Increase Your Campground, RV Park, or Boat Marina Revenue with Add-Ons
The easiest and fastest way to increase your revenue stream may be found in two words. 1. ADD and 2. ONS.
Add-ons can add up, and although many require space, special permitting, licenses, etc., some don’t have to be challenging to bring into your facility and add to your daily offerings and processes.
Add-ons in a campground owners’ universe can be as simple as bundling and selling firewood or fishing bait. It can be a camp store that sells t-shirts, food, fishing and hunting equipment, and licenses. Add-ons can also include items like offering bike, golf cart, or boat rentals. Many campground owners have a cabin or two that they rent out or even a few small trailers that they rent to earn extra money. The ideas…as well as your increased income…are endless!
Many of us watch our customers head out and away from our premises daily, looking for fun and adventure. If we could give them those adventures AT our facility, we know that they would be willing to pay more for it because you know that they are paying for it once they leave the campground. Think of this as lost revenue for YOU. So, what makes sense for you to offer your campers?
Let’s explore a few things that you could offer as an add-on and discuss what you might want to research or need to know more about:
Snack and Food Sales – You may need a food or sales tax license if you operate a restaurant, grocery store, convenience shop, catering, food cart, or food truck. There are different types of food licenses, as well. If you plan to serve your customers for on-premises consumption, that will generally require a different set of permits and licenses than concessions stand or food truck/cart. And, speaking of food trucks, if you have them around in your area, you might get them to come to buy on certain days or times and be able to earn some cash, allowing them to park at your campground.
Boats, Pedal / e-Bikes, Golf Carts, Canoes, Kayaks, ATVs, and Dirt Bike Rentals –
Before you jump on the rental bandwagon, consider your campground’s location and amenities. Is your lake or pond close enough to your office to keep track of and/or transport canoes or boat rentals? Do you have paved trails that might work well for road bikes, or would you need to offer more rigorous mountain bikes for off-trail adventures? Is there plenty of land away from those guests seeking rest and relaxation so that loud ATV and dirt bike won’t annoy or interrupt? Next – think liability. Get a good lawyer to write or review a liability waiver and/or talk to an insurance professional. And remember that items like this get damaged and need continual maintenance and repair.
But why stop here? Consider renting sporting equipment like snowshoes, hammocks, snorkel gear, and inline skates. Tents, sleeping bags, and campfire cooking utensils might also be a good add-on for folks wanting to get out of their mobile campers and sleep under the stars. You could also advertise a “come as you are/drop everything” adventure and supply those customers with everything they need in a tent for a night or two. Cross-country skies are popular too, but you’ll need a wide selection of boot sizes and ski lengths. It might be best to leave those rentals to others who want to cater to that sport.
Propane Refills or Tanks – If you want to do propane refilling, contact your State’s Propane Association (SPA) or the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). You can discuss the rules for starting a propane business and network with other propane dealers there. You will need permits and licensing plus tax ID numbers. You can also provide propane tank exchanges as an add-on service.
Campground Store – The sky is the limit here. What do you want to offer? If you want to sell pre-packaged items, you won’t need a food license but a tax license. If you want to offer imprinted items and mementos like t-shirts, coffee cups, or other “swag,” plenty of online companies can help you out. You can put your campground logo or an area attraction name or a myriad of other sellable imprints on any number of items like umbrellas and rain gear, hiking backpacks, shirts, towels, coats, blankets, golf balls, sunglasses, camp chairs, wine totes, lanterns…the list goes on and on…and on!
Firewood Sales – Around here, there are plenty of firewood providers that would kill to bring in bundles for you to sell. Make your best deal: do you want to buy the wood outright and then mark it up for a profit, or do you want to allow someone to set up a store at your site, and you handle the money and take a cut? Either way, you’re adding to your profits.
Bait Sales – Look around; there is often a young (or old) entrepreneur willing to dig up worms and night crawlers or raise some minnows that they can sell you. Then get yourself a small, dorm-like refrigerator and have them keep it stocked up, and voila, you’re in business! You might need to charge sales tax when you sell the bait – check with your local authority. You could even be lucky enough to find someone who will be the business entity, and you can get a commission for allowing them to sell out of your facility.
Safety Gear Rental or Sales – If you offer rentals, you can also offer safety gear for an even bigger bang for your add-on buck—bike helmets, life jackets, bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, goggles, etc.
Petting Zoo, Horseback Riding, Exotic Birds – This may be a win-win if you love animals. This type of add-on appeals to children and campers who are children at heart, plus it gives your site that “special something” to help bring customers in. Again, check for zoning, licensing, and insurance needs and consider that you’ll have some extra work feeding and cleaning the animal areas.
Coffee Shop – Many non-restaurant businesses have started selling coffee, and we know the reason why. The coffee industry is booming nationwide, generating about $70 billion annually! Plus, coffee sells at a much higher profit than other food groups. At BizFluent.com (https://bizfluent.com/info-12040510-need-food-handlers-permit-sell-coffee.html), they discussed a general rule of thumb for permits and certifications when dealing with coffee. They claim, “you will need a special certification if you’re using a refrigerator and handling anything perishable and non-prepackaged, or if you’re serving people with reusable dishes.” So, if you have single-serving items like coffee cream, you may not need a permit. Remember, each state has rules and regulations regarding permits and licensing that your campground may need. Do your homework!
Dog Wash – This is a no-brainer and shouldn’t cost much money to install. Dogs love new adventures and often get dirty while they are exploring. You only need a little secure nook with a tub and spray nozzle. You’ll want to stock pet-friendly shampoos and conditioners to be able to charge a worthy fee, plus a few nail trimmers, combs, brushes, a dryer, and fluffy towels. Your customers do all the work – you get all the extra added revenue.
Activities – Mini golf, go-cart racing, video arcades, bingo, massage, spa and grooming services, fitness, and yoga classes, etc., can all generate extra income. Would you like to earn bonus points with your customers while promoting your add-ons...give them a pass to try one ride/class/game/service and then you can charge when they want more! Remember, service providers are often excited to be invited into established businesses to promote themselves, meaning you don’t need to keep a massage therapist on staff to offer this service.
One other thing to think about on all of these, do you have the time or enough staff to make an add-on division run seamlessly? The good feelings generated by having these options on-premise can quickly turn sour if a boat won’t start or the pre-reserved bike isn’t available at the promised time.
And don’t forget to ask area attraction owners if they are willing to give your customers discounts and give you a percentage for pitching their adventures. Even if you are just given free tickets to that train, hot air balloon ride, or a jeep adventure, those can be used to promote goodwill and keep your good, paying customers coming back for more or spreading the word about how great your campground or RV park is.