Editor’s Note: Michael Moore is the general manager of AGS Guest Guides, a division of Texas Advertising, as well as the Supplier Council representative on the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ Board of Directors. You can email him with any questions or concerns at email@example.com or visit www.AGSPub.com.
Camping had quite possibly its best year ever in 2021. After a year of uncertainty on when and how people could travel, they got into their RVs and were out in full force.
Campgrounds that have had annual predictable slow seasons were suddenly busier than ever. At many, the weekdays looked just like the weekends when it came to occupancy, filling up Monday through Thursday. Or, a campground that was never full at this time in December is now struggling to find an open spot for customers coming in without a reservation.
Chances are you had a busier time at some point this year than usual and you – and your staff – need to be commended on how they handled that. Hopefully, you showed your customers a good enough time that they plan to be back next year.
Speaking of next year, the crux of this article is about preparing for the future; not five or ten years down the road, but literally your next season. Have you started or are you still unwinding from 2021? I can guarantee there are campgrounds and other hospitality-related businesses that may take off for Christmas and New Years, but will be right back at it come the turning of the calendar.
Let’s talk about a few of those things that can and should be happening right now:
- Updating your website for next year – This could mean several things, such as updating your rates (you really, really need to up your rates if you aren’t!) or including certain themed weekends you have planned. Remember that a vast majority of travelers plan their trips weeks (if not months) in advance. Make sure your information for weeks and months from now is accurate so your guest can see what you have planned. You could also use this time to build a new website altogether. If you’re not revamping your whole website every 3-5 years to keep up with technology, you’re playing from behind.
- Updating your collateral – This could be your rack cards for RV shows, your welcome packet, and your site map that has important information on it like your rules and things to see and do around town. If you know what those updates are, I encourage you to get them updated ASAP. If you’ve paid attention to paper prices, you’ll know that every printer on the planet is moving prices up thanks to a shortage of material, labor and more.
- Ordering supplies, doing renovations, etc. – For some, the ability to update the physical parts of a campground can be hit-or-miss in the winter. But whatever you can do – and more importantly, order – you should do it now. Thanks to supply chain issues and ongoing supply-and-demand imbalances, it could be weeks or months before you can get what you need.
These are just a few things you can do now. Next season will be here before you know it, and all the time you thought you had before starting up again will be gone. And, if you’re still in the planning stages, it can help to at least map out the timing of when you need to do these things.
Do something as small as putting a reminder in your calendar (hard or digital copy!) for months from now, to circle back to. At least you have accomplished the first step, which is to memorialize it and not let it sneak up on you.