As a campground operator, staying ahead of the curve and offering unique experiences to your guests is essential for maintaining a thriving business. In 2024, you have the opportunity to tap into unique trends, events, and natural occurrences that will attract outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers to your campground.
In 2023, 40% of campers want to travel to experience natural events like eclipses or meteor showers according to this report from Kampgrounds of America. Similarly, 36% of campers say food tourism and seeking out culinary experiences are a priority for the year. Experiences and events are pivotal drivers of revenue growth and guest retention in the hospitality and tourism industries. These elements act as powerful magnets, pulling in new guests by offering unique opportunities that capture their attention. When campgrounds provide a special or exclusive experience, they not only attract a more broad audience of campers, but also have the pricing flexibility to charge premium rates for these exceptional offerings, thereby increasing their average reservation revenue and opportunities for ancillary revenue.
However, the impact goes beyond the initial booking. Positive experiences and events foster a sense of loyalty among guests. Those who leave with lasting memories are more likely to become repeat customers, reducing the costs associated with acquiring new guests and contributing to sustained revenue growth. Moreover, the ripple effect of these experiences extends into word-of-mouth marketing, as delighted guests share their adventures with friends and family. Read on to explore some exciting ways to leverage natural events and experiences in 2024.
Under the Night Sky
A campground is the perfect setting to experience astronomical events. Dark sky campgrounds can draw travelers to their location by marketing their unobstructed views of the night sky for unique astronomical events. Campgrounds can also hold star-gazing parties, where everyone can mingle and create memories under the stars.
February 9, 2024 – Supermoon
Supermoons are a popular celestial viewing event due to the larger-than-life appearance of the moon. A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at its closest in orbit to Earth, appearing larger and brighter in the night sky. This will be one of 4 opportunities to take advantage of the allure of supermoons in 2024, with additional events taking place March 10th, September 18th, and October 17th.
April 8, 2024 – Total Solar Eclipse
A total solar eclipse will be visible from Texas to Maine. According to NASA, the path of the eclipse enters the U.S. in Texas and travels through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. With many major U.S. cities in the path of totality, the 2024 solar eclipse is set to be one of the biggest travel events of 2024.
April 22-23, 2024 – Lyrid Meteor Shower
The Lyrid meteor shower will be active from April 16th until April 25th, but the peak rate of meteors will be around April 22-23rd. At their peak, 15-20 meteors per hour will be visible in the night sky. Moonlight may provide interference, so the best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight.
May 5-6, 2024 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is classified as a strong shower, with minimal interference from the moonlight. The meteor shower is active from April 15th and May 27th but it will be at its peak from May 5th-6th. Although the best views will be in the Southern Hemisphere, they can also be viewed north of the equator.
August 12-13, 2024 – Perseids Meteor Shower
Possibly one of the best meteor showers to watch, Perseids can produce up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. The shower will be visible from mid-July to August, but will be at its best on the night of August 12th.
For the Foodies
Many states have popular food tours, such as The Savannah Taste Experience in Georgia, The Asheville Food Tour in North Carolina, and many more. These tours offer a unique opportunity to sample the best of the local area’s cuisine. By actively promoting food tours and emphasizing the convenience and comfort of your campground, you can attract campers looking to combine their love of camping with culinary exploration. Strategies that could be implemented include:
- Send out newsletters to your campground’s mailing list with details about an upcoming food tour, emphasizing the convenience of staying at your campground while exploring the city’s culinary scene.
- Partner with local restaurants or food trucks participating in the food tour. You can offer discounts or special promotions to campers who show their campground booking confirmation.
- Train your campground staff to recommend the food tour to campers during check-in or when they inquire about local attractions.
- Host pre-food tour gatherings or potluck dinners at your campground, encouraging campers to socialize and share their food tour experiences.
- If possible, consider offering shuttle services to and from the city’s food tour locations, making it easier for campers to attend without worrying about transportation.
- Provide campers with local guides or maps that highlight the food tour stops and other notable dining options in the city.
- Engage with the city’s food tour organizers and collaborate on cross-promotional efforts, such as sharing each other’s event information on websites and social media.
