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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!