The New Campground Generation Is Coming — Are You Prepared

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Prime campground season is underway and in case you haven’t heard — 2017 is bringing out the nature lovers in a big way. In the U.S. alone, more than 3.4 million households have become new campers over the last three years, and thanks to younger generations in particular, that trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Millennials and Gen Z teens are taking their free-spirited (but always connected) route back to nature, and that can be a major boon for outdoor hospitality businesses. You just need to make sure your campground/park is up to par and ready to rock when they roll into town.

 

Have Instagram-Worthy Activities

The expectations of younger campers are a little more complex than other generations. Fishing and cozy campfires might work for a day, but overall, they need more. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the traditional benefits of camping (relaxation, fresh air, connecting with nature), but they also crave physical activities that can challenge, entertain and, of course, be worthy of a snap to share with friends. Think hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and stand-up paddling to start. You can also offer rentals or packages that highlight these features, such as a biking package that includes the bike rental, helmet, trail guide, and picnic lunch.

 

Don’t Mess with Their Connection

One lifestyle trend that links virtually every generation is our deeply meshed dependency on technology — and those needs don’t end at a wilderness path. Especially for the majority of millennials and Gen Z-ers. Wi-Fi has become almost as integral to park experiences as campfires so if you don’t offer wireless connectivity — you’ll want to look into it. Think about the perks — you’re giving guests the power to market your campground/park with every tweet, snap and Instagram post.

There are plenty of companies that offer wireless services specifically tailored to outdoor hospitality … all it takes is a quick Google search and you’re on your way. 

 

Have On-Site Recreation

Since family campers (which include those Gen Z teens) make up a large portion of outdoor-style vacationers, having on-site recreational options is a must. It offers parents peace of mind knowing their tweens and teens are safely on-site, and it provides a whole new appeal to your park. Swimming pools are always a big attraction but think outside the box, as well — like a rock climbing wall, zip line or ropes course.

 

Be Extra Dog Friendly

Making sure your park or campground accommodates four-legged guests will get you kudos from not only Millennials, but dog lovers of every generation. Set up dog park areas for small and large dogs; provide water stations around the grounds; have waste bags readily available throughout the park; provide pet-wash stations for baths; and offer treats as a welcome when guests check in. You can even set up special pet-oriented events to grab some of that social media attention, such as play-date parties!

 

Are your campground/park facilities already updated with the latest Millennial-inspired features? If not, do you plan on integrating any of these ideas? Let us know!