Campspot Analytics: Validating Business Decisions and Delivering Peace of Mind

According to fictional mastermind Sherlock Holmes, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” We concur, and it doesn’t take much sleuthing for most business operators to deduce the same. Data is the guiding light for operations around the world, while a lack of meaningful and accessible data spells trouble for everyone—including campground operators.  

At Campspot, we have long recognized this importance and woven it into the framework of our platform through the Campspot Analytics tool and its newest Signals feature. 

Campspot Analytics is a collection of intelligent dashboards that provide clear-cut metrics and data visualizations to campground operators on demand. This real-time information is used to help inform impactful business decisions.

Campspot Signals, a suite of benchmarking dashboards, is the latest addition to the Campspot Analytics tool. Industrywide, it’s the first-of-its-kind tool for competitive benchmarking in the outdoor hospitality market. By aggregating anonymized metrics from thousands of parks across North America, Signals enables operators to compare their performance against a recommended competitive set, or comp set, of historical data. The metrics available include Average Daily Rate (ADR), Occupancy Rate (OR), Revenue per Available Site (RevPAS), and more. 

To illustrate how Campspot Analytics and Signals inform the decision-making of actual campground operators, we spoke with one multi-park executive about his experience. 

Hi, Mike, can you please introduce yourself and the properties you manage?

I’m Mike Harrison and I’m the Chief Operating Officer of CRR Hospitality. We own several large, upscale RV resorts, including Verde Ranch RV Resort, which won ARVC’s 2022 Large Park of the Year Award. We also have River Sands RV Resort, located on the Colorado River bordering California. True to its namesake, Coachella Lakes RV Resort is in the heart of Coachella Valley, California, and has five lakes onsite. Lastly, we have our newest Savannah Lakes RV Resort, which is cut right out of the forest and is a beautiful sanctuary of southern hospitality.

aerial view of Verde Ranch RV Resort
Verde Ranch RV Resort

How long has your company been using Campspot’s software to manage its RV resorts?

When we first entered this business in 2019, we chose Campspot to launch our resorts. We went through iterations of evaluating different park management softwares and what our business needed to get out of them. Speed to market for various features mattered a lot to us, which we have been pleased with from Campspot. 

During the demo phase, there were two things that struck us most. First, Campspot was able to calculate and show us how it would drive value and ultimately revenue for our enterprise. Between the Campspot Marketplace, site lock fees, dynamic pricing, and reservation grid optimization, we realized these four aspects of the platform were worth 5% of our total campground revenue, which was significant for our scale. Though there may have been other tradeoffs to consider, we couldn’t trade for this factor, and the other software options didn’t drive the same revenue for us as Campspot. 

The second reason why we chose Campspot was that we were clearly entering into a partnership. We feel that Campspot is a great partner in our success. The team actively listens to its customers and involves us in how to create the best deliverables for its customers. Our vision statement is “Evolve the industry to the modern world,” and I think Campspot takes that same approach. We want to be leading and cutting-edge, and I think Campspot rolled out the new Signals suite as a hallmark to that as well.

Before we discuss Signals specifically, how long have you been using Campspot Analytics and why?

We’ve been working with Analytics since it was unveiled within the platform. Before Analytics, we used to cobble together our own customer reports in Excel. Having an integrated data management tool in our software saves time and reduces error. We no longer have to worry about accidentally overriding a cell or importing an incorrect date time in our spreadsheets. 

In short, Analytics is what I as a corporate officer need to run the business. Our staff on the ground are in the software everyday. They are primarily focused on check-ins, add-ons, special requests—every task it takes to keep the park running. Often from this viewpoint, it’s hard to pause and take a critical look at the business from a 30,000-foot view. Although we have regular revenue meetings with our resort managers, their main focus is guest services and daily operations. So, the responsibility of revenue management lies mainly with the corporate folks, and we use Analytics in a number of different ways. 

I subscribe to certain reports that are automatically sent to me at whatever cadence I prefer. These include the Occupancy Report, Daily Report, Market Report, and Business Mix Analysis. The report I reference the most is the Occupancy Pace Report. It provides a solid “at a glance” snapshot of how the business is doing—you know, are you up or down, should you be nervous or happy, should you hit the panic button or not. 

pool table and lounge areas at Verde Ranch RV Resort
Verde Ranch RV Resort

As part of your data review routine, what metrics are you looking at on a longer time horizon, say monthly and semi-annually?

On a monthly basis, we need more data to confidently make trend decisions. So, we look at the Year-Over-Year Comparison Report by each month and sometimes by quarter. We also use the Business Mix Analysis to help guide our long-term versus short-term thinking. 

All of these reports help you ask the right questions along the lines of, “I wonder why,” “what if,” and “I’m curious about.”

Are we making the right rate decisions? Did we miss out on an opportunity? Do we need to adjust our promotions? Do we need to cap our seasonals? 

Especially now when the climate is so uncertain and there’s angst in the market, sometimes the data just provides peace of mind that we aren’t doing so bad comparatively even if we had a surprisingly rough first quarter, as we did this year. Semi-annually, we monitor what I like to call the cherry-on-top reports, including Cancellation Insights and Guest Driving Insights. 

How do you make use of the Campspot Value Report?

The Campspot Value Report is unique in that it shows you how much revenue the platform is driving for your park specifically, from performance in the Marketplace, to generation of site lock fees and incremental revenue generated from grid optimization.

If an operator were to only look at reservation fees in their profit/loss report, that line item would stick out. But when you look at the Campspot Value Report, it’s clear you’re often making five times the fee number from added value. 

This vantage point of ROI is another way of validating that we’re making the right decisions as a business, including the software provider we chose. 

pool and lodge at River Sands RV Resort
River Sands RV Resort

What is a surprising fact about your resorts that you have gleaned from exploring Campspot Analytics’ various reports and dashboards?

Last week, I looked at the Site Booking Report, which shows site nights reserved by month all the way back to 18 months ago. We have been down in reservations year over year, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that in August of 2023 we had the most site nights booked for future stays out of any other month in the last 18 months. It was our single busiest booking month by a long shot. 

Despite being slightly down overall, this datapoint shows us that our promotions and holistic strategy are working. It’s the type of calm encouragement I can take to our ownership and partners to validate our trajectory. 

mini golf course at Coachella Lakes RV Resort
Coachella Lakes RV Resort

Can you provide a specific example of how you have changed course in your business based on insights from an Analytics report?

The Business Mix Analysis shows the proportion of extended stays versus transient guests, and we’ve shaped an entirely new marketing plan with guidance from this report. 

The park relevant to this case is very transient-oriented as it’s near the Grand Canyon, and our optimal mix at this park is 60% transient and 40% long-term. Private parks across the country are suffering as people are returning to national parks for camping. Having an instant pulse on our business mix through this report showed us that we can no longer rely on nightlies and weeklies. When in the past we would have never considered advertising to traveling nurses and other niche extended-stayers, we now know to look at them as a viable market.  

With the introduction of our Signals dashboards, what value are you now able to derive from Signals that you weren’t able to from Analytics alone?

The number one difference is the market information and context. Before Signals, you were just able to understand your individual park’s or parks’ performance, but without larger context, it’s hard to know what it all means.

Signals lets you see how your resorts stack up against the market and your competition.

Through the Day of Week Performance Report, for example, you can visualize your market position week by week.  

Aside from macro-benchmarks, you can also compare ancillary income across comp sets to see how your property is performing in terms of add-ons: golf cart rentals, bags of ice sold, etc. You can see how revenue per available site stacks up, and if it’s double your comp set average, then you’re confidently driving enough revenue through ancillary means. 

golf carts parked in front of lodge at Savannah Lakes RV Resort
Savannah Lakes RV Resort

What has been your overall impression of Signals since the rollout?

Since Signals launched, it has really helped us frame up our positioning in the broader outdoor hospitality market. While you don’t know exactly who you’re compared to given the anonymity, you have much more valuable context than before. Much of the terminology and reporting within Signals was already familiar to our team given our hotel backgrounds; however, I can imagine operators who come from a strict campground operations background will deal with a learning curve in Signals at first. 

We experienced a very tough May booking-wise. Our year-over-year performance was down double digits. When we looked at the Signals report, we thankfully saw our comp set had experienced the exact same revenue dip. Knowing this did not solve the problem, but it isolated whether our issue was unique or a broader market issue. Knowing this difference is invaluable to either change course or charge ahead.

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your perspective on Campspot Analytics and Signals!

To learn more about how Campspot Analytics and Signals are empowering campground operators through data, visit one of our articles below:


Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons—from snow skiing to scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Anvil Campground’s Key to Happy Customers: Happy Staff

Nestled in the heart of Williamsburg, Virginia, Anvil Campground is an award-winning park with 69 years of rich history to boot. Their namesake comes from colonial-era blacksmithing, which began with the family’s great grandfather. Read on to see how General Manager Chris Jump continues to bring heart and team spirit to his family business today, resulting in happy staff and satisfied guests.

Hi, Chris. What led you to campground ownership?

If you want to go way back, ever since I was a child, I always felt like I wanted to have my own business. I’ve never enjoyed being told what to do. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was a tough child to deal with, but I’m very opinionated. I like to be able to act on my creativity and I don’t like to be put into a box. So, I always knew growing up that I wanted a job where I could create and try new things.

As far as my journey to campground management, Anvil’s been in my family since 1954 when grandpa started it, and later my dad took over. I grew up doing all the grounds maintenance and whatever a kid could do around here to help. As my dad grew older, it became clear he was looking to sell. In the back of my mind, I thought it would be cool to try to take on the family business, but only when Dad was ready.

I bussed tables and was a server all throughout college, and the restaurant industry is very translatable to hospitality as far as communication and customer service skills go. After graduating with my degree in business administration management, I came home to run the park for a few years. It turned out to be a really cool gig and something I could shape for myself. I bought the place in 2011, and here we are 12 years later. We all work hard at Anvil, and we never stop fixing, redoing, thinking, or acting on our thoughts, which is very important.

