You’ve found yourself the host or manager of a campground or RV park – or maybe you’re a new campground owner; congratulations! Now it’s time to learn how to manage your campground and ensure everything runs smoothly. Here are a few tips on how to manage a campground directly from other RV park owners with the input from some RV owners as well. After all, we don’t run RV parks for ourselves, we manage them for the RV owners to enhance their camping experiences. You’re more than just property managers, you’re the reason families keep coming back to RV parks year after year.
We broke these down into key areas to help you get started with your RV park.
Get to know your campground and its features.
If you’re new to the campground or RV park, take some time to walk around and get to know the property. Identify any areas that may need some attention or improvement. Note the location of any water sources, restrooms, and trails. Chances are, someone will ask you for directions at some point, so it’s best to be prepared.
Once you’re familiar with the property, create a map of the campground (if there’s not already one). Include all the essential features like water sources, trails, and restrooms. This will be helpful for both campers and staff.
Also, what features do you offer at the park? Is there wifi? A swimming pool? A playground? Make sure you list all the amenities on your website and in any advertisements. We’ll cover marketing shortly, but knowing these details will come in handy.
Understand the rules and regulations.
Before managing the campground, you need to understand the rules and regulations. This is the first step and most critical.
What are the quiet hours? When do people have to leave? Are there any restrictions on activities?
There’s a good chance all of this outlined in the park’s brochure, so make sure you read it thoroughly.
You might be the owner and have to create these on your own. We’ll cover what to include in these in a future post. But for now, we’re just focusing on your role as a campground manager.
If there are any rules or regulations you’re unsure about, reach out to the owner or previous manager for clarification. Once you have a good understanding of the rules, you can start enforcing them.
This is important not only for yourself but also for your staff and campers. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows their expectations.
While you’re at it, familiar yourself with the RV park design. You’ll want to know where everything is so you can help new customers find their way around. After all, many campers planning out their camping trip will be looking for the latest rules for the park before they decide to make online reservations.
Plan out your staffing needs.
Now that you fully understand the campground, it’s time to start planning your staffing needs. How many people do you need to run the campground? What are their roles and responsibilities?
You’ll want to ensure you have the right people.
Think about the different areas of the campground that will need to be covered. For example, you may need someone at the front office to collect fees and someone else to clean the restrooms. If you have a larger campground, you may need additional staff to help with maintenance and security.
Once you know how many people you need and their roles, you can start hiring. Be sure to post job openings on your website and relevant sites.
Here are a few essential staff members you’ll need to run a campground. Remember that some personnel can perform multiple roles if your park isn’t as busy.
- Front office staff: Someone to handle customer inquiries and payments. They’ll also have to manage reservations on the booking platform or reservation system. On top of that, they’ll be the first person they see as guests arrive, so put your best foot forward on this staff position.
- Maintenance staff. Cleaning and taking care of the grounds is one of the most important things for RV parks.
- Security staff. To patrol the campground and keep things secure. Oftentimes this could be your front office or maintenance staff. Most RV parks don’t have dedicated security.
- Recreation staff. If you’re a destination resort, you’ll want someone to coordinate all of the fun things. This person will organize activities and oversee the playground, pool, fitness center, etc.
- Marketing staff. Most campground owners do this themselves, but someone has to promote the campground and attract new customers.
Market your campground effectively.
Another area you’ll need to focus on is marketing. You must tell people that your campground is a great place to stay.
There are a few ways you can market your campground.
One way is to create a website for the campground. This is where potential customers can learn more about the campground and what it offers. Be sure to include lots of photos and a list of all available amenities and activities.
Depending on what booking platform or management software you use, they might include a website with it.
Regardless, your site will be a solid foundation for your other marketing efforts.
You can also promote your campground on social media. This is a great way to reach a wider audience and get people talking about your campground. Be sure to post regularly and use relevant hashtags on the various social media platforms. While at it, you can request guests to share their photos and tag your campground.
Dont overlook ad platforms such as Facebook advertising. You can grow your followers quickly and build a customer base.
Another way to market your campground is by listing it on relevant websites. For example, if you’re managing an RV park, you can list it on websites like RV Park Reviews and Campendium. Be sure to ask your guests for reviews and post them on your website and other relevant platforms.
You can also reach out to local businesses and ask if they would be interested in partnering with you. For example, you could offer discounts to guests who stay at your campground.
