If you’re a campground operator looking to maximize your business, just fielding reservations might feel like a challenge.
How do you maximize occupancy? Where is the best place to focus your energy? How do you create a better booking experience?
If you want to elevate the online reservation experience for guests, you can take some meaningful, practical steps. Here are eight ways to create a better booking experience for guests.
First and foremost, you may find that the biggest bang for your buck will likely come from running ads on Google and Facebook.
The average cost to reach 1,000 people in magazine and newspaper ads is between $20 and $32, whereas the same reach by Google AdWords and Facebook will only run you $2.75 and $0.25, respectively.
To give this some more perspective, on average, 28.6 million U.S. citizens read a newspaper; however, there are currently over 100 million Americans on Facebook and at least 246 million unique Google users in the U.S.
Not to mention, you can target the specific audience and region for your ads.
For industry proof, here’s a helpful read about how Camping World had a very successful Facebook ad campaign last year in which they were able to achieve 84 percent more leads.
Nothing beats online reservations.
Before the pandemic, people made over 148.3 million travel reservations (across multiple industries) annually online. Since then, the online travel industry has grown to nearly $600 billion.
Campgrounds with online reservation systems have had a lot to do with those numbers. Parks like Golden Municipal took 100 percent of their bookings online last year and will continue to do the same in 2021.
The reason? It’s just easier.
For starters, online reservation systems can arrange reservations to maximize your campground, ensuring you don’t end up with awkward one-night openings in your calendar.
You can easily do this yourself by dragging a reservation to a different campsite, like this:
Additionally, interactive calendars, like the one below, allow guests to choose sites based on availability. With remote work allowing everyone’s travel dates to be a little more flexible, this optimizes your calendar by showing available camping dates.
Couple all of this with the fact that online systems lower staffing costs, increase revenue, provide clear reporting, and save you time, and it’s definitely the number one way to boost occupancy at your campground.
Our data shows that mobile users account for 60 percent of our bookings.
Internet use has grown to nearly 300 million users, and at least 69 percent of those users are logging in via a smartphone or mobile device. Also, 75 percent of consumers use their mobile devices to search and visit a nearby business within a day.
Adding to that, 34 percent of consumers will exit a website entirely if a landing page’s content doesn’t load properly on their mobile device. As a result, campgrounds that do not have an easy-to-navigate mobile website will ultimately lose out on many reservations.
If you’re in the market for website design, Good Sam Campground Solutions can add a lot of value to your customer experience almost overnight.
Going hand-in-hand with a great website is clear pricing (or at least precise pricing estimates). Our campgrounds constantly tell us how tedious it is to field phone calls and emails from campers looking for a quote (especially after hours).
Additionally, having an online system with clear pricing and yield management (also known as dynamic pricing) allows you to accommodate peak and shoulder seasons alike. Guests can easily get a quote and make reservations while you’re sleeping.
Websites and articles with relevant and quality photos lead to 94 percent more views than those without. In fact, 44 percent of potential guests won’t even engage with a site if the content images are grainy or don’t load.
We recently sent a Campground Solutions affiliate to take photos of Klahanie Campground in Squamish, BC, and Ephrata RV Park in Central Washington. After the campground owners added the images to their online reservation system, they informed us that the simple addition led to a “massive” conversion of campers booking online.
Even if you’re on a budget or all you have access to is a smartphone, you can still take quality pictures that will increase online engagement. Here’s a list of tips for taking great iPhone photos from iMore.
The reality is that people choose campgrounds based on good reviews.
Ninety-seven percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses – meaning that what people are saying online carries a lot of weight. So odds are that almost everyone booking a campsite at your park has seen your Google reviews by searching for your business online.
Paying attention to Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor for reviews is certainly worth your time. But to make a bigger splash, park owners should primarily focus on campground review sites like Campendium, Campground Reviews, and The Dyrt.
For a more comprehensive list, check out our article on the review sites campground owners need to watch.
If you want to create the best booking experience for guests, nothing beats connecting with them directly!
The reality is that email marketing can see a 4300% return on investment (ROI) for your campground, and every dollar spent on email marketing can bring in nearly $45.
When guests book or arrive, get their email and send them announcements for upcoming events, discounts for future stays, or periodic reminders to book their next stay with you. Just make sure you don’t spam them with emails!
There are a number of travelers who are willing to spend a couple of weeks in your neck of the woods under the pretense that they don’t have to hop from campground to campground.
If you have the flexibility or empty sites, why not encourage your overnight guests to stay longer? When campers arrive, let them know that they are welcome to extend their stay an extra night if they’re enjoying their time. Just check their campsite in your reservation system to make sure their same campsite is available first!
If you’re a park operator looking to grow your campground, creating an easier and more thoughtful reservation experience will increase occupancy.
While there’s plenty of trial and error, your park will start seeing substantial growth quickly with the right resources and the right plan.
Taking online reservations is the easiest way to offload day-to-day tasks, allowing you to focus on the things that make your park unique. If you’re looking for an easier solution to managing your campground, Good Sam can help. Request a demo today!