Sounds like a dream come true!

Absolutely. You know, that’s the one thing prospective owners need to know. Thoughts are cool and ideas are cool, but there’s not much value in words alone. You have to actually go after your dreams, put in the hard work to bring them to life, and then celebrate when you actually have accomplished what you set out to do. That’s important for me and my team.

two buildings at Anvil Campgrounds

On that note, as the new owner, how have you shaped the park to fit your dreams for its future? What makes your business different in the landscape of campground management?

I’ll start by saying that it’s not fair to compare the past 50-some years of camping to what we’re doing today. The 50s, 70s, 80s, 90s, even the early 2000s were just different. There wasn’t WiFi, plus 50-amp sites and slideouts weren’t even a thing! Now, of course, the industry is way different.

With that perspective in mind, what differentiates us today is most certainly our customer service on all levels. Guests notice that everyone is always going to smile or chat with them on the grounds. That atmosphere of happiness and camaraderie shows.

We really focus on the details of our park, especially cleanliness. We renovate constantly, from our WiFi to our pedestals. We also offer free weekend activities, like snow cones, barrel train rides, and our complimentary game room. Parents appreciate that their kids never run out of quarters and that they have a nice, safe place to play.

Can you summarize the story behind your park’s name?

My family came from Flint, Michigan. My dad, my grandpa, and my great-grandpa were very hands-on blacksmiths, woodsmiths, and gunsmiths. As colonial Williamsburg became a growing attraction, my family moved and continued their work here. The anvil on display in our general store is the same one they did the majority of their blacksmith work on.

Anvil Campground general store

Such an incredible family history! What personally motivates you each day in your role as general manager?

My goal every day is to be so good at what I do that my guests and staff have nothing to complain about. I try to make daily operations easier for me and everyone else—for every day to be a smooth day.

Speaking of, we have the best staff. COVID-19 impacted the Williamsburg area more than, say, a rural area because Williamsburg is all about being around a lot of people, given the nearby amusement parks. Luckily though, we were able to retain our staff and as soon as restrictions were lifted, we were busy out of our minds.

That’s great. Let’s talk more about your staff. What’s your philosophy on building or expanding your team, which has clearly led to Anvil’s success?

I actually spoke on this topic at the 2020 Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) on how to run a successful campground. I talked about three pillars: happy staff, happy guests, and efficient business—but having happy staff is number one.

I was only 23-years-old when I took over Anvil. That’s actually why I first grew a beard, to look a little older and try to earn respect from my staff. As you can imagine, it took me a while to learn that respect is earned, and it’s something you have to earn daily. Just because you were great to your staff yesterday does not mean you’re automatically great to them today.

We have well-thought-out rules and procedures, but we also empower our staff to do what they have to do in a situation to get the best outcome. This goes back to being a unified team and having each other’s back. We equip our staff with the tools they need for success on day one, which is also why respect and unity come pretty naturally among our team. Everyone has the same kind of mindset when they’re working, and everyone can have as close to the same voice as possible when interacting with guests.

Lastly, we make sure to compensate our staff well so they feel their time at Anvil is valued. As the manager, you have to genuinely appreciate staff dedicating this portion of their life to you. So, we care for everyone like a family.

When hiring, are there particular qualities you look for in order to fit the team at Anvil?

For me, it starts with their smile. Do they seem like a bright, outgoing, and go-with-the-flow person? Are they easy to talk to? As long as you have a good spirit and you’re a hard worker, we can absolutely work with you.

Because we focus heavily on cross-training people once hired, all our employees can fill all the positions. We don’t particularly want our staff to just sit at the front desk all day. We want people that are willing to go outside and take on odd tasks or pitch in during a scheduling change.

How do you convey your staff dynamic and energy to first-time visitors, so they know what the Anvil team is all about?

While there’s no such thing as perfection, we try to provide the absolute best experience for our guests. We try to think ahead of any possible issues our guests could encounter and plan them out of existence. Of course, things will still happen outside of our control, and something’s definitely going to break. But because our staff visibly maintain a friendly, can-do attitude with guests, guests aren’t upset when something goes wrong. They know how hard we work, they see us over-communicating, and they are more understanding as a result if something less-than-ideal happens.

table covered by umbrella, bench, and fire pit

You said you kept your team employed throughout the pandemic. These days, does your staffing change seasonally, or is it pretty consistent?

We like to keep our same people employed all year-round if we can. I know this is not normal for many other parks, but it’s always worked out for us.

We have about 10 staff members and keep them hired on even through the winter when we slow down. If we can’t provide many cleaning team hours, then we have our staff painting, powerwashing, raking, or doing any other number of tasks. We have some variance, like one awesome employee who goes to school and returns for the summers.

The benefit to this approach is not having to constantly worry about hiring and training.

That makes sense. How do you approach training—is it more in the moment while on the job, or planned out?

We have daily team meetings that serve as the foundation of our training. For specific roles, like guest services, we have study guides to explain the policies and philosophies of Anvil. We test our employees on these concepts, too. We don’t put someone on a shift until they’re completely empowered and ready.

We also have the constant connection of communicating through various WhatsApp group chats. If anyone has questions or someone is new, there’s an existing staff support network available at their fingertips. Constant communication is key for us.

Awesome. We’d love to hear more about your experience with Campspot. How long have you been using the software, and what led you to that decision?

When we came to OHCE in Knoxville in 2019, we definitely had the sole mission to pick a new platform. Campspot was one of the representatives during the provider panel. We also took it a step further to sample all of the platforms virtually, and the biggest seller for me going into it was whichever had the greatest ease of online booking.

That’s the one thing that always stood out for me with Campspot. The online booking for us is absolutely superior—easier for staff and easier for guests.

Anvil Campground pool and poolside seats

How does Campspot specifically help or empower your team to carry out their daily roles?

When you all created online check-in, that was huge for us. We completely changed our process to match it. Before, we were used to having guests come into the office to talk to us and pay. It was a lengthy process, and as a camper you know that’s not really what you want either. You want to arrive at the park and immediately get comfy. Instead, campers are usually stressed about check-in and delayed in getting to their spot after long travels. So, online check-in has been huge and I’ve continued to advocate for others to shift to this practice. It started as a result of COVID, but now we’re 1,000% going to keep it in place forever!

Glad to hear it. Are you using Campspot for any reporting or forecasting to help you with overall business decisions?

Yes. It’s important for me to see the daily reservation numbers, which I feel is the best way to track the health of a business—not necessarily your revenue, but your daily reservations, historical trends, and pacing of cancellations. Finding a way to control and decrease your cancellation rate is a big factor for parks, which we’ve actually done a great job of the last few years. It doesn’t matter when you have 1,000 bookings if 500 get canceled. That’s not a good sign. Being able to clearly visualize our net reservations is a huge asset.

Have you had any personal or professional mentors along the way as you’ve grown your business?

Honestly, not so much. I completely believe in mentorship because your evolution as a person and an entrepreneur would escalate so much faster than if you had to learn everything on your own. When my dad passed in 2005, he didn’t have many things documented on paper. We really had to figure things out as we went. The business evolution could have been much quicker if I had some drawings and written guidance to reference.

Although I haven’t had the luxury of a consistent mentor, I will say our state associations are incredible assets. Every campground owner should take advantage of their local association and be involved in some way, like serving on the board. I’m the current president of the Virginia Campground Association. In some ways, all the campgrounds in one state could be seen as competitors, but we’re not selling the same thing. Each property has their own unique style and experience to sell. In that sense, we all benefit from sharing resources and insights.

kids' playground set at Anvil Campground

It’s been so much fun to talk to you, Chris. Thank you for your time.

To learn more about Anvil Campground, check out their website and Campspot Marketplace profile—or better yet, visit the team in Williamsburg. They’d love to meet you!

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons—from snow skiing to scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Image credit: Anvil Campground

18 Last-Minute Summer Event Ideas to Drive Reservations

As the sun shines brighter and the days last longer, more campers are looking for opportunities and excuses to get outside. Though many campers tend to plan longer trips further in advance, there are still plenty of opportunities to attract spontaneous guests of all varieties to your property. Check out this list of last-minute summer event ideas to fill your calendar and campsites. 

Last Minute Summer Event Ideas

Choose from the list of summer event ideas below to arrange activities at your campground that will draw in your local community or act as a point of differentiation for guests from out of town considering your campground among other options.

1. Family Field Day

Nationwide, many elementary schools hold field days each year to get kids outside while encouraging teamwork. You can adapt this idea for families staying at your park, too. Think relay races, team-building exercises, water balloon tosses, and tug of war. Annual field day t-shirts branded with your campground logo also fit the theme well. Be sure to advertise a prize for the winning team to entice bookings!

2. Yoga Retreat

Many people enjoy yoga for its relaxing nature and the ability to practice it pretty much anywhere, especially outside. Invite a local yoga instructor to your park to lead a single class or a retreat-style week of yoga sessions. Alternatively, set up an outdoor projector and display a yoga video tutorial from YouTube. 

3. Wildflower Picking

If you have a lot of unused acreage, consider allocating some of it to grow wildflowers. Near the end of the summer season, allow guests to pick fresh bouquets. Campers local to the area can take them home to enjoy and everyone else will enjoy the floral scenery while on site. You could even consider charging per bouquet, or giving them away for free during a you-pick event with food trucks and live music. 

4. Farmers Market

Farmers markets are a treasured asset for produce, artisan goods, and community conversation. Whether your area is lacking one or one is already well-established, you could host your region’s next farmers market. By bringing this outside event to your park, you involve the surrounding community, increase brand recognition for your park and all vendors involved, and enrich your campers’ experience. Double check your state and local laws for any requirements around markets and food sales. 

5. Pop-Up Theater

Many campers like to travel with their portable instruments, including guitars. Transform your recreation room into an open mic stage this summer by inviting local talent and guests to perform. Aside from musical performances, you can encourage campfire stories, improvised comedy, sketch groups, road trip games, or similarly interactive group entertainment. If needed, recruit your staff to start and soon campers will join in. 

6. Summer Solstice

Typically falling sometime around the 21st of June, the summer solstice is the longest day and subsequently shortest night of the year. Often, it will fall on a weekday, which presents a great opportunity to create a solstice discount to increase occupancy.  After all, who doesn’t want to be camping on the official day that marks summertime? Consider pairing your solstice event with a group dinner, like a seafood boil.

7. Tie-Dye Tuesday

Understandably so, Tuesdays are likely not your busiest day of the week. Encourage campers to extend their long-holiday weekend trip by one more day with a fun craft, like t-shirt tie-dying. It’s the perfect practical souvenir to take home. 

8. Scavenger Hunt

Take hide and seek to the next level with a scavenger hunt around your campground. This can be theme-based and curated or centered on naturally occurring finds, such as local plant species and property landmarks. Up the difficulty level and incentivize winners with future- or free-stay discounts. 

9. Whodunit Mystery

Bring Clue to life with a weekend full of whodunit-inspired fun. You can purchase (or find for free) fully-formed mystery plots complete with character assignments, props, and a clever narrative. In addition to an organized mystery experience, you could host a costume contest or invite a magician to perform for your guests. 

10. Community Cookout

Barbecuing is a favorite summer pastime that goes hand in hand with camping. For a per-plate fee or as a first-come first-served “thank you” to midweek campers, hold a daytime cookout. Either way, guests will appreciate the option of on-site food. This could easily coincide with a national food day, such as National Hot Dog Day in July. 

11. Game Night

Between board games, cards, and bingo, there are seemingly endless gaming opportunities to host this summer. Combine any typical game with a tournament structure, teams, prize pool, and food options to increase participation. If you have an arcade or other digitized games, the same ideas can apply. 

12. Model Boat Race

If your property includes waterfront—lake, river, pond—or is close to a public body of water, you can host a model boat race. Either supply guests with the tools to create model sailboats that day or invite enthusiasts to bring their own models during their stay. The top three race winners can go home with a camp store prize or a future stay voucher. Hopefully everyone can cool off with a swim after, too. 

13. Farm to Table Dining

Consumers are increasingly conscious of the origin and quality of their food. Tap into this desire by hosting a farm to table dining experience at your park. Think farm fresh eggs, organic produce, and free-range livestock all sourced locally. Cultivate your own food or partner with local farmers or a restaurateur. A mid-week brunch or dinner date-night would entice locals to camp. Don’t forget dessert! 

14. Charity Event

Most people have at least one charity that is near and dear to their heart, and campground operators are well-positioned to spotlight their favorite charity through a custom event. Incorporate related ideas from this list such as games, crafts, teams, food, and prizes to creatively raise funds for your favorite cause. A lower maintenance fundraising idea is a 50/50 raffle—half to a winning camper and half to your chosen charity. Organizations of well-established peer-to-peer events like Relay for Life also offer many resources so you don’t have to plan from scratch. 

15. Full-Time RVer Meet and Greet

If you traditionally host long-term guests and full-time RVers, bring them together with a little effort and organization. This can be as simple as meeting at the pavilion one evening or it can be more elaborate, like a speed-friending event. These guests will appreciate that you brought them together to form a connection and tell their other RVing friends of your hospitality. 

16. Dog Parade

What better way to celebrate the dog days of summer than with a dog parade featuring all of your furry guests. This could take place at your dog park, along a hiking trail, or elsewhere on your property. Campers can show off their pups and meet fellow dog owners. Consider handing out pup-cups or other cool treats as favors. 

17. Fire Truck Tour

Young children are mesmerized by firefighters and their trucks. Invite your local heroes to the park one day for a fire truck tour and fire safety education. You can also expand this event to invite EMS professionals with an ambulance or police officers. 

18. Community Campfire

Bonfires are one of the most iconic traditions of camping. Show campers how to start, manage, and extinguish a campfire responsibly with a park-wide event. Consider providing s’mores supplies and hosting this event on August 10, which is National S’mores Day. Perhaps Smokey Bear could even make an appearance. 

In addition to attracting campers and filling nightly gaps, these summer event ideas can generate ancillary revenue on their own—and this is just a starting point. There are numerous ways to execute these summer event ideas and many more unlisted ideas waiting to be brought to life. We hope you were inspired and we wish you happy event planning in the summer months and beyond! 

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as snow skiing up north and scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

How to Leverage Astrotourism as Part of Your Campground’s Revenue Strategy

Have you ever thought of the starry night sky as a business resource? If not, there are in fact many reasons why you should! Astrotourism—recreation and travel related to observing outer space—and camping are aligned in many ways.

First, campgrounds are often located in the wilderness or more rural areas where there is less light pollution. Less light pollution means better stargazing conditions. Second, most people choose to camp during astrotourism experiences because they expect to stay up later and stay closest to where they can easily observe celestial objects.

In the second webinar of our astronomy series, we were joined once again by physics and astronomy expert Doug Arion to understand how campground operators can leverage astrotourism as a long-term business opportunity. Below, we summarize the key insights he shared with attendees. 

Tap Into Major Celestial Events

Throughout any given year, there are numerous celestial events that either occur regularly or once in a blue moon. These major events include total solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, meteor showers, and more. The well-known Perseid meteor shower, for example, occurs every August. To view our curated list of notable 2023 celestial events here.

Because events of this nature are highly publicized by the media, you can simply latch onto their publicity to host a related event at your property in tandem. In the case of the upcoming solar eclipses, you can also research how close your park is to either the path of the total or annular eclipse and use this as a promotional tactic. Overall, use the big events happening in 2023 and 2024 as a launch platform to generate astrotourism buzz during future camping seasons.

Read Next: What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Promote Lodging Around The Lunar Cycle

Fortunately for campground operators, astrotourism has grown to be much broader than just a few main events, which means you can leverage niche and off-/shoulder-season opportunities. Avid stargazers and amateur astronomers pay attention to the lunar cycle, or the moon’s phases. Because a full moon creates natural light pollution, a new moon—its opposite—provides optimal sky viewing. Since most new moons don’t appear on weekends, you can fill midweek spots by advertising better stargazing to a captive audience.

In Doug’s words, “The sky does not know about days of the week. You can take advantage of that.” Conversely, when the moon is full, its mesmerizing nature and brightness offer the perfect chance for a moonlit hike on your property. Let the moon be your guide and don’t be afraid to get creative by planning events around lesser-known astronomy themes. Super moons are an especially fun opportunity for an advertised evening hike with headlamps! 

Connect with the International Dark-Sky Association

If you believe your location is extremely dark at night and well-equipped for stargazing, you may be eligible for certification by the International Dark-Sky Association as a dark sky place. Even if your park doesn’t meet the Association’s standards for designation, you can see on their website how close you are to a local dark sky place. These special areas are huge draws for outdoor and astronomy enthusiasts alike—and they will want a place to stay overnight.

In the spirit of promoting darker skies, consider how small changes at your park can reduce light pollution and boost astrotourism opportunities. Large bright lights will attract insects, raise your electric bill, and ruin nighttime wildlife and sky viewing for your guests. Doug recommends campground lights be only as bright as necessary for safe operations, be strategically targeted and controlled across your facilities, and emit warmer colors when possible (avoiding blue light especially).

Read Next: 6 Environmental Education Programs to Host at Your Campground

Partner with Local Astronomy Clubs and Academic Institutions

It may surprise you to know there are over 600 amateur astronomy clubs in the United States and 90 clubs in Canada. Invite these experts to bring their telescopes and knowledge to your park to lead a camping star party. In exchange for their wisdom and borrowed tools, you can offer a compensated stay. Go Astronomy lists a full directory of clubs by state and province on their website.

Similarly, there are over 3,000 colleges and universities across the United States. Many offer public programming at their observatories, which serve as great nearby attractions to promote. After surveying institutions within a day’s drive of your park, invite a professor to come lead an educational lecture or activity. It’s likely in line with their institution’s mission of public service and something fun for your guests—win win. These enriching guest programs could be complimentary with lodging or priced separately depending on demand and your goals. 

Rent and Sell Nighttime Observation Products

Camp stores are an excellent way to generate ancillary income. Whether you have a well-established store or are considering selling products, Doug described some basic astrotourism tools your campers will need. Red flashlights are essential because they provide ample visibility without affecting one’s night vision. Stocking “DIY” regular flashlights and red balloons (for covering the lights) will also do the trick. Binoculars are great for both viewing the night sky and daytime wildlife, and this dual-use makes for an easier sell. Who doesn’t love reading a good book while on vacation? You can stock books ranging from various star guides to children’s literature and astrology favorites.

Doug was a co-founder of the Galileoscope telescope kit, which was designed to be high-quality and low cost. These kits can be purchased in bulk and resold to your campers to help them enjoy celestial events and the night sky. For eclipse-specific items, like viewing glasses, be sure to order them early and from a reputable vendor. Finally, Doug suggested investing in some tablets and installing Sky Safari or a similar app to each. Guests can rent a tablet during their stay and use it to go exploring. Through the app, holding the tablet up to the sky will reveal constellations, additional images, and neat facts.

As with most marketing ventures, trying, testing, and tweaking will go a long way in aiding your campground’s success. Whether it’s surrounding the 2024 total eclipse or an everyday celestial experience, we hope you confidently apply your creativity and these tips to try out astrotourism!

Want to watch the full webinar? Learn more about leveraging astrotourism for your campground below.

