Hiring the perfect campground staff might seem like an elusive concept. RV parks are a unique business, making it difficult to find and retain skilled campground talent. It can also be daunting to figure out how much you should be paying people and how to reward your top performers appropriately.
The good news is there are tried and true strategies that campgrounds can employ to bring in excellent staff. This article will unpack those strategies to help campgrounds build rockstar teams.
The perfect staff at one campground might be very different for another park. For example, a campground with glamping options might have very different needs from a traditional RV park.
That’s why the leadership team must take the time to solidify their priorities and what hiring the perfect staff looks like for their specific park. Some parks see new RVs every day and feature a large number of sites. These parks will require a team that is adept at things like helping RVs back up, hook up, and stock up for their needs.
Other parks have RV sites, cabins, and other unique lodging opportunities that require a team with special hospitality skills.
That’s why the first step to finding the perfect staff is developing who you are as a campground. What’s your story? Who are your customers? What are the primary ways you create epic guest experiences? What are the team skills required to work at your campground?
Discovering the answers to the questions above is the first step to hiring the perfect staff.
Payroll expenses are generally one of the largest for any business. The size of this line item can create the temptation to skimp on staffing, but few costs are more important or profitable than investments in staff—when executed properly.
RV parks and campgrounds are built on hospitality. Having a team who can excite guests, solve problems with excellence, and run your business efficiently will be worth their weight in gold.
Too many campground owners are also overworked, overwhelmed, and underappreciated—but it doesn’t have to be this way for you. If you aspire to be a campground owner with more flexibility and freedom in your life, investing in the perfect staff will pay off in spades.
The best way to staff your campground is to hire people already within the RVing community. With over 1 million full-time RVers in the US, there’s a hiring pool for campgrounds unlike anything we’ve witnessed.
Here are four examples of ways to find and hire within the RVing community:
1.) Workamper.com – This is the premiere membership site for RVing nomads looking for jobs at campgrounds. By listing campground opportunities here, you’ll open yourself up to a world of knowledgeable campground candidates.
2.) Full-Time RVer Facebook groups – Facebook groups like The RV Entrepreneur, Full-Time Families, and more are treasure chests of people looking for fantastic work opportunities on the road. By creating and sharing a fun post that highlights exciting work opportunities at your park, you’ll open a connection with prospective team members who bring invaluable experiences to the table.
3.) Local forums – Facebook marketplace, your local paper (if your town has one), and Nextdoor are examples of local avenues for finding the perfect staff. People who are invested in your community can often be terrific team members because they’ll help your guests fall in love with your area.
4.) Employee referrals – Rockstar staff members are usually friends with other rockstars. Referral bonuses are a great option to incentivize staff members to bring other great candidates to your campground.
When it comes to the interview process, here are the five most important things you should look for:
1.) People-people – We know it sounds cliche, but the simple truth is you won’t have the perfect staff if you don’t have a team of people who love welcoming guests and making them feel at home.
2.) RVing experience – The perfect staff has experience with RVing that allows them to help your guests navigate campsite setup.
3.) Maintenance experience – Even if you have a full maintenance staff, it’s essential to have other people on your team who understand the basics of campground upkeep. They’ll be your saving grace when “little” things come up, and your regular repair team is away (which is always when these things happen!).
4.) Tech experience – Like it or not, campgrounds need strong WiFi and online booking systems these days. That’s why the perfect team members need to be generally tech savvy to be the right fit for you.
5.) Adaptability – New challenges present themselves every day at campgrounds. It’s necessary to have team members who are flexible, open to constructive feedback, and ready to solve problems creatively.
Hiring the perfect staff is one thing, and it’s another thing to keep them around and happy. Here are a few things you can do to keep great people around:
Offer bonuses – These don’t have to cost a ton of money. Showing appreciation through bonuses like restaurant gift cards, team outings, and extra paycheck bumps go a long way to keeping people around.
Check in often – Have regular one-on-one chats with team members. Take five minutes to see what your crew is enjoying and what they might like changed. When people feel heard, they stick around.
Create a fun team environment – When people love coming into work, they don’t want to quit. Think of ways that you can create fun moments at work. For example, if your campground features outdoor activities like lakes, trails, or rivers, encourage your staff to take breaks throughout the day to enjoy those amenities.
Offer flexibility – Connect with your team to understand how they want their work/life balance to unfold and then build that into your scheduling as much as possible.
Here are a few other creative thoughts that’ll help you find your perfect campground staff:
Virtual work – Are there tasks at your campground such as guest communications and marketing you could complete virtually? If so, you’ll open your hiring pool to a much wider range of applicants.
Offer part-time and full-time positions – The perfect team member might have outside commitments like school, other jobs, or family obligations that limit them to part-time work. By offering options to folks like this, you’ll expand your hiring pool.
Hire guests – If you have long-term RVers staying with you who you already think are awesome people, why not offer them some work around the park in exchange for reduced rent? These arrangements are standard and can be a terrific win-win.
Staffing a campground is one of the most time-consuming and important tasks that owners undertake. That’s why it’s vital to devote the time and energy to a process that brings you a stellar team. By hiring properly on the front end, you’ll save a tremendous amount of headache as you focus on building your campground.