Campground: Early Arrivals and Late Departures

Guests who arrive early at campground can put a strain on your processes. If you have a pretty tight window between departures and arrivals, that can be tricky, but it may also help you out.

So let’s talk a little about how early departures could be handled, and I’d love to hear your suggestions as well in the comments.

Early Arrivals

First, some campgrounds will charge more for an early arrival, I’ve seen anything from a flat fee to an hourly fee. Now, this isn’t the best way to kick off an experience for a new arriving camper.

They’ve just driven to get to your site, they’re probably really excited and maybe they’ve arrived at 11 o’clock in the morning instead of 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Are you really gonna worry about $10, $20, $30 for an early arrival fee and really start them off on that guest experience? I’m not so sure.

Now, I have seen places who just really have technical issues that they can’t accommodate early arrivals. If that is your case, make sure that is very clear in your directions and your communications with those guests before they arrive to head those kind of altercations off of the pass.

The problem with early arrivals could be that your prior guest hasn’t left yet and especially if you are assigning site specific, that could be an issue. They could also be clogging up your entryway if they’re stuck sitting there waiting for someone else to pull out. I get it, but think about the guest experience perspective when you determine what your policy will be.

Also, one advantage to it is maybe it gives you a better window. So instead of guests arriving between one and five, if we can spread that out a little in, especially in some of the really large parks that may help with your staffing and may help relieve some of that pressure point in between.

Now, I know that you wanna prepare for guests and make sure the sites are ready and clean before they get there.

So there are pros and cons to both sides of this, and I see both sides. However, whenever you can accommodate that, you may want to consider it unless you have expressly stated that in your rules.

Late Departures

Also, look at late departures. Again, your last impression with the guest, there are cases where people are just lazy and don’t get out of their site and somebody else is waiting for it.

But be proactive, have someone cruising around to make sure that your departures are on track, they’re actively getting ready to go and not just sleeping in on a Saturday morning when you have a boatload of people arriving soon. Make sure that you are giving fair warning and see if somebody needs help.

I once actually had a situation where our RV would not go into gear, we had a transmission problem and we couldn’t get out of our site. Now to some wonder, there was actually an open day on their calendar and we were able to stay because we had an issue and couldn’t get out until the next day.

But beware, there may be cases where it’s completely beyond the travelers’ control that they can’t get out. Be helpful, be genuine, and actually try to figure out what’s going on, don’t always assume the worst.

There are also cases where, late departures should be prearranged and have a policy in place with your staff so that they understand and can be consistent on what a late departure looks like. And if there’s any fee for that or if you, how you’ll accommodate that.

So watch out for the early birds and the late sleepers and make your guests have a great experience in your campground with solid communication up front.

Campground RV

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Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Campground Accounting

What happens when you send two CPA’s out into the relaxing outdoors to camp? You get Donna and Chad have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPA’s. They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams. They camp and travel across the country every chance they get, so it’s just a natural fit that they focus their CPA skills on helping campground owners throughout the USA grow their businesses and minimize the impact of taxes. They understand the key performance indicators and specialized issues that face RV park owners every day.

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