How to Leverage Astrotourism for Your Campground Revenue Strategy

Click to watch: 

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as snow skiing up north and scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

6 Environmental Education Programs to Host at Your Campground

No matter your location or unique brand of camping, we all share a common denominator in this industry: the great outdoors. From rugged to glamping, outdoor spaces and places make our businesses possible. This fact calls upon every campground operator to be a steward of their land. Campers have a big responsibility, too. Unfortunately, the Leave No Trace Center found that 9 out of 10 outdoor visitors had “not had the opportunity to receive education on minimizing their impact.” Fortunately, campground operators are in the best position to bridge this education gap to benefit everyone by offering environmental education programs!

The more campers that have intimate experiences outside and fall in love with nature, the more they will want to return to your parks and the environments that make them special. Education is the key. In the spirit of Earth Day, here are six environmental education programs you can implement at your property year-round to attract campers of all ages and better our shared planet.

1. Offer Guided Nature Hikes

You don’t need access to expansive forests or mountains to offer guided hikes. Any private path that you can mark with signage will do. To make it stand out, tailor this pathway to the unique flora, fauna, and funga in your region. For example, self-guided signs along the trail could identify your state bird, flower, and mammal, or note the dominant type of tree growing on your land. Include benches or covered platforms as rest stops along the way.

marked path through a forest

If you have the capacity to regularly lead walks, factor seasonality into your environmental education programs, such as leaf identification during fall color change and tadpole hatching during spring. If available acreage is an issue, a labyrinth-style walkway makes for a compact yet welcome relaxation site. You can start even simpler with a bird feeder, bird bath, and dedicated viewing station for guests to enjoy.

If you can accommodate large groups, consider hosting Boy and Girl Scout troops. There are numerous nature-themed badges for scouts to acquire, and your nature interpretation programming could be the perfect fit for their goals. Invite local chapters of environmental groups, such as Audubon, for a weekend retreat at your park, too. Whether you address new or old features, account for accessibility measures to ensure all campers are able to enjoy your trails.

2. Lead a Foraging Expedition

Morel mushrooms in a blue basket sit on the forest floor

Speaking of funga, are you a fan of morel mushrooms? This wild treat grows across the Southeast, Midwest, and parts of the Pacific Northwest from April to May when conditions are just right—especially moist soil and temperate weather. Foraging for morels has become an annual hobby for many outdoor enthusiasts, and perhaps it could take place at your campground.

Searching for wild food resources, or foraging, takes us back to our literal roots and instills in us a new appreciation for the origins of our food. Varieties of berries, mushrooms, herbs, and more are common goodies found when foraging. If this is all news to you, that’s alright—just make sure you know your morels from your brain mushroom. Avoiding toxic lookalikes, researching dangerous species near your park, and practicing identification with an expert are critical steps before you begin.

If wild edibles aren’t native to your property, consider planting a small garden, berry pasture, or fruit tree field where guests can pay to pick during certain times. Popular fragrant herbs such as lavender or mint could also be camper favorites.

Read Next: 5 Ways Your Campground Can Help Our Planet

3. Create a Rain Garden

A sign for a butterfly and rain garden

While flooding is detrimental anywhere, it can be especially harmful to overnight campers and campground operations. One way to mitigate runoff and the urban pollutants it contains is by creating a rain garden. A rain garden is an intentionally depressed area of land, planted with native grasses and flowers, to allow excess water to flow and soak into it.

In addition to localized flood control, rain gardens can provide vital pollinator habitats, improve water quality through pollutant filtering, and are aesthetically pleasing. After constructing your rain garden, you can use it as a model to host guest workshops on how to create their very own rain garden at home. Rain gardens also make ideal locations for wooden bee hotels: permanent housing during the early stages of the pollinator’s life.

Using native vegetation in your rain garden is crucial to avoid the need for fertilizer, weed control, and high levels of maintenance. Native plants also have deep root systems for better water utilization and they attract more pollinators. If you need help sourcing the right native plants for all your campground’s landscaping needs, turn to a nearby conservation district. These governmental entities offer natural resource education and often directly sell native plants. With nearly 3,000 conservation districts nationwide, odds are there’s one in your county.

4. Partner with Wildlife Rescue Organizations

An owl perches on a man's hand

Animal ambassadors can teach us a lot about the natural world and their important roles in it. According to The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the role of an animal ambassador “includes handling and/or training by staff or volunteers for interaction with the public and in support of institutional education and conservation goals.” Some animal ambassadors will even travel to you, which presents an enriching and fun opportunity for your guests.

For example, Amazing Animals Wildlife Preserve in Florida offers “zoo to you” environmental education programs featuring their three-banded armadillo, Amazon parrot, and various reptile ambassadors. Midwestern states could consider partnering with wildlife rescue organizations focused on beloved birds of prey ambassadors, like red-tailed hawks and great horned owls.

It’s important to note that not all animals are suited to be ambassadors or for travel. Many animal ambassadors are in their roles only because they were found injured or abandoned at birth and can no longer survive in the wild. You need to thoroughly research any prospective partner organizations to ensure they have the highest accreditation and animal welfare protocol in place. If you already have resident pets or traditional farm animals on site, consider how you can enrich their care and incorporate environmental education programs beyond serving as an attraction.

5. Embrace Nighttime Activities

Campers gather around a fire at night near a tent

There are many advantages to a park being tucked away in a rural area or remote wilderness. For one, it will receive less light pollution from man-made sources at night and offer much better stargazing opportunities. Dark Sky RV Park in Utah is one Campspot customer that has leveraged their desert surroundings to the fullest. If you are located in a similarly remote environment, your property may even qualify to become an “international dark sky place” through the International Dark-Sky Association.

Watch Next: How to Make Astrotourism a Part of Your Business Strategy

If you are located in a more urban setting, you can still encourage campers to use a mobile app, such as Night Sky, to help identify constellations from their sites. For general information on how to host astronomy education, check out Mountains of Stars. This nonprofit’s mission is “creating environmental awareness through a cosmic perspective.” Their website includes recommended books, presentations, videos, downloadable resources, and more. They can also bring their portable planetarium and telescopes to parks in northeastern states for special programs.

Beyond stars, nighttime is full of life no matter where you are. Plan an “Insects After Dark” summer series to spot fireflies and encourage children to care about even the smallest creatures among us. Lead a walk at dusk where campers are specifically looking for bats flying around and feeding. Have your camp host lead a campfire chat where campers try to match animals to the nocturnal sounds they hear: hooting barred owl, chirping spring peeper, and clicking ​​cicada. The possibilities are as limited as your imagination.

Read Next: What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

6. Host an Earth Day Event

A bee sips from a flower

Since 1970, Earth Day has marked “the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement,” and it remains a day of action. This is why you often hear of global clean-up events on Earth Day, but there are many ways to honor this holiday and involve your campers.

If you are open for the season, invite campers to participate in 1-hour shifts to pick up debris in an adjoining park or along a throughway near your property. Although this may seem counterintuitive while on vacation, “Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world” and eco-tourism is on the rise. Folks who don’t care to participate won’t and folks who do will be thankful for the opportunity to do their part. You could incentivize camper participation with a future stay discount, too.

Beyond trash removal activities, involve campers in tree planting or early spring gardening activities on site. Science proves that neighborhood trees can reduce stress and improve overall health outcomes. Host environmental trivia at your park’s restaurant or recreation hall. Stock your camp store with state-specific field guides, nature-themed coloring books, and copies of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Organize a scavenger hunt for campers to identify specific plant species, animal tracks, or hidden Earth Day clues around your property. If your park won’t be open by April 22, sponsor other volunteer events in your community instead for brand exposure and goodwill.

The best part about Earth Day is when it reminds us that every day should be Earth Day, even when we’re quick to forget. No matter how you choose to incorporate environmental education programs into your business, remember how much it matters to our industry and how much it will benefit generations of campers to come.

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Image credit in order of appearance: Finger Lakes Campground, Adobe Stock -leszekglasner, Haley Dalian, Adobe Stock – Bethany, Haley Dalian, Haley Dalian, Haley Dalian, Adobe Stock – anatoliy_gleb, Haley Dalian 

What Your Campground Needs to Know About the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Perhaps you remember The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017. As the first of its kind in the hyper-digital era, around 20 million people across the United States witnessed this rare occurrence. Now, another solar eclipse is on the horizon that’s set to last nearly twice as long and capture even more of the public’s attention. According to Travel Market Report, April 8, 2024 is poised “to be the biggest mass travel event ever in the United States.” To understand how campground owners can make the most of this special event and what eclipse resources might be available, Campspot invited Doug Arion, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at Carthage College and Executive Director of Mountains of Stars, to join us for a webinar series.

In the first webinar we hosted, he explained why this rare celestial event poses an immense opportunity for the campground industry and should not be missed. Below, we summarize the content covered by Doug, including how you can prepare for the 2024 total solar eclipse now as well as where to find eclipse resources.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

As the moon orbits the earth, it periodically comes between the earth and the sun. When this happens, the shadow of the moon hits the earth and blocks the sun. Eclipses are so rare because the width of the moon’s inner shadow—the portion that creates a total eclipse—is only about 100 miles across while the earth is 8,000 miles across.

Many eclipses happen over the ocean where access to and timing of viewing is virtually impossible. Additionally, because the moon’s orbital pattern is somewhat tilted, the moon’s shadow is often cast above or below the earth and on average misses us. Therefore, only people on a tiny bit of land at a very specific time get the benefit of viewing this astronomical wonder.

Why Does the Solar Eclipse Matter for Campgrounds?

First and foremost, campgrounds operate in environments where people go to do things they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t do at home: pitch a tent, roast marshmallows, unplug, and stargaze. Stargazing is a major pastime and huge draw for people—from dedicated dark sky parks, to events, clubs, and entire books on the subject.

Unfortunately, 80% of the world’s population can’t see the stars in the night sky due to light pollution in or from urban areas. People must seek out the right conditions and places for optimal viewing, including for the daytime solar eclipse. This makes campgrounds the perfect host locations for this memorable and magical viewing experience. Given the rarity and popularity of celestial events like this, the upcoming total solar eclipse represents a major revenue opportunity for parks, too.

