We live in a data-driven world, which is why it’s more important than ever for campground operators to understand how to navigate it and what tools are available. To help provide the best perspective on data and reporting metrics for campgrounds, we interviewed Casey See, Campspot customer and co-owner of Piney River Resort in Tennessee.
Casey, tell us more about you and Piney River Resort.
I’m one of the owners of Piney River, and we’ve been in the campground industry for three years now. We’re definitely a family-first park. We are also big supporters of military families, first responders, and our overall community.
We offer a wide range of accommodations, including traditional RV sites, premium RV sites, tiny homes, and we’re now onboarding our first set of glamping units and premium tent camping. Our tiny homes are branded to each have their own unique story. For example, guests can stay in a tiny home where musical instruments and Grammys decorate the walls. We always hear people say how amazed they are at the attention to detail.
What key business metrics do you track on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
As a business approach, we’re heavily into data, numbers, and forecasting.
Day-to-day, we look at all reservations that come in, whether it’s a large or small number. We study Google Analytics to see “who” made the reservation and where these reservations are coming from.
On a weekly and monthly basis, we care most about our revenue compared to the previous month and the same timeframe last year. We spend a lot of time comparing occupancy trends.
For 3 months now, we’ve been able to use Campspot Analytics’ pace reporting to project our future business growth compared to how full our park was last year, for example.
That’s great to hear you cross-reference Google Analytics. Can you elaborate?
We spend a lot of time looking at Google Analytics to know how guests got to our website and from which platforms. We want to know if they come from another website, social media, a third-party partner, or elsewhere.
Geographically, we like to see where the visitor came from, such as what part of the country and their average distance away from our park. We are also interested in their device usage, like mobile phone versus desktop, and other demographics. We overlay information from our Google Analytics and ad campaigns with Campspot Analytics’ various reports.
What metric is most important for managing your business?
The most important thing for us is the guest experience. Regarding the math side of our business, revenue is our main metric. The tip of the spear for revenue is occupancy. So, even as we’re managing daily rates, dynamic pricing, and all other revenue-related items, it all comes back to occupancy.
What healthy business indicators do you like to see?
We look for growing occupancy. This may vary if we’ve expanded sites and then expect to see a temporary dip in occupancy percentage, but overall occupancy is our guiding light.
Because RVing and camping are so seasonal, we always compare year over year—sometimes by a single month, or by lumping months into seasons as well. As mentioned earlier, the new Pace Report in Campspot Analytics allows us to track this exact past-to-present-year change, such as how many reservations we actually have compared to the same day in 2021. We make significant financial decisions based on our occupancy trends, like which new amenities to onboard and whether to expand.
What are red flags you keep an eye out for?
We watch out for trends, which are like a journey. They tell us the history of where we have been and the future of where we may be going. Whether it’s a change in the economy, travel patterns, gas prices, unseasonable weather, or occupancy, we need to know where we’ve been and where we are headed. Closely monitoring trends allows us to react and adjust with as much accuracy as possible. Some businesses might look at their numbers and say they are either good or bad. We try our best to look at data from the standpoint of, what exactly do we need to change?
How has your experience been using Campspot Analytics?
We have used Campspot Analytics since September 2022. It’s more comprehensive and user-friendly than traditional reporting and spreadsheets. We used to download a handful of reports to build our own custom spreadsheets. Now, it’s much less of a manual process.
Campspot seems to be very receptive and responsive to park owners’ needs. The creation of their analytics tool is one example. We’re still learning about analytics, too, but it has really helped us so far. The support and customer service we receive is also very good.
What is your favorite part about Campspot Analytics?
We really like its visual and graphical reporting. The embedded charts are helpful to view at a glance and see a snapshot of performance. Additionally, what backs them up are csv files that one can look at day by day and make important comparisons. You can see exactly in detail what your park’s occupancy is and where the trends are headed.
What sort of business adjustments have you made so far based on insights from Campspot Analytics?
In general, we make necessary adjustment decisions on a weekly and monthly basis.
With the economy taking a bit of a downturn lately, we have seen this reflected slightly in our occupancy or Pace Report numbers. We have used this cue to make more specific and aggressive marketing adjustments to compensate for the soft market.
Once we have the chance to use analytics for longer, it may help inform other strategic decisions, such as which amenities we add, when we choose to market heavier, and what specials we offer.
Campspot Analytics and Reporting Metrics for Campgrounds
Campspot Analytics allows campgrounds to access their data in visualized dashboards that help users track performance and quickly gain answers without the need to download a massive spreadsheet. Here are the seven Campspot Analytics dashboards that help campground operators access key reporting metrics for campgrounds and make impactful business decisions:
- Portfolio Overview
- Operations Summary
- Occupancy Pace Report
- Park Overview
- YoY Metric Comparison
- Campspot Value
- Cancellation Insights
- Coming Soon: POS Dashboard
It’s clear that the ubiquity of data in our technologically-advancing world will only grow. Becoming a data-oriented park operator now means learning to access reporting metrics for campgrounds at your fingertips to stay ahead of the curve later. Your campers and your bottom line will thank you. To learn more about how current campground owners are leveraging the power of data through Campspot Analytics, click here!
Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons, such as skiing up north in the winter and scuba diving the Great Lakes in the summer. A former Campspot marketing employee, Haley is pursuing a Master of Science degree at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. She is passionate about solving the world’s sustainability challenges, enjoys performing improvisational comedy, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.