Airstream. We all remember being thrown in the back of the station wagon for family road trips when we were kids.

I think the key thing to understand is that I'm trying to create amazing memories for my family - that's the number one reason I bought my Airstream - it's a little different than the message about "living life on the road" that I assume is directed at retired folks that I see all over the website.

I think the whole discussion above about a better on-line presence - whether through a website for through facebook - and better email communication is a good one. This stuff is absolutely mandatory for people my age - we don't care about membership cards, we don't want paper. Just make it easy to sign up on line, learn about what's going on, and get your events into my google calendar and I'm super happy.

A couple of additional thoughts.

The very first thing anyone my age looking into becoming part of the airstream community is going to do is to google "Airstream." Try doing this.

The first search result is the Airstream company.

The second search result is for the Wikepedia article on Airstreams. WBCCI is briefly mentioned in this article, but there is no link to either of your websites. Anyone can edit wikipedia entries - so someone should go do this - make sure the wikipedia entry on WBCCI is correct, and add a link to your new website.

Air Forums comes up as the fourth search result - so anyone looking at becoming part of the airstream community is going to find this website. I've found it to be an incredible resource.

Neither WBCCI.net or WBCCI.org come up anywhere in the first four pages of Google search results for Airstream - which basically means that Google does not know you exist. And as such, folks from my generation are not going to find you easily. So I would advise a search engine optimization project for your websites.

Other thoughts:

I became aware of WBCCI through this forum and by meeting members on the road this summer who sought us out in campgrounds. Almost everyone we met were retired couples and they were super nice and helpful. But if you want to recruit more young members, the first thing I would want to know is whether the organization thinks about people like me, and our needs - or are you really more for retired folks living on the road.

Our schedule is super busy, and we have to plan far in advance. We aren't retired, so I only have weekends, plus a max of three weeks per year of vacation, to use our Airstream. So having early notices of events is really mandatory - and week long caravans are impossible to do more than one or two a year of. Really cool, special weekend trips that the kids would love would be awesome - this is the kind of stuff I'm now planning on my own.

Also, given we have such short windows for vacation, we care a lot more about having a great experience than pinching the very last penny. I don't want to waste money, but vacation time is even more precious. The messaging on the website about caravans seems to focus on cost savings - I can understand why it's there, I'm just saying it misses the mark with my needs.

I would also want to understand what events are kid friendly and whether the organization in general is family friendly - I can imagine my kids and dog really pissing off retired couples who are trying to get away from grandkids, noise and chaos. I found just one page on one of the websites about streaming with kids - it's pretty thin - and it talks about grandchilden. How about lots of pictures of happy young families, or some indicator of kid friends events on the schedule pages?

I hope this helps - I'm not exactly generation X - but we do have lots of friends that are intrigued by our Airstream and I hope this is helpful feedback about how to get them more interested in joining.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:43 PM   #8
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Dan's comments really hit the mark. Especially the value of vacation and the need for a high quality compact experience. Our unit just did a Blu Ridge Parkway caravan. It started on Monday and finished the following Saturday evening. Could we have pen more time? Sure, but I had to get back to work and the compact caravan provided a great experience.

Lot's of web presence and complete electronic communication are musts as well.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #9
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We looked at joining when we bought our vintage AS. There is an old sticker on our front curb side window of the previous owner and the old faded numbers. Looked at the site and it seems that everything is in s-l-o-w motion there.
We bought ours with the specific purpose of vintage Americana for us and our kids and grandkids. We want to keep it that way, fix things as they come, but keep it as it was built. We came of age when ours was built and want to preserve that era as something to pass on.
Would love to join and put our numbers on our AS. It seems as if the site lives in the passed glory days. But then Airforums gets new member almost each day. What is the disconnect?
On our recent trip to Canada we saw many many Airstreams, old and new. I don't remember one that had the numbers...
Hopefully the site can be brought up to date. Would love to help in any way.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:09 PM   #10
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Check out the Texas Vintage Airstream rally next year. It will be advertised on this site. Who knows, you might enjoy yourselves.

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big C View Post
We looked at joining when we bought our vintage AS. There is an old sticker on our front curb side window of the previous owner and the old faded numbers. Looked at the site and it seems that everything is in s-l-o-w motion there.
We bought ours with the specific purpose of vintage Americana for us and our kids and grandkids. We want to keep it that way, fix things as they come, but keep it as it was built. We came of age when ours was built and want to preserve that era as something to pass on.
Would love to join and put our numbers on our AS. It seems as if the site lives in the passed glory days. But then Airforums gets new member almost each day. What is the disconnect?
On our recent trip to Canada we saw many many Airstreams, old and new. I don't remember one that had the numbers...
Hopefully the site can be brought up to date. Would love to help in any way.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wkerfoot View Post
Check out the Texas Vintage Airstream rally next year. It will be advertised on this site. Who knows, you might enjoy yourselves.

Bill
Bill,
Thanks for the update! There are a couple rallies here in Texas coming up. Since we are relative newbies we are still venturing out to some more on our own. We look for other "streamers" while out on the road. Our next trip upcoming is to our favorite area in Oklahoma at Lower Mountain Fork River. Great trout fishing, kayaking on the lake, biking, hiking and running. Going during Thanksgiving since none of our kids are coming this year. So we will just have a new adventure. Will keep this rally in mind!
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
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The officers of Region 3 send a monthly.(almost monthly/3 in 4 months) newsletter to every Region 3 member with an email address (710) and to the MALs (59) who reside in the Region 3 area. This newsletter provides information about unit caravans, unit rallies, national caravans, membership, and region rally. Anyone is free to include an article about any subject. Region 3 has 1040 members, so we are attempting to communicate directly to our members. If you like. I'll include anyone on the mailing list. Why don't you talk directly to your Region officers about doing the same. We also ask that if a person knows someone without an email address, make a copy and give,to them. This newsletter is also placed on the Region 3 website and has been included on some unit websites

Our own unit, Big Bend FL has listed the entire year's schedule of rallies and unit caravans in newsletters and on the unit website for several years.

Some folks are communicating!
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:38 PM   #13
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I'm a new owner and becoming involved in the Oklahoma City unit. I feel having a Face Book page for the units that are updated can help in the regions.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:54 AM   #14
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sitting here at tog, thinking, now that is something there. I believe the changes need to be made from the top down and at close to the same time. Direction from the international officers to the regions and to the units and then to the members would have a consistency and continuity to it. With the new forum coming around emphasis needs to be put on the need for improvements electronically. Units through the region officers should be strongly encouraged to update their. Even though I hate social media with a passion, it s the way to the future. we need direction from the top downNOW, not next generation to set these things in motion. thank you to those who are working on the new forum. Sorry for the ramblings. Jim
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