Effective Communication is Key

This article was recently published in the January 2018 edition of our Spark e-newsletter.

Woodhaven Lakes Association is a private camping resort in North Central Illinois with 4,000+ members. Since summer is the busiest season, employees always have summer on their mind. When they are not working to make this year’s summertime memorable, they are getting things ready for the next. With a membership of this size, planning and organizing events and managing the facilities and property are a constant task – just sharing news and announcements with members is a full-time job.

As their main form of communication, Woodhaven’s website had two roles: grab potential new members attention and communicate news to current members. This proved to be a lot of content for them to display and manage along with the added challenge of keeping some information only available to certain people.

Realizing that they needed a better way to streamline and manage the process and easy navigation, Woodhaven came to MCS for help. After meeting with Woodhaven on their needs and vision, we proposed a website using WordPress, a content management system. WordPress would allow Woodhaven staff members to easily make updates without needing any html or coding knowledge. In addition to WordPress’ easy-to-use interface, it has thousands of plugins to quickly add extra functionality to the site, like a members-only section.

The membership plugin easily added a way for members to register on the site and gain access to the information that is only available to those who have a Woodhaven Lakes Association membership.

It’s like having two websites in one – the public site with all of Woodhaven’s selling points for potential new clients and a private site for members to view member-specific information.

After the success of the website,

Communication is keyWoodhaven wanted to take interaction to the next level. They were looking for a mobile app for smartphones or tablets to help engage with their members with features like a calendar of upcoming events, a fan wall where members can share photos or comments about the property, an inquiry form, and a property map. These features have made the app a favorite of many members. The Woodhaven app even has a loyalty program, which acts much like a punch card, that can earn members points and rewards for using certain site facilities.

However, engaging members wasn’t the only reason for the app. After experiencing a devastating tornado a few years ago, Woodhaven wanted a way to quickly notify its members of any important announcements or warnings. With the smartphone app, they can instantly send out push notifications to members. Along with warnings, push notifications can also provide friendly reminders about upcoming events or deadlines. So far, members love the app and its usefulness. The added layer of communication, along with the ease of use, keeps people using and praising it.

Woodhaven is just one example of how we can help your company reach your customers – both current and potential. Here at MCS, we create solutions to improve the functionality, reach, brand-awareness, and productivity of your business. Contact us today to see how we can help you solve your business needs.

Randy Koehler, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Woodhaven Association shared his thoughts on this project:

Digital media and communications is changing at breakneck speeds and keeping up with current and future trends and technologies are challenging to say the least. That’s why we rely on MCS Advertising’s knowledge and expertise to help stay ahead of the curve with these challenges. Two projects we leaned heavily on MCS over the past few years includes the redesign of Woodhaven’s website and development of our mobile app.

Through the help of MCS, our new responsive website now not only looks fresh and modern, but is also scalable from desktop to mobile devices. Not having a site that works well on mobile phones was definitely a drawback for all previous website designs. The new platform also allows us to manage our own content easily and quickly in-house, giving us the ability to keep our website information and communications current and up-to-date.

Our new mobile app, which debuted in early 2017, is quickly becoming Woodhaven’s go-to communications platform for property owners, guests, and employees. When we first discussed the concept of a mobile app within our marketing department and at the committee level, budget and cost were the two factors that initially concerned us the most. MCS helped us design an effective, efficient, and visually appealing communications tool from concept to implementation at a cost that has been well worth the investment based on customer feedback and usage. The app is packed with features and has the capability to expand to suit our future needs. Having the ability to send out push notifications within the app also allowed us to discontinue our costly text notification system. The loyalty program has helped property owners and staff engage with each other in a fun way, while introducing app users to programs and services they might not otherwise use or even be aware of. We are definitely excited about future possibilities within the app, how it complements our website and social media, and how it can continue to improve our communications with our property owners and guests.

Let's get to work.