There’s an old Boy Scout saying, Always Be Prepared.

We here at Firefly Reservations think that this motto should be adopted by all campground owners. Even though we are still in the dead of winter, now is the perfect time to start the preparations for your first visitors of 2023.

Mother Nature is fickle; it’s not unusual to have early summer-like temps in February. And, nothing can get early-season camping customers heading outdoors quicker than these little seasonal anomalies, especially after they have been cooped up all winter long. Be sure that you are ready for them and open your online reservations and update your online calendar of events sooner, rather than later. Plus, don’t forget to update your fees at this time, as well.

Firefly asked owners if they left their reservation system open 24/7/365 and many replied with the same mindset as June Alexander of Canyonside Campground located in Bellvue, Colorado. June said, “I keep my online reservation closed until January. I don’t want to think about it until then. This is my time to regroup and recharge.” Her response confirmed that owners need some downtime but now is the time to start to git ‘r done!

Another attention grabber for your customers – old or new – is seeing photos of your campground or RV park and all its amenities. Pictures from past events showing happy campers (literally!); photos taken at a time of year when your site is at its best (like beautiful fall foliage or bright green grass); kids swimming; dogs playing; campfires under the stars, etc. It is true that a photo IS worth a thousand words so consider updating your Park Management System (PMS) photos. Don’t post photos taken all on the same day or at the same time…mix them up and show everything you have to offer.

Your website should also be refreshed each and every new year. Take a self-critical look at what is being said and shown. Think hard about what you haven’t talked about that has been changed since you last reviewed your web content. Remember to update your website photos, too.

In case you didn’t know, February is when the national promotional products expo happens in Las Vegas. Now is a perfect time to ask about and order those discontinued t-shirts, cups, key chains, etc. from 2022 and find out about all the new and fun items that you can put your name and logo on to sell or use for advertising.

Also, start to stock up on supplies that you will be using and also for inventory you need for your stores. Once that new inventory comes in, you’ll need to remember to update your Point of Sale (POS) system.

Signs and markers can really show wear after a hard camping season and an even harder winter. Think about updating signage to be more attractive and readable. You may need to add signs and markers to make it easier for customers to know where they are going or where events take place. You might even want to explore reflective materials that may make it easier for late arrivers to quickly – and quietly – find their site on a dark night.

Think hard about how you plan to bring new people to your campground or RV sites in 2023. Have you tried early booking deals? Maybe you should consider discounting booking packages where they get early camping at a discounted price when they purchase with a summer or early-fall package. What about add-on dates that offer a discount if they stay a little longer than planned previously? Past customers are a great source of additional revenues, too. Reach out and offer them “preferred” status that will make them feel special. Advertising is the last thing you have time to think about when you’re busy…and it’s the first thing you should be thinking about when you’re not!

If you are interested in learning about new campground management software or park software packages, you’ll never have more time to research this essential management tool than now. As we all know, it’s nearly impossible to research your options and accurately and completely fill in needed information when customers are constantly calling, stopping in, and checking out.

Although we probably don’t need to tell you this; now’s the time to repair broken items. There are often heavy discounts in the slower, Q1 months of January, February, and March. Make a list of priorities and start getting quotes now to see what makes sense, both in regard to pricing and your needed timeline. Then you can make plans on whether you should do any work needed while the snow might still be flying around or wait for the thaw.

As one campground owner put it, “Get a drink, grab a chair look at all of the things that need to be done, come up with a plan, and GET TO WORK!”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

For more tips and tricks on how to increase your revenue, simplify billing, get online reservations, etc. and make the most of this next camping season, start here.