When it comes to the hospitality industry, the guest experience directly impacts a property’s reputation, reservation rates, and ultimately, the revenue at the campground, marina, or RV park. While exceeding guest expectations may not always be easy, out-of-the-box thinking supported by a reservation management system can leave campers and boaters raving about their experience.
Here are some key considerations to ensure true customer satisfaction that can drive your property to success.
Chapter 1: Make Sure Your Property Is Accessible
Each guest deserves a great experience, which means you should consider making your outdoor property welcoming to everyone.
Make It Kid-Friendly
According to Statista, 54% of those who camped in 2020 had children with them. Including some kid-friendly activities can not only improve the guest experience for younger campers, but it can also make your campground offerings feel well-rounded while providing memorable experiences for the whole family.
Activities and options to make your campground kid-friendly include:
● Having playgrounds or safe areas for recreation. A playground or flat field can really improve the experience for younger visitors by offering the opportunity to make friends and act as an outlet for their energy.
● Organized games. Something as simple as a volleyball net and other equipment that is either in place or can be rented can provide excitement and positive social experiences for your guests.
● Arts and crafts. If feasible for your outdoor property, offering art supplies or a crafting night is a great way to help families bond and show that you are keeping the kids in mind.
● Board games and movies. Depending on the space and amenities available at your campground, marina, or RV park, you can offer fun experiences such as movie screenings or board games for your guests to enjoy during their stay.
Work within your budget to create a fun space for kids, and make sure that all guests are aware of any rules such as parent supervision. No matter which kid-friendly options you choose to incorporate, consider sending out email reminders and updates about your kid-friendly options to entice families to book at your property if your campground management software enables you to do so.
ADA Accessibility and Requirements
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was a 1990 civil rights legislation piece that gave people with disabilities the means to participate in the same aspects of American life as everyone else. Campers and boaters may not be denied access to your property based on their disabilities. But should we stop there? Caring for every guest is a key component of having an ethical and inclusive environment that makes for a reputable business.
Accessing the outdoors and certain outdoor activities can be a challenge for some individuals. Having an ADA-accessible campground can improve the quality of the guest experience and give all of your guests a chance to create incredible outdoor memories at your property.
Having an understanding of a variety of accessibility issues can help get your outdoor property noticed and appreciated by people with different abilities. Some considerations for ADA accessibility include:
● Wheelchair accessibility. If possible, consider having ramps that meet the requirements for the ADA for buildings within your outdoor property, walking trails, and docks
● Flat concrete surfaces. For those with mobility challenges, a flat, hard surface can make enjoying your campground or marina much easier.
● Accessible bathrooms. Following ADA bathroom guidelines, such as the addition of grab bars, can help ensure your guests have access to the facilities they need.
● Rest stops and medical supplies. Even if you have ramps and wheelchair accessibilities, rest stops along hiking and biking trails can make the difference for someone who may tire quickly. Providing a basic first aid kit at these rest stops can help save lives by turning a major incident into a minor inconvenience.
In addition to these considerations, find out the location of the nearest medical facilities in case of an emergency. Providing this information to every camper or boater using a messaging system can show them that you have their safety in mind.
Accessibility Over Time
While very few outdoor properties have the ability to be completely accessible for everyone right away, having accessibility goals, like ADA compliance, shows your guests that you are striving towards creating the best experience possible for everyone.
Chapter 2: Engage With Your Guests
Campers and boaters love great customer service they can depend on — if you manage one or multiple outdoor properties, keep in mind that great guest interactions could mean increased reservations for all of your properties.
While your staff should do their best to provide service with a smile, there are other ways you can show that you care and engage with your visitors, including loyalty programs, surveys, and reviews.
Build a long-term relationship with your campground visitors by offering loyalty programs. This may include perks such as exclusive discounts and referral bonuses when they recommend your property to other guests. For increased engagement, you could also offer loyalty program discounts tailored to your campers’ reservation preferences and a “thank you” email each time they use their perks.
Additionally, if your online booking platform has dynamic pricing, you can offer reduced rates for extended stays automatically. This way, long-term stay campers and boaters will be encouraged to book more time at your property.
Surveys and Reviews
Sending surveys to guests after their stay can not only make them feel appreciated but can provide valuable feedback to help you improve the guest experience at your property as well.
Once you have it, carefully read the feedback of your campers or boaters and promptly address any issues. You can engage with your campers directly by incorporating their suggestions into your daily operations and asking follow-up questions when needed.
To boost the reputation of your outdoor property, ask for reviews by sending an email or friendly message to the guest portal via your online booking platform. Reviews give guests the chance to relive their experience — if it was a good experience — and give them the opportunity to show off great photos they took at your outdoor property. This could also spur them to bring their friends and family the next time they book with you.
Chapter 3: Maximize the Customer Experience Through Unique Entertainment
Personalization is key when it comes to creating a memorable stay for your guests. Once you have surveys and reviews from your visitors, you can use that information to improve the guest experience in a way that will attract both locals and travelers. One way is to provide unique entertainment that will make your location stand out from the competition.
If you manage an RV park or campground, consider these forms of entertainment for your campers:
- Bonfire nights.
- Local bands and singers.
- Guided hiking tours.
- Horseback riding.
- Outdoor basketball court.
