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September 23, 2022
When the end of summer approaches, most campgrounds start to see their seasons slowing down. But it doesn't have to be that way! With the right campground management tips and marketing ideas, you can engage your audience, encourage off-season visits, and overcome many of the typically slow season concerns you might be facing otherwise. Here are some ideas you can start implementing right away to avoid slow season stagnation:
When you think about campground marketing and the strategies you want to deploy, social media should be near the top of the list. Why? Because so many people use it, and a lot of those people are looking for more than just information. They also want to have some form of connection with the people and companies they're interested in. If you can create engaging social media posts and make it easy for your guests (past, present, and future) to follow you, they’ll be more likely to keep you in the forefront of their minds for any off-season travel.
Any guest communications, such as campground advertising, receipts, confirmation emails, and on-property promotional signage, should include links to your social channels. When you send an email or provide a paper copy of anything, add the channels to the bottom of it. You can also use social media channel promotion as a part of the wrap-up of your phone calls, as well. A simple “If you have any questions or want to see more of what is going on at XYZ Campground, follow us on Facebook and Instagram” can go a long way and remind your audience that conversations can take place on multiple platforms.
When guests arrive, provide them the opportunity to “check-in” in more than one way. Encourage them to check-in on your social media accounts and tag you in the adventures they're having on your property. If they also tag you when they're enjoying activities in the surrounding area, other people will be able to see just how much they can do if they come to visit your campground. That may bring you additional business, from new customers who see great adventures on Facebook or someone having fun on TikTok. Not on TikTok? Maybe you should be.
Creating engagement can be a really daunting challenge — after all, if it were easy, everyone would have stellar stats on social media. But there are a few ways you can give your sharing strategies a little bump. Making your property Instagram-worthy can entice campers to share photos on their accounts.
Creating giveaways for your campground on social media doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. There are different levels of giveaways that you can run in order to spur engagement from your audience. For example, try hashtagging a #MonthlyGiveaway or a #WinItWednesday. On this kind of post, the goal will be to get your followers to share, comment, and like and to tag their friends to do the same. Not only does that engage with current followers, but it could bring on some new ones, as well. The “prize” can be anything from a snack at your small general store to a free night’s stay (within a certain timeframe).
How about taking a poll? That's a great way for you to find out the kinds of things your audience expects during their stay and the types of things they're really looking for. For example, a "would you rather" kind of question can easily be based around something you might want to change or add in the future. Tents or cabins could be a poll question, along with community fire pits or community grills, playgrounds or dog parks, and similar options.
As for quizzes, you can consider quizzing your visitors on facts about your property, nearby attractions, camping lingo, and those sorts of things. There are often prizes for quizzes, but there doesn't have to be. Recognition can be something as simple as "[Guest's Name] was the first person to get it right. The correct answer is [Answer]. Congratulations, [Guest Name]!" Then tell your followers when the next quiz will be, so they can all play again.
Reviews are a fantastic way to build up an online presence that will benefit your business both in and out of the slow season. The more reviews and survey feedback you can gather from your summer guests, the more that effort can trickle into future business. Encourage your guests to provide constructive feedback and make sure to thank them and any steps that you have taken to remedy their concerns if they have any. That encourages them to come back. Be sure to ask your guests to review you on all the most popular platforms, including Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
You can automate a lot of this follow-up with the right guest experience tools and property management system.
Reach out to guests via email, and remind them of the amazing times they've had when they stayed at your campground. Offer them something for being a loyal customer, including reduced rates, upgrades, or package deals for staying with you during off-season times. Promotions for pre-booked reservations are also great campground marketing ideas. These "early bird" promotions for reservations that are being made in the off-season for peak season dates can be really successful in increasing revenue during the slow season for services in the future.
The right campground software offers multiple, advantageous integrations that can enable you to enhance the guest experience and maximize your bookings.
A dynamic pricing tool can help you boost reservations by automatically adjusting your pricing to match your current occupancy rates. You can also implement any holiday, seasonal, or promotional discounts and incentives based on your preset guidelines. Since your occupancy rate is updated in real-time, you can reduce booking errors and use booking data to make informed pricing decisions for all seasons.
Integrations with Online Travel Agency (OTA) websites can increase visibility for your campground and cause the billboard effect which increases your direct booking rate. Plus, when you adjust your rates with a dynamic pricing tool, it automatically adjusts your rates across all of your OTAs ensuring accurate pricing and happy campers.
You don't have to let your campground stagnate during the off-season. Instead, keep your campground going strong, all year round, with email marketing and other strategies that can motivate your target camper audience to book with you.
Access our FREE marketing toolkit to receive guides and downloadable email templates that you can use to take your campground to the next level.