Where Can Campers View the Solar Eclipse?

In 2024, the stars have aligned for the best eclipse viewing to take place in the United States. There are actually two major eclipses happening within the next year: an annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023 (or “ring of fire” eclipse) and a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Major U.S. cities in the path of the October eclipse include Oregon Dunes, Lake Powell, Four Corners (UT/AZ/CO/NM), Santa Fe, Roswell, and San Antonio. Major U.S. cities in the path of the main event on April 8 include Dallas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cape Girardeau, Rochester, and Buffalo. Cities in these paths will have a tremendous opportunity to host guests traveling from around the world and provide coveted views.

People are already booking accommodations in cities along the total eclipse pathway. If you’re near or just outside of one of these cities, you still have a strategic advantage. As other areas fill up, your location may offer visitors less congested and less competitive lodging. Furthermore, guests who stay at your park can always drive closer to view the eclipse as needed.

Even if your park isn’t located within the direct path of the two major events, some portion of the sun will still be eclipsed and visible from North America, except for western-most Alaska. A partial solar eclipse is an equally rare and mesmerizing opportunity for viewers, especially considering an event like this won’t happen again in the U.S. until 2045!

What Can I Do to Take Advantage of the Solar Eclipses and When Should I Start?

Start now! It’s not too soon to start planning for the 2024 total eclipse, and certainly the 2023 annular eclipse. The best way to take advantage of the crowds these events will draw is to decide now what type of package you want to offer—if any. Here are a few examples and considerations that were discussed.

Opening Day

If April 8 is sooner than your usual opening day, decide if you want to open earlier in 2024 (weather depending) or only open for that weekend and resume regular operations in May. Offer day passes for viewing if overnight accommodations will be too much to manage.

Multi-Night Requirement

Since April 8, 2024 is a Monday, consider putting a three-night minimum in place to ensure weekend traffic or a discount for guests who want to extend their stay into the following week days.


Decide how you will adjust your rates for this special weekend or leverage Campspot’s dynamic pricing tool.

Retail Opportunities

Consider selling unique souvenirs to mark the memorable occasion, such as branded and dated t-shirts. You can also sell certified safe eclipse viewers and glasses or even affordable telescopes (more on that below!)


There are many related groups you can partner with to enrich the guest experience. Charter a bus to transport guests closer to a direct-path viewing site. Connect with your local astronomy club or university to bring an expert guide/speaker on site.

Elevated Experience

Because the actual eclipse will only last a few minutes at most, expand the event to include other local attractions at your property, such as a food truck, post-eclipse fireworks, or Pink Floyd tribute band.

Are There Eclipse Resources and Items I Should Purchase in Preparation?

Absolutely. The number one item that is likely to sell out by fall 2023 is eclipse glasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays. Eclipse glasses are just as important, if not more important, in regions of the country that will only experience a partial eclipse because the glasses will be necessary for the entire eclipse. Doug cautions operators and campers alike not to buy eclipse glasses on Amazon. There were many sellers of counterfeit glasses leading up to the 2017 eclipse and these did not offer adequate eye protection. Here is a list of vendors who supply safe solar filters and viewers.

Galileoscope is a low cost, high quality telescope kit that was invented by industry experts, including Doug. It’s uniquely compatible with proprietary solar filters and sun shades, which are perfect for viewing the eclipses. The company offers educational webinars on how to assemble and use the Galileoscope along with its optional tripod. To stock up your camp store for this summer, you can pre-order here.  

Further Eclipse Resources

The mission of Doug’s organization, Mountains of Stars, is to persuade people to treat the environment better through astronomy education and training. Their website has a wealth of information about the upcoming eclipses. They also host remote educational programs and they have portable planetariums and telescopes available for use in northeastern states.

The American Astronomical Society has downloadable photos, posters, and other eclipse resources for promoting and planning ahead. Here is a list of their upcoming webinars, too. Finally, here is an interactive map where you can enter your exact coordinates and see the type of eclipse (partial vs. whole) that will be visible from your property and the estimated eclipse duration.

Watch the Webinar for More Revenue-Driving Tips and Eclipse Resources

To watch the full webinar recording from March 22, click here.

Doug Arion presents a discussion on the upcoming eclipse and how to make the most revenue.

How to Leverage Astrotourism as Part of Your Campground’s Revenue Strategy

Want to keep learning about how to take moments like the eclipse (or even full moons, new moons, or meteor showers) to drive revenue for your campground? Check out this follow-up to our first webinar with Doug on the topic of astrotourism and dark skies.

Eclipse Resources Recap

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.


How This Award-Winning Campground Stays True to Its Brand

Picture this: you’re standing at the foot of a spacious lakefront filled with clear blue water, the reflection of a lush green forest bordering the lake, and panoramic views of a snowcapped mountain sitting on the horizon. If this sounds like a picturesque postcard, you’re exactly right. This is none other than the award-winning campground Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort in California.

For this year’s Campspot Awards among thousands of properties in North America, Lake Siskiyou won in four coveted categories: #1 Best Campground for Couples, #1 Best Tent Campground, #3 Best Campground for Spontaneous Campers, and #3 Best Campground for Weekenders. In 2022, Lake Siskiyou also placed among our “Most Popular in the USA” awardees. We interviewed Julie Amsdell, General Manager of this multi-award-winning campground, to understand how Lake Siskiyou stays true to its brand while continuing to reach new business heights each year.

Congratulations on being one of the highest awarded campgrounds this year. How do you describe Lake Siskiyou’s unique brand of camping?

Unique is what hits it on the head with us. We are not a high end resort with down bedding nor are we the most Instagrammable campground around. But with 343 total sites and many different site types, we excel in terms of our sheer volume of rustic and unique amenities. I say we’re the perfect mix of no amenities “in-the-middle-of-the-woods” camping and creature comforts with a view. You won’t find electricity at your tent site, but there are 15 bathhouses across the property and no pit toilets in anyone’s future!

Our standard season is April 1 open to November 1 close, provided Mother Nature cooperates. Being located in a hilly wooded area, we do see occasional black bears and other wildlife. The layout of our park means guests get to experience nature up close while still being close enough to neighboring sites for comfort. Each loop of our map is set up in a way to make cute moments possible—like private patches in a large, rustic neighborhood. We can accommodate whatever your style and stage of camping is, from baby steps to seasoned RVing.

Tell us about the natural landmarks featured in your main photography and how they help tell your campground’s story.

We have a pretty splashy website homepage photo (below), but it represents the pure magnetism that is Mount Shasta and the surrounding Shasta Trinity National Forest. You could stare at the view from our dock all day all year round. I can attest that the feeling doesn’t wear off. We’re the rustic jewel of northern California and we’re not sugarcoating the experience. The iconic postcard view of Lake Siskiyou we use online to market our resort is no joke and frankly speaks for itself.

I don’t want to twist someone’s arm. I say to any prospective camper, “Come check it out.” If I was wrong about the beauty and charm we have to offer, they can let me know. Because truthfully, it’s very rare for someone to say, “This isn’t what I thought it was going to be.” Through select photography, we have consolidated our message and brand to be this undeveloped, picturesque moment with amenities. You can feel how amazing that moment is once you’re on our property. We’re not the only resort with a lakefront view, but we stay true to the variety of amenities and sites we claim to offer while at the same time not overdeveloping the area.

Clearly Lake Siskiyou is a destination in and of itself, but are there other nearby attractions that bring campers to the area?

We’re located on the southern side of Siskiyou County, California, which as a region feels very authentic and not over-developed. We do get a lot of through traffic due to how close we are to Interstate 5. We attract hikers making the Pacific Crest Trail journey or roadtrippers driving the full I-5 route through California. We’re not too far from Medford, Oregon either. Whether we’re a camper’s first impression of the county during a pitstop or we’re their final destination, the region is full of charming towns and stops. Downtown Mt. Shasta City is filled with local artisans, great cuisine, and activities. Local residents have a high level of pride for our county and maintain a high-quality experience for everyone who visits. Our role as campground operators is no different. We fit right in with the culture of the area and play to our strengths through the natural wonder around us.

What do you think makes your campground so attractive for the audiences associated with each of the four Campspot awards you won: tent campers, spontaneous campers, couples, and weekenders?

Tent Campers

Campsite for up to 10

Our best tent camping trait is our sheer volume of availability with access to amenities in a rustic setting. With 15 bathhouses, you’re never far from a hot shower and a flush toilet. If you’re tired of cooking over an open campfire, we operate a full-service restaurant Memorial Day weekend through Labor day weekend and we keep our general store fully stocked. We also play a family-friendly movie every night so guests can grab their camper chairs and come socialize.

Spontaneous Campers

In addition to overnight camping, we sell day passes for just $3 per person over the age of 11, which is a tiny commitment for a ton of fun in one day. I don’t typically have to advertise the day use part of our business. We see a great mix of locals who come to fish, families who use the splash zone, and hikers who walk the seven-mile trail that laps the lake. Come for a day, experience Lake Siskiyou, and then turn your visit into an awesome full weekend. We rarely have to turn folks away given our volume of sites, and they can self-register, too. This type of flexibility is really appealing to the spontaneous person or family.


We’ve got a little bit of everything for a pair to enjoy together: fishing, volleyball, kayaking, swimming, hiking, and more. If a couple wants a fully rustic adventure, they can pack a tent and head on up our hill to their secluded site. If they have an RV and want a weekend getaway while the grandparents babysit, the quiet setting and beachfront views offer relaxation. If they don’t want to pack anything but a cooler, we have 33 cabins and something for everyone. Our cabins are essentially tiny houses with an intimate, cozy feel.


Our bookings tend to surge on the weekends, which we attribute to our location. We’re the perfect spot for people coming from Northern California, like Sacramento or the Bay Area, who only want to spend 1 to 2 hours in the car. Our resort is a charming central meeting point for many and a top staycation site for Californians.

