You are probably here because you want to buy a campground. You are not alone as this type of investment has become increasingly popular in the last several years. Some of you might already have your eye on a specific campground you want to purchase, while others are just starting the process of learning about the industry. Either way, we’ll do our best to provide useful answers to some of the questions we get asked on a frequent basis to give you a path forward.
If you are thinking about buying a campground but you haven’t connected with a real estate broker yet, we recommend Heather Blankenship from Colliers International. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help point you in the right direction. After all, before you can start thinking about a marketing plan, you need to have a property in mind so you can see what they are already doing well and what needs to be improved.
Once you’ve selected a property and have either made an offer or are considering one, you need to analyze the campground’s existing marketing efforts. The first question to ask is whether you will change their branding or become part of a franchise like KOA or Jellystone Parks. That decision will greatly impact how you move forward so let’s explore this.
Changing the name of a campground requires a significant marketing investment. It typically only needs done in the case of franchising or if it has a bad reputation. While there are other reasons to change a name (because you don’t like it is common), the benefits of staying the same usually far outweigh changing everything. You’ll have to completely revamp your online presence, change your website, design a new logo, throw away old merchandise, print new brochures, and the list goes on.
Assuming you plan to keep the name as it is now, you have options. Have a look at their existing website to see if it looks old. Does it work on mobile devices? Does it look modern or like it was built over 20 years ago? If you wanted to camp at this RV park, would you be able to easily find the information you need? Much of this is opinionated, so we recommend hiring someone to analyze these things for you. Insider Perks provides exclusive digital analysis reports for most Collier’s International listings that will help. If you are looking to buy a campground that is not listed by them, we offer a digital analysis package below for a one-time fee.
Once you have reviewed the website, look at the reviews for the campground you want to purchase. Beyond the average star rating on Google or Facebook, scroll back through and read the negative reviews for the last year or so. Is there a common theme that you could fix after purchasing the campground? If so, you have just found easy upside. Don’t forget to read the good reviews as well, because those are things you will want to make sure you keep doing that are being done well.
Next, head to their social media accounts. See if they have been posting regularly and whether they get engagement. If they do, that means you will want to have someone in place from day one to keep that community involved. Letting it lapse is a potential hidden downside. If they don’t have great engagement or don’t post often, this should be considered a long-term upside as building that community drives more loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth for the campground.
Finally, look at what their competition is doing in the local area. Are there campgrounds who already offer similar amenities or services? If so, repeat all of the steps above for their campground. Find out if building a new website for the campground you want to buy will easily exceed their own efforts. Same with their reviews and social media.
Make a list of things you need. A new logo? A website redesign? A marketing team? Factor all of these things into your final decision.
Below are some of the things Insider Perks can help with throughout this journey. This will help you gain an understanding of investment into marketing, as well as get an idea of steps you need to take from day one versus steps you can take further down the road. Have more questions? We’re available to chat in the bottom right corner of the website, or you can book an appointment with our CEO to chat on the phone. Good luck with buying your campground!