In this article I want to clarify some benefits of having or not having your own website for your campsite business. Actually I focus on why you should consider having a website if you want to attract new clients online.
Don’t rely on one source of clients
It is very important to not rely on one source of clients. Especially online.
You can have your camping listed on OTA, have your own campsite website, Facebook Page, Google Business profile, TripAdvisor profile, YouTube channel, and many, many others.
I will talk about most of them on this blog and this very article.
Your campsite website is your castle, the territory you have control over. You’re the law here.
You can treat your website as a place where customers start to interact with your company.
You can install many contact options, like contact form, call page widget, live chat widget (like Facebook Messanger or other services) with chat bot answering the common questions and many others.
But the most important – you can give your potential customers an online booking system, so they can go straight to you, skipping all brokers, so you save commission fees.
A website makes you look professional
We’ve counted how many campsites do have a website. Depending on a location the percentage of campsites having their own websites is around 70-80%. So it’s a must-have in your business.
Move your campsite business online
I won’t give you here any specifics on how to earn money online, instead of on-campsite. During the pandemic gyms were closed. Some of them started to rent their equipment so people could exercise at home. Some personal trainers trained people over Skype.
If you create a network of people with the same areas of interests or needs, in addition to your camping you could for example sell some products, services or your expertise.
Your campground website could help you to know your audience, what they’re looking for, what they’re interested in, when it comes to vacation or a way they want to spend their free time or equipment they need to get. If you install proper analytics and take some time to analyse the traffic to your website, you can almost read in people’s minds.
Use your camping website to make money on affiliation
If you write some articles on your campsite website for example about some vacation or sport equipment, you can insert affiliate links in the content of your text, directing to ecommerce websites. This way you’ll earn some money each time the reader buys something on your partner’s website.
Isn’t Facebook enough?
It’s free, that’s true. Almost. Because Facebook doesn’t want you to get customers for free. It was a couple of years ago, but now the reach of your posts on your Facebook Page is cut down to a small percentage of your fans. This way Facebook forces you to pay for the visibility.
Visibility, credibility, profitability – triad of success
You need visibility first. You’ll get some clients and gain some credibility. The word will spread, testimonials will pour in to your OTAs and Google Business, Facebook profiles and so on. Then you’ll gain profitability.
The more sources, the better visibility.
But you need to work on your sources, nurture them. Each touchpoint, each social profile, website, OTA channel has to be polished and show you as credible as possible.
If you have a website for your campground, you should work on it as it was your campsite. You work hard on your campsite to meet clients’ needs and expectations. People still judge your credibility by looks. Clients will judge you on the basis of the experience they get on your webpage.
Work on credibility, and get visibility. Profitability will follow.
Your website can attract new customers through Google
This way you don’t have to pay for premium listings or high commissions. But this is just one benefit.
Actually customers look for your campsite brand in Google and some of them want to book directly. But if you don’t have a website, you don’t allow them to do that. And you don’t even know that you have these customers, because you can’t analyse that without your website.
What do they do if they can’t find you in the Google Search? They go to the OTA or competition. If they visit OTA, they may end up checking out some other place, the OTA decided to show them instead of your profile. You can’t control that.
So you can benefit from Google Searches and get your camping brand more visibility.
Track people visiting your camping website, know your audience
So what can you actually learn about your visitors? How much time they spend on your website, on which page exactly, what content or services they’re interested in, what source they’ve come to your camping website from, what sources are the best way to get traffic. These are basic information you’ll learn. But there is much, much more information you can get, analysing your camping website traffic. Read more about camping website analytics.
You can clearly showcase your camping – the best way possible
The more information you’ll put on your website, the more credibility you’ll get. Customers like to be informed, especially when they plan their vacation by themselves. They want to optimize their itinerary and choose the best, the funniest travel activities. And you can help them.
First of all show your campsite and all services you offer. Don’t just name all features. Make it count. Show benefits. Add some images showing the exact thing you’re writing about. The best would be to show people on it, how they fit into the context.
This way visitors will get an idea how they will spend time. Or maybe you could even inspire them in some way.
You can write a story about your camping, why it’s there or how it fits into the local culture or history.
If you want to read more on how to create content for your camping website, check this article.
Start a conversation using your camping website
Each time a visitor reads anything on your website, you can start a conversation with him. It can be synchronous or asynchronous conversation. What do I mean by that?
