2017 Campground Revenue Breakdowns and what it means for the Industry.  

Total in Revenue: 7 Billion 

 

Annual Growth Rate: 1.9%

 

Total Spent on Camping Equipment: 2.8 Billion 

 

Number of RV Camping Participants: 42 Million 

 

While there are over 14400 RV Parks and campgrounds across the US, 50 accounts for approximately 25% of the revenue. So how can little guys compete with the larger competitors? It is simple - marketing and things to do. 

 

A lot of smaller campgrounds are getting cut out by the competition due to lack of marketing. By simply making people who are in the areas within 4-12 hours of you aware of your park’s amenities plus the local ownership, more people will book you over corporately owned places. Download a free Marketing Guide for RV Park and Campground Owners here. 

 

Campground rentals, sales of amenities and accommodations such as cabins account for 85% of industry revenue, so do not forget to stock up on things like bug spray, firewood, and noodles to sell in the camp store. If you have the money, investing in a few cabins, kayaks or mountain bikes is also a great way to make extra rental income. Learn more about ways to make money each season here.

 

All in all what these numbers show us is the Campground and RV industry is here to stay but making sure your park succeeds is up to you. Need marketing, website or reservation management help? We got you covered. Just email us at howdy@letsbonfire.com or click here to send us a message. 

5 Things Every PARK Must Have For This Digital World. 

5 Things Every PARK Must Have For This Digital World. 

If you do not have a website, social media and the ability to book online, it is almost as if you don’t exist for the 83 million Americans between the ages of 25-35. Yes, we are talking about the dreaded millennials but speaking as one, we WILL NOT book if we can’t online. So here is a breakdown of the things we millennials want to see and what campgrounds must have to get our money. 

From Busy to Successful - RV Park and Campgrounds

Spring is in the air, and with it comes a flood of sun-loving guests to your campground or RV park. You have officially made it out of the slow season (hooray!), and are now preparing for peak business in the coming months. So, how can you ensure that your campground or RV park isn’t just busy, but successful? Here are some ideas that could be helpful for RV park or campground owners and operators:

 

Be active and stay informed with your local tourism organization. Whether it’s a small Chamber of Commerce, a full-blown Tourist Board, or a more loosely knit group, be a part of it. Your campground or RV park contributes a lot to the tourism industry in your area. Outdoor recreation is beginning to boom this time of year, and the camping/RVing industry is growing substantially year over year. Take full advantage of being a valued tourism partner, and showcase incentives like online booking. If your campground or RV park doesn’t have this feature yet, now is a great time to get on board with Bonfire. Check out how we stack up against our competitors here.

 

Activities are a must. Whether you’re marketing to long-term guests or those just passing through, the more activities you offer, the more enticing your RV park or campground will be. Activities can be as simple as free pancake breakfasts, to special days for Farmers Markets, Friday beer carts, or an outdoor concert series. The more fun you make available, the more appealing your park will be. Check out our last blog article for more activity ideas.

 

Work hard to help publicize local events and activities at your park to your clientele. Make sure you keep your past guests up to date with an email newsletter and weekly posts to your social media pages. Your past guests are gold, so offer specials or value-enhanced packages to encourage them to come back and attend events in your community. For instance, Emerald Desert RV Resort in the Coachella Valley, California has special rates and lots of activities centered around both the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, including bus transportation to and from the music venue. Potential campers don’t have to buy a ticket to the festivals to be part of the fun at this RV resort, but they make it easy for festival-goers to attend hassle-free. For more ways to effectively market your campground or RV park, check out our marketing-specific blog here.

 

Interested in learning more about Bonfire? Schedule a demo with our Head Honcho to see for yourself why more parks are turning to Bonfire.

Top Tips for New Campground Owners

Congrats! You have just started, bought or inherited your own campground. We’re sure you are excited, and scared. But worry not. Here, we will outline some top tips for making your new campground thrive from the very beginning. 

  1. Iron out your theme. If you are starting a campsite from scratch, it may be best to start off with a campground that is geared towards tent or RV camping. This type of campground requires no cabins and limited buildings. In fact, depending on the guidelines for your area, only a shower and bathroom building may be required. Be sure to check with the US Forest Service for permits, designated areas, and special guidelines that may apply to your campground.

