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How to Create a Rural Retreat Campground

by Ellie BurkeApr 4, 2022
A field of cows at a rural retreat campground—Crossing Creeks Farm

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the outdoors industry has witnessed not only an increase in demand for campsites, but also a greater number of immersive, guided experiences in nature. Rural retreat campgrounds offer the best of both worlds and are a great way for campground owners, (or farmers!) to diversify their revenue streams by adding value to the camping experience through additional services.

To learn more about how a campground can expand their offering, and cater to campers looking for unique and authentic experiences, we spoke to Elizabeth Stuart, owner of Crossing Creeks Farm campground in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Here’s what we learned.

Leverage Your Surroundings

A cabin, fire pit, and covered seating area at Crossing Creeks Farm.
Whether you’ve created a snowshoeing trail in the surrounding woodlands, or you’re the owner of a working farm, as a property owner, you have an opportunity to consider what’s special about your natural surroundings that might appeal to visitors. If you’re an established business like a farm, consider what aspects of your farm might draw visitors in. If you’re a landowner considering how to best monetize your land, complete a competitive analysis in the surrounding area—what could you create and offer that would be distinctive to your local area and help people connect with nature?

Crossing Creek Farm started as a farm with an RV hookup and expanded from there to become a full rural retreat campground by adding additional RV and glamping sites. They’re even in the process of adding a dog park. They also got creative about how to better incorporate the land into their offerings.

“One of the ways we leveraged our natural surroundings on the farm to create an extra experience for our guests was to make some walking trails through our front woods. These woods are beautiful but not very useful for us to farm on. The creeks wind through these woods making for scenic, fun, adventurous trails. It was a perfect solution for taking some unusable land and making it usable,” Elizabeth said.

Offer Authentic Experiences

Chickens peck the grass at Crossing Creeks Farm, a rural retreat campground on Campspot.
Beyond the land and available camping sites, Crossing Creeks Farm also provides guests with special experiences to enhance their visit and make it particularly memorable.

Guests at Crossing Creeks Farm can not only enjoy a rural camping stay, they can also:

  • Take a hay wagon farm tour
  • Participate in horseback riding lessons
  • Shop at the farm store
  • Taste treats made at the onsite commercial kitchen
  • See animals up close and personal
  • Play with their dog at the dog park
  • Learn about sustainable agriculture, the environment, farm operations, animal husbandry, and the food system

Is there a topic of interest related to your land, business, or personal life that could be of interest to your guests? Offering educational experiences at your campground can be a great way to provide guests with an unforgettable visit and further monetize your existing property. Crossing Creek Farm found a natural bridge between their farming practices and business methods.

“Our regenerative farming practices focus on the benefits of diversification and so it has organically carried that same model over into our business. Opening our farm into the camping industry has been an amazing blessing for our farm’s revenue. Plus, it allows us to share the importance of regenerative agriculture to more people. Diversifying the areas of revenue of the farm allows us to continue farming,” said Elizabeth.

Power Your Rural Retreat Campground With Modern Reservation Software

Once you’ve identified opportunities for revenue diversification on your rural retreat campground, your next step is to build out your marketing and communications efforts around these components. A modern reservation software such as Campspot is also an important piece of your puzzle when it comes to attracting and converting potential guests.

“Campspot’s reservation software has been an amazing blessing to our farm as well as our guests. It is much more user-friendly than what we were using, and our reservations have increased since adding it to our website,” said Elizabeth.

When selecting a modern reservation system, be sure to partner with a tool that saves you time and increases your revenue. Look for a system that:

  • Provides a user-friendly interface for both staff and guests
  • Offers lock-site fee options
  • Offers point of sale management tools that help you diversify
  • Leverages dynamic pricing
  • Advertises events and add ons

Read Next: Campspot’s Feature List 

Get Growing With Campspot

Taking the time to brainstorm how to add value to your camper’s experience can pay dividends down the road. As with any business endeavor, or revenue diversification plan, be sure to create a business plan that can be shared with investors, partners, and team members and serve as a point of alignment. When you’re ready to start acting against your plan, keep the focus on your guests and deliver an exceptional experience at every turn.That way you’ll ensure you’re helping to create lasting memories for your guests that drive loyal visitors, repeat stays, and positive word of mouth—both off and online.

Want to learn more about how Campspot can support your revenue diversification efforts as you build a rural retreat campground? Request a demo today to speak to a representative.

Ellie Burke is the content & SEO manager at Campspot. A farmer from the Finger Lakes region of western NY, she’s passionate about all things family, food, and wide open spaces. Connect with her online at @ellieburkebooks. 

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