- Pool or hot tub.
- Fishing contests.
- Kayaking and/or surfing.
- Grill stations near the docks.
- Bars and restaurants.
- Equipment rentals.
Chapter 4: Continuous Staff Training
If you implement proper training, your employees can provide a better customer experience through their refined skills. Continuous training over a variety of customer service areas can help increase the confidence of your staff and give you peace of mind that your campers are receiving the best customer service possible.
Employee staff training should include how to:
● Handle guest complaints
● Respond to in-person, phone, and email inquiries
● Use your online booking platform
There are a variety of training opportunities for your staff, including hospitality conferences and online workshops, that will enable your team to enhance the guest experience multiple ways at a time.
Training your staff to use the right reservation and property management software will save time and reduce communication errors. Since reservations can be viewed in real-time on any device, everyone can stay on the same page.
What’s more, integrated online reservation software allows your team to directly communicate with guests without having to pick up the phone. Ensure your staff is trained on how to efficiently use the software to avoid double-booking and overbooking, all while managing your reservations from the same platform — even if you manage more than one property.
Chapter 5: Guest Communication
To improve the guest experience, you’ll want to consider prioritizing online guest communication. Guests want to feel attended to, even when they aren’t physically at your property.
Online Reservation Software and Communication
You can use your reservation management system to stay connected to your guests, including through direct emails. You can send an email to your guests to:
- Remind them of their upcoming reservation.
- Share a list of amenities or updates to your property since their last stay.
- Alert your guests to upcoming promotions or discounts.
- Ask for feedback after previous concerns of theirs have been addressed.
Another way to utilize the email feature of your software is to set up automatic, monthly emails that include special offers, promotions, and details of events happening soon. Email automation can save you time and money while still alerting your guests about property updates and upcoming events.
Another great opportunity for communication is allowing your staff to stay in touch with your guests through your reservation management solution before, during, and after the reservation period. If it’s included as a feature, staff can use your reservation system to send SMS text messages and online chat to provide an open line of communication.
This means that your campers and boaters can get their questions answered, find out information about amenities and events, and more through a guest portal without leaving their campsite or dock.
Chapter 6: Trends & Technology
There are a few different considerations for technology trends depending on the type of outdoor property you manage.
Considerations for Campgrounds and RV Parks
The use of technology is trending for campsites. In fact, 41% of campers in a 2021 survey said they bring their work with them and work while camping. If you manage a campground or an RV park, you can improve the guest experience by adapting to these camping trends:
- Eco-friendly solutions.
- Dog-friendly amenities.
- Functional and clean restrooms.
- Grills provided upon request.
Guests are excited about the opportunity to stay more connected, more comfortable, and have an overall easier stay. However, campers are not the only ones who would appreciate a higher quality stay.
Considerations for Marinas
While boaters may not necessarily be enthralled by glamping, they certainly would appreciate thoughtful gestures to improve their time to your property.
If you manage a marina, you can:
- Offer shore power, so your boaters can charge their devices, watch TV, and use other appliances while docked.
- Provide clean showers and restrooms for boaters to freshen up without worry of on-rig water supplies.
- Invite food trucks to come to your property and mention this to your boaters when they check-in.
Being “On-Trend” Improves the Guest Experience for Everyone
No matter what type of outdoor property you manage, staying on top of the trends and using technology to its full potential is crucial to improving the guest experience.
For RV parks, campgrounds, and marina properties you can offer:
- Quiet areas where guests can work peacefully.
- Free Wi-Fi or high-speed internet packages for extra fees.
- Self check-in/out to give your guests more flexibility.
- Access to their reservation and to make changes/requests through the guest portal.
Chapter 7: How To Measure Guest Experience
Once you’ve made improvements to the guest experience, it’s time to figure out what strategies worked. How can you interpret successes at your property? The right reservation system can help.
With the right reservation management system you can:
- Keep track of communications with your reservation team.
- Access detailed reports and make data-driven decisions for your business.
- Use automation to eliminate the chances of human error, reduce costs, and provide real-time visibility of your business operations.
Another great metric to use when measuring guest experience survey results is the customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, which is based on how satisfied visitors are with specific aspects of their stay.
Having an in-depth understanding of your business’s reputation can help you determine what additional improvements can be incorporated to make the guest experience better and to achieve operational excellence.
Chapter 8: Differences in Guest Experience by Property Type
Depending on what kind of outdoor property you manage, enhancing the guest experience can have different meanings. For example, if you own a marina, your main focus should be to provide your boaters with a comfortable stay while they’re docked with you. Boaters may also appreciate it if you go the extra mile to provide safety tips and guidelines in the form of pamphlets or online posts on your website.
A campground owner, however, will need to stay on top of camping trends to keep attracting visitors. This could mean planning additional events and finding ways to incorporate amenities that are unique to your campground, such as cabin rentals or horseback riding trails.
Stay on Top of the Trends To Enhance the Guest Experience
RMS understands the importance of guest satisfaction. The RMS reservation management software has features you can use to keep up with the expectations of your visitors, such as the guest portal, email automation, and dynamic pricing. By adapting to meet their expectations, you can enhance the guest experience and increase the reputation of your campground, RV park, or marina.
Discover the latest trends and advancements in the industry, download the State of the Industry report today.