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glamping

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.

glamping

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!

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!

Campground Management Companies

Campground Software Reviews: What Campground Solution Should You Use?

As a park operator, you already have enough on your plate without having to worry if your management software is up to snuff. There are more options than ever, and finding the right campground solution can feel like an arduous task.

How does each campground software compare? What are other customers saying about different management systems? What campground solution is best for your park?

To help you sort through the myriad of options here’s is a comparison of campground software reviews, as well as what campground solution you should use for your park.

campground solution

Campground Software Comparisons

There are a handful of reservation software solutions out there, and most of them provide online booking at a free or relatively inexpensive rate. That said, most systems are either lacking in features offered, pricing plans, or their reach of customers.

Checkfront 

Price: $39 a month

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

ResNexus 

Price: $3 – $16 a month (per room)

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

RoverPass 

Price:$2 per booking

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: Yes

Marketing and Advertising: No

Firefly 

Price:$2 per booking

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

Bonfire 

Price: $2 per booking (long-term) or $14.50+ (per month)

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

Campspot 

Price: $2 per booking

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

CampLife 

Price: Starts at $99 a month + $3.50 per booking

Online Booking: Yes

Web Design: No

Marketing and Advertising: No

The Best Choice: Good Sam Campground Solutions

Good Sam Campground Solutions is ahead of the pack when it comes to a complete campground software comparison. 

With an integrated marketing strategy and booking software tailor-made for park operators, Good Sam drives more customers to your park than anyone else. While other software are limited in their offerings, Campground Solutions features a comprehensive list of services to accommodate any campground.

Pricing

Good Sam Campground Solutions is FREE for members and only charges guests a $1 booking fee. For non-members, it’s still only $99 a month, with guests paying a $3 booking fee.

Marketing and Advertising

When it comes to reach, Good Sam connects with more campers than anyone else, including:

  • 2 Million+ Good Sam Members
  • 5 Million+ Active Customers
  • 180+ Retail Locations
  • 47 Million+ Social Media Engagements
  • 120 Million Unique Annual Visitors

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Plus, when your partner with Good Sam, you’re also partnering with Camping World, Gander, Overton’sRV.com, and Electic World–effectively expanding your campground’s presence and influence with guests.

While Good Sam boasts the most extensive network in the industry, they’re also the most pragmatic solution around. When you sign up your campground with Good Sam, you access an array of resources.

Here are a few of the services you can expect.

Social Media Campaigns

Customized ad campaigns on social media newsfeeds drive brand awareness and increase clicks to your park website.

Featured Ad on Camping World Websites

Appear on Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors dealer pages where new and experienced RV customers search for their next RV.

Google Keyword Search

Good Sam bids on relevant keywords to improve your park’s ranking on Google search results pages.

RV.com Ad Feature

Showcase your campground on RV.com, the go-to digital destination for active RV and outdoor enthusiasts with a digital package that includes RV Magazine’s eNewsletter.

Dedicated Email for Good Sam Parks

Improve your off-season. Send a dedicated email to select consumers in our database with an exclusive offer to Good Sam Members to help fill sites when you need it most.

Print Publications Actual Reach

With an annual publication reach of over 8 million, you reach Good Sam members, new RV owners, and outdoor enthusiasts looking for resorts and campgrounds to visit.

Reservation System

Having the right software solution means having the right reservation system. Fortunately, Good Sam Campground Solutions offers a top-of-the-line booking system with all the features needed to manage reservations. 

Do-It-All Dashboard

Easily manage guest reservations with the drag and drop dashboard. Check-in campers, issue refunds, print parking passes, extend reservations, and add notes onto upcoming bookings—all from one grid.

campground solution

Mobile-Responsive Booking Pages

More than 60% of guests will book a site from their mobile devices. We make sure they can easily book no matter what screen they access.

Interactive Site Map

We create an interactive site map of your campground using a satellite view of your property. When a guest books online, they’ll be able to see your entire park, photos, and amenities at each campsite.

Dynamic Pricing

Increase revenue on popular weekends or create booking minimums during peak season. Dynamic pricing maximizes the revenue of your park.

Flexible Booking Rules

Software solutions include customizable check-in and check-out times, the number of nights available online, and guest options for choosing their site.

