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

Calculated Growth and Expansion: How This Campground’s 5-Year Plan Drives Results

At Campspot, we firmly believe in the power of connecting with our peers and partners to help the entire campground industry grow and succeed. Luckily, many of the campground owners we work with are also passionate about sharing their perspective and learning from other business owners. We recently sat down with Dustin Trotter, owner of Campspot-Award-Winning Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins and Campground, to learn more about what led him to the success his campground has experienced over the last year.

On Getting Started in the Campground Industry and Choosing Campspot

Trotter: I purchased my first campground on June 1, 2022 in southeast Georgia, Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins and Campground. I choose Campspot from day one after researching several reservation softwares. In a short 9 and a half months we have expanded, improved, and grown the campground to its current operations. We are currently doing four times the revenue monthly that the previous ownership was doing. We also won a Campspot Award in 2023 for Best Campground in America Category; ninth place. I strongly believe there are several factors to our success in our first year but Campspot has been an undeniable part of that success. We are looking to expand to more locations in future and will only exclusively be using Campspot for all our ventures.

As far as switching from the software the previous ownership was using, it was just a gut feeling I had. It wasn’t anything that drove me to scrap the other one because I didn’t know any different with being new to the industry other than looking at Campspot’s features and getting recommendations. I initially got turned on to Campspot through a friend of mine. She also owns a campground and that’s what they use. Knowing that from day one we needed to make changes and not necessarily just roll with what the previous ownership was doing, we made that decision to switch.

When I was looking for online software, it was important to me that it was working 24 hours a day. When we’re sleeping—we’re getting reservations. It becomes a huge extension of our bookings and reservations and it’s not cumbersome on our staff.

On Shaking Things Up From the Get-Go

Trotter: We have a five year plan—we have a vision for what we’re doing and for us to implement those things, I needed to make changes from day one.

It all has to do with our financials. It has to do with how are we going to reach our goals and do what we want to achieve. For this campground, part of that five year plan is expansion. For each of the five years, we have an expansion plan that is predicated on revenue and growth.

In the first year, we focused on the branding, the marketing, the amenities, and additional revenue streams. We expanded the camp store immediately. Firewood today is still our largest individual seller. Like a lot of campgrounds, we sell a lot of ice, a lot of drinks. We added beer and wine sales to our campground, we added a propane tank and filling station.

We did all of these things for two reasons—one for our campground, but also for the larger community. We’re seven miles out of town and there’s a lot of people that live in the area that we capture some of the local convenience store type of revenue from. We also added a food service seven days of the week. We do a lunch service for the locals. We’re selling more beer there than all the other restaurants in the city. Obviously it’s there for the campers first and foremost, but in the evening our lounge is very vibrant and active and I wanted to create an active environment because the previous ownership had more of the opposite philosophy.

We also added additional campsites and we brought in rental trailers and in-park RV trailers for additional accommodations. We’re adding 14 more RV sites right now, which is the second state of the expansion that’s going on.

On Looking Beyond the Initial Growth Phases

Trotter: Part of our continued business model is looking at additional locations and trying to expand from there. It’s all opportunities, some driven by our efforts and some driven by what’s available. The last couple years it has been getting more competitive in this niche and at the end of the day it’s driven by finances and what makes sense. But we need to get our systems and procedures in place first so that we can grow within our means.

We have three more expansion plans to go—including more RV sites, glamping accommodations, and cabins. We’re 12.5 acres of facilities. We’re just under 50 sites now and we hope to get up to 100 overall. Our focus right now is to get those sites added and also continue adding more amenities.

On Attracting Campers to Okefenokee

Trotter: When I was searching for a campground to invest in I had a 10-point list of criteria I was looking for. One of the things that is very unique for our destination is what’s across the street from us. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is 440,000 acres. It’s the largest Blackwater swamp in the United States. It’s the largest national wildlife refuge east of the Mississippi River. I can go on and on about some of the features and in that, you know why people go there. It brings roughly about 600,000 visitors there every single year. And that’s from all over the world—from over 46 different countries.

