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Campground Photography Guide

A picture is worth a thousand reservations.

More than any other consideration, guests are looking at the photos on your campground’s website or listing to decide whether or not they want to stay there.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time looking up a campground to know that a good number of them are digitally lacking in a “curbside appeal” – and not because the campground itself isn’t gorgeous, so much as the photos they post leave a little too much to the imagination. Grainy, low-lit, and out-of-focus pics are a turnoff to potential guests who aren’t already familiar with your park. 

The good news is that even with a smartphone and a little practice, you can make your campground “pop,” leading to more traffic, credibility, and online reservations. To help you put your best foot forward, here’s a user-friendly guide to better campground photos.

Why you should invest in better photos 

Whether you want to get more reservations, stand out from the competition, or just tell your story, quality photos make all the difference online.

Quality photos increase reservations

No reason to bury the lead here. Great photos have been shown to drastically increase reservations. Maybe even double them.

Data shows that bookings with higher-quality photos benefit anywhere from 63% to 136% more reservations than those with lower-quality images. 

One study even found that just updating content on your page regularly (photos, listing info, reviews, etc.) could lead to a 400% increase in traffic.

Quality photos add credibility 

Better photos create trust with new guests.

In terms of online reservations, 78% of potential campers will make their decision to stay there based on photos alone. According to the data, uninitiated guests consider quality photos or videos to indicate credibility and a far more influential endorsement  – even more so than other customer reviews.

The reason? It humanizes an otherwise digital experience. Sixty-two percent of consumers using an online search preferer contacting a business with images included on their listing simply because it signals that there’s a real person on the other side.

So a picture might be worth more than a thousand word-review.

Quality photos help you stand out 

Considering that at least half of your potential guests prefer visual information over text, your park’s photos are either helping or hurting your business.

Campers want to see a few photos, read a few paragraphs, and get a general feel for your park. Long-winded descriptions or grainy, out-of-focus images are a turn-off – especially when the campground looks different in person. 

Do a quick Google search of your park and see what photos pop up. What are campers seeing when they look for your campground? Does it give an accurate idea of what they can expect? Does your park pop out or get lost in the mix?

Quality photos add personality

Every campground has a story, and guests want to know what yours is. They want to know who’s running the park. They want to know who the park is catered to (families, retirees, long-term, etc.). 

Photos are the easiest way to paint a picture and tell a little bit of your campground’s story while creating authenticity for those searching online.

How to take better photos on your phone

You don’t have to have $20,000 in cameras and lights to take decent photos. Especially if you’re just trying to give a flattering view of your campground, you can get by just using an iPhone and a little strategy. Here are a few things to consider.

Setup Wi-Fi at an RV Park

Clean your lens

While it feels silly to say, it’s often overlooked. Your phone’s lens accumulates smudges from fingerprints, dirt, and debris in general, directly impacting the quality of your photos. As you can imagine, this is easily remedied by wiping your lens with a soft cloth.

Set your focus

Unless you’re going for something artistic, a blurry photo is a turnoff when it comes to showing off your campground. As you take a picture, tap the subject on your screen, and the camera will automatically adjust.

Natural light

Lighting might easily be the single most important factor in photography. It directly impacts the mood, clarity, focus, and interpretation of an image more than anything else. If you want quality photos, try to take pictures using natural light – ideally around sunrise or sunset (aka “Golden Hour”) – and try to avoid flash or fluorescent lights, as they’ll create harsh shadows and overexposure for your pictures. 

It might also be worth your while to play around with different modalities like “Portrait” or “Cinematic” and see if you can’t find more compelling ways to showcase your park. 

Composition of your photo

Try and compose your photo in a way that properly frames the subject in an appealing or visually interesting way. Instead of just an RV, could there be a family enjoying a bar-b-q or throwing a football around? Instead of images of vacant amenities, could you show people playing volleyball or having a good time around a campfire? A story is more compelling than a stagnant image and will likely increase someone’s interest while on your website.

Rule of thirds (Symmetry)

The rule of thirds is a tried and true standard for photo composition, and it’s pretty easy to catch onto. 

Basically, the idea is that you think of your photo as a square grid with nine segments (3×3). Position the focus of the image into one of the thirds (either horizontally or vertically). This will help the viewer’s eye take in the picture while focusing on the main image in a more aesthetically pleasing way. Chances are that your phone has gridlines you can turn on to help you frame your shot.

Make your photos interesting

While this is a little more art than science, it’s still important to remember that your photos should be visually interesting. Make it a point to identify camera-friendly locations or otherwise interesting moments with guests. Instead of a picture of your parking lot or the outside of the camp store, consider showing images of folks handing out and having a good time in their campsites or playing around the park. Focusing on trying to highlight what a guest’s experience could be.


Let’s say you got a decent photo, but it has a slight blemish, or the brightness was a little off. Well, chances are you’re still fine thanks to the magic of editing. Whether you’re looking to adjust the contrast, crop out part of the image, or even remove something from the picture, there’s probably an app that can help you out.

Apps like Adobe Lightroom, Google Photos, and even Instagram are decent options for “fixing it in post.”

Invest in professional photos

If you really want to capture your campground at its best while getting some great mileage out of your photos for years to come, consider hiring a professional photographer. 

While costs vary, you can usually find a reliable photographer for anywhere from $100 to $250 an hour for the shoot itself. From there, they’ll usually share the rough shots and let you choose which ones you’d like edited. You should also expect to pay about $3 to $5 per edited photo unless they bake it into the cost of the shoot itself.

Sites like Snappr, Upwork, and Thumbtack are great places to look for photographers in your area, but chances are that there are also pretty decent Facebook groups or listings in your neck of the woods. Peruse their portfolio and get an idea of whether or not they’ll match what you’re looking for.  

It’s also worth noting some campgrounds barter photography services for a week-long stay or simply hire work campers who know their way around a camera to keep costs low. Regardless, it’s definitely worth the investment. 

Drone photography

If you really want to differentiate your photos, consider using a drone. According to one survey, listings with drone images or videos perform 63% better than those without. The reason? Guests want the context of your park and, more specifically, where their campsite is located compared to everything. Nothing paints a more complete picture of a campground than a bird’s-eye view.

Keep in mind that in order to operate a drone, you’ll need a remote pilot certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But if you’re not looking to drop a few hundred dollars on a new hobby, chances are that you can find a licensed operator in your area willing to fly around your park for an affordable rate (usually averaging around $100 an hour). 

Services like allow you to pull from vetted drone operators in your area, matching whatever budget or specifics you’re looking for.

Other photography tips

In terms of quality images, you can certainly do a lot with a smartphone, but if you’re willing to invest a little bit, you can really make a splash. Here are a few tips if you’re looking to go the extra mile and really make your campground’s photos pop.

Curate social content 

Here’s the thing, guests want to take pictures, and they want to share them. Herein lies a great opportunity to promote your campground. Consider spinning up an Instagram or Tik Tok for your park, and incorporate a hashtag that guests can use when they share their pictures or videos of their stay.

Encourage campers to share photos 

Asking guests to leave a review and post a photo is a great way to establish your online reputation while signaling credibility to more guests. You could even take it a step further and consider offering discounts in exchange for great photos or even run a contest with a giveaway to the best photo submitted.

Gear recs

If you find yourself wanting to level up from just an iPhone and natural light, there are a handful of relatively economical options for improving the quality of your photos. While it may be a bit of a startup cost, the better the photos are, the more likely you are to stand out and increase your bookings. So it could pay for itself before too long.

Here are a few considerations to get started.


In addition to increasing reservations online, Good Sam Campground Solutions has helped parks improve their branding and curate better photos. If you’re in the market for growing your online reach, request a demo today!

campground policies

Policies and Procedures for Your Campground

For many campground owners, this time of year marks the start of our shoulder or off seasons. Some of us will see a general slowdown in camping traffic, while others will make the calculation—due to bone-chilling weather or other factors—to close our park for the winter season. 