Given your location and number of sites, do you host many groups?

Absolutely. They make up about one quarter of our summer business. Because of our variety of site types, we’re an amazing hub for larger groups who want to have giant meals, s’mores nights, and storytelling time together. Some of our rustic sites can accommodate up to 150 people at one site, which is ideal for girl and boy scout troops, church groups, family reunions, birthday parties, and anniversary celebrations. Our diversity of site types means one family in the same group can choose to rough it while another family chooses to stay in a cabin. The same is true of our variety of amenities. Granddad can enjoy his quiet fishing moment while the grandchildren enjoy the splash zone. They’re all at the same resort enjoying different accommodations and quality time together. The four Campspot awards we won definitely reflect our different site types and types of campers.

What does winning these awards mean to you and your team?

Winning awards like these is validation. Our park has been in existence since 1984. It’s gone through different management teams with different strengths and always a strong guest focus at its core, but buildings in the past didn’t get as much attention. With the effort we’ve put in over the last four years to renovate and evolve, it feels very rewarding on our end to be able to say, “Hey, I’ve really tried and put my heart and effort into this and these awards now validate that effort.” We hang all our awards up at our front gate. It lets the guests know we’ve hit this level of success and we care—it’s a little virtual hug.

Tell us how you came to Lake Siskiyou and about the team behind these awards.

My husband and I are co-general managers. He’s my behind the scenes guy and I’m more the face of the things. We’re the boots on the ground and the owners allow us to run the park as we see fit. We’ve been here since 2019 and are about to start our fifth season. When we began full-time RVing, I never thought we would repeat a stay because the whole point was to take off and explore. Contrary to the plan, neither one of us felt finished with Mount Shasta ever since we first experienced it.

The last four years have been sweat equity to reveal and brand our rustic jewel. My favorite part still has to be down on our dock staring at the lake and the mountain. From that perspective, working here just doesn’t get old. We got hooked and we love seeing the potential the park offers each new year. It’s a labor of love. Similarly, our staff members’ hearts are completely invested in the area and the work. We have an amazing core group of repeat local and work-camper staff from across the country.

What are your campers’ favorite amenities?

Lake Siskiyou Splash Zone

Our number one amenity is our splash zone and we have continued to put more work into it every year. The beach is where we focus a lot of our effort to put our best foot forward given the volume of day visitors and campers. If you forgot water shoes or broke a flip flop, our general store is very convenient for guests to grab what they need and go spend the day on the water. Having a dedicated bait and tackle shop on site is a big asset for fishermen, too.

Since your resort features so many cabins, can you speak to the increased interest in glamping and how you consider this trend in your future campground strategy?

Glamping is definitely a buzzword but it’s to the point now where it has become its own category of camping. It’s reduced the barrier of entry to many folks who thought camping wouldn’t be their thing and were too hesitant to try it. I like to say that you can still come to Lake Siskiyou, unplug, and even bring your favorite fleece throw and fuzzy socks. We have repeat guests that make full use of our lodging accommodations and their amenities, just like they’re at home. They may even rent two adjacent cabins for the in-laws and kiddos to ease into family camping.

For our existing structure, we have the cabins located at both Lakeside Loop and the marina.

The Bears Lair House

I went all out with the decor and details to welcome guests to our neck of the woods, like bronze fishtail coat hooks in the marina cabins. In a perfect world, I would love to convert some RV sites to hard canvas tents or yurt-style structures. It’s the only site type category we’re missing right now. We could also add more small cabins and further develop the area. It’s a tough balance to strike between creating available space and not upgrading the land too much. I don’t want to tip the scales.

Since Campspot rolled out its add-ons with quantity feature, we’ve been collaborating with local companies and developing unique packages as available add-ons during the booking process. We’re piloting a hot cocoa and custom Lake Siskiyou tin mug package and a souvenir basket with local wine and craft beer. This idea of selling a more charming experience with added nice touches feels very in line with the spirit of glamping and our brand. Campspot’s software makes it possible for us to try this out as we grow.

How do you measure success and what type of growth is important to you?

To me, success is that everyday smile on a guest’s face, whether they’ve been coming for years or have never stepped foot in the park. When there are second generations coming to Lake Siskiyou, I want to see smiles on both sets of faces. I adore the amount of folks that ask if I remember them from last year or thank us for having Beary around, our animatronic bear. Intergenerational growth is very important to us, but we have to maintain a healthy balance of returning and new guests. We’re not a membership-based park and nobody owns the view.

Given the natural features that give your resort its namesake and your comment about not wanting to overdevelop, does Lake Siskiyou try to be a steward of the land?

Yes, that comment is perfect. We are stewards of the land. When the girl scouts come over every season, we lead a micro-trash education program for them. The boy scouts will bring magnets and clean near the marina to catch a discarded fishing line or hook that could find someone’s foot. Preservation is a big personal value of mine that is relayed to our staff. No one on our team will walk by a piece of trash without picking it up. This etiquette has translated to our guests as well, as we don’t have issues with them trashing sites. Because of the environment we foster, guests share in our pride for the area and do their part so that everyone can enjoy the experience for years to come.

How did you manage your bookings prior to switching to Campspot?

When I came to the park in 2019, there was an existing software in use that didn’t allow for online booking and was built using a hotel format. Though it claimed to take online bookings, all it did was send the booking request to a reservationist for manual entering, which didn’t satisfy the staff or guest experience. It was so cumbersome that you needed a trained reservationist in the front office at all times to do the booking. There was such a steep learning curve to teach someone fresh that I almost had to babysit the old software that first year. I wanted a platform that was just as easy for guests to book online whether they knew the park and their favorite spot or not.

In the winter of 2019, we began the transition over to Campspot. The two account representatives who set us up were attentive to every need, understood my frustration with the previous lack of online booking, and knew exactly how to make our different site types function within the software. We were live with online booking before the 2020 season.

Once you decided to explore other software providers, what was the deciding factor to go with Campspot?

After our first bad experience, I did a lot of research and sat through demo after demo. Some systems said they could make three separate platforms to handle our volume of bookings, but that wouldn’t make our lives any easier. The ah-ha moment was that Campspot was born from other high volume, frustrated campground owners. We also realized that we don’t always get blessed with the same trained returning workforce. You need an interface that’s teachable. If your staff is frustrated with the experience, it translates to frustration for the guest experience. Campspot just checked all of the boxes.

Since using Campspot for three years, what is your favorite part about the software?

Ease of teachability and truly being able to book online are tied for my number one favorite aspect. Change is difficult for folks, but our repeat clientele quickly came around to how easy and convenient booking was. I tell guests, “While your family is sitting around the campfire tonight, if you want to pick dates for your return trip next year, you can literally do it from your campsite.” Of course we still take bookings in person, but now guests don’t have to send someone on a bike up the hill to book!

Are there any business health metrics that have improved over the years thanks to your use of Campspot’s software?

Our total bookings have increased thanks to Campspot. With our old software, there was only one way for a booking to be made. It had to go through the reservationist and there were only so many people one employee could talk to in a day. We had four phone lines at our front office ringing nonstop, a backlog of voicemails, and a constant stream of emails. It all bogged down our system. Now 76% of our bookings are made online, which has allowed us to increase the sheer volume of reservations made simultaneously and reduce callback time from a week to less than one business day.

If there’s one word you could use to describe your experience with Campspot, what would it be?

Probably innovative. Campspot made the online booking component real and finally made it happen for us. The software allowed us to take our rustic jewel and meet the needs of the 2020s era camper and not the 1980s era camper. My impression is that Campspot cares, listens, and is making active changes based on guest and operator feedback. I got an email from Campspot’s COO congratulating us on winning the awards. That would have been unheard of with our prior software. I didn’t know anyone’s name. That’s not the feeling you have with Campspot. With Campspot, you feel the support and that their whole team is there for you. I can’t say enough nice things about my account manager.

What is the main reason you would recommend Campspot to other park operators?

From the owner/operator perspective of a smaller, mom-and-pop type park, you can pull up the software on your smartphone to double check something without having to run back to the front desk. For the situation similar to ours with outside ownership, Campspot allows for an extra level of transparency from a distance. I can schedule reports to hit the owners’ inbox before they’re even asking for them. Our calls are more productive as a result because we can immediately jump to idea sharing and not be bogged down by operational issues. No one has to steer a blind ship. We’re all on the same page communication-wise and we can more clearly see where the business is going.

What goals and changes are top of mind for you as we approach the summer season and beyond?

We continue to invest in our park based on guest feedback. This summer, the splash zone is getting another upgrade. We’re working on increasing our kayak and stand up paddle board fleet as well as creating two separate launch areas for these rentals. Currently, there’s only one main activity hut at the beach, so we’re trying to reduce and divide the line for people going to the splash zone versus people seeking rentals.

Beyond this year, I have all kinds of ideas but only 24 hours in a day! We’d like to expand our prepared food options at the beach either by adding a second food truck or building a small restaurant. Creating canvas-structure sites with space heaters would push our shoulder seasons and align well with our existing variety of site types. Although we could reach year-round operations eventually, the park wasn’t initially designed for year-round use. A full gut and redo of the park’s utility infrastructure is a long term goal.

Thank you, Lake Siskiyou Resort

From all of us at Campspot, we want to thank Julie for sharing her perspective as devoted co-manager of an award-winning campground. Whether you have 20 sites or 200 in Montana or Manitoba, it’s crucial to know your target audience, strengths, and play to them. Staying true to your unique brand of camping and the customers you serve, along with having the support of a smart booking software, will pay dividends in the long run—and we all want to preserve outdoor hospitality for the long run!