  2. Let there be light. Electrical hookups are a must for many campers. You will need to make sure that each site of the campground has an electrical hookup for powering small appliances or for powering RV campers. Hire a professional electrician to make sure that all electrical outlets and connections meet the standard codes and requirements required for campgrounds.

  3. Create a place for waste. Dump stations and sewer hookups will need to be in place if you plan on having RV camps or tent camping. Make them accessible, but not noticable if possible. No one really wants to look at your waste setup while they are trying to enjoy the beautiful views of nature.

  4. Make it easy to get clean. Build shower houses throughout the campground. Simple shower stalls can be separated by shower curtains or by wood walls, and on the opposite side of the showers, inside of the enclosure, you can have toilets, sinks, and a dry changing area for the campers. This will allow campers who are tent camping to be able to clean, dress, and use the bathroom all in one area before returning to camp.

  5. Fire it up. When you start a campground, do not forget the fire pits! Fire pits can be dug easily with stones borders to keep flames and ashes in a concentrated area and grates over the fire pits for cooking. This simple set up will provide campers with a place to stay warm and to cook without having to leave their site. Equip each site or camper with a fire extinguisher and have fire safety sheds nearby for added security.

  6. Make your customers comfortable. Keep one cabin or building as a camp office. In the office, offer options like a game room, small breakfast area, fireplace, camping essentials in travel size containers, a food bar, and communication room. Make sure the communication room is equipped with phones and Internet. Some campers are business travelers and may need that emergency email or Internet communication. It will appeal to them to have that convenience readily available without having to leave the site.

  7. Make sure to offer wifi. One way to offer free wifi, while also boosting your engagement is to offer free wifi if they check in on Facebook at your park. You will grow your Facebook reach instantly. Click here for more info. 

  8. Get organized. With Bonfire software, campground management is super simple with online booked, reservation management, and an integrated payment processing system, giving you more time to enjoy your campground. Check out our free demo here.

Free & Paid Activities You Could Add To Your Park

As a campground manager, you are always looking for the best way to combine the needs of clients and earn a steady revenue stream. The spring and summer months are fast-approaching, and with these seasons comes a renewed interest in spending time outdoors. Now is the time to start planning fun and interactive events at your campground to bring in both traffic and revenue. Below are campground activities that can be offered to your customers, either for free or for a set fee.

 

Let’s start with some free activities.

 

  1. Scavenger hunt - this is an event to promote in advance to make sure there are enough participants to split into at least two teams. If you have added new features to your park, be sure to include them as destinations within the hunt.

  2. Bingo - a large-scale bingo night could be a family-friendly event, or open to pretty much anyone. Find free templates for bingo cards here.

  3. Ultimate Frisbee tournament - Not only will this attract more customers one time, but by installing a mini course, you can attract people who are looking for more than just a campsite year-round.

  4. Guided hiking tours - add a charge for a pancake breakfast option, or group the two together as a package deal.

  5. Outdoor movie night - draw people in with a free movie, then set up a concession stand nearby where people can purchase snacks, drinks, and props to go with the movie!


 

5 Activities to Bring in Revenue

 

  1. Lunch & Learn for Campfire Cooking - this could be a great class (interactive or not) for customers who frequently camp on your grounds. Encourage everyone to make their next camping trip even more enjoyable with hot, easy-to-make food choices.

  2. Craft Day - make it a kid’s camp day so with tie-dye t-shirts, god’s eyes, etc., so parents can take the day off. Y can also offer an adult painting class or wine tasting while their kids are crafting.

  3. Glow hayride - customers can purchase glow sticks, necklaces, and other items for the hayride onsite before the event begins.

  4. Pool party & cookout - invite everyone for the free pool party complete with floaties, noodles, and other pool toys, then set up a poolside bbq station to sell hamburgers, hot dogs, sides, and drinks.

  5. Grilling competition - invite grillmasters from all over to come and show their skills; charge a fee for each competition entry, plus a fee for visitors that includes a certain number of samples of drinks. In the cold months, change it out for a chili cook off.

 

Besides revenue, the main goal of any campground activity should be enhancing the guest experience. Make sure they leave happy, and they will go out and tell their friends about it. No two campgrounds are alike, so think about that activities will work best at your park. The best learning experiences will come from branching out of your comfort zone to try something new for both your customers, and your park.

Awesome Campground Features!