No matter which bucket you fall into, this time of year is a perfect time to take a fresh look at the policies and procedures of your RV park. That’s because slower times usually allow you to work more on your business than in it. 

Let’s chat about some ways you can take a fresh look at your campground’s policies and procedures to start strong next year.

Take Stock Of What Went Well—And What Didn’t

Sit down with your team—perhaps even in an end-of-year off-site retreat—and have an honest convo about the things that worked and the things that didn’t this season. Create an environment where people can share candidly about things they want to see changed. 

You should also look over your reviews from sites like Google, Campendium, The Dyrt, etc. to find any consistent feedback that could be addressed via a policy adjustment. For example, if reviews consistently mention concerns with your staff, it might be time to institute new hiring policies. Or, if guests are consistently concerned with your WiFi, you could consider instituting a policy to provide strong WiFi to all guests.

Take stock of what happened at your park this season to prep for your best season ever when you next fling open your doors.

Commonly Reviewed Policies And Procedures  

Once you’ve taken stock of the policies and procedures that might need to be reviewed in your specific situation, consider these policies and procedures that should be reviewed by any RV park.


Cancellations stink—especially on short notice. If someone last-minute cancels an RV site on you during your busy season, that can really sting. Cancellations are especially tough if you have a very short season at your park. 

But how do you protect yourself without scaring people away?

A non-refundable cancellation policy protects you but runs the risk of upsetting customers and generating negative reviews. 

How do you fix this? 

Generally speaking, the best cancellation policy is one that meets in the middle—something that limits your risk of loss while showing your guests you understand that plans can change. For example, you could offer a full refund only for cancellations made with at least two weeks’ notice.

Or, you could take a cue from the airline industry and offer a fully refundable rate that’s higher than your non-refundable rate. 

Review your cancellation policy during your off-season to ensure it’s protecting you while demonstrating understanding to your guests. 


Most RV park owners have pet stories. From pooches leaving poo in places they shouldn’t to noisy pooches who aggravate other guests, pets of all types and stripes create unique concerns for park owners. 

campground policies

If you’ve had a trying pet season at your park, it’s probably time to review your policies and procedures. Generally speaking, strict pet policies are the way to go.

Most insurance carriers prohibit aggressive breeds and therefore may deny coverage for incidents involving these breeds. Speak with your insurance provider to learn what breeds they want you to restrict and adjust your policies accordingly. 

You should always have policies requiring pets to be on a leash, set rules determining if (and for how long) pets can be outside the rig, and policies on proper conduct when pets are left unattended (if you want to allow that).

No two RV parks are alike, so the pet rules at your park are going to be different than those of another park. By refining your policies to create the park environment you want, while still being sensitive to the demands of your guests, you’ll tee yourself up for a peaceful pet environment.  


It seems like the going rule for many RV parks is to prohibit entry to rigs older than ten years. While this might seem like a sensible blanket policy that keeps your park looking nice, there are many well-loved rigs over ten years old on the road today that would be a welcome look at your park. 

That’s because vintage is in vogue and people are fully restoring rigs like vintage Airstreams, Winnebagos, and more.  

Instead of having a blanket RV standard, consider creating a policy that generally requires rigs to be under a certain age. Then, allow exceptions for prospective guests to send pictures of their rigs to show their condition so you can decide based on that. 


The dawn of Airbnb has ushered in an era where customers love and even demand contactless self-check-in.  

We understand this isn’t ideal for every park, but many RV parks out there can and should consider offering a self-check-in option. 

To offer self-check-in, you’ll need campground reservation software that’ll keep all your reservations in one easy-to-see dashboard. Reservation software will then allow you to set up auto-emails that go to your guests so they have all the info they need to find their site, get settled, and check in on their own. 

The other check-in/check-out policy that park owner’s frequently review is check-out/check-in times. 

This is a personal decision that depends on the flow of your park. Some parks can offer very flexible timing while others need to be more concrete. Some park owners might charge extra for a late checkout while others don’t see that as a fit for their property. 

Take stock of the flow of your park to institute arrival/departure policies that work well for you and your guests. 


Did places like your shower house and clubhouse get positive marks for cleanliness? Or has this been an area where you’ve received some constructive guest criticism?

If so, adjust your procedures to ensure that cleanings happen effectively and regularly. This is a seemingly small thing that goes a long way to keeping guests coming back again and again.  


This is a new issue on the block that’ll only grow in significance as more and more EVs get on the road. From a guest’s point of view, RV plug-ins are the ideal charging point for their electric vehicle.

From your perspective as a park owner, this represents an additional expense that’ll only continue to increase. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to consider policies now that’ll protect you for the future. For example, you could charge an extra utility fee for guests with EVs. Most will be happy to pay it and it’ll help protect you as your utility costs increase. 


It’s one thing to create the policy and it’s another thing entirely to make sure that your guests receive and understand it. 

That’s why we think it’s vital to have a campground reservation system that’ll allow you to auto-email your policies to your guests. 

These software programs will also allow you to customize email timing and frequency so you can decide when, what, and how your guests receive your policy emails.  

Beyond technology, the old-fashioned ways are helpful too. For example, friendly notes peppered throughout your property that remind folks of your rules go a long way to creating good vibes and a peaceful environment at your park. 

Taking stock of your campground’s policies and procedures during your off-season is an important habit to be in that’ll keep you growing as a park. With the growth of remote-working, full-timing, and family-focused RVers, policies and procedures will often need to be adapted to accommodate new needs. By taking an annual beat to evaluate these things at your park, you’ll set yourself up for success with each passing year. 


Creating Your Campground’s Best Off-Season Yet

Off-season at your RV park can be a terrific time for reinvigoration and rejuvenation—as long as you have the right game plan.

The off-season is that splendid time of year when your campground is quieter (or maybe closed altogether) and a little more manageable. It’s a time to reflect on what worked well, what might not have worked so well, and what you can do to make it all better. 

Your campground’s off-season is also a time to recharge your batteries and reconnect with some of the things you may have put off doing. That’s why we wanted to take a beat with this post to show you how to create your campground’s best off-season yet.

Save Up For The Slowdown

The best-laid plans of mice and men (and women) can be thwarted in the off-season without a proper financial cushion to make it happen. Don’t get caught living so high on the hog during your busy season that you don’t have a chunk tucked away for the off-season.

We know it sounds straightforward, but if it were really that easy, wouldn’t we all have a stash of cash for our off-season projects?

The truth is, savings takes slow and diligent effort. Be sure you have an off-season next egg by setting a goal for how much you want to have and saving toward that each month. This simple trick will set you up well for the improvements you want to make when the slowdown hits.

Prep Your Park For Inactivity (And Cold Weather)

One of the hardest things on infrastructure is lack of use. Before you can get to any creativity during your off-season, you need to be sure your park is ready to weather it. Here are some top things to consider:



If your park is in a cold weather zone, the chances are good that your main water lines are buried beneath the frost line. But what about your hydrants, pipes in bathrooms, and other shallow lines?

The off-season is a key time to take stock of all the water lines you have running around your property and decide which ones might need to be winterized. Failure to do so will result in a nasty surprise when you open back up. 


Does it really make sense to have your entire park open for the off-season? Or could you dramatically simplify operations by limiting occupancy only to certain zones of your park?

If you decide to close certain sites in the off-season, the chances are good you’ll increase your peace of mind without decreasing bookings. 


One way to create a peaceful off-season while (usually) still making money at your RV park is by offering sites to long-term renters only.

For example, colder weather RV parks often see very little in/out traffic in the winter but can do well by leasing sites for the 4-6 months of the off-season. If you find yourself running ragged in the off-season while still only treading water, this could be a good way to simplify. 


Do you consistently have an off-season where you barely break even or—worse still—take a loss? If so, it might be worth considering closing your park entirely for the off-season.