Lastly, reach out to RV programs such as Good Sam and others to see if you can build a partnership.
Keep the grounds clean and tidy at all times.
This is a no-brainer. To manage a prosperous campground, you must be clean and tidy. This means regular trash pickups, restroom cleaning, and general maintenance.
A quick way to get a bad review is to have a dirty campground. This is why it’s so important to have a solid cleaning and maintenance schedule.
You should also make sure that any common areas are clean and welcoming. This includes the pool, playground, and other places guests will visit.
You should also have a plan for how you’re going to deal with bad weather. For example, if there’s a heavy rainstorm, you’ll need to ensure the drainage systems are working correctly and there’s no flooding. The safety of your customers should be paramount.
Handle customer complaints.
Handling customer complaints is important when you manage a campground. No matter how well you run your business, there will always be some people who are unhappy with their stay.
It’s important to remember that not all complaints are created equal. Some guests may be difficult to please, while others may have legitimate concerns. It’s essential to listen to all complaints and resolve them to the best of your ability.
In some cases, you may not be able to please the customer. In these cases, it’s important to apologize and offer a solution. For example, if a guest is unhappy with their campsite, you could offer to move them to another site.
It’s also important to take complaints seriously and use them as an opportunity to improve your business. For example, if you’re getting many complaints about the campground’s cleanliness, you may need to reassess your cleaning schedule.
Its also worth noting that you might gets campers with different needs. Like work campers might need WiFi and when that goes down you’ll have to handle that quickly. This seems to be a complaint that happens more and more with remote workers becoming more popular.
The biggest reason you want to resolve complaints quickly is that they might just turn into reviews. And, of course, you want good reviews, not bad reviews.
Make necessary repairs.
With guests coming and going, things will inevitably break from time to time. It’s vital to have a plan for how you’re going to deal with these repairs.
Ideally, you should have a maintenance staff who can handle most of the repairs. However, there may be some repairs that are beyond their scope. In these cases, you’ll need to hire a professional.
It’s also important to have a budget for repairs. This will help you avoid any surprises down the road.
One way to deal with repairs is to categorize them. Safety issues should always be dealt with immediately, while other maintenance can wait until there’s a lull in guests.
Be prepared for emergencies.
No matter how well you manage your campground, there will always be the potential for an emergency. It’s essential to plan how you will deal with these situations.
Ideally, you should have a list of emergency numbers posted somewhere visible. You should also have a first aid kit on hand, as well as a defibrillator.
It’s also important to have a plan for evacuations. This should include multiple routes and a designated meeting place.
You should also be aware of potential hazards on the property. For example, if there’s a river nearby, you should know how to deal with a flood.
Being prepared for emergencies can help keep your guests safe and reduce the chances of something serious happening. Depending on your state, they may also have some local regulations you need to follow.
Ah, yes, finances. This is one of the most tedious aspects of running a campground. After all, you need to make money to keep the business afloat.
There are a few key things you need to do regarding finances.
First, you need to track your income and expenses. This will help you see where your money is going and how much profit you’re making. Usually your campground management software will help with this. In fact, once you dig into your campground reservation system you’ll realize that it can do a lot and finances are just one area. These systems are usually a one-stop-shop for campground owners.
You also need to create a budget. This will help you allocate your resources and ensure you’re not overspending. If you budget correctly, you should have money left over at the end of the year.
Last but not least, you need to be mindful of taxes. Depending on your park’s location, different tax laws may apply to campgrounds. Many campground owners choose to hire an accountant to help with this.
By staying on top of your finances, you can help ensure that your campground or RV park is profitable and sustainable in the long run.
You’re ready to manage a campground!
Campgrounds can be a lot of work to manage, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be a gratifying and great experience. You get to work outdoors, meet new people, and help others enjoy the great outdoors.
Many RV parks thrive because they approach campground management with these principles in mind. After all, as an RV park, your number one priority should be the camper’s satisfaction. They’re staying at your RV park, they’re looking for fun and excitement. If you take care of RV owners, they’ll keep coming back, and that means more money and more reservations for the campground.
We hope these tips and this guide on how to manage a campground will be helpful for you as you take on this new adventure. Do you have any other tips for managing RV parks or campground management? We would love to get your feedback. If you’re looking for more great resources, there are Facebook groups that have only campground managers and owners – and if you’re a new campground owner, you’ll be amazed at how much information are in those groups.