We’ve all heard a lot about how the public acts while on vacation. There are horror stories about thousands of dollars in damages done to hotel rooms, for no apparent reason than the guests are unruly and have no concern for the property of others. It’s all about their fun, their party, not what they impose on other guests or the management of the hotel.
Similar instances happen in RV Parks and Campgrounds. We’ve also read about damages in shower rooms and laundry rooms, just because someone wants to do damage and thinks they can get away with it. Recent upgrades to many parks include surveillance cameras (with date and time stamps) at the exit of shower rooms and laundry rooms. By keeping a close eye on the property condition, which means checking out the buildings often, and then checking the camera’s feed, you can narrow down who came and went to the building and what damages occurred at certain times. It seems like you shouldn’t have to police it, but that is one way to keep track of it.
So, what else can be done?
Start by keeping an accurate email list of all guests. Use your own design for a ranking system, and after guests depart, make note of the guests you’d love to have return as “10s”, and run the numbers all the way down to zero for the absolute worst of the guests. If you are purchasing a new park, the current owner may well have designed a way to keep track of those who would not be welcomed back, and should share that info with you when asked. The people who are not welcomed back may include noisy people who don’t follow the rules, people who sneak in their aggressive dogs, or someone who did site damage, left a bad review (or threatened to do so) or someone who bounced a check.
A couple comes to stay for a week. They pay the weekly fee and set up on their assigned site. They are courteous and friendly and seem to enjoy themselves with other campers. They have a well-behaved dog that they keep on leash and they pick up after their dog. On check out, they let you know there was a steady drip at the water hookup that you might not have known about. You thank them for the heads up on that, let them know your maintenance person will fix it, and invite them to return to the park. You offer them a special discount for their next visit. Thanks all around and they leave a highly rated review about your RV Park.
A couple comes to stay for weekend. Again, the fee is paid, and they set up in their assigned site. They keep their distance from everyone until their partying friends show up Friday night with coolers of beer and loud music. You ask them to keep the volume to a respectable level and shut down the party at 10 p.m. as a courtesy to other guests. They give you attitude and let you know they paid for the site and they will do as they please. At 11:00, you hear the noise and walk toward the site. Multiple neighboring guests meet you as your approach and complain about the loud music. You tell the rowdy tenants that they must turn down the music or ask their guests to leave, and if they do not, you will ask ALL of them to leave. The threats begin: “We will leave a bad review online every day and make you pay for this”. You remind them of the agreement they signed when they checked in related to guest behavior and the rules. They grumble profusely and swear at you and the other guests in the park, but they shut down the party. After they leave, you find the damaged electrical hookup on their site. You keep a written note of this behavior and remove them from the email list for specials. You, in effect, blacklist them privately from ever returning to your park. IF they ever do call, your response is “All sites are booked.” These guests obviously land at the "0" end of your list!
But the good news is:
In spite of the potential for those types of guests to become a problem, RV Parks can be one of the most rewarding businesses to own (financially and in the personal contacts you make). By having Rules in place for your guests and enforcing those rules when necessary, you keep the peaceful nature of the park for other guests to enjoy. Happy guests spread the word for you and return to visit your park in the future.