April 24, 2023
A recent article published in Woodall’s Campground Magazine written by one of their frequent contributors, Peter Holland, discussed campground amenities and the 3 categories they typically fall under in regards to how campers pay for them.
The 3 categories Peter mentions are: 1) Always Included In The Basic Fee, 2) Always Expected To Be Fee-Based and 3) The Gray Area.
The first category includes amenities such as picnic tables, playgrounds, fire pits, restrooms, pools, basketball courts, etc. These are planned, basic amenities that no camper would ever expect to pay extra for.
The second category includes things like EV charging, propane tank refills, washer/dryers, food, store merchandise, events, use of campground vehicles etc. These are items that cost the campground money to provide with each use. Thus, it is expected by the camper that they will need to pay for that expense.
The third category, the Gray Area, includes items that are usually recreational in nature but are beyond the basic amenities mentioned above. These items typically cost the campground money both in upfront cost to establish as well as ongoing cost to run and maintain the feature or amenity. An example of this might be a waterpark, miniature golf, dog park, laser tag or go kart tracks.
Peter mentions the idea is to make as much of the gray area items fit into the all inclusive/free category as possible so campers do not feel as if they are being nickle and dimed. However, you also do not want to make campers feel as if they are paying for something they will not use either.
There are creative ways to do this such as offering guest passes for those that want to partake in these items. Or if the amenity is open to the public, perhaps you offer a discount to your campers.
There are other items outside of the recreational category that Peter covers as well in the Gray Area. He mentions utilities such as Wi-Fi. This is a utility that increasingly is expected to be included in the basic fee for the campground. One utility he mentioned that is not typically included is electricity. Campgrounds and parks that have individually metered electricity help encourage responsible use.
An owner needs to carefully and creatively consider how they will package their amenities in order to create the best value for the campers.
Pelland, Peter. “Profit Points or Pressure Points?” Woodall’s Campground Magazine, vol. 54, no. 5, May 2023, pp. 8.
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