Streamline Family Owned Campgrounds And Increase Revenue
In this two-part series we will discuss first the influence of the past two years in camping and expectations of campers. We’ll also discuss online reservation software, benefits and disadvantages. In part 2 next month (Family Owned Campgrounds – Comparing Reservation Software Costs), we will look at the comparison of cost vs benefits of software and guidelines for choosing the best reservation and management software for your campground.
As a family-owned reservation software company and former Iowa farmers, it is quite easy for us to understand the special needs and challenges of owners and managers of family owned campgrounds. Growing family owned businesses while keeping family business values can be fun and challenging while allowing family members to work together for a common goal. As the camping season ramps up each year, family members are most often strained with long working hours, seven-day work weeks and a tight budget for hiring help. There is also the challenge of finding help that fits into a family business setting. These challenges are then compounded with how to market so campers can find your campground online. Family owned campgrounds often don’t have the marketing budget, larger or franchise campgrounds have, so marketing is an entirely different beast! To address these challenges, one must to look at the latest camping trends. The 2020 North American Camping and Condor Camping Reports provide a better understanding to camper expectations and addressing these expectations while increasing revenue. During 2020, reports show that 60% of campers were first time campers with 55% between the ages of 21 & 46 years old. Camping trips showed 45% of trips included weekday trips and 44% of these campers consider themselves lifelong campers. This is a stark comparison to only 15% of campers being 56 years of age or older. Since the demographics of campers is changing so quickly, it seems imperative to look at statics to understand how to continue to grow a campground as effectively and efficiently as possible.
To begin, we will address how adding online reservation software to your campground would save time and money for your campground. A concern for many smaller and family owned campgrounds is the older, yearly campers may stop camping at the campground if the campground has online reservations. This older generation often states they either don’t have a computer or don’t know how to use one. Yet, statics show that 68% of these campers, which is only 15% of the total camper population, own and use smartphones. These campers still can call in for reservations even when a campground has online reservation capabilities. As a business, it is important also to consider if this generation of campers creates the income from seasonal rentals that nightly campers bring to the table. If we look at the needs and requirements of the largest generation of today’s campers, the majority of them will only reserve online. They will not wait for email or telephone confirmation and unless they can reserve online, they will move onto a campground with online reservation capabilities creating a loss of revenue to the campground without online reservation capabilities.
Online reservation software that has been intuitively built for family owned campgrounds can save an immense amount of time and money. It can improve office management by streamlining many of the day to day tasks that otherwise would require extra hired help, saving the campground hundreds of dollars per month while providing more time to do other management tasks. Time previously spent on the phone returning calls and making reservations diminishes considerably if not all together, allowing more time to do tasks that otherwise would be done in the evening. For campgrounds still wanting to touch base via phone when new reservations come in online, they still can make a quick “welcome” call which takes considerably less time while providing that extra special touch or they can have an automatic email or text message sent directly to the camper. Keeping track of reservations on paper is now automatically done online, reports and essential financial reports are automatically created on files that can be downloaded on .csv files and uploaded into Quick Books or other bookkeeping software. As one looks at the time and money savings, it is easy to see how an automated online reservation software written specifically for the needs of smaller, family owned campgrounds, can actually help campgrounds to grow while spending less time managing them.
Look for our next article in September titled Family Owned Campgrounds – Comparing Reservation Software Costs.
Online Reservation Software built for Family Owned Campgrounds