Tips & Guides

Master The Mental Game of Running a Campground: How to Stay Sane Amid the Insanity12 min read

We’re living in very strange times, to say the least. With a pandemic that has swept across the world, the instability of financial and economic markets and the ongoing civil unrest we see on a daily basis, it’s getting harder to stay optimistic. And with all this uncertainty, stress is inevitable.

For many, coping with the surrounding instability and stress means camping with family and friends. And though going camping can be therapeutic for many folks, managing a campground can be just the opposite. Yes, owning a campground is a dream-job 99% of the time, but that doesn’t mean this business is immune to high-stress.

Working with upset campers, dealing with impromptu maintenance repairs, managing unruly employees (or campers), and working dreadfully long hours, all while the world seems to be in disarray are just some of the many ways stress can drain you. And finding new ways to manage stress as a campground owner is now more important than ever before.

If you’ve found yourself feeling overwhelmed, tired, and unable to keep up with all you have to manage, don’t lose hope. Luckily, we understand what you’ve been going through and we’re here to help! Below we’ve put together a comprehensive list to help you overcome the daily challenges of managing a campground along with professional tips to stay mentally healthy, strong, and optimistic during these tough times.

Delegate

As a campground operator and business owner, you want to know everything that’s going on at all times. You’ve been indoctrinated to believe that “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. Fortunately, this saying is just not true and it’s only causing more stress and insanity in your life. Learning how to delegate as a business owner is crucial for your well-being and the well-being of your campground.

Delegating work and processes, whether it be to campground employees, accountants, or software companies, will help you better run your business and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. But what exactly is delegating and how can it help you? Delegating means empowering others to manage functions and responsibilities within the business on your behalf. It also means saving time on mundane tasks and maximizing your time to find opportunities to make your campground better.

By delegating tasks you’re also greatly relieving unneeded weight from your shoulders and reducing your daily dose of stress.

Take Action

With so much work being delegated (wink*wink) you now have time to take action on pressing issues.

Many times, the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed comes from tasks that have not yet been completed and feel unmanageable. By taking action on these lingering tasks, you’ll feel more in control of your business and be able to focus on improving the overall campground experience for customers.

Taking action will also provide feelings of self-confidence and relieve you from feeling overwhelmed with piling work.

Keep A Daily Schedule

“I know I have a lot to do but I don’t know where to start!”. Sound familiar? If your days sometimes start like this, then it’s no wonder you’re feeling stressed.

Keeping a daily schedule sounds cliche because it is. And it’s a cliche because it works.

Writing down tasks and sticking to a daily schedule will help you easily organize your tasks and get things done.

Knocking out your daily schedule will help you take on problems one at a time and help you feel less overwhelmed while operating your campground. Noting actions that are priorities for the day and organizing your schedule accordingly will help you follow through and take action on each task.

Properly Manage Upset Campers

Learning how to manage difficult campers can feel almost impossible. Unfortunately, in the business of operating campgrounds, there will always be customers who can’t be satisfied no matter what you do. The good news is, there are many ways to deescalate hot-headed customers and embrace their negative feedback, all while improving your business and relieving daily stress. Here’s how.

Alter Your Mindset On Negative Feedback

Remember the saying “the customer is always right”? Well, it’s true (to an extent). Sometimes you’ll get feedback from customers who were extremely happy with their experience. They will tell you why they loved their stay and reinforce your beliefs about how great your campground is. That’s all well and nice but unfortunately, they don’t help improve your business.

Angry customers, on the other hand, will help you tweak and refine your campground into perfection. Why?

Because negative customer feedback for business owners is a gold mine for possible improvements to your business model. Upset customers will open your eyes to inefficiencies in your campsite that you would’ve otherwise completely overlooked. They will point towards everything your campground does wrong and make you aware of it. And though it may be stressful to hear, using this feedback to improve your campground will only help your business grow.

Altering your mindset to visualize upset customers as an opportunity for improvement rather than a point of tension, will not only improve the operations in your campground but it will also help alleviate the daily stress from your life. When you recognize that angry customers only help lead to positive opportunities, your overall outlook on angry customers will become a more positive one.

