What makes your campground unique?
A 2019 study found that 63% of consumers sought out unique experiences they can’t find elsewhere, and that “inspiration and meaning” was the most sought-after quality in a business (Cision).
The same is true for guests staying at your campground. Giving campers a memorable and positive experience increases the likelihood that they’ll come back again.
What sets your campground apart from other campgrounds?
We researched to see what guests value the most in a unique camping experience, as well as campgrounds that are finding creative ways to appeal to new audiences.
Here are 5 tips for how to create a unique campground experience.
1. Invest in the amenities guests want.
We recently surveyed over 700 full and part-time RVers, asking them to rank their top 10 campground amenities, and these were some of the highlights:
Our data found that 71% of RVers consider WiFi to be “essential”. A few participants even said that a lack of WiFi meant they would pass on a campground altogether.
If you’re looking to add value to your campground, adding quality wireless internet is the best place to start. Even if your hope is for guests to disconnect, as more and more working professionals become full or part-time RVers they’ll still need access to WiFi, and won’t stay at your campground if you don’t provide it.
In this article we share best practices for setting up WiFi at your campground.
Campers specifically want trees between campsites as a way to give a natural buffer between neighboring RVs.
Trees provide privacy, shade in warm moths, and that feeling that you’re surrounded by nature. Planting more could easily be one of the best investments you make into your park since this amenity rang in at the 3rd most desired amenity at any RV park.
To cut costs on planting, considering taking advantage of local arbor day sales or giveaways and making an event out of having guests help plant trees in exchange for discounted stays.
There’s nothing better than waking up at a beautiful campsite with the lingering scent of last night’s campfire.
While fire pits are common at most public campgrounds, private campgrounds don’t always offer this basic amenity.
If you’re on a budget, this is a very economic and accessible addition to your park. Just remember to stock all the fixings for s’mores at your camp store!
Sometimes just doing the basics right makes your park unique.
Many RVers noted that showers with locking doors, hot water, and good water pressure were considered a luxury amenity at a campground because good showers can be hard to find.
One RVer made note of how small their rig’s shower was, and that they were likely to stay longer at a park with quality restrooms.
Check out our top 10 amenities article for more tips and ideas.
2. Provide unique accommodations.
According to Condor, 25% of guests surveyed said that a campground’s atmosphere was a big factor in their decision to stay there. This extends to what types of lodging you offer, like RV sites, tents, and cabin rentals. But how can you go beyond campground basics and offer truly unique accommodations?
There’s definitely a demand for guests looking to connect with nature while maintaining a few comforts of home. According to a KOA study, via Curbed, “30% of North American travelers have glamped in the past two years.”
That same study found that “59% of glampers go with their children, likely because glamping gives families the fun of the outdoors without the stress and hassle of traditional camping.”
Not to mention, glamping is generally more affordable than a hotel for families looking for a more economical option.
Glamping can mean many different things, from staying in a cabin to renting a vintage camper. Here are a few other unique accommodations ideas to make your park stand out:
Pacific Yurts Inc. says that “retirees, single-parent families, and young people seek out yurt accommodations” to break away from the “cookie-cutter hotel room experience.”
HomeAdvisor quotes the average cost of a yurt to range between $11,500 to $44,000, so it won’t be cheap. However, if you’re looking to add luxury accommodations to your park this could be a good option. Considering that Pacific Yurts Inc. claims you can make $1,500 a month on yurt reservations alone, this will pay for itself in about a year or two.
2. Tiny homes
Similar to park model RVs and cabins, tiny homes are smaller and can be more inexpensive than other cabin options.
Because they are built on trailer bed and are often movable, you don’t need any building permits to add tiny homes to your campground.
While they may be a recent fad, tiny homes appeal to all ages of camper.
“63% of Millenials are interested in purchasing a tiny home,” while 40% of tiny home owners are Baby Boomers (iProperty Management). That same study suggests that the tiny home market will incrementally grow to be worth over $5.8 billion in the next few years.
It also might not be that expensive to get started. You can also buy manufactured tiny homes to find the perfect tiny home in your budget.
Easily one of the most novel forms of accommodation campgrounds can offer, treehouses are an imaginative way to create a unique guest experience.
The average 12′ by 12′ DIY build of a treehouse (with insulation) ranges between $9,000 to $17,000 (Fixr). Treehouses are truly unique and can rent for considerably more than other unique lodging options due to their rarity.
For inspiration, the Dyrt has a list of 12 campgrounds with exceptional treehouses.
3. Create memorable activities.
Even with the pandemic, there are still plenty of things campgrounds can do to make staying at your park more experiential and stay socially distant.
Host a movie night where all you need is a projector and proper licensing (which you can find help with by joining a campground association), an outdoor tournament for youth sports, or turn your campground into a trail of lights for the holidays.
The important thing here is to find new ways to engage audiences who might otherwise not be as familiar with camping.
For more ideas, RVShare has a list of over 80 activities campgrounds can offer.
4. Offer more than just camping.
There are a lot of ways to utilize your campground besides RVs and tent sites. Here are three parks that found three creative ways to expand their business.
While they started off as a brewing company, Jessi Carter and her team at Devils Backbone got into the camping space to create a distinguished experience for overnighters.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Devils Backbone took advantage of their 71 acres of beautiful Virginia landscape, and combine the passions for those who love beer and nature.
The Hitchin’ Post in Plainview, Texas lives up to its name.
Recently one of the owners, Gary House shared with us how they started hosting weddings for family and quickly realized they could meet the needs of others looking for a place to tie the knot.
Now, after seeing the value and revenue weddings bring their property, they have aspirations of expanding and building out a chapel and honeymoon cottage.
Looking for an even more unique way to use your property? Consider making it a zoo.
Discovery Wildlife Park in Alberta offers guests the ability to camp (safely) amongst rescued and abandoned wildlife such as bears, wolves, monkeys, and big cats.
Additionally, Discovery offers discounted packages when guests visiting the zoo and camping overnight. Even if wildlife is outside of the realm of possibilities, there’s still tremendous value in bundling rates for campers participating in campground events and activities.
5. Reward camper loyalty.
According to Business.com, retaining even 2% of your regular campers is the same as cutting your expenses by 10%.
If campers have a great time at your park they’re more likely to come back, but if you can add value to their experience it’s almost a guarantee.
Grow your business by offering discounts for:
- Referring other campers to your park.
- Registering early for the next year.
- Repeat stays at your campground.
- Joining loyalty programs like Good Sam or Passport America
- Posting an online review of your park.
Creating incentives for guests is more than just a dangling carrot, it’s an affirmation of what their business means to you, and a great way to build rapport and lasting business.
Creating a unique campground experience.
So, what sets a campground apart?
Well, according to our campgrounds, it’s by:
- Investing in the right amenities.
- Providing unique lodging.
- Creating memorable experiences through activities.
- Offering more than just camping.
- Rewarding camper loyalty.
Implementing any combination of this list is a guaranteed way to add value to your campground. The important thing, however, is that you’re paying attention to what guests are looking for and finding ways to create a more memorable and unique experience for them.
Taking online reservations is an easy way to offload administrative work and allow you to focus on the things that make your park unique. If you’re ready to make the jump, Campground Booking can help. Request a demo today!