Campground: Triple R Camping Resort
Location: Franklinville, New York
Owners: John and Jennifer Tinelli
From Hobby to Thriving Business
The Tinelli’s raised a camping family early on by enjoying trips close to home with their three sons Mitchell, John, and Wyatt. The couple spent many years working for other people — Jennifer as a senior contract negotiator for a military contractor and John as a mechanical designer and firefighter. For years they had talked of turning their camping hobby into a family business, but never made the leap. Eventually they tired of the grind of working for someone else, uprooted their lives, and decided to make their dream come true. After checking out many parks, they found Triple R Camping Resort in eastern New York. Nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, the amazing landscape was enough to sell them. The revenue and reputation lined up as well. John and Jennifer called with an offer even before seeing the entire park!
Once they made the move and purchased the park, the Tinellis immediately made some significant changes. Given their backgrounds in automation and manufacturing, the first thing to do away with was doing manual inventory until midnight. But there was still a big elephant in the park: It had no online booking.
“We settled for software that would get us online quickly…not taking the time, not realizing the significance, not understanding how all the moving parts of our business worked yet from the other side of the desk,” said John. After five years in business, they still couldn’t get past 21% of their reservations being made online, which was frustrating for the new park owners. Then in 2018, the two decided to visit the ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo where they met Campspot! “We noticed right away that the feel from the customers’ side is like no other,” said Jennifer.
How has Campspot benefited your business?
“Campspot has fundamentally changed the way we do online booking. We saw an 89.6% increase in golf cart rentals in our first year alone, thanks to Campspot’s add-on feature. We also made almost $6,000 in lock fees our first year, which paid for the software,” said John. Campspot’s lock fee is an optional feature allowing campers to secure their specific, desired site while driving extra revenue for owners.
“We noticed right away that the feel from the customers’ side is like no other.”
“Most people are afraid to charge lock fees. Although we’ve had a few people refuse to book because of this feature, we’ve had thousands of other loyal customers using it. If you are on the fence about switching or think that it’s going to be painful, I can tell you it took us less than one week to be fully operational and online making money. While we struggled for five years to get past 21% of bookings made online, we’re now at just under 50% of our bookings made online — after only one year with Campspot! There is one more significant detail: their customer support. We get instant results,” said John.
Tell us your favorite story as campground owners
“One of our favorite stories is about a family that visits every spring. They have a child who is autistic and who LOVES fans — so much so that when we installed central air in our office, we kept our old fan in storage and only brought it out when the child would come camping. He is the only child that has total access to our office! But the most touching part happened on our campground’s Halloween weekend last year. This child also LOVES Disney’s The Incredibles. Another one of our families decided that year to dress up as The Incredibles family, and they knocked it out of the park. They made this child’s dream come true that weekend by posing for pictures. Needless to say, the pictures went viral. That family’s small act had far greater significance than they first realized. Owning a campground does have rewards that go far beyond monetary.” – John and Jennifer Tinelli.
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