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ReportsCampground Owners Are Rethinking Their Strategy: Actionable Insights from the 2023 North American Camping Report

Campground Owners Are Rethinking Their Strategy: Actionable Insights from the 2023 North American Camping Report

December 8, 2023

Unpacking the 2023 Camping Trends: A Game Changer for Campground Owners

* An continued rise in camping popularity is demanding shifts in industry standard practices

* The shift towards experiential travel opens up new prospects for the camping industry

Rise in Camping Popularity: Understanding the Numbers

The camping continues to grow even in a post-pandemic environment when most industry leaders expected demand to decrease. Campgrounds are not only attracting a wider demographic but also welcoming visitors in untapped seasons. Outdoor hospitality has always had its allure, but an explosion in camping's popularity signifies an impulsive shift in vacationing preferences. The industry witnessed a 30% uptick in first-time campers, with an overall 20% rise in camping activities compared to the previous year. This sheer increase is steering the industry towards uncharted territory. 

The report highlights a clear trend - people are not just camping more but camping differently. This is evident in the increased interest in off-season camping, suggesting a year-round opportunity for campsite owners. Hidden gems are now sought more than ever, giving rise to the necessity of diversifying and improving campground offerings. To resonate with this change, campground owners have to not just understand these startling new statistics but also figure out how to cater to this booming demand.

Here is a link the full 2023 North American Camping Report. 

The Tech-savvy Camper

Another unsurprising finding was the increased use of technology in camping. The modern camper is as likely to bring along a smartphone as a sleeping bag, pointing to an essential evolution in camping habits. Fused with a rapidly digitizing world, camping experiences now embrace both nature and technology. It creates an opportunity for campgrounds, toying with the idea of providing tech-friendly amenities to captivate their audience better. 

The Shift Towards Experiential Travel: A New Opportunity

A remarkable shift was observed in traveler psychology - travelers now yearn for unique experiences over materialistic satisfaction. This transitory movement towards experiential travel sets an attractive stage for campground owners, presenting an opportunity to offer something rare, authentic, and personal.

Campground owners benefiting the most were those who transformed their campgrounds into experience hubs - integrating local culture, promoting local produce, and unique stargazing or hiking offerings. This trend points to a dominant direction for campgrounds to proceed, tailoring their offerings to provide a worthwhile experience rather than just a place to lodge. 

To maneuver this shifting terrain, exploring these trends, understanding them, and crafting a strategy around them becomes a survival essential for campground owners. Hitting the right chords and being in sync with these changing travel and camping trends could well be the key to retaining a competitive edge in this rapidly evolving industry.

Generational Insights: Catering to the New Wave of Campers

* The changing face of campground visitors: a generational shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials and Gen Z.

* Unique camping preferences and habits of these emerging demographics.

* The campground strategy re-think: alignment with the evolved needs and expectations. 

The Generational Divide: Baby Boomers vs Millennials

The camping landscape is seeing a significant shift in demographics. Traditionally dominated by Baby Boomers, Millennials are now catching up, bringing with them unique camping trends and behaviors that owners need to account for.

Baby Boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, tend to prefer traditional camping and RVing experiences. Owners should ensure they continue to cater to this demographic's preferences, as they still constitute a significant portion of overall campsite visitors.

Meanwhile, Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, are transforming the camping scene. They favor experiences that combine outdoor adventure with comfort, giving rise to glamping. Campground owners need to adapt their accommodations and facilities to address this emerging trend. Gourmet campfire meals, Wi-Fi access, and luxury tents are just some of the expectations of the Millennial camper. 

The Rise of Gen Z Campers: What to Expect

Following Millennials' trails, Generation Z, encompassing individuals born between 1997 and 2012, is emerging as the newest wave of campers. A digitally-connected group, Gen Z campers will often expect to stay connected even while camping. Site owners must take note, ensuring strong Wi-Fi connections, charging stations, and no-contact check in and purchasing capability.

In terms of camping preferences, Gen Z shares Millennials' love for glamping but is also more environmentally conscious. A camping strategy focused on sustainability, with initiatives like eco-friendly accommodations, water conservation measures, and renewable energy, will increase appeal to this demographic. 

Intriguingly, studies reveal that Gen Z also leans towards hyper-local experiences. They engage in the community, preferring to learn about local history, culture, and ecosystem conservation. Campgrounds may consider promoting guided tours, wildlife excursions, or even cooking local cuisine to cater to this trend. 

Rethinking Campground Management Strategies: Adapting to the New Normal

- Innovative tech adoption enhances campground management and user experiences. 

- Sustainability: Now an expectation among modern campers.