Parking Passes

For every reservation, Good Sam creates an automatic parking pass you can print for guests checking into your park.

Create Add-Ons for Online Bookings

Make campsite items like firewood or rentals available for purchase in the online booking process.

Availability Calendar

When a guest can’t book their preferred reservation, an availability calendar allows you to offer them the next best option. This scroll-based calendar enables guests to find the next open date.

Integrated Reporting

With over 20 customizable reports for managers and real-time reports for camp hosts, Good Sam provides a deeper level of business insight.

Dedicated Business Support

Good Sam offers support across standard business hours for parks and weekend support when needed. We recognize that many campgrounds may need assistance on busy weekends, so we constantly monitor email and chat. We also are in the process of implementing dedicated phone support, which will be live in early 2022.

Good Sam Reviews and Testimonials

“Being a Good Sam park definitely helps people find us…We’ve seen more repeat visitors because of the sales of GS memberships.” – Larry J, Orangeland RV Park

“Last year, it would have taken us more than two weeks and three staff members to call back and confirm all of the reservations that came in today.” – Warren V, Athabasca County

“Since we became a Good Sam park, it has almost tripled our revenue. We have waiting lists now.” – Coral Sands Campground

Finding the Right Campground Solution

While plenty of campground software are currently available on the market, none of them come with as many features, support, or reach as Good Sam Campground Solutions. 

From full-channel marketing and advertising offerings to a user-friendly online reservation system, Good Sam helps more parks connect with more guests than anyone else.

Want to get started?

Good Sam Campground Solutions provides several services to give campground owners like yourself the tools needed to run your business on your terms. 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!

managing a campground

7 Tips for Managing a Campground

Whether it’s hiring the right staff, managing guests’ expectations, or using the right tools to handle reservations, there are a lot of moving pieces to managing a campground.

How do you find good talent? How do you create a great experience for customers? What reservation system should you use?

For park owners looking to make life a little easier, here are 7 tips for managing a campground.

1. Build the right team.

It’s easy for owners to fall into the trap of thinking they have to do everything. The reality is you just need to put the right people around you. Take time to invest and hire a staff that will care about your campground and guests as much as you do.

  • Start with an on-site manager.
  • Factor in seasonal employees or work-campers to help with peak seasons.
  • Automate the tasks that can be automated (see Tip #4 for more on this).

The friendly staff at Ponderosa Pines in Lower Cape, NB.

Beyond that, take care of your staff and incentivize their success in creating a quality guest experience. When you take care of employees, they take care of your business.

If you’re in the market for good talent, here are 6 tips for hiring the right employee.

managing a campground

2. Manage guest expectations.

Most negative reviews stem from unmet expectations. When a guest can’t find information or photos of your park, they’ll likely imagine something other than what your campground offers.

Here are a few tips to avoid ambiguity and make sure you’re meeting campers’ expectations.

Market to the right audience.

Half of the battle in setting expectations is just knowing whose expectations you’re trying to set. By no means does this mean you need to reinvent your campground. Just identify the audience you have or the audience you’re trying to reach.

A few questions to consider:

  • Does your campground cater to seasonal, long-term, or overnight stays?
  • Is your campground designed for families, retirees, or remote workers?
  • Are you a glampground or luxury campground?
  • Are you part of a campground association?
  • Is your park close to a major city or attraction?

Talladega Pit Stop in Lincoln, Alabama is just minutes away from Talladega Superspeedway and they do a great job of marketing to racing fans.

Having a clear picture of who you’re trying to accommodate will help you better manage your park and how you market it.

Design a “trustworthy” website.

A few years ago a study revealed that, when it comes to trustworthy companies and organizations, nothing beats word of mouth. However, researchers found that 70 percent of those they surveyed said they trusted branded (or well-designed) websites.

Furthering that point, an additional study in 2019 found that 148.3 million travel reservations (across multiple industries) were made entirely online, accounting for a nearly $600 billion industry.

Your park’s online presence matters and is essential in keeping your campground competitive.

Fortunately, designing a website has never been easier. However, if you’d rather pay someone else to come in and do the heavy lifting, The RV Geeks and CIPR Communications are both great resources.

Take quality photos.

Seventy-five percent of guests rely on online photos before making a purchase (or reservation), and 22 percent of returns or cancellations occur when the advertised product looks different in person.