If this decision makes sense for you, it can create a wonderful time of peace at your park while opening the door to tackling the biggest of projects. 

Projects, Projects, and More Projects

As more and more guests check in for your busy time, more and more tasks hit the to-do list. That’s why the off-season can be the perfect place to send these types of projects: 


The off-season is the time to do any big infrastructure improvements you might need. Sometimes it even pays to be a bit strategic by putting off the projects you can safely delay in the on-season so you can do them in the off-season.

Doing big jobs in the off-season will give you increased bandwidth to get the work done. You also might benefit from reduced rates from contractors who are experiencing slowdowns themselves. 


Too many parks wait for something to break before fixing it. Take off-season time to repair or replace aged things (e.g. old power connections, old water heaters in the shower house, etc.) that might still be working but you know are on the last leg of their last leg.

While it might sting to replace something that’s still limping along—that pales in comparison to the stress of a major system failure during on-season. 


Do you want to beef up your Wi-Fi? Add cutting-edge RV park technology to your property? Or maybe you’re ready to build out that Glampground you’ve been dreaming of?

The off-season is a time to think about and execute on new amenities you can offer your guests. Take stock of the things that folks have been asking for on a regular basis (that you don’t currently offer) and see how you might bring those things to your park. 


Are you still taking reservations on that old paper pad that you’ve been using since the stone age? If so, take advantage of this off-season to bring a few of those processes into the modern age.

For example, you could sign up for an affordable campground booking solution that’ll allow you to take online reservations and market more effectively—all in a one-stop shop. 

The off-season is also a terrific time to reimagine your website, take better photos of your park, create easier ways for people to book, and to reinvigorate your social media presence.  

Off-Season Time Is Creative Time

Creativity and business dreaming can sometimes take a backseat during the on-season because you’re too busy super-serving your guests.

That’s why the off-season is a great time to reconnect with your creative juices. For example, you could plan a staff retreat to give everyone time to unwind and unpack the past season. 

Or you could take time to dream about ways you might want to grow or even simplify your business.

Or maybe there are certain things in your life that need to be re-prioritized and it’s time to make the business match that? 

The point is, take this time to dream, to rediscover, and to take stock of what you want to be better for your next on-season. 

Don’t Forget About YOU This Off-Season

You’ve worked hard during the year to earn some time to enjoy yourself during the slow period. Don’t be afraid to make the off-season about you and your loved ones.

shoulder season

Develop a new hobby, take a dream trip, or just endeavor to spend more time with the family. These things are good for you and will help your park because you’ll have more energy when you come back.  

By focusing on the tips, tactics, and tools above while also focusing on you and yours, you’ll set the stage for an epic off-season at your campground. And the thing about great off-seasons is they almost always lend themselves well to fun and productive on-seasons. Here’s to your best year yet!


What Is Your Campground’s Demographic?

Your campground’s demographic is the primary interest group or groups you target.

For example, many RV parks in Texas, Arizona, and Florida are 55+ campgrounds—meaning they only admit senior citizens and tailor their communications and offerings accordingly.

While this might sound counterintuitive, potentially restricting your audience, these campgrounds benefit from highly focused marketing and amenities that attract one specific campground demographic.

By knowing and targeting your campground’s demographic, you’ll benefit from more efficient marketing spending, proper prioritization of infrastructure projects, and increased profitability. 

Let’s dig in to understand how to get to know your campground’s demographic, ways to market to that demographic, and methods to adapt to demographic changes. 

Know Your Campground’s Demographic

Many campgrounds don’t know their demographic. But by asking a few straightforward questions, you can get to the bottom of your primary target audience.


You’d be surprised at the number of RV parks that don’t have a ready answer to this question. Don’t let that be you! By taking stock of your surroundings—towns, national parks, attractions, economy—you can quickly figure out who’s traveling there and why.

Are you near a national park? You’ll likely have a demographic of very outdoorsy and adventurous folks of all ages, eager to explore.

Near wine country and vineyards? Your demographic likely includes a more affluent base who might enjoy a more refined camping experience.

Near the beach? Everyone loves the beach, so you’ll have a wider demographic range you can choose to focus on. But the majority will be eager to spend time at the beach, not at the campsite.

In the sticks? No problem. Take time to figure out who is traveling to your area and why. You can build your park’s image around that audience: hunters, anglers, those looking for more affordable camping or more prone to the outdoors.

Near a city? Millennials and remote workers love cities (generally speaking) so, if you’re near an urban oasis, they are a demographic to consider targeting. 


Even if you live in an area frequented by senior citizens, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to focus on serving that audience. Florida, Arizona, and Alabama, for example, are major hubs for remote workers and younger nomads.

If you have a park in these states and would rather serve a remote working demographic, why not?

The point is that your campground’s demographic is a combination of who you want it to be and who is coming to your area. Take the time to understand who is coming and decide which group you’ll focus on and how.


Another important factor to consider is the level of income for the demographic you wish to serve. If it tends to be higher, offering amenities like luxury clubhouses, spas, tennis courts, and more might make sense.

If you cater to nomadic professionals, investing in excellent WiFi, coworking community spaces, and glamping options are usually the way to go.

Or, you may want to cater to a budget-minded demographic who simply wants clean, safe, and reliable amenities.

Either way is fine—but understanding the average income of your customer on the front end will help focus your efforts. 

Marketing To Your Demographic 

Having a deep understanding of your demographic will greatly help when it comes to the marketing you do for your campground. Here are some tips for creating engaging marketing that speaks to the people you want it to speak to.


Listen to your prospective customers to learn about the problems they have (e.g. challenges they’ve experienced at other campgrounds) and what they desire in an RV park.

The best way to do this is to constantly gather feedback about what your guests do and don’t like about your park experience. Ask them when they check-in. Ask them when they check out. Follow up with them via a short email or text after their stay.

The replies to these questions will be gold for you as you craft your campground’s messaging. 


Once you know how your demographic speaks, you can use that language throughout your website, in your social media communications, and around the park.

For example, if you have a large number of remote workers coming to your park who love your coworking-friendly clubhouse and speedy WiFi, you could post an Instagram pic of folks working with a caption that reads something like:

‘No matter where you park it, you can be connected. Come check out our fan-favorite clubhouse at our RV park.’

You can also use the language of your customers in physical locations throughout your park to show guests that you get them and have what they need. An aptly worded mission statement in the clubhouse or a snippet of your story in a welcome packet goes a long way in connecting you with your campground’s demographic. 


How is your target customer currently finding campgrounds? What RVing groups are they part of? How do they communicate about the places they love along their journey?

It’s important to know where your demographic is communicating and engaging online so you can get in front of them to show off your spot.

An overwhelming majority of people rely on Google reviews to make decisions about businesses they buy from. That’s why it’s vital for you to ensure your Google Business Profile is up to snuff. Devote time to crafting your Google business description and cultivating reviews to call out to your target demographic.

RVers are also very active on Facebook—meaning that having a basic Facebook page for your park with a regular posting plan is a helpful way to understand and market to your tribe.  


These traditional means of setting up social media accounts and online business pages like Google Business Profile are only the tip of the iceberg when reaching your audience online. Good Sam Campground Solutions Marketing & Advertising tools help you expand your reach.

These tools put your campground in front of audiences based on their interest. So if your campground is located near a lake, you could reach audiences searching in the “Boating Fun” section, so more audiences with a boat might see your campground first.

In addition, Good Sam Marketing & Advertising allows you to choose placements, paid media, social media, and ads a la carte, so you specify the type and extent of reach you want to pay for.

Adapting Your Campground To Demographic Changes

The only constant in life is change. Your audience might want one thing one day and another the next. Or that’s how it feels. Here are some ways to maintain the right amount of flexibility to respond to those changes.


Now that you know your campground’s demographic, it’s important to keep up to date with trends that impact them.