Embracing Technology: The Key to Modern Campground Management

Don't brush technology off as merely a trend. With 80% of campground owners revamping their strategies, technology plays a crucial role. Imagine sleek, efficient campground operation with the aid of smart systems and digital solutions. Sounds inviting compared to tools of yesteryears, doesn't it?

In the chaos of campground management - booking systems, site maintenance, customer communications - modern technology solutions offer an oasis of order. Using automated systems not only streamlines operations but also enhances customer experiences. For instance, a digital booking system makes both booking and cancellation easier for customers, jumping your service standards to an unrivaled level in the industry. 

Even small Technology Investments can make a Big Difference

Implementations like adding Wi-Fi access throughout campgrounds, significantly enhance visitor experiences. In a Work From Home era, campers increasingly seek getaways without fully disconnecting. A campground with solid Wi-Fi becomes an attractive locale for the increasing number of digital nomads. Adapting to this new normal may require small technology investments, but the payoffs are substantial, retaining you a spot among the top choices for modern campers. 

Sustainability Practices: A Non-Negotiable for Modern Campers

Believe it or not, sustainability is now a make-or-break criterion for many potential campers. In fact, campgrounds that ignore sustainability practices are practically inviting a dip in customer retention. As environmental consciousness spreads, campers increasingly prefer campgrounds that align with their own green values. 

From implementing recycling programs to favoring solar energy, sustainable campgrounds attract a growing segment of environmentally-minded campers. To cater to this crowd, consider changes like transitioning from disposable to compostable service items or adding charging stations for electric vehicles. 

The Future of Outdoor Hospitality: Predictions Based on the 2023 Report

As we pull back from our deep dive into the strategic shifts campground owners are undertaking, let's shift our gaze in another direction: the future. Here's what's ahead:

  * How glamping is morphing traditional camping by injecting a dose of luxury.

  * The expanding quest for novelty that takes the outdoor experience beyond the campsite.

The Rise of Glamping: A Luxury Twist to Traditional Camping

Glamping has been gaining ground in recent years, enhancing the traditional outdoor escape. Gone are the days where roughing it out in a conventional tent is the only option for an outdoor retreat. With glamping, a beguiling blend of comfort and wilderness offers a new dimension to camping, undeniably enticing a palette of campers, from newbies to veterans. 

Delving into the 2023 report's findings, we see that the rise of glamping is rewriting camping norms. Enter the world of premium tents, lavish tree houses, extravagant camping pods, and comfortable yurts. Many campgrounds offer/build these luxurious options and accessorize them with plush bedding, gourmet meals, and even private hot tubs. Amenity-rich services bring a new demographic of luxury-seeking vacationers into the fold, boosting campground revenue streams. This upscaling of the camping experience redefines how we interact with the great outdoors. 

The Glamping Market

Intriguing non-urban settings coupled with a robust demand for experiential travel are accelerating this glamping trend. The global glamping market, valued at $2.1 billion in 2020, is predicted to reach $4.8 billion by 2025 – a testament to this booming luxury camping industry. 

The Demand for Unique Experiences: Beyond the Campsite 

The pursuit of personalized outdoor experiences is another trend predicted to shape the future of campsite management. As the world becomes increasingly technology-dependent, many people are craving unique encounters to momentarily escape their screen-dominated lives. The camping industry is a viable candidate to meet this demand.

Campers aren't just seeking a nice place to set up a tent or a tranquil backdrop for their RV- they are seeking unforgettable experiences. This drive towards novelty has inspired an array of experience-focused offerings beyond the traditional campsite. Stargazing tours, wilderness survival workshops, community-building activities, and local cultural immersions, among others, are captivating additions to the traditional camping scenario. 

This inclination towards embellished experiences opens profitable avenues for campgrounds. However, organizing such offerings involves innovative planning, strategic partnerships, and hands-on experience to ensure campers' expectations are met and their campground memories remain inspirational.

Paving New Paths in the Campground Sector

Amidst changing consumer preferences and digital advancements, it's become clear: campground owners must adapt or risk falling behind. Remember, the big focus has been on the rising demand for eco-friendly amenities, incorporation of technology to enhance guest experience, and marketing strategies refocusing on Millennial and Gen Z demographics.

Why is this essential? Because it helps sustain your business in a rapidly changing landscape. By meeting consumer needs and keeping pace with industry changes, you're working towards a more profitable and durable business for years to come.

It's time to reassess your strategy - delve deeper into green practices, invest in seamless technology and start conversations on platforms your younger audiences frequent. Drawing insights from the 2023 Camping Report will prove invaluable to this process.

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