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From Campfires to Conferences: Adapting Campgrounds for Diverse Event Hosting

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The February 2024 edition of the MC Hospitality Highlights report, titled “From Campfires to Conferences: Adapting Campgrounds for Diverse Event Hosting,” explores strategies for transforming campgrounds into venues for various events, aiming to enhance guest experiences and expand business opportunities for campground owners. The report, a collaboration between Modern Campground and Cairn Consulting Group, draws from a wide range of sources including surveys, interviews with campground owners and managers, and proprietary studies. It emphasizes the significant potential within the outdoor hospitality sector to attract new visitors and create vibrant community hubs by hosting special events ranging from music festivals to family gatherings and cultural celebrations.

The methodology combines quantitative and qualitative data, offering a comprehensive view of current trends, camper behaviors, and preferences. Insights reveal that hosting special events can significantly impact campground appeal, suggesting a strategic approach to planning, marketing, and execution. The report encourages campground owners to leverage their existing facilities, partner with local businesses, and engage the community to create cost-effective, memorable events that can boost seasonal appeal, attract a wider audience, and encourage repeat visits.

Key Insights

  • Hosting special events can attract new visitors, foster community, boost seasonal appeal, aid marketing/ promotion, and encourage repeat visits.
  • A majority of campers already celebrate special occasions during trips. Campgrounds and outdoor resorts are widely viewed as venues for holding these events, and potential guests will seek locations that are capable of hosting this type of celebration.
  • Holidays are popular times for campground trips. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day & July 4th see upticks in camping interest/ travel.
  • Special events have a high influence on campers’ decision to stay at a campground. Music events, family events & holiday celebrations are most popular types.
  • Packaged promotions with lodging/activities are effective at driving event attendance.
  • Events can be done cost-effectively by utilizing existing facilities, partnering with local businesses, involving community volunteers, enlisting the help of other guests, and keeping activities simple.
  • Effective event marketing requires identifying target audience, creating unique experiences, online/social promotion, collaborating with influencers, and offering special deals.
  • While challenging, events can provide long-term benefits like increased loyalty and community engagement.
  • Campground owners & managers recommend starting small, then expand if needed based on learnings.

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