REVENUE MANAGEMENT FOR CAMPGROUNDS
As a concept, revenue management began in the airline industry, where companies found ways to anticipate consumer demand in order to introduce dynamic pricing.
Hotels and resorts have been using yield and dynamic pricing for years — and successfully too, so why not use it for your campground?
For a campground, their campsite nights are finite – once a date is passed, it is too late to sell that night. As demand soars for those particular nights, campgrounds need to capitalize on it and maximize the revenue they can earn from those sites.
What makes Campgrounds and Holiday Parks suitable to ba able to apply RM?
- Fixed capacity
- Perishable product
- High fixed costs and low variable costs
- Product can be priced differently
- Demand evolves
- Product can be sold in advance
- Market can be segmented
How Revenue Management Helps Create Better Revenue for Your Campground?
On popular days, as the supply of campsites gets less and less, the rates should increase to reflect the true value of that campsite in the marketplace. You should be letting the market determine your price, instead of resorting to some arbitrary number based on what you have done in the past or what your competition is going.
In our experience (since 2016 we have been managing 2 holiday parks, Lady's Mile and Oakcliff), effective revenue management can increase your campground site revenue by up to 40%. When you carry that revenue down to the bottom of your profit and loss statement, some business owners have doubled their profits.
Using Data for Successful Post-Covid Recovery
Previously, a look at your historical data would have allowed you to predict when demand would return. However, Covid-19 brought unparalleled, lasting changes that have made historical data mostly irrelevant. The recovery will look nothing like other bounce-backs. That means historical data doesn’t offer the guidance it did before, and a new solution is necessary.
Broad, dynamic data sets are what you need for a successful revenue management strategy in the future. This means focusing on live and, if possible, forward-looking data. This will allow you to understand price elasticity, forecast accurately and make smart pricing and distribution decisions. Revenue Management is your chance to capitalize on emerging opportunities ahead of your comp-set.
What Are Some Concerns about Revenue Management in Campgrounds?
One of the big concerns I hear from campground owners who fear using revenue management is that customers will talk and they will ultimately be upset. While this could theoretically happen on rare occasion, this fear isn’t necessarily based on reality. Your customers do not talk about the price of their campsite nearly as much as you think. And if they do, that is a bonus for you. Over time, it will train guests to book early in order to get the best rates.
When you get your guests to book earlier, you are doing three important things. First, you are driving demand by locking them into staying at your campground. The more time that passes, the more likely they are to see another destination or park that they want to try. Lock them in early. Second, it drives your prices to market sooner. If you understand the demand for your inventory of campsites at an earlier date, your yield management system can adjust prices to market much sooner, thus driving higher revenue. And third, depending upon your payment requirements, you get paid sooner.
How to Implement Revenue Management in Your Campground?
Here are some tips that can make the transition easier:
- First step: analyze the configuration of the management systems in place and review existing data reports. Based on this establish KPIs unique to campgrounds to allow for objective measurement and analysis of results.
- Dynamic pricing: based on the historical performance of your campground, develop a demand calendar, with an initial rate structure. Just as hotel are measuring booking pace and demand curves based on which future occupancy levels are calculated. However, campgrounds are normally a hybrid business model, including Static and Touring lodging types with different booking patterns to take into account. Based on the forecast rates need to be yield for each individual lodging unit independently, optimizing the total campground revenue.
- Demand Calendar & Forecasting: show all relevant and required data in one single report. This includes data as on the books statistics, pick-up pace, competitive market bench-marking information and price comparisons. This allows to make well informed decisions and forecast accurately.
- Use online reservations: online reservations are a must. It frees up time for your staff. You don’t lose those guests who want to book when you are not available (and there are likely a bunch of them). It makes it easier to fend off negotiation attempts, compared to a real person talking to the customer. You can more easily adjust your rates, and the customer only sees the price you have set, regardless of what it was in the past. Rates are determined based on the supply and demand at the time the customer makes the reservation, not months before.
- Fix your website: if your website reads something like “prices start at…” this allows you to have variations without surprising the customer. If you have a good online reservation system, it will be able to give them the real time rate. You simply state that “Prices vary based on demand. For best prices, please book early.”
We are really enjoying having ventured into this field of the tourism and lodging industry and look forward to work with more camping’s and holiday parks.
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