The Management of Camping
This week’s guest blog post comes from none other but Jenny’s dad! He’s been working as a manager at a campground for 30 years and has some great insight to share. Enjoy!
When I first started working at East Shore RV Park in 1983, I was the maintenance manager and had 10 employees working for me. I was very strict with the guys and micromanaged the crew. I would check to make sure the lawns were mowed the way I wanted them, the trees had to be trimmed the way I wanted, the restrooms cleaned the way I wanted. The crew didn’t like me much because if I didn’t like the way they had done a project, I would have them do it over.
This went on for several years until I realized there were more ways to do projects than just my way. I began to oversee the projects rather than micromanage. I then saw a more relaxed crew that was doing more than I expected and actually better work because they could be creative. I carried this management style as I was promoted to manager of the campground. For me, it has been very successful but I can still say “no” if I need a project done a certain way.
I feel my employees are the heart of the business; without them, beer wouldn’t be sold, reservations wouldn’t be made, light bulbs wouldn’t be changed, paychecks wouldn’t be cut, customers couldn’t get into storage yards, etc. I treat all my employees with respect and require them to respect one another. I am on a first name basis with all and they with me. We have a very relaxed atmosphere but we get the job done. I feel the above is the most important part of keeping employees happy. We haven’t had but one employee quit in the last 5 years!
Our employees are hired for their customer service experience. We interact with campers on a regular basis and go out of our way to accommodate them. Many other campgrounds are severely understaffed, overworked and underpaid, which leads to poor customer service. We are not overstaffed but we have enough employees to handle the work load delivered to them.
Customers are the life blood of a business. We have four special promotional programs to keep them happy:
Long Term Campers: They have a chance to enter a contest for buying $25 worth of goods from the market. The receipt goes in a bucket and at the end of the month, one is drawn and $125 is knocked off the winner’s rent.
Short Term Campers: They can enter a contest by printing a “pay for one night, get the second night free” coupon off of our website. At the end of the year, we pull one coupon and the winner gets 7 nights free at the campground.
Storage Unit Customers: Customers who utilize our storage units go into a contest to have their contracts drawn once a year and the winner gets a free month of rent.
Birthday Recognition: If a customer gives us their email address, they will receive one free night of rent on their birthday.
Dan Dempsey is the manager of East Shore RV Park on Puddingstone Lake in San Dimas, CA. He is also Jenny’s dad, whether he wants to admit that or not! For more information on camping at East Shore, email “firstname.lastname@example.org” or follow on Twitter @EastShoreRVPark.