If you have a story you’d like to share with other campground owners, reach out to us at

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

How Prioritizing Guest Experience Powers Quilly’s Campgrounds’ Success 

One of our team’s favorite aspects of working within the outdoor hospitality industry is the diversity of owners and managers we have the pleasure of working with—from all walks of life and corners of the continent, each with a story to tell as unique as their brand of camping. Kate McLeod is one such owner who exemplifies the top traits of our industry: personable, genuine, and committed to providing nothing less than the best guest experience. As her campground management journey progressed, Katie chose Campspot to help make her commitment possible across all three of her properties. From branding and team building to online software advice, read her story below to learn how her decision to prioritize guest experience led to her success.

Called to Camping

Campspot: Hi Katie, tell us about your journey to become a multi-park campground owner.

I think my journey is a bit different from most other campground owners. To start, I’m the youngest campground owner I know. I also lived abroad for many years, first in Beijing, China for four years. I got my Master’s Degree in Aberdeen, Scotland while living there for almost two years. I also met my husband in Beijing. We then moved to Brazil together and lived there for a while.

When it came time for us to come home to the U.S., I knew I wanted to go into business for myself and invest in something longterm for my future. If you look at the numbers, the average RV park is a relatively low cost buy-in considering what you get for the investment. I grew up in a very outdoorsy family and have been camping since I was, gosh, a baby! Because I was very passionate about camping already and it made sense business-wise, buying an RV park was a natural entrepreneurship path for me.

Campspot: What do you enjoy most about working in the campground management space?

I think the RV and camping industry is unique in the way that it brings so many different people together. You get to meet and interact with a more eclectic set of people than you would otherwise in life. I’m actually a trained therapist. I graduated from Touro University with an M.A. n Family and Marriage Therapy and from University of Aberdeen with a masters in Perceptual Psychology. I’m a real people person, so I find working in campgrounds very fulfilling because I’m always in contact with a lot of people. If you think of other types of real estate and investment deals, you don’t necessarily get the same depth and variety of human interaction as you do through campgrounds.

Campspot: As co-owner of Quilly’s Campgrounds, how is your husband involved in park management with you?

He’s an architect by trade and is helping with a major expansion at one of our properties right now. Recently, he designed a clubhouse and pool for our other RV park. He designed all of our park websites, maps, and our logo, too. Needless to say, my husband does so much for me and our businesses.

Building a Brand and Curating a Special Guest Experience

Campspot: Can you describe your properties and what distinguishes them?

I own three RV parks in Texas and Mississippi: Quilly’s Magnolia, Quilly’s Big Fish, Quilly’s Cozy Traveler. Between the three, we serve a mix of short-term and long-term guests.

Quilly’s Magnolia RV Park – Vicksburg, MS

The first park I bought was Quilly’s Magnolia RV Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I love this place because it’s conveniently located off a major intersecting highway and by restaurants while still being nestled away on a secluded street. Driving into the park, guests are welcomed by the big trees and green space. Even though the park is in a more populated area, it’s super idyllic and you feel really tucked in. This location also has a pool, dog park, and playground. People tend to stay here to visit Vicksburg’s many historical sites such as the National Military Park, go on river tours, and or check out the regular BBQ competitions.

Quilly’s Cozy Traveler RV Park – Oyster Creek, TX

Quilly’s Cozy Traveler is a gated boutique park with 30 pads in Oyster Creek, Texas. It’s right across the street from Oyster Creek and the municipal park. Our guests appreciate the close proximity to fishing and the nature reserve with nice views all around. We try to preserve as many trees on the property as possible while still providing concrete RV pads, which is more difficult to do. We’re south of Houston and just eight miles from multiple beaches on the Gulf.

Katie at Quilly’s Big Fish RV Park – Rockport, TX

Quilly’s Big Fish is fantastic and so much prettier in person than in the pictures—and we’ve had professional photography taken! We have four ponds that have been stocked with fish for 20 years, so the fish are really big and established. The lots are staggered to make them more spacious and private. Some sites border the ponds and others back up into a large wooded area. There’s also over a mile of walking trails on site. Being so close to Corpus Christi and the oceanfront, this site is a huge destination for winter Texans who want to thaw out farther south.

Campspot: Although they’re clearly each unique, would you say there is a single theme across all Quilly’s parks?

Absolutely. While I didn’t build any of these parks from scratch, I spent a lot of time picking them out to make sure they really fit my aesthetic and vision. RV camping can often feel like you’re just in a glorified parking lot. That’s something I never want guests to feel while at my parks. Guests can feel the difference when you care and invest in curating a special experience just for them. That’s why a Quilly’s park is always a place where campers can have a relaxed stay and rediscover nature in an urban setting.

Campspot: What are some ways you market your unique brand of camping online?

I post on our business Facebook and Instagram pages every day and regularly share video reels on TikTok. I also have a YouTube that I post to regularly. Making behind the scenes and “get to know our managers” type of content is especially fun for the people who are at the park. They get to know us and know we are authentic. If a guest has tagged our business or shared a photo from their stay on social media, we always re-share it, which is an easy way to amplify positive reviews.

Through Google Ads and Analytics, we’re always trying to improve our websites’ search engine optimization (SEO). The main reason is to make sure everything is optimized to accurately show guests what they will experience when they arrive. Even in my everyday vernacular, I’m constantly talking about helping people discover nature in a relaxed state. I’m living and breathing the Quilly’s brand!

Campspot: I love your enthusiasm for your businesses. What do you have planned next?

We actually have a big expansion underway at Quilly’s Magnolia. My husband and I worked with a landscape architect who specifically designs for RV parks to emphasize the property being embedded in nature. We’re adding 28 premium spots with extra space and privacy. Although, we chose to maximize the guest experience rather than the number of new spots the park could physically hold. We widened existing roads and built the new RV pads at the right angle for big rigs to back in and pull-thru with ease. Because traveling is stressful, being in the RV park shouldn’t be. 

At Quilly’s Big Fish, we’re adding the new pool and clubhouse my husband designed. The great thing about Texas is that you can swim all year long, and I’m so excited to be able to provide that amenity now. We already host a monthly potluck, but now if the weather is bad it won’t matter because guests can go in the clubhouse. We’ll also be able to host regular bingo nights.

Delivering the Best Experience and Providing a Magical, Natural Place Without Worry

Campspot: As a newer campground owner, what would you say is the guiding north star for your businesses?

I think a lot about how I would want to be treated and experience staying in my parks if I were a guest. I’d want it to be a magical, natural place where I can relax without worry. That sentiment guides me, and that’s why I’m always trying to improve the guest experience. I mentioned before I’m a huge people person, which is why I love to bring the community together at my parks through expanded gathering areas, potlucks, you name it.

Campspot: Given the properties’ physical distance apart, how do you accomplish it all?

When I took ownership of the parks, I built my management teams, starting at Quilly’s Magnolia. Getting to grow my own team was really amazing because I was able to hire people who truly shared in my vision of providing stellar customer service, wanting to learn, and seeing exactly what I saw in my business. They’re an extension of the Quilly’s brand and I couldn’t do it without them.

For example, I have an amazing management team that lives in Rockport at Quilly’s Big Fish, which is also my home base. I travel to Vicksburg about once a month, visiting my sister along the way. Aside from my amazing manager, Tiffany, I’m able to do everything remotely for Quilly’s Cozy Traveler and guests receive gate access codes.

Lastly, Campspot helps keep everything organized for me. I log in wherever, open the reservation grids, and can easily see exactly how things are looking at each park.

Campspot: That’s a great transition. How did you first learn about our software?

All the parks that I bought were doing pen and paper reservations, which was pretty shocking to me in 2021 and I knew was a no-go for us. I researched many different software providers. During one software demo, while the backend user navigation and look were pretty good, I thought the guest booking experience was just not up to par. For me, the customer experience is a deal breaker.

Other shortcomings were systems being too clunky or the set up too arduous. Having a high buy-in from the owner’s end is problematic, too, because what if we try it and hate it? When I found Campspot, I thought the user experience was the best. I was also drawn to Campspot because there is no upfront buy-in or locked-in commitment. I’ve been a Campspot user for a year and a half now.

Campspot: Can you speak more to why you prefer online booking over pencil and paper?

During the first week of ownership, the stress I felt using a paper reservation system was unbearable—50 notecards, a spreadsheet, and a big headache. I would be mortified if someone showed up to my park and they didn’t have a spot when they made a reservation. I wanted to remove human error from the process. 

As part of Quilly’s customer experience, I believe booking should be as easy as possible. I don’t ever want there to be a time when a guest is struggling to book at our park. At two o’clock in the morning with an online system, my guests can book their reservation, know their spot, and get all of the discounts they’re supposed to.

Even before someone shows up at Quilly’s, they should have a pretty good idea of what to expect and receive good communication from us. For winter Texans, it’s a big deal where you’re going to book because you’re going to stay there for three to four months. If you are having a bad booking experience, the process is so much more stressful. As I said before, traveling is already stressful enough. The booking experience shouldn’t be. 

From the Campspot booking page, it’s clear to a guest that their reservation was made correctly, payment was accepted, and that more information is on its way. Campspot automatically emails guests on our behalf confirming their stay and sends another reminder email closer to arrival. If you’re traveling across the country, you often forget what campgrounds you’ve even reserved at. Campspot makes sure that you don’t forget and have all of the information you need.

Campspot: What are your favorite Campspot software features?

My favorite aspect is simply booking online. The grid optimization feature is obviously great because every manager is trying to get the most people into their park without overlapping sites or nights. Campspot’s feature eliminates the guesswork and shuffles sites for you. 

If you get into campground software, you want it to be intuitive for both operators and campers. Before Campspot, I was really intimidated to set up metering for our long-term stays for the first time. Then I started using Campspot’s built-in metering function, which led to less mistakes and happier campers. Guests can see a metered record on their bill in an organized and consistent layout. The customer knows they are being taken care of and that means everything to me.

Campspot: How would you describe our software to someone who is new to it?

In one word, refreshing. The platform is un-intimidating, and that’s surprisingly difficult to find.

Campspot: What would be the main reason you would recommend Campspot to other campground owners?

