Case study: The Caravan Club | DMA

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Case study: The Caravan Club


The Caravan Club brings all its customer data from its four divisions together to develop a single customer view (SCV) and uses this to deliver tailored marketing communications for its one million members. Head of member marketing at The Caravan Club, Tony Lewis explains how.

The Caravan Club is a £100-million business with over one million members. Founded in 1907, The Club has positioned itself as the one-stop shop for all things caravanning. On the whole, members join The Club to gain access to the caravan sites, most of which The Club owns across the UK. There are four core areas of the business: The Sites Network, Insurance, Travel Services, and Membership.

The objective – to develop the single customer view (SCV)
As you can imagine, with four diverse business operations operating under one roof, there are a lot of complexities that go with it. For a number of years, we have been looking to develop a single customer view (SCV) to reach a point where we can tailor communication and understand what a member needs before they even know it, and act upon it.

The idea is to develop a stellar member experience, one where a member feels that they are the only member in The Club. Every time a member receives a communication, visits the website or calls, they get an experience that’s tailored to their individual needs and interests. This level of personalisation and targeting also helps reduce the cost of marketing communications.

The challenge – delivering the SCV in a changing environment
As a marketer I have always been amazed by how slow we are to bring an idea to fruition. So I was keen to create an environment that not only delivered the SCV, but also allowed the team to be agile and think about the art of the possible. I like to look at this using the Stephen Covey white-water analogy.

Covey said that a company needs to operate as if it is in a white-water environment, an uneven landscape with swirling waters which can take you in different directions. The challenge for any company operating in this environment is agility and teamwork to be able to change as the current changes. If it doesn’t it will suffer, and not be able to keep up in today’s changing world.

So how could we apply this idea to The Caravan Club? With four different business models there are fundamentally different data models and, if that wasn’t difficult enough, processes are pretty different as well. Some of our services are operated via third parties, so this data also needs to be brought into the picture.

The solution: the SCV
The Caravan Club has successfully developed the SCV which has, in turn, helped us create tailored marketing triggered communication with the member experience in mind. I was particularly keen on triggered communication as it reduces effort, allowing staff to focus their effort elsewhere.

Companies always forget to mention their biggest assets – people! People realise benefits. From this point of view, we have developed our people’s data capability, and also changed their mindset so they think about what is possible, not what we can’t do!

How did we get there?
First we had to develop a business case to release funds to recruit a supplier and create a project – the business case not only majored on the return on investment, but also focused on key deliverables post implementation with milestones.

We recruited a third-party information services business to develop the SCV and supply the tools we needed (Faststats and Pure360). We then created a new data driven team and ran training courses for key staff to increase their skills in the context of data and to hone interpersonal skills.

Next, we developed experience-led triggered communication, all the time working closely with our IT department. Most importantly, while technology is important I treated and positioned this project as delivering capability and benefits not delivering technology.

So far, we have paid back 40% of the original investment, and we are due to repay the costs in full within the first 12 months – 12 months earlier than planned!

Where to next?
Okay, so we have a platform. If you recall, the vision is to deliver a stellar member experience. So far, we have leveraged the SCV to develop tailored communication and make business decisions – this is most definitely part of delivering a stellar member experience.

If we really want members to feel they are the only member in The Club, we need to tailor the experience at all touch points, not just marcoms.

We are currently in the process of developing member profiles and building qualitative research into this so that we can truly understand the members’ needs and wants. This will allow The Club to manage the member journey in a more informed and explicit way, possibly develop products for a specific profile of members. I also see us taking the marcoms piece and performance measures to a different level – I won’t say anymore as I’d much rather surprise you!

Tony Lewis, Head of Member Marketing, The Caravan Club

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