Just because it’s not peak season at your campground doesn’t mean your reservations have to suffer.

Even for parks up north, late spring and early fall can still be great opportunities to grow your park’s business. With the right online tools and strategy, we’ve seen campgrounds double their business in shoulder seasons.

So, how do you increase business during the slower months?

To answer that, we pulled from our parks experiences as well as the experiences of others in the industry. Here are 6 ways to get more reservations during shoulder seasons.

shoulder season

1. Take online bookings.

shoulder season

While this could feel like a shameless plug, the reality is that guests are making decisions based on what’s available online.

Forbes says that “97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses,” meaning campgrounds need to have a digital presence.

In addition to saving your campground hundreds of hours of administrative work, reservation systems like Campground Booking bring our parks an additional 25% increase in reservation volume annually.

Not to mention, through channel partners like Outdoorsy, Travel British Columbia, and GoRVing Canada, we’ve been able to drive an additional 2 million eyeballs to our parks’ websites.

Taking online reservations is the easiest way to increase business in shoulder seasons.

2. Google AdWords

If you’re trying to get the word out about your campground, nothing beats Google.

If you want to stretch your advertising dollar further you should invest in pay-per-click advertising (PPC ads) through Google. The benefit here is that you’re only paying for ads that get clicked on, and you’re increasing the odds of being discovered by including related search terms.

This will guarantee a higher ranking on related online searches, and appear as a sponsored post, driving more traffic to your park’s website.

3. Unique experiences

shoulder season
Photo courtesy of Kara and Nate

A 2019 study from Cision discovered that 63% of consumers seek out novelty and experiences that they can’t find anywhere else, for the sake of finding “inspiration and meaning.”

Creating unique experiences at your campground isn’t a gimmick. It’s practical. If you’re looking to add novelty to your guests’ experience, consider:

  • Investing in the right amenities.
  • Providing unique lodging and glamping opportunities.
  • Join a local chamber of commerce to stay in the loop with local events you can support.
  • Creating memorable experiences through community activities (i.e. movie nights or sports tournaments).
  • Offering more than just camping (i.e. breweries or weddings).

4. Social media

how profitable is it to own a campground
Borden Bridge Campground in Langham, Saskatchewan

Even during shoulder seasons, campgrounds can stay front of mind with thoughtful and consistent social posts. And similar to Google AdWords, boosting posts on Facebook and Instagram allow you to market your campground exactly where you want.

Just by spending $15 to $20 on promoting social posts, our campgrounds have seen substantial increases in the number of potential guests reached, as well as engagement on their page.

Beyond marketing your park, a well-curated social feed can show your campground’s personality while keeping up with your audience. In addition to boosting posts consider:

  • Contests and giveaways for guests to engage with your page or leave a review.
  • Utilize polls and surveys to better understand your campers and how to engage with them.
  • Posting beautiful high-quality photos and videos of your campground to put your best foot forward in giving clear expectations.

For more tips, Inspired Camping has a list of ways to easily leverage social media to connect with guests.

5. Incentivize repeat business.

shoulder season

Business.com says that retaining 2% of your regular campers is the equivalent of cutting your expenses by 10%, because when guests enjoy their stay, the probability of them returning increases substantially.

Incentivize repeat business and make shoulder season more appealing by offering discounts for any of the following:

  • Booking their next stay before leaving.
  • Utilizing a loyalty program for campers to join like Good Sam or Passport America.
  • Referring other campers to your park during shoulder seasons.
  • Posting an online review of your park.

6. Dynamic pricing

Campground Booking’s dynamic pricing gives park owners more control and more business during peak and shoulder seasons.

In peak seasons, dynamic pricing allows campground owners to increase revenue on popular weekends or to create booking minimums. In shoulder seasons, it allows park operators to automate attractive pricing and incentivizes more reservations.

Having a system that can accommodate different pricing models will take a lot off your plate and lead to more reservations during slower months.

More Reservations in Shoulder Season

Shoulder seasons can still be a profitable time for park owners.

Even in the spring or fall, campgrounds can find a lot of success and bring in more business by:

  1. Taking online reservations to save time and reach a wider audience.
  2. Spending money on Google AdWords to market your park through relevant searches.
  3. Creating unique experiences and facilitate community programs.
  4. Utilizing and boosting social media for more engagement.
  5. Incentivizing repeat business with discounts and loyalty programs.
  6. Automating dynamic pricing to offer more competitive rates in slower months.
how many people are going RVing this year

Want to guarantee more reservations during shoulder seasons? Campground Booking brings RV parks a 25% increase in reservation volume (even outside of peak season). Request a demo today!