If optimizing the guest experience and being on the cutting edge resonates with you, then Campspot will resonate with you—and that is what got me. Campspot’s desire to build the best online booking experience and my desire to provide the same for my guests aligned. The campers love it, too. We’re all aligned.

It’s also really nice that Campspot provides good help. The support professionals know you and what you’re going through. There’s never been a time when I’ve received bad customer service. I love Campspot. If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing then maybe I’d want to work for Campspot!

Thanks to Quilly’s

We want to thank Katie for providing her time and expertise during this interview. We echo the importance of her business philosophy to elevate, optimize, and maximize the guest experience to fit your brand. In the spirit of growing together, thanks for taking the time to hear her story and what she’s learned along the way. We hope it inspires the best for your business.

Do you have a story you’d like to share with other campground owners? Reach out at

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

How to Get Your Campground Ready for the Summer Season

We know there’s always a laundry list of to-dos for campground operators when welcoming the change in seasons—no matter where you’re located. Let’s dust off the cobwebs and focus on the top tasks to get your campground ready for the summer and possibly opening day.

Do a Deep Clean

We were serious about the cobwebs, and it’s nothing personal! Dust has no doubt accumulated in your rental cabins, recreation hall, on bathhouse surfaces, and elsewhere. Developing a monthly or seasonal deep cleaning checklist—especially one ahead of the busy summer months—will help you stay sane by knowing exactly where to begin spring cleaning each new year.

Easy-to-forget tasks include:

  • Scrub grill grates
  • Clean leftover debris from fire pits
  • Replace paper products
  • Touch up faded or dirty signage
  • Restock cleaning supplies

In addition to deep cleaning, be sure to revisit any neglected maintenance orders from the prior year. Having multiple family or staff members walk the grounds and do a thorough visual inspection will go a long way in catching any overlooked areas. Don’t forget to inspect your maintenance equipment as well to avoid using a faulty ladder or dull tool.

Read Next: Creative Ideas for Marking Campsites

Begin Hiring Staff

Depending on your park’s capacity, amenities, and number of returning employees, your seasonal staff hiring timeline will vary. Generally, we recommend updating and posting summer positions between January and March. There are many different applicant sourcing options, from LinkedIn and Indeed to direct advertising in your area and referrals.

You might be familiar with Amazon’s CamperForce program, which gained notoriety from the 2021 Oscar’s Best Picture Nomadland. Since 2008, CamperForce has been a desirable option for full-time RVers to make extra money on the road and have their lodging compensated by the retail giant. As of December 2022, Amazon announced the end of CamperForce to streamline its seasonal hiring. This hiring void will likely cause former Amazon workers to look elsewhere for work camp postings, which is good news if you’re in the market for flexible help.

Here are a few websites where you can advertise help wanted and find work campers: Workamper News, Workamping Jobs, Workers on Wheels, Happy Vagabonds, and the public Facebook group Workampers.

Stock Your Camp Store

Camp stores are an ideal way to generate ancillary income at your property while providing convenient shopping for campers. After all, who hasn’t forgotten sunscreen, snacks, or been tempted by a souvenir while vacationing? Prior to the bustling summer season, you want to ensure you have enough of the right inventory in stock and a plan for periodic reordering.

Industry trends and consumer appetites change from year to year, which is something to consider when deciding what consumables, necessities, and novelties to sell. We suggest discounting limited, dated, or out-of-season inventory early on to clear the shelves for relevant products. The products you sell should cater to your main audience, such as families with young children or full-time RVers. If you run a dog-friendly park, don’t forget about pet treats and accessories.

While you’re providing TLC to your camp store, this is also a great time to ensure your point-of-sale (POS) system is up to date. Thankfully, online software providers like Campspot have fully integrated POS capabilities for ease of tracking and transacting.

Read Next: The Best Camp Store Merchandise to Sell

Focus on Landscaping

Another great way to get your campground ready for the summer is to focus on landscaping. Depending on your local climate and planned opening day, snow removal may be a persistent part of your reality even late into May. Make sure you are continuing to use salt or sand mixtures to prevent icy pavement and be prepared for late spring snowfalls. Once spring thaw has begun, however, you can take stock of necessary landscaping duties.

Common outdoor maintenance tasks include:

  • Rake remaining fall leaves
  • Adjust paver blocks and level walkways
  • Clear dead branches and plants
  • Address any trees at risk of falling

Aside from old trees, your docks, decks, and the other wooded parts of your property could be compromised. Check twice for any loose or rotten boards to avoid safety hazards.

Showcase New Campground Photos

While photos taken during the soggy winter-to-spring transition might not flatter your property, it’s possible you took great photos last year when the sun was shining and business was in full swing. If so, now is the perfect time to upload those photos across your business’s online presence: social media platforms, website, OTAs, and online booking interface if applicable.

If you’ve added a new amenity or changed your map, a brief video walking tour of the grounds would be a fantastic tool appreciated by prospective and returning guests alike.

Plus, did you know campgrounds with a complete listing on Campspot Marketplace make 20% more revenue on average? All the more reason to ensure your presence, in every place it lives, is crisp, clean, full of powerful imagery, and up to date.

We hope this list inspires you to tackle plans to get your campground ready for the summer. From staffing to cleaning and everything in between-ing, we wish you the best for another great year of camping!


Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

5 Must-Try Campspot Software Features

At Campspot, our team works hard to continuously enhance our campground management and reservation software. This includes consulting with our customers, developing new features within the platform, and building integrations with external partners. We do this to lighten your workload and help you manage a smarter campground!

To kick off 2023, we’re highlighting five top-notch Campspot Software features that you must try this new year. Read on to learn how you can leverage these five tools to grow your business.

1. Text Messaging

In an era of limited attention spans and ubiquitous digital communication, SMS messaging reigns as a highly valuable business tool. That’s why Campspot enables campground operators to text guests currently at their properties, guests checking in the same day, or guests checking in within a certain date range up to 30 days out. There are many texting use cases for campgrounds, such as notifying campers of severe weather, upcoming amenity maintenance, or a limited time promotion.

Streamlined functionality and compliance assurance are two main benefits of texting guests through Campspot. New campers are already prompted to opt in to receive texts when they make an online reservation, which is a crucial legal requirement for businesses. Guests can also opt out of texting at any time without the need for manual tracking. Texts are conveniently sent from one toll-free phone number that’s registered with all carriers to reduce cost and improve deliverability across the United States, Canada, and international numbers.

Imagine the ease of strategically communicating mass messages to your campers, all through one platform at one low cost. Learn how to enable text messaging today.

2. Mailchimp Integration

In addition to text messaging, emailing remains a tried-and-true method for communicating with customers. Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms and integratesdirectly with Campspot. Our software automatically imports your Campspot customer data into Mailchimp. Say goodbye to the hassle of manually exporting and uploading data.

This integration also simplifies audience segmentation for your various marketing campaigns. For example, audience one—guests who are set to check out the next day—could receive an “extend your stay” offer at a discount via Mailchimp, while audience two—past guests who haven’t returned in over six months—could receive a separate promotional email to visit again. Never worry about disorganized audience lists or segmented messaging again.

Mailchimp offers over 300 third-party integrations for Campspot users to explore and incorporate into their email campaigns. Additionally, crafting branded and uncluttered e-newsletters is a breeze with Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop templates. To begin, first sign up with Mailchimp and then follow our step-by-step guide for syncing your Mailchimp and Campspot accounts. New to email marketing? Check out our top email marketing strategies for campgrounds, too!

3. Online Store Add-Ons

The ability for campground operators to sell add-ons through the Campspot reservation workflow has long been a staple feature, and for good reason. While reservations are the bread and butter of campground revenue, they are by no means the only potential income source. By highlighting add-on purchase opportunities directly within the online checkout process, our software creates a low-effort and high-demand revenue stream for park owners.

In addition to selling daily add-ons like golf cart rentals, operators can sell add-ons with quantity. This highly requested feature includes the ability to sell bags of ice, bundles of firewood, T-shirts, and many other quantifiable products. In 2021, Campspot Software customers made $33.3 million in add-on revenue alone—a number which only stands to grow now that add-ons with quantity are possible. Campspot’s integrated point-of-sale system paired with your camp store and endless add-on opportunities means more ancillary income in your pocket. Watch our video tutorial to get started.

Read Next: 10 Best Campground Amenities to Increase Revenue

4. Campspot Analytics

Data visualization is the representation of information through visual elements like graphs, maps, and charts. This ability to clearly view data trends and trajectories is a game changer for those operating in the outdoor hospitality industry, which is why Campspot Analytics was born. Users save time and effort without needing to download CSV files to understand their business performance. Choose from seven dashboards to visualize key campground data at your fingertips, such as an overview of recent booking trends or a real-time snapshot of park occupancy. New dashboards are also regularly added.

If you’re ready to make more data-driven, impactful business decisions, start using Campspot Analytics today. One free Campspot Analytics user seat is included for each park, with the option to buy additional seats as needed.

Read Next: Data and Reporting: How to Track the Health of Your Campground

5. Integration

Modern consumers often use online travel agencies to book vacations, given the variety and aggregation of many lodging options on one website. is one such online travel agency where over 1.5 million room nights are reserved every day. Through our integration with this hospitality giant, you can crosslist your bookable sites on and easily manage them in Campspot. This partnership means vast brand exposure to a new audience of campers who are waiting to discover your property.

New reservations will appear in Campspot as normal. For added convenience, certain site type setup rules from Campspot will automatically transfer over: occupancy rules, minimum and maximum stay lengths, advanced booking limits, and resort closed rules. Learn more by reading our full FAQ article.

Get Started Today

While these five Campspot Software features are certainly newsworthy, Campspot offers countless powerful features to support your campground. Join the Campspot Family by simply filling out this form to demo our platform in action. For existing customers, there’s no better time than now to take advantage of texting messaging, add-ons with quantity, Campspot Analytics, and our Mailchimp and integrations!

Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Ready to Grow With Campspot Software Features?