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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Guided hiking tours - add a charge for a pancake breakfast option, or group the two together as a package deal.
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
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.
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.
Glow hayride - customers can purchase glow sticks, necklaces, and other items for the hayride onsite before the event begins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com to submit your park and as always, happy camping!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
With over 400 million active users, Instagram is a great way to connect with potential clients and past clients. People love to see look at pretty photos and videos, which is why Instagram dominates social media platforms. Posting visually stunning photos of sunsets, fun videos of activities, or just a great image of cooking s’mores by a fire, will get a ton of likes.
Just posting an image will not get it in front of the RIGHT people. Therefore, you need to add hashtags such as #ourcamplife or #wanderlust. This will help it to reach those who love to camp and just might want to camp at your park.
Additionally, you can look up people who have visited your campground and posted to Instagram. Just perform a search for your campground name or address in the search bar. Instagram will then show you everyone who has posted within that vicinity. You can then go in and thank patrons for visiting and invite them to return.
Don’t forget to add a link where people can make online reservations within your Instagram bio. Then, at the end of every post, type “link in bio” so they know where to go to book.
2. Facebook Business Page
Even if you have not created a Business page on Facebook, your park has one. How? Facebook allows users to check into an address or a business even if the business has not set one up. The business can then go in and claim their page.
Facebook’s algorithms change frequently so we will address how to get your posts seen after this. So if not to post, then why use Facebook at all? To engage with customers and answer people messaging your business. Because people interact on Facebook so much, when people google search your business, your page might pop up. They then can go to that page to ask questions, read more about you and check out reviews. You need to be able to engage back.
Remember, even if you never set up a Facebook page for your campground or RV Park, FB already has. You need to take control of it!
3. Facebook Ads
You read about how Facebook doesn’t really show your page’s posts to a lot of people. Yeah, they can be real jerks to businesses. This is so people’s feeds are not just of business posts, but their friends. So, how do you get in front of people? Run ads.
I am not talking about spending a crazy amount of money. Maybe $10 a week. You can target people based off age, location (suggest starting in the same state or within 3 hours travel of your business) and likes (like camping, RVing, etc). Check out the post below for an example.
If you then run an ad to people within 3 hours driving distance and who love camping or RVing over 30, you will get clicks with the goal being pushing more reservations.
4. Conversion Tracking
So, how will you know if ad money is worth it? Place a little code on the page people reach after people book a site or contact you. Facebook walks you through it. You then can see how much it cost per conversion or people booking spots, to see if ads are worth it. If done right, they always will be! If this is too complicated for you, reach out to our go-to marketing partner, Beknown. Based out of Austin, they know all that tech mumbo-jumbo.
One way to make FB posting easier is to use Hootesuite. You can schedule posts out for the whole year if you want for all platforms with just a couple of clicks. Best part, it is free!
7. Review Sites
Just like Facebook, even if you have not set up a business page on sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, you still have one. The bad part is that people are reviewing and are going without engagement back. The best way to get repeat customers is through providing the best experience possible and this includes after they leave.
Also, you HAVE to be listed on Google. 65% use Chrome (Google's search engine) or google maps to look up more info on businesses. If your business is not listed, you do not show up. Request a listing here.
8. Email Marketing
Chances are you are collecting emails for those who have stayed in your park if not, you should be. Why? So you can send them emails to remind them why your park is so great and to come back! Email services like MailChimp are perfect and are free for up to 2000 email addresses. They come with easy to change templates and look professional. Offer a coupon for their next visit or pictures of cool new park features.
On every site, your website is listed. People WILL go there. So if you are spending money and time marketing, you need to make sure you are sending people to a professional site.
SEO or search engine optimization helps out a lot when people search for parks in your area. With SEO, your site might not ever show up organically. Check out this article to learn more about how Google works.
Also, most people are used to instant gratification. Therefore, you need to accept online reservations. Over 40% of people in 2016 booked their stay 1-5 days in advance and 24% booked stays the day of. Most people who are looking to book the day of don’t have time to call around. They are looking for convenience. So why not let your campground or RV park can give that to them while making money? Luckily, sites like Bonfire makes it easy.
Without a great campground, you will have nothing great to market. If you oversell your space, people will feel disappointed or fooled and leave bad reviews which are hard to bounce back from. What features of parks would convince you to visit? Perhaps start there.
We hope these marketing tips help your RV Park or campground have the most successful year yet! If you need help, reach out to our go-to marketers at Beknown Austin. They have not only created park maps and built websites, but have also managed Facebook campaigns and claimed countless park pages.
Having a great campground reservation system is a must in today’s modern world. In 2016 alone, 148.3 million travel bookings were made online in 2016 in the United States and 40% were made just 48 hours in advance. Just look around at the back of huge parking lots and you will find many RVs in the morning hours. A lot of people looking to book the night of are looking for convenience and give up before finding a spot for their RV.
Ways To Make Extra Money Each SeasonAutumn is the most beautiful season and a wonderful time for camping. A great way to showcase that beauty and make some extra money is by photographing it. Keepsakes like postcards, t-shirts and mugs can be emblazoned with your images and cherished forever by campers. This is a good way to grab camper's addresses too. You will need to get their current home address to send them their mugs. You can charge a little more for your time and picture. Use a service such as Vista Print to order the keepsakes.
This month our customer spotlight is on Derek and Vicky Brookshire, a couple who manage one of the most beautiful campgrounds in the country. The Crockery Creek RV Park campground in Ravenna, MI is a resort style RV Park that everyone needs to know about. Vicky and Derek use their extensive knowledge of the area and dedication to customer experience to make sure their campground keeps people coming back again and again. Here is what Vicki had to say.