Synchronous means like a conversation in real time, face to face. On your camping website you can convince visitors to call you on the phone or Skype. You can add a live chat widget, so they can ask some questions they may have.
Make sure you write down the questions and write answers to the most frequent of them on your campground website. This way you’ll save some time in the future.
You can also paste links to articles you’ve already written, so you’ll save time answering all the questions and get more credibility this way.
Asynchronous conversation is for example email (or postcard ;-)) or a comment under your articles. It can also be a remarketing. How exactly is it a conversation, you may ask. And what the heck is it anyway?
Remarketing is a way to target your ads in Facebook or Google (and you may show your ads not only if the customer looks for a keyword in Google, but also on websites he visits) to people, who had been on your website before. Or watched your video on YouTube.
So what do I mean by using remarketing to talk with your visitor?
If the potential customer visits your website and reads anything on one of your services page, for example caravaning, then you can show him ads and try him to read some article you’ve written about caravaning in a nearby area. This way he visits your website again and may be more convinced to contact you and perhaps ask some more questions. It’s like a conversation to me, isn’t it?
You can display your best reviews and testimonials prominently on your website
Testimonials help you establish social proof and gain credibility. You can choose testimonials from your social profiles and show them in a context of a page your potential customers visit.
For example if your campsite is a good fit for families, you can show on the homepage a couple of testimonials that say how the campsite is a good fit for families. You may have some services to other segments of clients. On each page you can show testimonials that match the segment.
And don’t lie. Don’t change the content of the testimonial. Also buying fake testimonials will discredit you and piss off the competition. Don’t start a war if you don’t want to have casualties. The biggest casualty will be you, if your social profile will be banned for being unethical and not compliant with the terms of services of the social platforms.
Read more about building social proof for your camping
You can integrate your campsite website with Google Maps so people can find your camping more easily
Not only Google Maps, but any other platform you’re on, of course. But the point here is to allow your customers to find you easily when they are actually ready to set up navigation to your place. Or they’re planning a trip and want to see for themselves how staying at your campsite will fit into their itinerary.
To help your potential customers use Google Maps for your campsite, you can embed the map in the contact section, contact page and/or at the bottom of each or some pages.
But many visitors may be already in the way, using their mobile device and trying to get to you. So make sure you add a bottom bar on the mobile view of your camping website. The bottom bar is easily reachable by a thumb, so it’s kind of the primary choice you’re giving your visitors. In this bar you should add a link to some way of contacting you (like “call now”) and a link to the map, which will open in Google Maps native application.
Your website establishes your place in the travel industry
If you have a website, you can showcase your expertise in the best way possible. You can write articles, show your awards, testimonials and many other things.
The more information you show about yourself, the industry, the area your campsite is located in, the more chance your visitor will think you’re an expert, you’re the guy who is the most known person in the industry here and lead the community.
It’s reasonable to optimize and backlink your camping website, improving SEO, whereas…
… linking to Facebook Page or Google Maps is building *their* brand awareness, instead of yours. It’s like building on a rented land.
If you backlink your website, you get more visitors for these websites and you’re ranked higher in Google. Of course it’s not so simple, because you need to find proper keywords and good websites to link you back. But you can hire an SEO agency to help you do that or you can learn that. There is a ton of free knowledge out there.
A website is no longer intimidating to create and manage
It is very hard to make a perfect website, I won’t lie to you. There are a lot of different devices, browsers, resolutions you have to keep in mind, so the website is looking good and giving all the information and navigation for your campsite website.
But you don’t have to have a perfect website.
You need to have a bunch of images, contact details and some offers. That’s it. Focus on answering questions your customers have or will have on different stages.
Creating a website for your campsite is actually easy. Because all the technology and tools are already there to help you get more clients with your own website.
You don’t have to know anything about coding or designing. You don’t even have to think about a place to host your website.
We’ve created a tool for you so you can use camping templates we’ve created, replace the content, add images and logo, change colors and you’re good to go!
If you don’t have a website for your camping yet, you should definitely consider creating one. You don’t have to do that by yourself, you can hire someone to do that for you.
You just need to prepare the content. It’s a step one to attracting more customers, new segments and building your own fortress, where your own audience is immersing in the experience you’ve prepared for them. Gain more visibility, credibility and control over the marketing of your camping.