Hiring a professional photographer can go a long way in adding credibility to your campground, and it’s certainly worth budgeting for. You can typically expect to be charged $100 to $250 an hour for the shoot itself, and $25 to $100 per final image.

Even if you’re on a budget, having photos is still better than having no photos, and you can still take decent pictures on your phone. The important thing is that you’re showing guests what they can expect upon arrival.

Feature desired amenities.

Do you know what amenities your guests are looking for?

We’ve heard a lot of stories from our campgrounds about how they’ll invest money and time into a new pool or fitness center, and it will go largely unused.

We’ve heard stories from campers about how they’ll rule out parks in the future if they didn’t have decent WiFi or trees.

Knowing what amenities your campers are looking for is a great way to hedge your bets and keep them coming back. Make it a priority to get feedback from your guests to see what they value, and how you can better facilitate their experience.

For some more tips and ideas, we recently surveyed over 600 campers and ranked the 10 amenities they value most in a campground.

3. Establish a solid foundation.

There’s only so much that you can do with poor infrastructure at your campground. Especially for new owners, it’s imperative that you invest in the foundation of your park. Know the costs of building or restoring a campground to give yourself an appropriate budget and set your park up for success.

Whether you’re purchasing a new campground or restoring an existing one, be sure to prioritize basics like electricity, water, and septic.

4. Use an online reservation system.

Less work for more reservations.

Using an online reservation system like Good Sam has been proven to bring parks 25 percent more bookings and save as much as 300 hours in administrative work annually. Last year, Klahanie and Borden Bridge took 97 percent of their reservations completely online and cut down their busy work almost completely overnight.

Not to mention, online reservations are a better experience for guests, allowing them to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Channel partners.

Additionally, parks that use Campground Booking also have access to our channel partners, including GoRVing Canada, Travel BC, and the CCRVC.

This alone means that our parks are also bookable on any of our partner websites. On average, this brings campgrounds an additional 2 million views annually.

Channel partners like GoRVing Canada feature our campgrounds and bring in more reservations.

Automate day-to-day tasks.

Managing a campground involved lots of day-to-day tasks. Using software to manage your campground can automate repetitive tasks and allow you to easily view and update reservations.

You can also get email alerts for new reservations, reports for your business, dynamic rates for pricing on weekends and holidays, and an integration with Quickbooks to manage taxes and financials.

5. Routinely walk the park.

Depending on the size of your park it might not be feasible to walk the entire perimeter each day. That being said, it’s worth investing in the time (or golf carts) to regularly survey the property. At least twice a week (before and after a weekend), take a look around the campground and see what needs to be touched up or addressed.

Plus, this is a great way to connect with seasonal guests and build rapport as you walk around the park.

6. Interact with campers.

Even with an online system or automatic check-ins, owning a campground is an interpersonal business, and it’s still important to take time to interact with guests. Make it a priority to connect with campers during their stay.

  • Ask them what they liked about their stay, or how you could improve their experience.
  • Get an idea of what amenities they value.
  • Ask them to leave a review as they leave.

If you’re an offsite owner, you can still follow up through email or social media. Extra effort to connect with guests will always be noticed and goes a long way to add value to your campground.

7. Check-in guests.

Tying in directly with Tip #6, make checking-in your guests a personable experience. This gives campers a face and humanizes their experience. Start off on a positive note and have a thoughtful process in place for when guests arrive.

  • Who checks in your guests at arrival?
  • Who leads them to their campsite?
  • Can you help them park?
  • Can you throw in any courtesy add-ons like firewood or WiFi as a thank you?

Little touches go a long way. How can you improve their stay and ensure that they return?

Putting it all together.

Even though there’s a lot that goes into running a campground, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Take the right steps to manage your park by:

  1. Building the right team.
  2. Managing guest expectations.
  3. Establishing a solid foundation.
  4. Using an online reservation software.
  5. Routinely walking around the park.
  6. Interacting with campers.
  7. Checking-in guests in person.

Want some help managing your campground?

Taking online reservations is the easiest way to offload day-to-day tasks, allowing you to focus on the things that make your park unique. If you’re looking for an easier solution to managing your campground, Good Sam can help. Request a demo today!