One of the best ways to do this is via Google News Alerts. This system allows you to tell Google about the trends and topics you want to hear about—wherever and whenever they appear on the web.

If you cater to full-time RVers, for example, you could tell Google you want it to ping you when it sees news articles related to phrases like: “full-time RVing,” family RVing full-time,” “full-time RVer groups,” and more   

Google will then email you links (on a schedule of your choosing) to the most relevant articles for your search terms. By taking a few minutes each week to read these articles, you’ll have a deeper understanding of your tribe and the changes that might be coming. 


If your campground caters to a younger crowd, chances are good they’ll want to know that you’re continually upgrading your park’s technology.

Tech advances have made this easier than ever for you because you no longer have to build everything yourself when it comes to things like online campground reservation software and camp store management. Software and tech companies realize that they have to make it easy for you to keep up with technological changes, so they work hard to put things together in easy-to-use packages.

If your demographic is older, you’ll likely benefit from a customer base that changes more slowly. The things they want today will likely be very similar to the things they want tomorrow—meaning you can focus on doubling down on the amenities at your park you know they love.

No matter which crowd you serve, embrace change as an opportunity to find new and fun ways to engage more deeply with your guests. 


Oftentimes a simple communications shift can help you respond to change. Perhaps your demographic is being hit hard by external forces like inflation, high-interest rates, or career uncertainty. 

You could speak directly to these issues in your marketing to show people why your park offers an affordable and refreshing escape from these woes. 

Get creative with ways you can adapt your messaging—rather than your foundations—to respond to change. 


Just because the demographics change doesn’t always mean you have to. Some of the best businesses on the planet are ones that sell their refusal to change.

For example, places like old-school diners, vintage trailer campgrounds, and drive-in movie theaters sell their unchanged ways.

It can be risky, but if you have the right kind of RV park, holding your ground is sometimes the way to go.

The demographic you serve at your park informs an array of decisions—from marketing to infrastructure to the booking platform you use. Oftentimes, you’ll serve a number of demographics, but there’s usually one or two that’ll make up the majority. Stick with the steps above to get to know them and to speak to them in ways that lead to awesome customer relationships. 

Creating Lifelong Guest Relationships

Gaining new customers at your RV park can be costly, especially if done through traditional marketing channels like ads, social media campaigns, online placements, and direct mail.

It is far less costly—and usually more rewarding—to deepen your connections with current customers.

According to Forbes, it can cost up to five times as much to gain a new customer than to sell to an existing one.

While it’s important to seek out new customers, it is even more important to create lifelong relationships with the guests you already have. Let’s talk about the strategies you can employ at your campground to build lifelong guest relationships. 


We all know first impressions are important, but how much energy are you putting into wowing your guests from the minute they arrive?

Little things like check-in complications, difficulty locating sites, and a scarcity of friendly faces can leave a sour taste in your guest’s mouth—and once that sour taste gets started, it’s tough to wash away. 

The best way to make a stellar first impression is by managing and exceeding expectations. Combine campground booking technology with the perfect staff to accomplish these two key tasks for excellent first impressions.

Manage expectations with campground booking technology, like that from Good Sam Campground Solutions, which allows guests to see a satellite map of the campground and their campsite before they arrive. Plus, use that same tool to make check-in simple, easy, informative, and quick.

Your staff can pick up the ball as soon as your guest arrives to ensure your guests reach their site, get answers to any questions, and know you’re there for anything they need during their stay. 


Is your park clean and uncluttered? Is your infrastructure up to snuff? Do you offer speedy and reliable WiFi?

The fundamentals that make for a great RV park are the foundation of lifelong guest relationships. You don’t need to be perfect, but it’s important to understand that no level of customer service and friendliness can make up for failing infrastructure. 

Guests simply won’t come back if stuff like water, sewer, electric, and showers don’t work as they should. Guests read reviews–so earn good ones for each of these items.

And in the case of Good Sam campgrounds, they are rated on a Triple Rating System each year to demonstrate to campers that their cleanliness and infrastructure are top-notch.


Once you have the right team at your RV park, it’s important you continually provide your staff with the resources and encouragement they need to serve your guests.

It’s worth spending a significant amount of energy and resources on training your team on the customer service experience you expect at your park, so your expectations are met even when you are away.

For example:

  • Act out common customer interactions during team training.
  • Provide email response templates for frequent guest questions.
  • Give your team the freedom needed to quickly and effectively resolve guest complaints.
  • Create a new employee checklist and training protocol.
  • Foster open communication with your employees.
  • Cross train various roles for employee development.
  • Make sure tools and supplies are always readily available and restocked.


When guests feel at home, they’ll keep coming back for more. Simple things like hosting s’more nights, bringing in local live music, or offering coupons to local attractions help build memorable guest experiences that lead to lifelong customers.

Take stock of the opportunities in your local network, and source what you wish to highlight. This builds relationships on authenticity.

It’s also important that you and your team express a genuine desire to get to know your guests—ask them where they’re from, ask them their story, get to know their kids, and offer them local recommendations based on what they tell you. 

Little things like that go a long way in guest satisfaction.  


What makes your park stand above the pack? By knowing this answer, and highlighting it for your guests, you’ll create experiences that people will associate uniquely with your campground.

Partner with local companies to offer discounted excursions for your guests to explore any natural wonders in your area. Or you could host an owner’s “happy hour” where you mingle with guests and provide refreshments. Common areas such as outdoor kitchens, communal fire pits, and clubhouses with board games are simple but effective ways to set the stage for memory-making experiences. 

Have fun with this. Take the things that you and your team love to do and share them with guests to create wonderful relationships.   


Nothing sours a relationship faster than an unresolved complaint. When guests arrive, be sure they know how to promptly reach your team for any concerns that might arise.

If concerns do pop up, ensure your team is empowered to promptly address those concerns. Believe it or not, negative experiences can be one of the best ways to create lifelong guest relationships if you handle them properly. 

That’s because a negative guest experience gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how much you care and how far you’ll go to make things right. Managing unexpected guest experiences in the right way will leave an unforgettable impression with your campers.   


Maintaining lifelong guest relationships hinges on consistent guest experiences. If a guest has a stupendous experience at your park for several years and then suddenly they come back to a dramatic change, they may look elsewhere.

That’s why it’s important to build systems into your business and your customer service processes that ensure a consistent guest experience time and time again.

  • Key in on what works, and don’t change those parts of the experience.
  • Be cautious if new processes/procedures could change a guest experience.
  • Provide ways for customers to leave reviews—positive and negative.


These are the guests that love you, come back every year, and bring their friends. While remaining fair to all your guests, always keep an ear out for creative ways to make your return guests’ experience better and better each year or trip.

If it’s a care package when they arrive or simply remembering them on a first-name basis, it’s important they feel special when staying at your campground. Reciprocate the relationship.

Raving fans are the ones who shout to the mountaintops about how awesome you are. Keeping them happy is key to creating more lifelong guest relationships at your park.


Have a strategy in place to ask each guest how they enjoyed their stay. This could be as simple as sending a short text a day or two after they leave asking for feedback on their stay.

As you gather more feedback, look for consistencies and use them to continually improve your guest experience.  


Keeping yourself top of mind is an important part of maintaining guest relationships. Here are a few tips for doing that:

Send all past guests a welcome email as you open each season and offer them a special incentive to come back.

  • Use social media to simply and effectively stay in touch with past guests.
  • Develop a follow-up process to check in with guests after they leave and gather their feedback via text or email.
  • Send a snail mail postcard to all past guests once per year with a special discount. People hardly send snail mail anymore, so you’ll stand out in a good way!

Lifelong guest relationships are the mojo that’ll keep your park growing. By taking the proactive approach listed above, you’ll be set to cultivate long-lasting guest relationships. Have fun with it, get creative with it, and enjoy the ride as you create wonderful memories for all who visit you. 

Camp Store Inventory Best Practices

The RV campground store is a great opportunity to earn your guests’ trust and return visits. It’s the one place you can have guaranteed face-to-face interaction and make a lasting impression.

Guests visit your store for two main reasons: they have a problem they hope you can solve or they want a casual giftshop experience for knick-knacks and apparel. Both are good sources of additional revenue for your camp. But, more importantly, they are chances to build a rapport with your guests.

Let’s talk about setting up your camp store inventory to ensure you can always be a resource in these two scenarios. Best practices for inventory include 1.) Carrying the right inventory, and 2.) Managing inventory for the best impact on your business.  

Cover those bases, and you stand to profit from your sales and continue to build relationships with long-term customers. 

Camp store management.

What Inventory to Carry

All retail shops carefully choose the inventory they carry based on the customer experience they want to create. But RV campground stores have an especially tall order. 

Your space is often limited, and the varying needs of campers are wide, from groceries to firewood to power converters to nightcrawlers. Choose inventory to cover top items from common experiences RVers and campers face–but prioritize inventory that gives you an edge and an opportunity. 

Pay Attention To the Small Stuff

A forgotten kitchen item or ingredient. An unexpected need for a first-aid kit. Tools to set up a tent. Deodorant or soap. These small, clutch items might have a low profit margin, but they yield a high return on your customers’ opinions of your campground. 

Necessary supplies should be conveniently available to your campers, and you’ll learn what to include more over time. For now, predict the situations campers may find themselves in, and stock your shelves accordingly.

Stock Location-specific Items

Evaluate the needs at your campground and generate a list of camp store inventory items unique to your location. These items are convenient for your customers, but, more importantly, carrying them sends a clear signal that you’ve thought about their experience at your campground.

  • Does your campground have sand? A volleyball pit or beach? Consider carrying a few hand vacuums.
  • When operating in a location that has campfire bans during summer dry months, stock a few affordable propane campfire alternatives.
  • If mosquitos are a nuisance in the evening, carry repellent torches and bug spray, including child and baby-friendly versions.

You know your location better than anyone. And you are best prepared to envision the items your guests will want, need, and value. Plus, you know what’s sold in the past and will likely be needed in the future. 

Track Camp Store Inventory Usage

Your previous sales data should be a roadmap for your inventory management. When you track inventory usage, you get an objective look at what sells and how often. Use this to determine your min/max inventory levels, and stock accordingly. 

Many campgrounds manually track their sales, and this is part of their inventory management process, reordering goods and products when sales push a certain item below its minimum amount.

However, campground owners may also utilize one of the many camp store applications which help streamline processes like usage tracking. Good Sam Campground Solutions helps you organize sales data, so you know what sells by simply looking up a part number. 

Best-Selling Basics

Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Campground visitors will expect certain types of inventory from a camp store, and it’s best to stick to the best-selling categories as your baseline inventory.

Cooking, food, and perishables – Keep the staples on hand, even if in small quantities. Longer shelf-life items like chips, canned goods, oils, and spices are better than perishables. But the goal here is to think of the food and cooking items campers are likely to forget. 

Camping gear – Tent spikes, tarps, small tools, propane, RV supplies, ice, charcoal, and outdoor cleaning supplies all sell frequently. Many guests will count on these to be available, so keep a healthy stock.  

Personal care – Stock common hygiene essentials–anything from toothbrushes to toilet paper, deodorant, hand sanitizer, and more. And don’t just stick to the cheapest, generic varieties. Ensure you have plenty on hand of products your guests would expect to see at the store. 

Camp store apparel.

How to Manage Inventory 

The inventory you keep at your camp store should serve two primary purposes: equip your guests (and earn their confidence) and generate revenue for your campground. To do this, source and manage your inventory in a way that optimizes profit. These inventory management tools help get more bang for your buck.  

Where to Source Your Camp Store Inventory 

The fewer distributors you have to deal with, the better. It’s easier to manage your camp store inventory when you only have to order from one place. But this isn’t always possible with the type of inventory you want to keep. Most campgrounds will work through a wholesaler to provide all their common items. But what about the inventory they don’t cover?

For example, you will likely need to source your campground-branded inventory like t-shirts, mugs, and apparel from a single provider, and that won’t always be a wholesaler.

Take that idea a step further: Are there local products you could stock at your camp store that would generate revenue for your campground and a local product? Locally sourced consumables, home goods, craft and artisanal goods, or locally-themed items? These will often come from individual suppliers. But these have a high sell rate for those visiting the area. 

Wholesale Inventory

Source your inventory through wholesalers at a discount, which will decrease the selling price for your guests while allowing you to still profit. There are many wholesalers who specialize in camping products–anything from bug spray and flashlights to multi-tools and tarps, novelty stickers and mugs to coolers and tent poles.

The benefits of buying from a wholesaler include:

  • Single source ordering
  • Reduced costs on bulk orders
  • Reliable availability and deliverability
  • Automatic min/max ordering capability.

There can be downsides to working with a single wholesaler. If, for example, they don’t offer a certain brand or product line you want to carry, you’ll have to source that separately, which adds more to the monthly or weekly ordering process. As you seek a wholesaler, consider their product line: do they offer an adequate selection, and how often do they add items to their inventory?

Responsible Price Markups

Camp stores are practical because your guests don’t have to leave the park to access commonly needed items. One could argue that a trip into town disrupts the “away-from-it-all” mindset many go camping to find. Plus, once you set up your RV, staying put is the goal.

For this reason, camp stores have a bit of a monopoly on sales. And, sure, most campers know they will pay more at the camp store than at a grocery store in town. But that doesn’t mean you should increase the price as much as possible. Revenue should come from repeat sales, not overpriced goods. 

A rule of thumb for responsible price markups is charging no more than 20 percent for consumable items guests could find cheaper with a trip into town. Bread, milk, produce–those basics shouldn’t sell at extreme markups. 

Meanwhile, you can be more aggressive with souvenir and gift items, which often sell at a markup of 45-50 percent. Here, you can choose your prices based on what campers are willing to buy. 

Staff meetings and inventory review.

Staff Training 

Unite your team with a common goal by providing your staff with the necessary training to manage inventory. When everyone knows the importance of accurate inventory, sales data, pricing accuracy, and ordering processes, you create a culture that values an organized camp store. 

The more accurate your inventory, the better you’ll become at restocking and the more revenue you’ll bring in over time. And you achieve this when all your staff understands the importance of inventory management. 

Plus, when your staff has the same mindset as you, they’ll have conversations with guests to learn which items you ought to be adding to your inventory. If you aren’t communicating with your camp store staff, you’ll never gain these insights.  

Guest emergencies are few and far between–and you won’t get many second chances at the camp store to offer clutch inventory when and where your guests need it. Consistent inventory practices save the day. 


16 Unique Options for Adding Glamping to Your Campground

There’s no getting around it: glamping is more popular than ever.

A couple of years ago, the US market for glamping was projected to reach $4.8 billion in revenue by 2025.

Furthermore, a 2019 study from the KOA found that 67 percent of campers are booking glamping sites for the sake of creating a unique experience. These are guests who want to camp but want to keep a few of the comforts of home while they do it.

So, exactly what accommodations are parks using to attract glampers?

Here’s a list of 16 potential glamping options for campground owners looking to create a unique experience for their guests.

Glamping options.

1. Canvas tents

Canvas tents are some of the more malleable options a campground can offer, considering almost everything is optional (electricity, furniture, A/C, etc.). Plus, they’re incredibly durable, lasting 20 to 30 years, and can scale up or down to match the level of elegance you’re going for.

If you’re looking for an economical way to add value to your campground’s accommodations, they can start as low as $350 and range up to $1,000 or so.

2. Vintage campers

Vintage campers are a huge draw for guests seeking both novelty and nostalgia. Also, they’re profitable: flipping a used camper could earn you $6,000 on average.


