How to Create a Rural Retreat Campground

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the outdoors industry has witnessed not only an increase in demand for campsites, but also a greater number of immersive, guided experiences in nature. Rural retreat campgrounds offer the best of both worlds and are a great way for campground owners, (or farmers!) to diversify their revenue streams by adding value to the camping experience through additional services.

To learn more about how a campground can expand their offering, and cater to campers looking for unique and authentic experiences, we spoke to Elizabeth Stuart, owner of Crossing Creeks Farm campground in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Here’s what we learned.

Leverage Your Surroundings

A cabin, fire pit, and covered seating area at Crossing Creeks Farm.
Whether you’ve created a snowshoeing trail in the surrounding woodlands, or you’re the owner of a working farm, as a property owner, you have an opportunity to consider what’s special about your natural surroundings that might appeal to visitors. If you’re an established business like a farm, consider what aspects of your farm might draw visitors in. If you’re a landowner considering how to best monetize your land, complete a competitive analysis in the surrounding area—what could you create and offer that would be distinctive to your local area and help people connect with nature?

Crossing Creek Farm started as a farm with an RV hookup and expanded from there to become a full rural retreat campground by adding additional RV and glamping sites. They’re even in the process of adding a dog park. They also got creative about how to better incorporate the land into their offerings.

“One of the ways we leveraged our natural surroundings on the farm to create an extra experience for our guests was to make some walking trails through our front woods. These woods are beautiful but not very useful for us to farm on. The creeks wind through these woods making for scenic, fun, adventurous trails. It was a perfect solution for taking some unusable land and making it usable,” Elizabeth said.

Offer Authentic Experiences

Chickens peck the grass at Crossing Creeks Farm, a rural retreat campground on Campspot.
Beyond the land and available camping sites, Crossing Creeks Farm also provides guests with special experiences to enhance their visit and make it particularly memorable.

Guests at Crossing Creeks Farm can not only enjoy a rural camping stay, they can also:

  • Take a hay wagon farm tour
  • Participate in horseback riding lessons
  • Shop at the farm store
  • Taste treats made at the onsite commercial kitchen
  • See animals up close and personal
  • Play with their dog at the dog park
  • Learn about sustainable agriculture, the environment, farm operations, animal husbandry, and the food system

Is there a topic of interest related to your land, business, or personal life that could be of interest to your guests? Offering educational experiences at your campground can be a great way to provide guests with an unforgettable visit and further monetize your existing property. Crossing Creek Farm found a natural bridge between their farming practices and business methods.

“Our regenerative farming practices focus on the benefits of diversification and so it has organically carried that same model over into our business. Opening our farm into the camping industry has been an amazing blessing for our farm’s revenue. Plus, it allows us to share the importance of regenerative agriculture to more people. Diversifying the areas of revenue of the farm allows us to continue farming,” said Elizabeth.

Power Your Rural Retreat Campground With Modern Reservation Software

Once you’ve identified opportunities for revenue diversification on your rural retreat campground, your next step is to build out your marketing and communications efforts around these components. A modern reservation software such as Campspot is also an important piece of your puzzle when it comes to attracting and converting potential guests.

“Campspot’s reservation software has been an amazing blessing to our farm as well as our guests. It is much more user-friendly than what we were using, and our reservations have increased since adding it to our website,” said Elizabeth.

When selecting a modern reservation system, be sure to partner with a tool that saves you time and increases your revenue. Look for a system that:

  • Provides a user-friendly interface for both staff and guests
  • Offers lock-site fee options
  • Offers point of sale management tools that help you diversify
  • Leverages dynamic pricing
  • Advertises events and add ons

Read Next: Campspot’s Feature List 

Get Growing With Campspot

Taking the time to brainstorm how to add value to your camper’s experience can pay dividends down the road. As with any business endeavor, or revenue diversification plan, be sure to create a business plan that can be shared with investors, partners, and team members and serve as a point of alignment. When you’re ready to start acting against your plan, keep the focus on your guests and deliver an exceptional experience at every turn.That way you’ll ensure you’re helping to create lasting memories for your guests that drive loyal visitors, repeat stays, and positive word of mouth—both off and online.

