Kampgrounds of America, Inc.’s (KOA) Monthly Research Report last June highlighted that campers are increasingly embracing technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI), for trip planning.
This indicates a significant trend among campers to adopt and integrate technology into their camping experiences more rapidly than other leisure travelers.
For campground and RV park owners, technology can be a love-hate relationship. While it could benefit the campground and could translate into bookings, some campers also prefer to fully disconnect from the world while enjoying the great outdoors.
But for Scott Janney and wife Lauren, technology is a tool that can help campground owners and operators elevate the guests’ camping experience.
In an exclusive interview with Modern Campground, Scott Janney, CEO and co-founder of Magazine Jukebox, an innovative digital entertainment platform shared how this tool is set to redefine how campers engage with entertainment during their outdoor escapades and how campground owners can benefit from this technology.
The journey of Magazine Jukebox began amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally envisioned as a physical magazine wall in a coffee shop, the concept pivoted to a digital approach when the pandemic hit. The idea was simple yet groundbreaking: allow users to scan a QR code and dive into a world of magazines, games, and trivia without the hassles of downloads or paywalls.
“One day I was just in our kitchen and I looked at my wife and I said, ‘you know, it’s really too bad that there’s not something that you can just scan a code, and enjoy a magazine without pay walls without having to download an app.’ And my wife said to me, ‘well why isn’t there?’” Janney told Modern Campground.
“And so that started this research and development. In over a year, I was researching and creating something that didn’t exist. And since then, we went live in January of 2022. And now we’re in a little over 2,000 locations and growing,” he added.
While the initial focus was solely on magazines, the rebranding to reTHINK Jukebox was a nod to the inclusion of games and trivia, urging users to reimagine the concept of a digital jukebox in today’s world.
Recognizing the need for entertainment during downtime at campsites, especially during unpredictable weather, reTHINK Jukebox offers a solution. Using geo-fencing technology, campers can easily scan the QR code provided in their welcome packets, unlocking a realm of relaxation and entertainment right at their fingertips.
“We use geo-fencing and time stamping for our technology, meaning, that you have to be within the campground to initiate that scan and then once you validate your location, it unlocks it, and that’s it. You don’t have to give your name,” Janney explained.
But does this digital platform contradict the very essence of camping – to disconnect? Janney addresses this concern head-on. According to him, while the platform offers digital entertainment, its core philosophy aligns with the essence of camping. It’s about enhancing relaxation during those quiet moments at the campsite, not replacing the thrill of outdoor activities.
“So one thing’s for sure, 9 out of 10 campers who go outdoors are taking their phone with them. So while they are connected, they’re not connected, it’s very rare for someone nowadays to go out hiking, go out in the water or whatever and not take an emergency device with them, which is their phone. So we know that they take it with them. And sometimes when they’re taking a break they just want to read something or they want to play something,” he added.
Scott emphasized that while many campers seek outdoor adventures, a significant number primarily aim to unwind and relax. He pointed out that not every camper is looking for intense activities like white water rafting or mountain climbing. Instead, many—both young and old—simply want to relax, often turning to reading as a means of relaxation. He also highlighted the challenge for campgrounds to provide an adequate supply of magazines, suggesting a gap that needs addressing.
A standout feature of reTHINK Jukebox is its dual offering: a free version and a premium version.
Scott highlighted the distinctions between the free and premium offerings of their service.
The free version provides users with four magazines and two games, ensuring that campgrounds on a tight budget can easily integrate the platform adding immense value for their customers without incurring additional costs.
The premium version offers a more extensive selection with 12 magazines and eight games. Additionally, premium users benefit from a dashboard with features like advertisement placements and linking options.
As the outdoor hospitality industry continues to evolve, so does reTHINK Jukebox. Addressing the prevalent “app download fatigue,” the platform is committed to providing top-notch entertainment without the cumbersome process of app downloads.
reTHINK Jukebox is seamlessly blending digital entertainment with the tranquility of nature, promising campers the best of both worlds.
For campground and RV park owners, reTHINK Jukebox offers an opportunity to enhance offerings, ensuring a memorable experience for every camper.
For more information, visit Magazine Jukebox.