That said, you’ll have the overhead of renovating a vintage camper.

Renovating an old Airstream will run you between $10,000 to $70,000, and restoring a vintage RV of any kind will cost between $1,000 and $10,000.

If you do decide to go the route of converting an older RV, be sure to consider the following:

  • Electrical systems (i.e., interior and exterior lights, signals, tail lights, etc.)
  • Plumbing systems (i.e., drains and traps, kitchen sink, toilet, shower, water)
  • Exterior (i.e., locks, doors, hardware and seals, windows, vents, dents)
  • Interior (i.e., cabinets, latches, counters, upholstery, floors)
  • Kitchen appliances (i.e., water heater, furnace, oven, refrigerator)
  • LP System (i.e., gas lines, regulators, hoses, pressure adjustment)

Here’s how one couple converted an ’87 Airstream motorhome into a luxury experience for guests.

3. Yurts

More and more campers seek out yurt accommodations to break away from the cookie-cutter hotel room experience.

While yurts aren’t exactly cheap (somewhere between $11,500 and $44,000), they are still profitable. According to Pacific Yurts Inc., you can make $1,500 a month from just yurt reservations alone. So your investment should pay for itself in a couple of years.

4. Cabins

Cabins and cottages can rent for $1,000 to $2,000 a week and attract a broad audience.

The demand for cabins and tents is expected to grow 2.5 times over the next five years. It’s certainly worth investing in at least a few units for your park. However, building a cabin would require a permit because it is a permanent structure.

5. A-frames

An architectural design with a quaint interior, A-frames are a modern and imaginative approach to traditional cabins.

But even beyond aesthetics, A-frames are affordable, simple to design, and better at snow management due to their steep-roofed design. They also allow for more natural light, making for an enjoyable stay.

6. Park model RVs

Park models are similar to traditional RVs in that they are mobile and need to be hooked up to sewer, water, and electricity. However, they are distinctly larger and more “homey” in design. Park models come in various design aesthetics, making it easy to find a park model to fit your park brand.

You can expect to pay between $20,000 and $200,000 per unit.

7. Treehouses

Treehouses are certainly one of the more exotic and upscale options for lodging, and they’re not terribly expensive. The average 12′ by 12′ build for a treehouse will cost between $9,000 and $17,000. Treehouses are most commonly built around trees but can refer to any camping accommodation at tree height as well.

For further context, check out these incredible glamping treehouses

8. Tipis

Costing between $130 and $1,000, tipis are one of the cheapest and simplest glamping accommodations on this list.

Tipis are weather-resistant, easy to assemble, and have optimal temperature regulation. That said, they aren’t as spacious as other glamping options and might not be as easily accessible to everyone.

To see examples of campgrounds implementing tipis, check out the top 25 tipis from around the world.

9. Motels

LOGE finds closed down or abandoned motels near interesting towns or trails and refurbishes them to cater towards a more outdoor-focused experience, often adding camping options to the property.

Not to be confused with traditional motel updates, new owners are taking the bones of existing lodgings and transforming them into upscale campgrounds. You can even sleep in a hammock in your motel room:

10. Covered wagons

If you’re looking to add novelty to your campground, covered wagons are a playful and often climate-controlled option. They’re glorified tents with a western motif and create great photo ops.

11. Domes.

Unconventional yet environmentally conscious, geodesic domes are more than just aesthetic. Their spherical structure makes them one of the most efficient interior atmospheres for lodging because “air and energy are allowed to circulate without obstruction.” You can even place them in exotic locations with extreme wind turbulence, as the architectural design lessens any winds contributing to heat loss.

Furthermore, they install quickly–1 to 3 days–and cost only $9 to $15 per square foot.

12. Glamping pods

Glamping pods are eco-friendly and stylish. While usually built from recycled material, they’re energy-efficient and retain heat, effectively protecting guests from the elements.

Essentially, they function as a tiny house with a modern design, making them one of the more expensive (upwards of $10,000) and more glamorous options on this list.

Check out some of these great examples

13. Caboose

Easily one of the most unique forms of accommodation, converted cabooses and boxcars provide a very “Americana” experience for guests looking for something different.

Here’s a list of campgrounds offering trains for lodgings for inspiration.

14. Floating homes

Still connected to water and sewer, a floating home is like having a condo on the water. Unlike a houseboat, floating homes are stationary and generally more expensive.

Also, you’ll need a diver to inspect the home properly from top to bottom.

15. Tiny homes

Smaller than a cabin and moveable by a trailer, tiny homes have become an affordable option for Millenials and Baby Boomers alike.

The tiny home market is projected to be worth more than $5.8 billion in a few years. That same study indicated 63 percent of Millenials are interested in buying a tiny home, and 40 percent of tiny homeowners are Baby Boomers—ensuring that renting a tiny house at your campground will appeal to all clientele.

16. Container homes

Container homes are durable, recyclable, quick to build, and mobile. They also have a resale value of upwards of 100 percent, making them a reasonably affordable and safe investment.

Smaller and more basic homes will cost between $10,000 and $35,000, while larger homes will run between $100,000 and $175,000.

Homesteading has a list of 17 container homes that show just how creative you can get with accommodations.

Glamping Campgrounds

Many of our campgrounds have found success bringing in more business to their park by adding a few glamping options. If you’re looking for a few easy and affordable ways to start implementing glamping options, consider adding:

  • Luxury canvas tents or yurts.
  • Cabins, tiny homes, or glamping pods.
  • Converting vintage campers.

Get more glamping reservations.

Taking online reservations is an easy way to help you grow your glamping audience. Request a demo of Good Sam Campground Solutions!

12 Creative Ways to Make Extra Money at Your Campground

With over 40 million people RVing regularly, campgrounds can be incredibly profitable.

The best way to increase revenue is by boosting occupancy. But what are some alternative ways to make money at your campground?

We connected with several campgrounds and found twelve creative ways to diversify your income and make more money at your RV park.

Earn a little extra money at your RV park

1. Vending Machines

On average, a single vending machine earns $76 a week, or over $300 a month. With that, a vending machine is about a $2,000 investment, so it pays for itself within a year.

It’s a reasonably easy income stream to add to your park, especially if strategically placed–-near a pool, for example. 

2. Laundry

One campground owner reported he profited more on laundry than he did from his campsites! He was the only laundromat nearby and offered multiple machines for guests and local residents to use.

After multiple calls to repairmen, he learned how to fix the units himself, making even more profit from this expected RV park amenity.

Creating a pleasant experience around laundry could be a small but simple way to add value to a guests’ experience. Consider adding another set of machines or offering a small table or countertop for folding clothes. Since most campgrounds charge between $1 to $2.50 per load, you’ll earn back your investment relatively quickly.

3. Pool pass

creative ways to make money

Have a pool? Consider offsetting some of your property costs by opening it up to the local community or friends visiting campers. For example, Jackson Lake Lodge lets guests swim for free and sells community passes for $5 a day–or $50 a season.

Earn a little more money at your RV park

4. Restaurants and food trucks

Restaurants or concession stands add local flair to your park. Not only can they be an added element of hospitality for guests, but they could be an additional marketing tool for your park when opened to the community. 

More and more parks are adopting new options when it comes to dining. says that even the federal government “is looking to modernize campgrounds at national parks, and is considering allowing the private sector to run the parks to free up park staff for other tasks.”

Remember, though, that running a restaurant in conjunction with your campground is extra work. If you’re looking for a more straightforward starting point, food trucks have relatively simple permits and can be an easy way to partner with a local vendor to split profits.

5. A good camp store

Retired camping and outdoor industry expert Gary Forster says, “There are many reasons to have a [camp] store. The first is that people expect it.”

Keeping a few essentials on hand goes a long way, whether it’s a quick bite, laundry detergent, firewood, or even RV parts like water or sewer hoses.

We’ve also received feedback from RV parks claiming a fair amount of success selling branded materials and products from local artists or businesses that reflect the local community. Specifically, T-shirts and camping mugs are a couple of the top sellers. You may even offer produce, pictured above, as part of a small farmer’s market.

6. Events

Campgrounds can still offer plenty of low-cost and profitable events for campers. 


  • Grilling or cook-off competitions (where people pay to enter and taste the food)
  • Outdoor movie nights (with proper licensing, which you can find help with by joining a campground association)
  • Fall festival complete with a carnival and hayrides
  • Tournaments for youth sports
  • Crafts (especially for kids)
  • A trail of lights during the holiday season

Plenty of potential guests unfamiliar with camping might be willing to try it out if you provide the right incentives to connect with your park. 

For more ideas, RVShare has a list of over 80 activities campgrounds can offer.

7. Wi-Fi

If you’re looking to add immediate value to your campground, start with quality wireless internet. Even if guests want to unplug and experience nature, many will still expect access to Wi-Fi.

Millennials are 73 percent more likely to find themselves taking a trip and, subsequently, working from an RV this year.

While providing decent Wi-Fi is a must, offering a high-speed connection could be a source of profit. A 2018 poll revealed 66 percent of guests would be willing to pay a daily rate for faster internet. And, likely, this number will only go up as more millennials become full-time RVers. Paying extra for premium service will be expected.

Make passive and profitable returns at your RV park

8. Rentals

While rentals generally come with high startup costs, they can also bring high margins. Consider implementing any of these items:

  • Jeeps
  • Dune buggies
  • Four-wheelers
  • Snowmobiles
  • Mountain bikes
  • Kayaks/canoes
  • Grills
  • Pool items (floaties, toys, life jackets, etc.)

The most significant considerations with rentals are your insurance policy and repairs, which can add to your park’s expenses.

9. Experiences

Campgrounds can offer more than just camping.

Here are a few creative ways campgrounds have used their space:

Campgrounds that succeed in repurposing their space take advantage of features unique to their property: lakes and rivers, scenic overlooks, flat or hilly landscapes. What does yours offer? 

10. Partner with local tourism companies and restaurants

Partnering with local businesses is a great way to make commissions and passive income for your campground. See if any local tourist attractions will give your campers discounts for visiting or if they will give you a referral credit for sending campers their way.

11. Event rentals

Especially during shoulder seasons, find imaginative ways to take advantage of potential event space. Consider renting out your clubhouse, pavilions, etc. for:

  • Reunions and get-togethers
  • Corporate retreats
  • Weddings
  • Kids camps and field trips
  • Conventions and conference
  • Concerts

12. Yield management

One of the resources that Good Sam Campground Solutions provides its parks is yield management (or dynamic pricing).

This allows campgrounds to accommodate guests during both peak and shoulder seasons. A camper can go online, get a quote, and make a reservation without you having to get involved.

Yield management allows you to charge more or less based on demand, like charging $70/night on holiday weekends and $50/night in the shoulder season.

On average, our campgrounds have saved 300 hours of administrative work annually through dynamic pricing and online reservations.

Putting it together

Finding creative ways to make money at your RV park doesn’t have to be an overwhelming effort. Consider your campground and what you could realistically implement without draining your resources.


  1. Make a little money by adding vending machines, laundry services, and pool passes.
  2. Make a little more money by offering restaurants or food trucks, a well-stocked camp store, interactive events, and quality Wi-Fi.
  3. Make passive and profitable income by offering rentals, unique experiences (weddings, wildlife, breweries, etc.), partnering with local businesses, event rentals, and yield management.

The simplest way to increase revenue

Online reservations are one of the easiest ways to bring income to your campground. Good Sam Campground Solutions brings RV parks a 25 percent annual increase in reservation volume. Request a demo today!

campground photo

Better Campground Photos = More Reservations (+4 Tips for Getting Great Photos)

campground photo

Having quality photos will bring more business to your campground.

Websites and articles with relevant and quality photos garner 94 percent more views than those without. In fact, some campgrounds have doubled their yearly reservations just by adding better pictures.

Now, while you would think more parks would invest in quality photos, only 39 percent of online businesses have photos that don’t disappoint customers.

So why are quality campground photos so important? And why are customers more responsive to high-resolution images?

1. Campground photos create trust.

A picture is worth a thousand-word review.

When it comes to making a reservation online, 78 percent of people make their decision based on photos alone. They also found that online customers trusted photos even more than other customer reviews.

The main reason guests trust photos? It humanizes their online experience.

Sixty percent of consumers who use online search say they prefer to contact a business whose listing includes an image, because they know there’s a real person on the other side.

2. Campground photos make your park stand out.

Are your campground’s photos helping or hurting you?

Overall, at least 50 percent of consumers prefer visual information over text. It’s easier for campers to quickly see photos than to read a few paragraphs describing your park.

Out of focus, pixelated, or unattractive photos will deter campers. Twenty-two percent of returns or cancellations happen when a product (or campsite) looks different in person.

What images are campers seeing when they search?

Do a quick Google search of your park and click on “Images.” Review what’s pulling up. Does it give guests an accurate idea of what they can expect when they visit? Is your park standing out or getting lost in the shuffle?

3. Campground photos tell your story.

Create a Better Booking Experience

Campgrounds are a common gathering place. Which means guests want to know the people running an RV park. They want to know you.

Fifty-one percent of customers respond better to images of actual people because they’re more authentic and trustworthy than brand-owned creative. 

Campers also want to be able to see themselves staying at your park before they actually stay at your park.

Is your park catered toward families? Retirees? Use photos of people enjoying your park to attract more campers like them.

4. Campground photos lead to more reservations.

Quality campground photos could double your reservations.

Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said travel images posted by a real person are the most influential endorsement,” and that almost half of the survey respondents reported purchasing a product after interacting with an image or watching a brand video.

Asking campers to leave a review or creating experiences that prompt campers to take a photo at their campsite can increase your photos on review sites, establishing your online reputation and encouraging future campers to book.

4 tips for taking better campground photos. 

Elevating the quality of images might feel like an expensive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to. Without having to break the bank or sink too much time into creating more content, here are a few things to consider:

1. Hire a professional.

Bringing in a professional photographer is the easiest way to get images of your campground that you can use for years to come. Typically it’ll run between $100 to $250 an hour for the shoot itself.

Many campgrounds will barter photography services for a free week-long stay or hire workampers with photography skills to avoid the expense of hiring.

2. Take higher quality photos on your own.

On a budget? No problem. You can still take great photos on your phone. iPhone photos can still go a long way and are way better than not having photos at all.

To take the best photos on your phone, go out at golden hour—the hour before sunset or after sunrise—so your campground is in the best light. Take photos on a sunny day and if possible, when the campground is semi-full so you can get plenty of lifestyle photos of campers enjoying your property.

3. Curate quality social content.

Everyone travels with a camera in their pocket these days, which means it’s easy for campers to take and share photos of their camping trip.

Consider using a specific hashtag or creating an Instagram account for your campground. Ask guests to tag you so you can easily find and share their photos.

Basecamp 550 in Colorado encourages campers to tag #basecamp550. These are some of their social photos taken by guests.

You can also find a list of ways to leverage social media for more reservations from Inspired Camping.

4. Incentivize campers to take photos.

Perhaps the easiest and most practical way to capture what camping at your park is like is to have guests capture it themselves. Consider offering discounted nights in exchange for quality photos taken from campers or run a photo competition and giveaway to the winning photo.

Improve Your Campgrounds Photos

Campgrounds can double their online bookings by simply adding high-quality photos. Review your websites and reviews today and make a checklist for getting your campground photos updated before camping season kicks off.

More photos and more reservations.

In addition to increasing reservations online, Good Sam Campground Solutions has helped parks improve their branding and curate better photos. If you’re in the market for growing your online reach, request a demo today!