Actively Listen

Staying completely present is hard to do when on the receiving end of an angry customer. Most people’s initial reaction would be to run as far away as possible. Or worse, try and fight back. That’s a recipe for disastrous reviews, loss of business, and increased stress and anxiety.

Rather than sliding down that slippery slope, try being engaged when your customer is angry. Listening intently will help you better recognize the issue, ask follow-up questions, and find solutions. It will also help you better empathize with your customer’s complaints, making your customers feel understood.

By actively listening, you will deescalate your customer’s concerns. This will provide for a more conversational environment rather than a yelling match which will help lower your stress levels.

Empathize With Your Customers

Everyone has the ability to empathize in one way or another. Feeling empathy for your customer’s complaints and understanding their anger is vital to managing upset customers. It also helps improve your business.

According to the Harvard Business Review Empathy Index, which measures companies that create the most empathetic cultures for customers, companies that are able to better empathize with customers increased in value. This is no better exemplified than with RyanAir who jumped up 13 places in the Empathy Index and saw a surge in net profits. Afterward, the CEO was quoted saying “If I’d only known being nice to customers was going to work so well, I would have started years ago.”

Being able to empathize with your campers allows you to put yourself in their shoes. By fully understanding their position you can withdraw defensive behavior and feel less stress. This will also help calm your customer and guide an open dialogue for a positive solution.

Use Software Programs/Automate

Though the world around us seems to be going haywire, owning a company or business has never been easier. Sounds crazy, we know, but it’s true.

Small and large businesses have been blessed with copious amounts of technology to help manage and improve efficiency while lessening the workload. Investing in software programs will not only provide a competitive advantage but will improve your daily stress.

Using a software program such as the RoverPass Reservation Management System (RMS) can help keep track of your inventory and reservations all while reducing excess work. RMS booking systems provide much-needed peace of mind by easily organizing and providing efficient booking processes for your campground.

Using Reservation Management Software for your campground also provides for a much easier user-experience for your campers. Providing your customers with the tools to quickly reserve and process payments will mean a better overall customer experience and less angry customers for you!

Practice Self-Care

Practicing self-care for business owners particularly campground operators is hard to do. With many campgrounds open seven days a week, from dusk till dawn, finding time to focus on yourself is almost impossible. Make sure to schedule time throughout the day to enjoy some time for yourself.

During extreme times of high-stress such as these, self-care is vital. It’ll not only help you feel better throughout the day but it will also help you perform your tasks with more clarity and energy.

Disconnecting from your business for self-care may be hard but it is important to keep from going crazy. Being involved with your campground 24 hours a day seven days a week is not healthy and will only lead to fatigue and burnout.

Taking time to mentally and physically prepare yourself for the day ahead will also lower your stress as a campground owner and provide for a better way of life. Here are a few simple ways to practice self-care:

  1. 15 Minute Meditation
  2. Stretching
  3. Yoga
  4. 10-minute walk
  5. Workout
  6. Eat healthily
  7. Read a book
  8. Spend Time With Friends & Family
  9. Get a good night’s rest

Recognize When Things Are Going Right

Not everything is bad and not all things can possibly be going wrong. Reminding yourself of all the things that your campground is doing right is important for you and your employees to keep from getting stressed.

Remind yourself daily of all the things your campground excels at. This is important for a healthy mindset and environment. Whether it be in customer service, technology, or overall safety, always remind yourself of the things you and your team do well.

Internal negativity will stress you just as much as external negativity. Instead of being overly critical of yourself and business, try to think encouraging thoughts. Always remind yourself how far you’ve come and what positive steps you plan to take to continue moving forward.

Conclusion

Owning a campground is a lot of hard work. Working long hours, dealing with difficult customers, working weekends, and managing expectations can be agonizing and stressful. And with the current state of the country, feeling extremely stressed & overwhelmed isn’t too far-fetched an idea.

By taking the proper steps noted above, you can improve your business and work-life all while removing unneeded daily stress from your schedule. By implementing these practices you can go back to operating your campground as your dream-job 100% of the time.

Interested in how RoverPass can help your campground boost profits, save time, and increase occupancy all at no cost to you? Shoot us an email at sales@roverpass.com or schedule a demo here.

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The RoverPass Reservation Management System is built to help you save time and money with cloud-based reservation management software. Accept reservations online, over the phone, or in-person and track your availability in one central system.

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