Industry leaders are predicting an estimated 25% of campgrounds and RV parks will change ownership in the next five years. If selling is part of your retirement plan—or you're entertaining the possibility for the future—taking certain actions now can help maximize the return on your investment when it's time to cash in.
Embracing modern technology like the hotel and airline industry is a quick and affordable way to stay relevant, and up the value of your business. Even if you don't plan on selling in the next several years, having the right technical tools now will capture more data. And the more data you have, the more your park will be worth. Don't wait until the last minute!
Here are seven ways to increase the value of your campground, RV park or vacation cabins, and fetch top dollar when you're ready to sell:
1. Capture the Next Generation of Travelers: Millennials
Camping has become more popular than ever over the last decade, especially with one particular age group: Of the more than 1 million households in North America that started camping last year, 44 percent were millennials. And if we know one thing about this demographic born between 1977 and 1995, they love technology like raccoons love unsecured groceries at campsites. The vast majority, or 90 percent of millennials, reserve travel experiences online.
As a result of this trend, more and more campgrounds and RV parks are appealing to tech-savvy travelers by investing in mobile booking, complimentary WiFi, and satellite TV.
Keep your business competitive and on-par with industry trends by implementing an intuitive, mobile-friendly reservation system.
2. Increase Reservations
Mobile reservations for RV parks surged by 150% in 2013-2014 alone, according to the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. By giving visitors the option to reserve online 24/7, you'll scoop up more guests who want to make plans on their own time, whether it's on the road or on the trail. If you don't offer at-a-glance calendaring and real-time availability on your website—but the competition down the road does—there's a good chance you're missing out on business. And remember: The more reservations you have, the higher your business is going to be valued at.
Tip: If maintaining that personal connection from the get-go is important to you, perfect! With an online booking system like ZOZI Advance, you can opt to accept pending reservations online, but still require a phone call to verbally seal the deal and confirm the reservation before the credit is used.
Give visitors the option to reserve online 24/7.
3. Open Up New Revenue Streams: Equipment Add-Ons & More
When it comes to campgrounds, RV parks and/or cabins, there's a forest of possibilities for opening up new revenue streams!
ADD-ONS & RENTALS
Another interesting tidbit: 52 percent of campers between the ages of 18 and 34 years did online research to buy items for their camping trip before purchasing the items in-store, according to a 2014 preparation and purchase report by the Outdoor Foundation. Your takeaway? Not everyone is a Bear Grylls type, or has the space to store sleeping cots and Coleman stoves. If you're already offering rentals or operate an onsite general store, step up your game (and profits!) by up-selling campers when they're reserving online.
With a system like ZOZI Advance, you could sell a wide array of add-ons or rentals (folding chairs, air mattresses, extra roasting forks, lanterns, tents, etc.) directly in the checkout flow, and have those items ready for pickup when folks check in. Rather than making an extra stop at REI or Target, guests enjoy the convenience of a one-stop shopping experience, and you reap the benefits.
Do you host seasonal events like luaus, bbq's or guided full moon hikes that require pre-registration? A great online reservation system should let you manage all of the above from a single platform: Bookings, rentals and events.
With an online reservation system, you can easily set seasonal pricing schemes that automatically increase when demand is high (weekends, holidays, popular sites) and decrease during times of year when demand is low.
4. Boost Your Brand and Professional Appearance
Let's talk about the all-important website: As the public "face" of your company, it's the first impression people get. Why not make it a great one? Having a built-in reservation system—one that's intuitive and delivers an easy user experience—enhances the appearance of your website, and thus increases the perceived value of your park. It also sends a visible message to potential buyers that you're business-savvy, customer-oriented, and invested in technology that adds value to your operation.
Give your website some love! It should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, have an aesthetic that reflects your brand, and have a built-in reservation system with a user-friendly checkout flow for guests.
5. Reduce Operational Expenses
The more your park profits, the higher price it's going to fetch.
An online reservation system reduces operational costs, which is the quickest and easiest way to boost profits.
It saves time and reduces mistakes by automating reservations, communication and payments
It reduces the need for extra staff, and/or frees up staff to be more productive in other important areas
It keeps all your data in one place, allowing you to easily run reports and learn where to increase/decrease prices
It lets you maintain that personal connection with guests, while saving time on day-to-day tasks
It saves you money on credit card processing fees
It lets you accept reservations 24/7 on your website, so you don’t have to staff the phone for long periods of time
A good online booking system has an intuitive user interface, meaning less time to train new staffers
6. Make it Easy for Buyers to Say "YES"
If the way you want your business to run is mostly stored inside your head, that means you're the only one who can "do it right." It also makes training new staffers a pain, because there are no repeatable processes or systems in place to ensure a consistent customer experience. A smooth transition is important for prospective buyers who want hit the ground running, and the right online reservation software plays a critical role—especially if you offer rentals and activities in addition to lodging.
Standardize and streamline business operations with one online booking system used by the entire staff. From automated email communication, to managing staff schedules, to taking reservations, to checking people in, an online reservation system lets you do it all under one platform. If you offer rentals and activities in addition to lodging, make sure to choose a software lets you easily manage all three.
7. Most Importantly: Make it Easy to Prove the Value of Your Park
When it's time to sell, having all of your finances and years of data digitally streamlined under a single platform will (1) make it easier to access, gather and organize important information, and (2) validate the worth of your campground or RV park. Shabam.
Have an online reservation system that rolls up all of your data into digital reports that are easy to access, understand, and share.
Whether you're preparing to uproot for another adventure, or cashing in and cruising towards retirement, getting top dollar for your investment takes some foresight. An online reservation system can increase revenue, reduce costs, streamline operations, and provide financial visibility; all factors that could significantly increase the sale value of your campground or RV park. It's also easy, affordable and quick to implement—get set up in just a few days!
Be proactive now, and be a happy camper later.
See how an online booking system can increase the value of your campground or RV park: