When campers recall their fondest memories outdoors, they think of the people they were with, the experiences that marked their favorite moments, and their special spot in your campground. Next, they ponder, “How can I relive that memory in that exact spot?” 

While every aspect of your property is special to you, each camper gleans a unique perception of what’s most important to them based on their physical vantage point. Many campers feel enough attachment to a certain location to return to your property again and again, simply for that reason alone. And while it’s tempting to discount this importance, our previous surveys show that 95% of campers prefer to be able to choose and “lock” in their desired site, if given the option. 

Because of this clear desire from campers and the ancillary revenue potential such a feature could unlock, Campspot invented Lock Site within its booking software. Read on to learn of the many benefits this feature unlocks for campers and campground operators alike!  

What is Lock Site?

Lock Site is a proprietary feature within Campspot that allows guests to secure a specific site during their reservation, whether it’s made online or over the phone with your team. 

By paying to lock their site during the reservation workflow, the guest is guaranteeing their spot at a specific site no matter what. While anyone who doesn’t pay to lock their site would still select and be guaranteed the site type they have purchased, they will not have rights to a specific location and therefore run the risk of being reassigned to a new location in the event that the sites are shuffled.

We are always working to identify more revenue-driving opportunities for our partner parks while providing guests with value adds. Our Lock Site feature is no exception. 

Why would someone pay extra to lock their site?

As noted above, the reason why someone would choose a specific site is unique to the individual person. Often, it’s to secure a coveted view or proximity to a feature or amenity—the lakefront, the dog park, the list goes on. 

The decision could be based on accessibility needs, such as a short distance to the bathhouse or paved trails. For groups traveling together, the ability to lock two sites side by side is immensely desirable. If they are a repeat customer with many memories made at your park, they may not be satisfied staying anywhere but their past site. 

In general, consumers like to have options when shopping. It doesn’t matter why they choose to lock their site as much as it matters that they have the ability to choose to do so, period. 

Won’t locking sites jam up my reservation grid and cost me revenue?

In many cases, Lock Site will drive new revenue.  

Because Lock Site is a feature operating in conjunction with Campspot’s automatic grid optimization feature, both work together to maximize revenue.

Once a site is locked during the booking process, it’s designated as “locked” in the reservation grid, which means it’s excluded from being shuffled around during grid optimization. However, all other unlocked sites are fair game, and Campspot’s intelligent grid will work to minimize overall site night gaps. 

What proportion of booked sites should I expect to be locked in? 

In some ways, Lock Site fees are compensation to you for the limited optimization capabilities of a locked site. Therefore, there is a balance to strike when utilizing this feature. 

For example, you wouldn’t want 80% of your sites to be locked three months out from a certain booking window because this scenario would minimize your full revenue potential. In general, we suggest that 50% of each site type gets locked while the other 50% of the sites are available to be grid-optimized. Park operators ultimately control this proportion by the price they charge to lock their sites. In other words, the higher the Lock Site fee, the lower the take rate.  

It’s important to know that Lock Site is not a mandatory feature of Campspot. You can disable this functionality at any time and still harness the power of the software. If you choose to use Lock Site, we recommend tinkering around with the feature over time to ultimately set an adequate but not too cheap or expensive fee to incentivize the right proportion of locked sites for your specific business. 

What gains have Campspot users seen from utilizing Lock Site? 

By having Lock Site activated in 2023, Campspot campgrounds forewent $2.5 million in potential occupancy revenue, but gained $15.46 million in Lock Site revenue, for a net impact of $12.96 million total. This breaks down to a net gain of $4.45 per occupied site!

This speaks volumes to the upside of utilizing the feature in lieu of having the full flexibility to shuffle reservations that aren’t locked.

Do I have to charge a fee, or can I just offer the locked site for free?

While you can offer a complimentary site lock, you will still need to configure your Lock Site rules because a guest can only select their site when booking online if there’s a fee associated with the Lock Site rule. 

Additionally, you could reserve such an offer for only call-in bookings and only under specific circumstances—based on the customer’s tenure, special request, as a consolation, or other case-by-case basis. This is because designated Campspot Software admins can always override or comp a Lock Site fee. 

What rule flexibility does the Lock Site feature offer?

We’re glad you asked! In November 2023, Campspot added additional flexibility to the rules governing Lock Site options, which ultimately creates more revenue-generation options for you. 

Through the new flexible Lock Site rule, campgrounds now have greater configurability over how much they charge guests to lock in sites. The customization set-up is based on the following:

  • Seasonality
  • Site types
  • Booking windows
  • Stay durations 

These rules can be used together or separately to create strategies that grow your Lock Site fee revenue. 

What are some examples of how I can leverage site locking to grow my revenue? 

With the new rules, there are many ways for campground operators to configure the Lock Site feature to their advantage and their campers’ satisfaction. For example, campground operators can now:

  • Charge more for longer stays on their most coveted sites
  • Offer an incentive of a reduced Lock Site fee if the booking is made well in advance of the stay
  • Increase the cost to lock a site on peak camping weekends 

How can I track the performance of my locked sites and their revenue?

To monitor the impact and usage of the Lock Site feature on your business, utilize the “Locking Data by Site” report in Campspot. This report provides insights into the number and percentage of site nights that are locked over a specified date range, helping you make informed decisions regarding your site locking strategy.

Nostalgia is a powerful motivator, and site locking is a popular request. Marry these two factors through Campspot’s Lock Site feature and you have a recipe for happy campers. The best part is you have complete control over the feature’s fee amount, custom rules, and on/off switch. 


Haley Dalian is a lifelong Michigander who takes advantage of recreation throughout the state’s changing seasons—from snow skiing to scuba diving in the Great Lakes. A former Campspot marketing manager, Haley holds a B.A. degree in public policy from Michigan State University and an M.S. degree in sustainability from the University of Michigan. She is passionate about environmental stewardship, exploring the outdoors, and has never met a potato she didn’t like.

Image Credit: Great Escapes RV Resorts: Bryan-College Station