‘Tis the Season
Plan special events for the season and holidays like Independence Day with fireworks, Halloween with costume contests, or Christmas in July with holiday-themed decorations and activities. Throughout the year, you can curate special events and seasonal celebrations that go beyond traditional camping. Here’s a more comprehensive look at ways to make each season memorable:
Spring Renewal (March-May)
As winter melts away and nature springs back to life, northern campgrounds can kick off the season with a Spring Renewal celebration.
Flower Power: Witness the campground’s transformation as flowers bloom and trees turn lush green. Provide guided wildflower walks and hikes in the area.
Easter Eggstravaganza: During the Easter weekend, kids and families can take part in an egg hunt filled with colorful surprises.
Summer Fun (June-August)
Water Carnival: Beat the summer heat with a water carnival, featuring slip ‘n slides, water balloon battles, and refreshing poolside games. It’s a wet and wild way to stay cool and create unforgettable memories.
Summer Solstice Soiree: Celebrate the longest day of the year with a lively beach-themed party complete with live music, beach volleyball, and a bonfire under the starlit sky.
Fall Harvest (September-November)
Harvest Festival: A fall harvest celebration can include pumpkin carving contests, apple-picking excursions, and a rustic pie-baking competition. Campers can also explore nearby orchards and vineyards.
Leaf Peeping: Campgrounds near popular fall foliage destinations can take advantage of the vibrant autumn colors to market their campground as a top destination for leaf peeping. Identify the top areas near your campground for fall foliage views and promote your campground through social media and email marketing to boost fall bookings and revenue.
Halloween Spooktacular: Halloween comes alive at the campground with a haunted trail, costume contests, and campsite decorating competitions. Families can enjoy trick-or-treating, marshmallow roasts, and scary movie nights.
Winter Wonderland (December-February)
Holiday Lights Extravaganza: Campers are encouraged to decorate their RVs and campsites with holiday lights, creating a dazzling spectacle. Organize a holiday lights contest, and the winners receive special prizes.
Santa’s Visit: Santa Claus himself pays a visit to the campground, delighting children with gifts and photo opportunities. Transform the campground into Santa’s cozy workshop.
Winter Sports: For those who love winter sports, promote easy access to nearby slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. Consider partnering with local winter recreation businesses to offer discounts with proof of campground registration.
Small Town Treasures
To encourage campers to visit small towns near your campground, operators can take several strategic steps to help campers discover hidden nearby gems and promote local tourism.
Local Tourism Information: Create a dedicated section on your website and in your campground office with brochures, maps, and information about nearby small towns, highlighting their unique attractions, events, and dining options.
Event Promotion: Actively promote events and festivals in nearby small towns on your website, social media, and through email newsletters. Highlight the dates, activities, and any special campground packages or shuttle services available during these events.
Themed Weekends: Organize themed weekends that coincide with local small-town events or festivals. For example, if there’s a town fair, you can host a “Carnival Weekend” with games, fair food, and entertainment at the campground.
Cultural Experiences: Collaborate with local cultural organizations to offer campers opportunities to learn about the history, art, and traditions of nearby small towns through workshops, performances, or exhibitions.
Customized Itineraries: Create customized itineraries for campers interested in exploring small towns, providing them with recommendations for must-visit places and hidden gems.
Local Craft Markets: Set up periodic craft markets or flea markets within the campground, featuring artisans and vendors from nearby small towns, giving campers a taste of local craftsmanship and goods.
To maximize your campground’s bookings for the 2024 camping season, consider leveraging the magnetic attraction of natural and seasonal events, delightful culinary experiences, and captivating local destinations. Whether you’re catering to nature enthusiasts, stargazers, food aficionados, or those seeking the magic of seasonal experiences, offering campers the chance to witness meteor showers and enjoy food tours at your campground is just one way to draw them in. By incorporating these unique elements into your marketing strategy, you can entice a diverse range of visitors and create a memorable camping adventure that suits every interest. Make the most of these opportunities to elevate your campground’s reputation and revenue in 2024!
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