It’s a great place to come to visit. And that’s a lot of the philosophy that I instill into what we do and to my employees—we get one chance to make a first impression. All my employees know that there are two main things that we cannot compromise ever. Number one—our guest services and number two—our cleanliness. We are going to give the best guest experience we can and have the cleanest facility. Everything else, I can deal with.

I think some of that is why we’ve grown so fast is our reviews, our feedback is through the roof.

Word of mouth is still the number one thing. If you can get a recommendation from a friend, a family member about an experience. I tell my staff—it’s similar to if we were located near a national park. Most people are only going to travel to that place one time in their life. It’s a vacation, it’s a bucket list item. We have one shot to make that first impression. That’s it. If we’re lucky, they’ll come back another time in two years, three years, four years. Maybe they’ll come and bring their kids back from a different generation.

On Maximizing Revenue and the Guest Experience

Trotter: The refuge is why people will come here, but ultimately, when they come to stay with us we’re capturing revenue from them wanting to stay near the refuge. But on the business side, I worked to identify our opportunities, like why people weren’t staying longer. How do we get guests to stay for more than one night? To be able to do that, you have to have amenities on property, kind of like a resort. Think about a hotel resort and the hospitality industry. If you don’t have things for, not only adults to do, but for kids to do—there’s no reason for the parents to keep them there to keep them entertained.

The previous owners didn’t have a lounge with beer or wine and cocktail sales. We have football games on the weekends and a screened patio that has games and dartboards and shuffleboard. We have a pond with catch and release fishing, fish feeders, a playground, and a horseshoe pit. We’re working on adding a large gazebo for planned activities. We’re adding a sports court with pickleball and basketball. We have a dog park and laundry room. I have a call today with a company that has an outside dog washing station. It’s another feature that we can add to our campground. We’re continually trying to be innovative and add unique features.

As long as you have amenities, people are willing to spend their hard earned money with you. And again, if it’s good and if it’s good service. We’re continually trying to focus on not only the amenities but also the activity-based things to allow people to recreate. We actually just bought electric bikes. So now we have hammocks and electric bikes in our rental fleet. Someone can take a bike from us now and ride across the street in the refuge.

It’s just another thing we’re offering now to allow people to stay longer. Our average stay now is four days. That’s across all of our sites. Most people when they’re making a short-term trip it’s a weekend, a 2 to 3 day trip. But if we’re averaging four days—and I pulled these out of Campspot Analytics. We’re averaging a four-day length of stay now which I’m extremely happy about. People are staying longer, and spending more money in our store and with our other features.

On Winning a Campspot Award

Trotter: I told my wife, I said—if we get top 10 I would be over the moon. The nomination was a complete surprise. I was actually out there at the campground when I received the email announcement. And I called the staff and the work campers that we have working there into the lounge that day. I handed my manager my phone, and said, read this to everybody. She didn’t even know at that time, I kept it all secret until we told them all at the same time. We all celebrated together because it’s a team win. It was rewarding, and I was over the moon, I never expected we would be in the top ten.

On Okefenokee Pastime’s Recipe for Success

Trotter: It’s a combination of a lot of the things I’ve mentioned. It’s the marketing, it’s the way we’re going about trying to drive higher occupancy. We did change the rates, also, from what they were originally. We wanted to consider market rates. We’ve added different revenue streams. Just the store alone, which encompasses the lounge and food services—we’re doing the same amount of revenue out of that store in a month than the previous ownership was doing for an entire month of reservations. Our occupancy is over 80% which is more than double what they were averaging.

On Leveraging Campspot to Drive Revenue

With respect to Campspot—a couple of things that I like about it are its unique features like dynamic pricing and add-ons which are helping us drive additional revenue.

With dynamic pricing, we’re averaging just over $17.00 per reservation for additional revenue because of our occupancy. We also leverage lock sites and some of the other fee structures. We have a pet fee. All of these things hit the bottom line ultimately. We also have the reservation fee which offsets the Campspot fee to us. That’s the only one we add on, everything else is the choice of the guest.

