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Identifying Hidden Costs with Campground Revenue Management Software

Managing a campground can come with a lot of hidden costs that can put a thorn in the side of your revenue management and budgeting strategies.

Here are five hidden costs to be aware of, how you can identify them early on, and how your campground reservation software can help you mitigate these costs in the long term.


Identifying Hidden Costs for Better Revenue Management

Although there are many common expenses for managing a campground, such as maintenance and staff employment, there are often additional costs lurking under the surface of your daily operations. 

Unnecessary expenses caused by poor utility management and wasteful practices can reduce profits and hurt the long-term financial stability of your property. Once you know every cost associated with your operations, you can begin mitigating the impact on your bottom line.


5 Hidden Campground Costs and How To Prepare for Them


Services and Amenities

Data Overages

Free WiFi is one of the top amenities for campers, but you need to also think about how much internet and cable will cost. Even if you include a flat fee or an upsell opportunity, you still have to pay for this service whether or not you're completely booked. 

Furthermore, WiFi providers may also charge you for going over your available data, creating a significant dent in your revenue. It’s crucial to communicate with your provider to ensure your plan can accommodate the needs of your campers and staff.

Additional Amenities

The costs of stocking, operating, and maintaining any additional amenities — like kayaks, gym equipment, and bikes — can also add up in the long term. Other alluring features your campground may have, such as a game room or a camp store, can be another source of hidden maintenance costs.

Reservation management software with an integrated point-of-sale (POS) system allows you to manage your inventory and make transactions, all while storing valuable purchasing data to prevent overstocking. Proactively monitoring for overstock or dead stock saves your bottom line from taking a hit just by offering amenities. 


Tracking Utility Expenses

Even though the appeal of camping is often to unplug, campgrounds still require utilities to operate. That’s why it’s important to be aware of utility-associated hidden costs and know how to minimize them.

Smart meters can help achieve this.

Using smart meters can help both campgrounds and campers better understand energy usage through automated readings. Additionally, you’ll be able to automatically bill your campers for the exact amount of energy they used during their stay. Without smart meters, you risk your utility expenses piling up on you and becoming a burden to your revenue management.


OTA Fees

When your campers book through online travel agencies (OTAs), those platforms can charge a fee of anywhere from 15-20% of each reservation’s value.

OTAs take this percentage from your total reservation cost per camper, reducing your overall revenue. 

By encouraging direct booking through your campground software’s Internet Booking Engine (IBE), you can mitigate these OTA fees to put more money in your pocket.


Campground General Liability Insurance

Having the appropriate insurance is not a cost every campground manager considers.

Although it is not legally required, carrying campground general liability (CGL) insurance is a wise business move. CGL protects against risks, such as:

  • Property damage
  • Personal injury
  • Costs of legal defense
  • Medical expenses

Insufficient CGL puts you at risk of financial ruin if your business is sued over an accident that happened on your property. 


Campground Licensing


If you’re building additional facilities or are looking to expand with the addition of another park, one expense that you may not consider is the cost of zoning. Each property or facility may have to be zoned in order to build on it. Permits and zoning in order to expand facilities can truly add up.


Your local chamber of commerce and owner groups will be valuable resources when navigating state and provincial requirements.

Food and Drink Licensing

If you’re considering offering your campers food or beverages for purchase, it’s important to consider that this requires proper licenses and requirements that could be costly.


These requirements vary by state, though some examples of license costs to be aware of relate to:


  • Proper food storage
  • Waste management
  • Serving alcohol


Ensure you do your due diligence with your local requirements to avoid facing more hidden costs or legal ramifications.


How Campground Software Improves Revenue Management

With reservation management software that offers accounting and management tools, you can ensure unseen expenses never sneak up on you.

A system that centralizes data can help you make connections to hidden costs so you can make adjustments to improve your bottom line.


Efficient Revenue Management With RMS

There are many different hidden costs to be aware of when running a campground. However, the right campground management software can help you mitigate them and streamline your revenue management strategy, so you can effectively grow your business.

RMS is a leading software provider in the hospitality industry with over 40 years of continual innovation. See the effect RMS can have on identifying irregularities and maximizing revenue in our customer case study of Sunland RV Resorts.

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