Want to learn more about how Campspot can support your revenue diversification efforts as you build a rural retreat campground? Request a demo today to speak to a representative.

Ellie Burke is the content & SEO manager at Campspot. A farmer from the Finger Lakes region of western NY, she’s passionate about all things family, food, and wide open spaces. Connect with her online at @ellieburkebooks. 

New Feature Announcement: Online Cancellations

Campspot is committed to helping campground owners provide a transparent, modern experience to their campground guests that exceeds expectations and drives repeat visits. That’s why we’re stoked to share the platform’s newest feature—Online Cancellations.

Online Cancellations on Campspot

Guests now have the ability to cancel their reservation online at any campground that activates this feature. For a visual walkthrough of how this feature works and how to activate it in Campspot, check out the video below.

 

 

More Time, More Revenue, Happier Campers

More Time

When a camper can manage their own reservation to the fullest extent, they no longer have to email or call your campground. This saves time for the camper, but also for you and your management staff.

More Revenue

Transparency is fundamental to meeting a camper’s expectations. A clearly visible and well-articulated cancellation policy allows a camper to read and accept your terms. When they’ve accepted them ahead of time as part of their reservation experience, they know what to expect when they decide to make a change. The associated cancellation fee, then, isn’t a hassle, but an additional service they’ve agreed to pay for in order to have autonomy and flexibility in their camping experience. This fee safeguards your business revenue by ensuring a cancellation does not mean a complete loss of potential earned revenue.

Happier Campers

Campers use your campground for quality time and a chance to escape and relax. The easier it is to manage their visit, and the more their expectations are met, the happier they’ll be. The good news is that most often campers are merely adjusting their trip dates and booking again right away with their new preferences. So, while your business has to manage around their change, you’re still engaging with that camper at a later date.

Meet Camper Expectations

Today’s campers are just like you and me. They’re modern consumers. They order their favorite customized drink ahead of arriving at the cafe with an app. They watch targeted ads (and make impulse buys) on social media based on their most recent actions online. They even pay a monthly fee to have razor blades and shaving cream mailed to their doorsteps.

Today’s consumers have the ability to make a travel reservation online and modify and cancel said reservation from the comfort of their favorite armchair. Campers deserve the same ease. Any campground that enables Online Cancellations on Campspot will allow their campers to quickly make changes on their own without picking up a phone to call the campground.

In order to cancel an existing reservation, guests can:

  1. Sign in
  2. Click their account email and select, “Reservations”
  3. Locate their reservation and select, “View Details”
  4. Click the “Cancel Reservation” button
  5. View a cancellation summary that includes the reservation total as well as the cancellation fee that the park has listed. At the very bottom, guests will see a “Total Refund Due”
  6. Click “Continue” and receive an email where guests must confirm the cancellation in order to complete the process.
  7. That’s it!

Deliver an Exceptional Experience

When campers can manage their reservation quickly and on their own, that positive experience becomes part of their overall perception of your campground, business, and brand. A frictionless reservation process is an important part of their overall impression and when less time is spent on the phone or communicating back and forth about the guest’s desires—more time can be spent going above and beyond for your guests in ways that make their stay truly memorable.

How to Get Started

  1. Ensure your campground cancellation policy is up to date
  2. In Campspot, navigate to Rules > Policy > Cancellation Policy
  3. Activate Online Cancellations in Your Campspot Portal
  4. Scroll to the bottom and toggle the checkmark under Online Cancellations
  5. Click save changes
  6. Get started!

Ready to get going but not sure how to write a cancellation policy?

Read Next: How to Write an Online Cancellation Policy for Campgrounds 

Please reach out to your success manager or support with any questions. Log in now to enable online cancellations today.

 

Ellie Burke is the content & SEO manager at Campspot. Raised in the Finger Lakes region of western New York, she lives for all things family, food, farming, and wide open spaces. Connect with her on Instagram @ellieburkebooks.