4 Customer Service Tips for 2024
While many campground owners are automating their daily tasks with management software, the customer-facing aspects of running a campground will always be at the core of the business. As we head into the new year, here are a few customers service tips to help keep your sites full and your campers happy.
Establish Open Communication with Your Guests
You’ve heard before, but we’ll say it again. Communication is key.
You may have had the frustrating experience of having a guest check-in, complete their stay without a word, then leave a negative review after they’ve left—without giving you a chance to address the issue (or even know there was an issue to begin with).
This is why communication is essential, especially with new guests. It gives you the chance to address complaints head on and potentially nip negative reviews in the bud.
Unfortunately, not all campground owners are open to feedback. Your guests may have had past experiences where they voiced a complaint and were met with a hostile response from campground management. That may leave them hesitant to highlight an issue they experience at your campground. By personally introducing yourself to your guests upon their arrival and giving a quick “let me know if there’s anything I can do to improve your stay,” you’ll show that you’re open to feedback.
Depending on your campground or RV park, it may not be realistic to meet every guest. But by prioritizing this step with as many guests as possible, and by making sure your staff communicates the same message, you’ll find that establishing open communication helps you address issues head on and leaves a lasting positive impression on your guests.
Focus on the “Can” and not the “Can’t”
With any business, you’re going to encounter complaints. Sometimes you can fix those issues and sometimes they are entirely outside of your control. Although you won’t be able to resolve every complaint, approaching them with a “can” versus “can’t” attitude helps reach a positive resolution.
Maybe a guest wants to extend their stay for a day, but another camper has already paid a site lock fee to reserve the same site on that day. Instead of telling your guest you can’t extend their stay, think about what you can offer them instead. Can you extend their stay at a different site? Is there a nearby site that would minimize their move?
You won’t always be able to find a perfect solution, but working positively to reach some sort of resolution is always better than shutting it down completely. Even a modest gesture—whether it be a sincere apology or a small discount on their stay—can go a long way with your guests.
Don’t Take Things Personally
Receiving guest feedback can provide helpful insights into what you’re doing right and what could be improved. But sometimes, you will encounter those select few guests who insist on complaining just for the sake of complaining. Dealing with a guest who is seemingly determined to stay unhappy is incredibly frustrating, but it’s important to not take these situations personally.
Like any customer-facing business, you’re going to meet and interact with all kinds of people. You never know what an individual might be dealing with under the surface, and sometimes difficult guests misdirect their anger towards you or your staff when their frustration has nothing to do with your campground or their stay. That certainly doesn’t justify their behavior, but it is a helpful reminder to let harsh words roll off your back.
Responding to an angry guest with more anger will always worsen the situation and is emotionally taxing for you or your staff. Stay as calm and assertive as you can while you try to resolve things. While this isn’t the norm, some guests will simply refuse any attempt at a resolution. Even if you are a proactive campground manager, sometimes a guest’s dissatisfaction is simply outside of your control. Focus on what you can control and don’t take the bait to lose your temper when faced with an unruly guest.
Give Your Guests the Local Lowdown
Your guests’ overall experience goes beyond the time they spend at your campground itself. Turn their stay from good to great by making sure they’re plugged into the best of what the local area has to offer. This doesn't mean your campground has to be in a “destination” location, either.
Even something as simple as sharing your top dish recommendations at a local restaurant adds a personal touch and insight your guests will appreciate. If you haven’t already, take some time to put together a list of nearby attractions, activities, and local business that you can print for guests or post on your website. You’ll also want to include nearby groceries stores, RV repair shops, emergency services, veterinarians, etc. Helping your guests discover the local gems in your area gives them another reason to book at your campground year after year.