On Connecting With Campgrounds and Local Organizations

Trotter: I enjoy helping other business owners and talking to others—I think there’s so much more that we can do as a team in the market that we’re in. There’s an economic benefit to the region and to tourism from helping each other locally. If we can get more people to the area, it’s only going to help everyone. We partnered with the chamber of commerce from day one. We identified partners in the area that we wanted to work with because if we can get more people to the area, it’s going to benefit everyone, really.

Thanks to Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins and Campground

We’d like to thank Dustin for sharing his time and experience. We greatly admire his forward-thinking approach and the vision he’s crafted for Okefenokee Pastimes Cabins and Campground. For Okefenokee, success goes beyond the campground’s business goals and extends to the local community—a testament to what campgrounds can signify for not only the guests who visit, but the local people and businesses in the surrounding area as well.

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

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.

Campground Spotlight: Greenbrier Campground

Campground: Greenbrier Campground
Interviewees: Courtney Belmont, Owner
Location: Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Website: Greenbrier Campground

What is unique about your property?

Greenbrier Campground, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is surrounded by the Little Pigeon River. This stream descends from the National Park and is full of many species of trout. The campground is unique, as it is located on an “island”, accessible by small bridge. Most of our RV sites back up to the river and those that do not are only a short walk away.


Tell us more about your campground.

The campground offers all full hook-up RV sites, tent sites with water/electricity, RV rentals, bell tent rentals, and a camping cabin. Luxury bathhouses, laundry facilities, game room, pavilion for group activities, and church service on Sunday.


What is unique about your property?

We do not have a pool, but we have a “natural” swimming hole and beach area in the campground, for hours of summertime fun. The river is accessible for tubing (which is a favorite activity) for children and brave adults. The mountain water is cold, even in the peak summer months.

In addition to the river, we offer a playground, gaga ball, volleyball, basketball, cornhole, and children’s activities during the peak season. Friday night “movies on the grass” for all ages.

How did you get into the camping industry?

Greenbrier Campground has been in business for decades, however new ownership completely renovated in 2016.



How has Campspot’s reservation software benefited your campground?

Campspot is a new platform for us. We are learning all the in’s and out’s and so far the system is very user-friendly. I believe the best part (so far) is the ease for the customer on the mobile and desktop version. We are seeing more online bookings than before, which slows down our call frequency. 

Greenbrier Campground is the perfect vacation destination while you explore The Great Smoky Mountains, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, visit local theater shows, and more! To stay connected with Greenbrier Campground, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Campground Spotlight: Time Away RV Resort

Campground: Time Away RV Resort
Interviewees: Alicia Lawson, Co-Owner
Location: Lincoln, Alabama


How did you get into the camping industry?

My husband Nate Lawson camped a lot as a kid, and he introduced camping to me when we first got married 30 years ago. We’ve called Ohio home for a long time, and now we’re new RV owners and operators in Lincoln, Alabama.



Tell us more about your brand new RV resort.

We hosted our grand opening celebration in June on our 13-acres of property with 200 sites. We also offer a discounted monthly stay rate. Our on-site amenities include a private bbq area with a firepit and bathhouses and 30 & 50 amp full hookup service. We’re in the process of adding a pool and have more great amenities on the way as part of our three-phase construction plan.



What is unique about your property?

Our property is unique because we will have the first swimming pool in Lincoln, Alabama, and we are located within walking distance of NASCAR Talladega Superspeedway. We’re the perfect destination for NASCAR racing enthusiasts because people can camp so close to the action.



What is your favorite feature of Campspot and why?

My favorite feature of Campspot is the overall ease of use for customers. You can’t beat online booking!



Tell us your favorite story related to your business.

As a veteran family, we’ve given our campers a unique opportunity to be a permanent part of our park and give back with “Pave the Path.” Our plan is to create a Veteran Hero Walking Trail that will showcase commemorative and personalized bricks for purchase for years to come as part of the history of Time Away RV Resort. This is a great way for campers to honor a special hero in their lives. Campers interested in purchasing a brick can email us at

Campground Spotlight: Durham Bridge RV Resort

Campground: Durham Bridge RV Resort Ltd. (DBRV)
Location: Durham Bridge, New Brunswick
Owner: Kari & Rob Davis

How did you get into the camping industry?

For a few years before we opened the campground, we had talked about what we wanted to do in retirement. We knew that we could not just sit around and stare at each other! We also wanted the time to travel. So, we talked about what made us the most happy over the years and the same memories kept coming up in conversation: “Remember that camping trip when…?” As camping is a seasonal sport out here on the east coast of Canada, we would have our winters to travel.

We started looking for campgrounds in western Canada, where we are both from (British Columbia). Unfortunately, no property really gave us that “Yup! This is the right one” kind of feeling. So, we expanded our search for a campground to the rest of Canada and discovered the amazing opportunities on the east coast! In 2017, we made the life-changing decision to sell most of what we had, leave the friends and family we knew, and drive across the country to a place we had never been in search of new adventures!

In June of 2017, we purchased our own campground, which sits between the Nashwaak River and the New Brunswick trail system just north of Fredericton, NB. We celebrated Canada’s 150th by opening DBRV and haven’t looked back! It’s been a lot of work and a ton of fun. This is home now, and we are happier here than we ever could have imagined!

Durham Bridge RV Resort


What is unique about your property?

Our location sets us apart! It offers access to the beautiful Nashwaak River where you can hop on a floaty and enjoy the scenery. Or, start up an ATV and go for a ride on the expansive New Brunswick trail system. We also installed a new inground pool, which provides a nice place to cool off when you are done playing in the river or riding the trails.

Our smaller size is unique as well. It’s about 700 meters to complete the entire loop of the campground. We see campers of all ages walking or riding around the loop and visiting friends as they go! We feel that we have the best happy camper community out there. Whether a short-term or seasonal camper, you will make new friends here at DBRV— probably at Friday night cards in the clubhouse!

How has Campspot’s reservation system benefited your campground overall?

The biggest benefit we have experienced from Campspot is their online booking and payment functionality. I no longer need to be close to my computer to make a booking because I can simply send a link that allows the camper to select the spot they want and make the payment online. This has allowed us the freedom to spend more time with the campers or working on the property.

Durham Bridge RV Resort


What is your favorite feature of Campspot and why?

The online booking takes the cake! Being able to see both list and map views of the sites allows me to know quickly, easily, and confidently where each camper is and who is coming and going! Also, the ability to make notes in the camper files is great. Being able to make sure they are in a preferred spot or to invite them to return for a family event like a birthday or anniversary has been very well received.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of running our campground is getting to know our guests and to see all of the happy campers laughing and enjoying their stays! We also never get tired of catching up with returning campers.

Durham Bridge RV Resort


Tell us your favorite story related to your business or experience with a customer.

For us, one of our favorite experiences is when a camper has come to stay with us for the first time and before the end of their stay has asked to extend their trip or already booked another visit because they love it so much here!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your business?

We are a small, friendly campground and that is exactly how we want to keep it! Feedback from our campers is encouraged and always considered when we make decisions about events and improvements to the property or amenities.

Campground Spotlight: Campfire Ranch on the Taylor, Colorado

Campground: Campfire Ranch on the Taylor
Location: Almont, Colorado
Owner: Sam Degenhard, Founder & Owner

Campground Spotlight: Campfire Ranch on the Taylor, Colorado

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the camping industry and acquire this property?

I had the pleasure of growing up in a camping family where we spent most of our weekends and vacations RVing or on trips with Scouts – camping has always been a passion of mine but was never a career interest until I graduated from university in Colorado and found myself in Los Angeles.

Degenhard Family
While living and working in Southern California, I constantly needed to escape the city and spent most of my weekends trying to go camping. What I quickly realized is that there aren’t many great campgrounds out there designed to cater to 20-somethings and I felt out of place wherever I went. I channeled this frustration and went to grad school to study the outdoor industry and launch Campfire Ranch. We’re building campgrounds for the experience generation.
Campfire Ranch on the Taylor

What is unique about your property?

