Running a campground is a lot of work and expenses can get out of control if you’re not careful. We want to help you work smarter not harder, but you need a way to do it while remaining in your budget.
One of the best ways to do that is by using affordable software to take care of the boring and recurring tasks on your plate. We’ve gathered this list of the best software tools to help you run a smaller campground while staying on that budget. This tech stack is very affordable and allows you to save time on the phone or computer while freeing more time to enjoy managing your campground.
Having a website is essential for most campgrounds and RV parks to be found by potential campers. In fact, 82% of all travel bookings in 2018 were made online through a website or mobile app.
Luckily there’s a software called WordPress that makes it easy for you to create and manage content on your website. WordPress powers 36% of the internet including websites like Travel Oregon and The Walt Disney Company.
If you don’t have a website for your campground this should be the first thing you start
- Non tech friendly dashboard
- Easy search engine optimization tools
- Mobile friendly for cell phones and tablets
WordPress is open source software so it’s free to use and doesn’t cost anything to maintain (for basic packages). You may need to work with a designer or developer to help build your website but after that, it should be easy to maintain on your own.
One of the most common questions owners ask in the RV Park & Campground Owners Facebook Group is which campground reservation software they should choose. There are a lot of different options in the hospitality industry but we’re working to be the best reservation software for campgrounds.
“You’ve got to be able to have online reservations to make it in today’s industry, not that you won’t succeed, but you’re going to lose money for people who want to make a reservation at 2am when they can’t sleep.” – Campground Consultant, Joe Moore
RoverPass Campground Reservation Features
- Online reservations – Stop losing out on reservation calls after work hours.
- Accept payments – No hassle getting payments upfront before they arrive.
- Availability calendar – View and edit all of your reservations in one calendar.
RoverPass Campground Reservation Pricing
Free to use for campgrounds with no setup costs, fees, or contracts. RoverPass only charges the camper a platform fee of $5 per reservation. Whether their reservation is for a day, a week, or a month.
If you decide to stay with pen and paper reservations you still want to get paid right? Here are a few different options to make sure you get paid.
PayPal is a quick and easy way to accept online payments from your campers.
You can easily create an invoice or link that you can send through email or text to get payments from your campers.
PayPal has fees similar to credit cards at 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
Merchant One is a company that provides equipment and software to help you take payments offline.
A lot of campers like to pay when they arrive at the campground in person. In order to accept credit cards, you can use a card reader to allow your smartphone to accept credit cards. This saves you from having to spend a lot of money on buying equipment to accept credit cards.
Merchant One Pricing
These card readers also keep track of all the sales coming in. The fees for a card reader depend on the service provider’s rates.
As Benjamin Franklin said “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” The same goes for campgrounds where if you don’t keep an eye on your expenses and profitability your dream job can become a nightmare.
Not to worry QuickBooks software makes it easy to stay on top of your campgrounds finances and payroll. If you decide to hire a bookkeeper or CPA they can also use QuickBooks to maintain your parks finances.
QuickBooks Online Features
- Track income & expenses
- Visual reports to see your companies health
- Calculate, file, and pay your payroll taxes automatically
- Customer support documents, live chat or call in support
QuickBooks Online Pricing
QuickBooks Online costs start at $25 a month depending on the number of features you would like.
Papers get lost, computers crash, and some days we feel like we are losing our own sanity.
Enter in Google Drive that allows you to store, synchronize, and manage all your files in a single location. Since it is stored online you don’t have to worry about your computer crashing or your dog eating some important paperwork.
Examples of files you would want to store on your Google Drive
- Campground cleaning checklists
- Flyers and marketing materials
- Parks legal documents
Google Drive Features
- Accept Any File Type – Photos, Videos, Microsoft offices Google Drive stores it all
- Online Backup – You’ll never lose a document again.
- Live Sync – Always work on the latest version
- Safe & Secure – Drive is encrypted using SSL, the same security protocol used on Gmail and other Google services.
Google Drive Pricing
Google Drive is free for the first 15 gigs of storage. If you need more you can go up to 1 terabyte of storage for around $12 a month.
Oftentimes, the first place campers go to find a campground to stay at is online. Having an online presence with good reviews is essential!
If campers can’t find you online they can’t book. If they do find you, but the reviews are bad they will probably keep looking.
Good thing that Moz Local can help you with online marketing and managing reviews.
Moz Local Features
- Online Business Directories – Submit or fix your campgrounds listings to the major aggregators, search engines, directories, and apps that matter most to your customers.
- Dashboard – One place to edit all your business listings
- Online Reviews – Monitor and manage the latest reviews on the most popular sites without having to visit them all individually.
Moz Local Pricing
Moz Local costs $129 – $299 a year depending on the number of features you would like. This is an affordable software that can really help drive RVers and campers to book with your campground.
An effective way to market to your best customers is to communicate with them often. A couple of effective ways to do this is by creating a community for your campground and to send emails to your campers.
There are several tools you can use to do this, but we recommend starting with these free tools first.
Facebook is one of the largest and most active websites in the world. With over a million daily users it is a great way to get in front of your potential customers. Having a community to show off photos and answer questions is incredibly helpful for any kind of campground.
Facebook Group Features
- 1.62 million people daily active users of Facebook
- Create a community for your own park
- Post updates, images, videos, and answer camper questions
Facebook Group Pricing
Facebook doesn’t charge to use their group’s platform.
Sending emails can be a very effective way to stay in touch and top of mind with your campers all year round. Actually, 50% of U.S. respondents check their personal email account more than 10x a day, and it is by far their preferred way to receive updates from brands.
- Free email newsletter (first 2,000 email subscribers)
- Simple drag & drop email builder
- Email automation and analytics
Free up to your first 2,000 email subscribers. Even if you outgrow the free account it is only $10 a month for up to 50,000 email subscribers.
Campers and Rvers love to call a campground before booking to ask questions about your park, the surrounding area, and if you take specific RV club memberships like Good Sam or Passport America.
You used to have two main options that each had some drawbacks. The first option is you could have a landline, but then you are tied to the desk in order to answer calls.
The second option is to have them call a cellphone but then you have to pay for another phone line.
There is a great third option with Google Voice which is free. With Google Voice, people can call a single number and you can control who it is forwarded to. This works great if you rotate managers or don’t want to be bothered during off-hours.
Google Voice Features
- Free customer number
- Easy to set up call forwarding to any number
- Can set up office hours so it automatically goes to the answering machine when it gets too late
Google Voice Price
It’s been free for years, but that could change in the future.
As you can see from the list above, there are many different software tools to help you better run your RV Park and get more time back.
A good rule of thumb is to start with one tool at a time instead of signing up for all of them at once. Just like how you have to eat an elephant, one bite at a time until the job is done.