Camping has become more mainstream in the past few years, meaning campgrounds need to accommodate a larger range of needs.
While lovers of the outdoors and camping enthusiasts will always make up a large portion of guests, campgrounds should ensure they can accommodate all of their guests. Gen Z, digital nomads, guests from urban areas, and families with kids are all growing demographics in camping, and each group may have different expectations for their camping experience.
For campground and RV park owners, the trick to appealing to this wider audience is leaning on technology that offers convenience but isn’t disruptive to the camping experience.
Improved Wi-Fi, mobile check-in, and interactive maps are three tech upgrades that can be implemented quickly to improve the guest experience, boost property efficiency, and meet new traveler expectations without ruining the peace of the great outdoors.
Traditionally, camping has been a way to unplug and escape technology. However, with the rise of remote work and digital nomads, some people just want a change of scenery. According to the KOA North American Camping Report 2022, 46% of guests will work while camping – up from 36% in 2019.
But remote-working guests aren’t the only reason to offer Wi-Fi.
The same report found that 64% of campers report Wi-Fi having somewhat to a great deal of impact on their camping experience. They also tend to stay an average of 6 to 8 days longer if they get good service.
Extending strong Wi-Fi throughout a campground can also provide staff with more mobility. Armed with tablets and other smart devices, staff can access reservation management software and other essential functions as they make rounds through the campground. They can also help guests solve important issues in the field versus having to bring them back to the front office.
At the height of the pandemic, properties scrambled to implement technologies that reduced person-to-person contact, and one solution was mobile check-in. Now past the peak of the pandemic, contactless tech remains in demand.
Health and safety concerns aside, mobile is just more convenient. Most people always carry their smartphones with them, so being able to perform tasks from a device already on hand just makes sense. These platforms offer campers a secure way to review policies, redeem offers, and pay.
In addition to camper convenience, this technology also reduces lines at the front office and allows staff to focus on guests with other needs. The check-in screen can also serve as an upsell opportunity. Campgrounds can program customized offers and discounts to display on the check-in screen. This is a great opportunity to push add-on services like canoe rentals, firewood purchases, and other common amenities, as guests will already have their payment information on hand.
Lastly, mobile check-in with self-service capabilities significantly decreases the chance of data error, as campers input and confirm their own information.
Selecting a campsite is one of the most important decisions of any camping trip. Guests want to make sure they grab the spot that best fits their needs, whether that’s being close to the bathrooms or having a more private space. But there is nothing worse than arriving at a site that isn’t what you thought it would be.
Campground owners can help ensure guests know what they’re getting by providing interactive site maps on the campground website. With filters, guests can search by size, location, and even amenities to find their perfect spot. Maps can even be integrated into your reservation management system to show real-time availability.
Many people look to the outdoors to escape our increasingly digital lives. However, technology still has a critical role here – helping guests get to the great outdoor experience faster.
To continue attracting the rising groups of new campers, campgrounds should invest in the technologies that fit with their modern behaviors. Doing so will set your property apart from the competition, future-proof your business for future industry shifts, and help boost your bottom line.