More than one million households started camping last year, and your campground could attract a slice of that proverbial pie with a few amenity adjustments. When you own a campground, you have a lot more money-making opportunities at your disposal than you might think. Sure, renting out campground space will remain your strongest financial asset, but consider integrating auxiliary products and services to boost your bottom line. Think of it as becoming a one-stop-shop location for outdoor enjoyment; customers are likely already seeking out these products and services, but are forced to visit nearby competition if you don’t offer them. Here are some ideas to step up your game for the coming camping season.

 

  1. Stage or Theater - building a stage in your park opens up a world of possibilities for future campground activities. Invited bands or singers are much more likely to accept if they have a stage to play on, which can also be used for plays, talent shows, and kickoff event on holiday weekends. Check out Theater in the Pines Campground within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, whose outdoor amphitheater is a big attraction.

  2. Splash Grounds - it may seem counterintuitive to add a water feature to your park if you are already near a lake or large body of water, but specific splashground features like water slides, splash showers, and a game area could really increase visitor numbers during those hot summer months. Frontier Town, situated along the Sinepuxent Bay in Maryland, boasts a lazy river, wading pool, and cactus fountains.

  3. Sports - adding a basketball court, horseshoe area, or volleyball dune would be a huge draw for both families and large groups of campers, giving them an activity that does not cost your park any additional time or money. Sports Lake Campground in Indiana is aptly named for the numerous activities they offer, including mini golf, disk golf, basketball, shuffleboard, and an arcade.

  4. Obstacle Course - does your campground or park host a summer camp, or would you like to? Aa obstacle course is a great way to get both kids and parents outside, and engaged in an activity. An obstacle course could also be available to rent out to nearby fitness groups for training or their own events. Many parks set up temporary obstacle courses for the summer, but if you’re interested in building a permanent course that stays up year round, check out the Confidence Course used by the Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

  5. General Store - people forget things when packing for a trip, it just happens sometimes. By providing a one-stop-shop experience for your clients, they will experience the ease of not having to leave the grounds for something simple like a bandaid or tylenol. Stocking your camp store with snacks, drinks, and even small souvenirs can dramatically increase revenue as well. The Lost Lake Resort store in Oregon offers just about everything from beer & wine, toys, and single-day fishing licenses.


If your campground or RV Park already has cool features, we would love to hear about them or even feature them in a blog. Email us at howdy@letsbonfire.com to submit your park and as always, happy camping!

4 Easy and Effective Ways to Market Your RV Park or Campground on Facebook 

1. Target Potential Customers With Ads Showcasing Your Park. 

Facebook allows you to get INSANELY specific with who you are targeting. For example, you can target people who live in your state, who love camping between the ages of 25-40 and show them someone kicking back with a beer at sunset. If you have a lot of family activities, post about those and target those who like camping or RVing and have kids. It is SO easy and SUPER effective. 

Check out this step by step tutorial for more on FB ads or call Beknown Austin, a marketing company who specializes in marketing RV Parks and Campgrounds. 

 

2. Run a Simple Contest to Get People Talking

Ask people who have been to your park before to share pictures and memories at your park. The best one wins a free weekend. You can always choose a slower part of the season for the giveaway but the point is to get past customers to relive the fun they had at your camp. These photos will also be great for other FB posts and your website. To make sure it gets in front of the right people, you can always run an ad to those who have liked your page to make sure they see what you are asking for. 

 

3. Don’t Forget the Pups

These days pets are treated like children so letting people know you are open to pets would be HUGE. Besides that, dogs are cute so you will get a lot of likes. 

 

4. Ask for Likes and Reviews on Facebook

Did you know you can run ads to friends of people who like your page? It will show up as “Name of Friend likes this page”, and thusly, people will pay more attention. Also, reviews are everything. So if you can get people to review your business on any social account, you should. 

 

5. Make sure you add a Call to Action Button

You can choose from seven pre-made button options ("Sign Up," "Shop Now," "Contact Us," "Book Now," "Use App," Watch Video," and "Play Game") and link it to any website that aligns with your business' goals - getting more reservations. It could link to your homepage, a contact form, or phone number.

You can learn how to add a CTA button to your business' Facebook Page here.

 

We hope these tips help your campground become even more successful than it already is. That is what we at Bonfire are all about, helping your RV Park or Campground be the best it can be. If you have any questions about how we can help your park, feel free to shoot us a message BY CLICKING HERE or email us at howdy@letsbonfire.com