Wild Energy and App My Community joined together to provide a seminar for campground owners on Thursday (Aug. 10) to showcase their capabilities for making campgrounds money and increasing efficiency with remote, real-time electrical meter monitoring tied into guest service apps.
Both companies showed how campground owners and managers can capitalize by capturing a revenue stream that was previously neglected with remote metering and billing of each guest’s stay and guest community services.
Mike Sorensen, president of Wild Energy, told attendees that it all started because he thought it was odd that park owners and were giving away electricity for free.
“Then I found out the campgrounds had meters, but just could not send anyone out to monitor them,” he explained. “There was just no way to have somebody running around reading meters. I thought, ‘I can build software for that and solve this problem.’”
Sorensen then built a fully wireless, real-time utility sub-metering solution.
“Now we’re rolled out across the country in parks everywhere,” he noted. “We’re turning free energy into fair energy, because what most people don’t realize is if you’re not paying for it, somebody else is, and you, the camper, are probably overpaying for it.”
Sorensen explained that campgrounds can’t lose money on utility bills, so they have to mark up the cost to assure they stay in the black.
“If you think about a small family in a pop-up who doesn’t use a lot of electricity compared to a big Class A in a campground that uses way more, the little guy is actually subsidizing the big guy,” he said. “The small guy is paying more to camp there because they’re footing the burden for the people that are consuming more energy. When it comes to our metering it just flips that around. It makes it fair. Everyone pays for what is actually used.
“In almost every case where we’ve put our meters, the overall energy usage has dropped 30% to 75%,” added Sorensen. “We’re actually taking those metrics and proving how green our system is. This is the conservation effect of the metering that also saves the park money.”
App My Community noted that its partnership with Wild Energy made sense because many of the property owners that Wild Energy works with are mutual customers of theirs. Plus, Joe Duemig, a co-founder of App My Community, noted that having access to utility data through the app that the company provides is the perfect addition to the other conveniences the app features.
“We were campground customers too,” said Duemig. “We had a great time at the RV resorts we stayed, but we did not get the information that we needed. So, we started building a fairly simple app.”
The edition of the app had an activity list, a map and a booking button, plus a few other things. As the company worked more with campgrounds, it saw the need to automate tedious processes. They eliminated the need to fill out forms at the front desk and then moved on to more complex issues like traffic at the security gate, and the simpler task of requesting pump-outs or delivery of propane. All can have a service fee attached while eliminating staffing for one-off emails or calls.
“A lot of our customers have been luxury motorcoach places,” noted Duemig, “because it shows that you’re trying to offer that premier experience. On rvlife.com, one of our customers got a review, and it said, ‘As soon as they told me to download the app to get all the information I needed, I knew I was in for a great experience.’”
The cost for the services from both Wild Energy and App My Community is based on the number of sites served inside the park and both make integration of the system free.
“A large park is about $3,000 a year,” said Duemig.
“It’s about the same on the Wild Energy side,” noted Sorensen.