Hidden Costs of Owning a Campground

The Costs of Owning a Campground

If you’re in the market to buy a campground, the timing has never been better.

A recent study from Condor discovered that, in the States alone, over 40 million Americans go RVing regularly. Additionally, there are about 16,000 campgrounds in the US.

If we evenly distributed every RVer in America, and they only stayed at one campground for one night at an average price of $30, the average campground would make at least $75,000 a year.

But it still raises an important question:

How much does it cost to start a campground?

To answer that, we’ve interviewed several park owners and operators using our Campground Booking software and put together a comprehensive list of financial considerations before starting a campground.

The reality is whether you’ve been running a campground for years like Joy Guyot (Golden Municipal in Golden, BC), or you’re a new owner like Scott and Kate-lynn Boesveld (Ray’s Place in Minden, ON), operating a campground includes many hidden costs. 

cost to start a campground

We’ll cover financial considerations for both buying an existing RV park and building a campground of your own.

Buying an RV Park

Initial Costs

How much would it cost to start a campground that already exists?

An existing campground with infrastructure already built out will run you between $100,000 to $2 million+ (TRUiC), and generally speaking, you can assume a fair amount of additional renovation will be necessary.

If you’re buying an established campground, “the upfront costs might be higher, but your revenue might be higher as well.” Generally speaking, a “campground business can cost around $10,000 to $50,000 to start, and that doesn’t include the cost of the [property].”

Various factors impact the cost of the land, including location, infrastructure, and acres available.

However, TRUiC says the cost of land will “range from $1,000 an acre if it has a lot of ‘unusable’ land to upwards of $10,000 an acre if most of the land is flat, it’s on a lake or river, or it has outstanding views.”

Cap Rates

A cap rate formula tells you how long it will take to break even and recoup your money on real estate investment. It’s found by calculating the net operating income (NOI) and dividing it by the property value.

For example, let’s say you have a property worth $2 million and an NOI of $150k, you would divide $150,000 by $2,000,000, and your cap rate would be 7.5%.

This number is significant to note because it can inform you before purchasing a campground if you can expect a decent return on investment. (If the cap rate is publicly viewable on a listing, you can calculate this number yourself with a copy of the RV park’s P&L.)

RVParkStore says that “The range of cap rates on the market today fall in the 5% to 15% range with most parks falling into the 8% to 11% range.”

According to outdoor hospitality expert Heath Padgett, the good news for aspiring owners is that many campground owners “aren’t valuing their property based on capitalization rates.” This means that “if you come in and slightly improve processes, you can ultimately have a decent return on investment.”

Now, keep in mind that cap rates vary depending on location. An 8% cap rate for a campground right outside of Seattle will be substantially different than 8% in Seguin, Texas. When comparing cap rates, consider campgrounds in your area or similar regions.


Your local campground association will have more information, but according to TRUiC, “the average campground in America spends between $450-$1,500 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.”


While the cost of renovations can vary widely depending on the park, budget for updating infrastructure as well as branding around your new park. Outdoor Command recommends $10,000-$50,000, but this number can easily be higher if you need to bring electric up to code or fix major systems in the park.

To estimate this number before purchasing a park, hire an inspector or a contractor to examine the existing infrastructure.

If you’re ready to check out RV parks for sale in your area, here are a few good places to start.

cost to start a campgroundRiverview Campground in Rocky Mountain House, AB

Costs to Build a Campground (from scratch)


Before you build a campground, you need land. Land costs vary widely across the country, but the national average in the States is around $3,000 per acre.

Licensing and Permits

With any new construction, you will incur permit and licensing costs. These vary by state and may require regular renewal.

With building a campground, consider zoning. You may need to pay to change your land to the proper zoning for opening a campground. Local campground associations will be helpful resources, especially when navigating state and provincial requirements.

Cost per Site

One campground owner informed us that the average construction cost per site ran them around $15,000 for full-hookups, gravel roads, and pads.

Home is Where You Make It suggested that site costs “range anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 per site depending upon the amenities you plan to install.”

cost to start a campground

But $15,000-$50,000 is a guesstimate based on including a few different features.


Many of our campgrounds offer 15-amp, 30-amp, and 50-amp outlets, and some for 110/120 volts. This will cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per site.


According to HomeAdvisor, on average, drilling a 150-foot well costs around $5,500, but it can cost as much as $12,000. Also, anticipate up to $25 per foot of piping.

To build our own campground, said Heath Padgett, “we were quoted around $1,200 per site for city water hookups.”

Septic system

A site-by-site septic system requiring a tank and leach field plus piping to campsites can cost upwards of $40,000 altogether.

Home is Where You Make It advises that, instead, you should install a dump station for guests because it will cut your costs down by as much as 75%. However, you can charge more per night if you offer full hookups.

Other costs for site development

Gravel, asphalt, or concrete to pave designated campsites are another big-ticket item to consider when estimating pricing. You will also likely need to pay for ground leveling, paving roads, and landscaping as well.

Number of Sites

Camper Smarts says that “a general rule of thumb is to have ten sites per acre” and to make sure you give plenty of thought towards the number of fifth wheels and larger motorhomes you’d like to include.

To get a rough estimate of how much it costs to build a campground, multiply the number of acres you own by ten and then multiply by $15,000.

(If you’re looking to expand an existing park, $15,000 per site is an effective way to calculate those costs, too.)

Buildings and Additional Infrastructure on Site

Most campgrounds offer more than just a campsite with hookups. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to build a few buildings as well.


According to our survey results, guests indicated that a quality public restroom (with good water pressure) was a must. Generally speaking, this will cost around $20,000.

Outdoor industry expert Gary Forster has a helpful PDF on designs and materials for camp bathrooms.

cost to start a campgroundThe front office of Golden Municipal Campground in Golden, BC


There are a lot of variables here, but HomeAdvisor says office costs can range “between $15,000 and $80,000 or $100 to $550 per square foot.”

Along with your office, you’ll want a solid connection to the internet to handle reservations and communicate with guests.

Industry trends show that 42% of professionals currently work remotely (Upwork), meaning that doubling your office as a co-working space with a strong internet connection will attract more people to your campground year-round.

cost to start a campgroundCampground Booking can save campgrounds 300+ hours a year in office administrative work by managing online reservations for your park.

High-speed internet

On average, you can find a high-speed provider with decent download speeds at around $250 a month. Depending on your campground’s proximity to towers in the area, you shouldn’t pay more than $500 a month at the most. 

Estimate around $3,000 for the initial internet set up (ethernet, Wi-Fi repeaters, routers) at your park. 

It’s a worthwhile investment, though.

Our data found that 71% of RVers consider Wi-Fi to be “essential.” A few participants even said that a lack of Wi-Fi meant they wouldn’t even stay at a campground.

This article shares best practices for setting up Wi-Fi at your campground.

Calculating Total Costs

To get a better idea of how much it might cost to start a campground, add together your land costs, costs per site (factoring how many sites you want to build), costs for any buildings you’re adding, and the cost to install internet in your park.

ray's placeNew campground owner, Scott Boesveld, put work into restoring Ray’s Place in Minden, Ontario.

Expenses you can skip for now

There are a lot of great features your campground may want to offer, but you don’t need to offer them right away (i.e., fire pits, dog parks, benches, playground, pool, hot tub, etc.).

Our top 10 amenities list (according to RVers) offers plenty of suggestions and tips for saving money. When you’re ready to add additional value to your new campground, these are great places to start.

Is it worth it to buy a campground?

The cost to run an RV park depends on whether you’re buying an established park or building one from scratch. But no matter which way you go, there’s a demand.

So, is it profitable to run a campground?

Our campground owners say it is.


If you’re in the market for a campground, Good Sam provides several campground services to give owners the tools they need to get their business off the ground. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, online reservations, or access to a network of over 2 million RVers, Good Sam makes managing a park as easy as possible. If you’re ready to get started, we can help! Request a demo today.