Campground: Campfire Ranch on the Taylor
Location: Almont, Colorado
Owner: Sam Degenhard, Founder & Owner
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the camping industry and acquire this property?
I had the pleasure of growing up in a camping family where we spent most of our weekends and vacations RVing or on trips with Scouts – camping has always been a passion of mine but was never a career interest until I graduated from university in Colorado and found myself in Los Angeles.
While living and working in Southern California, I constantly needed to escape the city and spent most of my weekends trying to go camping. What I quickly realized is that there aren’t many great campgrounds out there designed to cater to 20-somethings and I felt out of place wherever I went. I channeled this frustration and went to grad school to study the outdoor industry and launch Campfire Ranch. We’re building campgrounds for the experience generation.
What is unique about your property?
Our first campground is called Campfire Ranch on the Taylor, which is located along the Taylor River between Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colorado. We operate similar to a concessionaire on City-owned land that was previously a primitive campground for 20+ years. Under our management, the campground got a serious facelift, new amenities, and some much needed maintenance. At our campground, we offer a full suite of brand-name camping equipment for our campers to demo. We will even set up your campsite for you before arriving. We also have an Adventure Concierge service that takes all the hassle out of trip planning. We work with many great outfitters and guides to provide package experiences for our guests.
Can you explain more about these unique vendor partnerships and camper offerings?
At Campfire Ranch we want to provide the most welcoming and reliable experience possible so that new campers feel comfortable as our customers. In order to do this, we see tremendous value in building trusted relationships with both local outfitters and top outdoor industry brands that stand for the same values as we do. We also provide a unique opportunity for these partner businesses to get their products in the hands of a hard-to-reach demographic right here at camp. We’re proud to be working with brands like YETI Coolers, The North Face, and Camp Chef to provide our Adventure Demo equipment this season.
How has Campspot’s reservation software benefited your campground?
Campspot is an outstanding tool and has greatly contributed to our success in our first season. We operate off-grid using solar power and hotspot connections, so having a reliable booking engine and PMS system is crucial. With Campspot, we trust that customers can easily book a site, see our availability, select add-on demo gear at checkout, and easily communicate with us if needed. The customer support and education has been a huge help, too. Our account manager always answers or calls us right back to offer solutions and guidance.
What is your favorite feature within Campspot?
I love the reporting function and the many report types Campspot provides. As a new business, it is important for us to analyze our performance closely and on a regular basis – the reporting function helps us do that. The tool allows for reports to be self-generated by our team, so we don’t need to make any requests or wait to get our hands on our data. The information about our customers and our performance has allowed us to make some key business decisions this summer, which I couldn’t live without it!
Tell us your favorite story from working in this industry.
My favorite experience is when I get to meet and help first-time campers. Many of these customers have never set foot in a campground, let alone set up a tent set up a tent or started their own campfire. Providing that guidance is so rewarding; plus watching them fall in love with the outdoors through camping and our campground. I look forward to moments like this all summer!