Our first campground is called Campfire Ranch on the Taylor, which is located along the Taylor River between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado. We operate similar to a concessionaire on City-owned land that was previously a primitive campground for 20+ years. Under our management, the campground got a serious facelift, new amenities, and some much needed maintenance. At our campground, we offer a full suite of brand-name camping equipment for our campers to demo. We will even set up your campsite for you before arriving. We also have an Adventure Concierge service that takes all the hassle out of trip planning. We work with many great outfitters and guides to provide package experiences for our guests.

Campfire Ranch on the Taylor

Can you explain more about these unique vendor partnerships and camper offerings?

At Campfire Ranch we want to provide the most welcoming and reliable experience possible so that new campers feel comfortable as our customers. In order to do this, we see tremendous value in building trusted relationships with both local outfitters and top outdoor industry brands that stand for the same values as we do. We also provide a unique opportunity for these partner businesses to get their products in the hands of a hard-to-reach demographic right here at camp. We’re proud to be working with brands like YETI Coolers, The North Face, and Camp Chef to provide our Adventure Demo equipment this season.

Campfire Ranch on the Taylor

How has Campspot’s reservation software benefited your campground?

Campspot is an outstanding tool and has greatly contributed to our success in our first season. We operate off-grid using solar power and hotspot connections, so having a reliable booking engine and PMS system is crucial. With Campspot, we trust that customers can easily book a site, see our availability, select add-on demo gear at checkout, and easily communicate with us if needed. The customer support and education has been a huge help, too. Our account manager always answers or calls us right back to offer solutions and guidance.

What is your favorite feature within Campspot?

I love the reporting function and the many report types Campspot provides. As a new business, it is important for us to analyze our performance closely and on a regular basis – the reporting function helps us do that. The tool allows for reports to be self-generated by our team, so we don’t need to make any requests or wait to get our hands on our data. The information about our customers and our performance has allowed us to make some key business decisions this summer, which I couldn’t live without it!

Campfire Ranch on the Taylor

Tell us your favorite story from working in this industry.

My favorite experience is when I get to meet and help first-time campers. Many of these customers have never set foot in a campground, let alone set up a tent or started their own campfire. Providing that guidance is so rewarding; plus watching them fall in love with the outdoors through camping and our campground. I look forward to moments like this all summer!
To stay connected with Campfire Ranch, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Campfire Ranch on the Taylor

Campground Spotlight: Lynn Ann’s Campground

Campground: Lynn Ann’s Campground
Location: Saint Germain, Wisconsin
Owner: Heather Davidson

Campspot Interview with Heather Davidson

How did you get into the camping industry?

I am a second generation campground owner. My father bought the grounds in 1966. The campground was built in 1959 by Lyndon and Ann Duescher, and we kept the same name. After my husband did a 5-year trial managing the park, we bought the grounds from my dad in 1996 and have run it ever since. You could say it’s in my blood.

What is unique about your property?

Lynn Ann’s campground is located on the beautiful Big St. Germain Lake, which is part of a chain of three lakes. It’s also a top fishing lake in Wisconsin.


Lynn Ann’s Campground


How has Campspot benefited your campground overall?

Campspot has simplified every part of our reservation and accounting system. My account manager is a gem, and I’m so happy with the quality customer service I consistently receive.

What is your favorite Campspot feature and why?

I simply love that campers can make their own reservations online! I also really like that I can add pictures and detailed descriptions to each of our listed site types.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love making someone’s vacation the best it can be. Our property provides a truly special and unique experience for all who camp with us.


Lynn Ann’s Campground


Tell us your favorite story related to your business or experience with a customer.

In 1999, a customer caught so many fish on our lake that they had a fish fry and invited all of the neighboring sites. The next year, the neighboring sites went fishing too, and then they expanded the fish fry to more neighbors. We have the fish fry every year to this day with the same people and the whole campground participates!


Lynn Ann’s Campground


Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We’re incredibly proud of our 89% return rate. Some of our customers have even camped here since 1964 before it was ours!
We love sharing stories from members of the Campspot Family. If you’d like us to showcase your park for free and share with the world what makes your park special, email us at to get started!