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Since buying our campground property this summer, we’ve been on a crash course in land ownership.
In addition to designing the park itself, we dove into everything from working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to analyze how our RV park will influence highway traffic flow to simply figuring out how to get mail. (And then getting mail last week that says FINAL DISCONNECT NOTICE from the gas company who was apparently sending us mail for two months but it all disappeared into the USPS abyss…smh)
We’ve loved getting to share this process with you especially after hearing how many other RVers have also thought about running their own park!
For years, RV parks were really our home. Most nights of the year we spent camped in an RV park somewhere in the country, so we’ve stayed at every type of RV park over the years.
RV parks where after we drove away neither of us could remember the name.
RV parks that were actually trailer parks (Google Maps still hasn’t learned that there’s a distinction!)
RV parks that were just parking lots.
RV parks where we never ever wanted to leave because we had good wifi, hot showers, and onsite hiking trails.
RV parks with free breakfast (actually I think it was only ever one park and they served frozen waffles, but hey I still remember it…seven years later!)
RV parks where I listened to the waves outside my window.
RV parks where I listened to the couple next door whose open window was 3 feet away from mine.
We’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the knocking on our door at 8 AM that we had two hours to leave because our riverside campsite was going to flood as soon as they opened the dam. 🏃♂️🚌
For the most part, our camping experiences have been average. Average wifi. Average amenities. Average campsite. (With a few notable exceptions—here are our favorite campsites ever!)
There are a lot of reasons this happens, but one overlooked reason is that most RV parks try to appeal to everyone. Tent, RV, cabin—they’ve crammed it all in. They all have the same basic amenities every other park in the area has (showers, laundry, wifi). Most of the parks are often so similar that they all blend together in your head.
Heath and I decided that we want our park to be different. Not just in the we-don’t-want-to-be-average way, but we want it to be clear who our park is for and cater specifically to those types of campers.
After so many years of traveling, we’ve never stayed at a campground that catered to our needs as full-time RVers working on the road. Those are our people. And those are the people we want this campground to be for. People like you.
This means setting up a park with the amenities that digital nomads and RV entrepreneurs want—like reliable high-speed wifi.
We’ve had pushback on this idea. Not the wifi, people are pumped about that. But this idea that we would cater every aspect of our park to this niche of campers working on the road.
People have asked:
Aren’t we alienating other campers?
Aren’t we worried that we will lose business by focusing our campground on this smaller niche of travelers?
But the answer is no.
Because when we started the RV Entrepreneur Facebook group and podcast in 2016, people had a similar reaction. Aren’t there too few people looking for that? Isn’t the niche too small to make for a good business?
There are over 18,000 people in that Facebook group and 200+ episodes of the RVE podcast. The audience is definitely smaller than focusing on all RVers or even niching down to all full-time RVers (there are over a MILLION full-timers alone). But Heath saw a tiny hole in the market and swooped in.
By focusing on a smaller niche of campers, we could better serve a corner of the market that wasn’t getting any attention.
(Side note: If you’re trying to figure out a target market for your business, Heath dives into this idea of niching down in this 11-minute podcast episode)
I mentioned last week how we set up an account on Hipcamp to host campers on our property before we break ground this winter. It’s been an amazing test run for this idea of creating a campground specifically for this growing community of remote workers.
Without saying “we cater to nonretired full-time travelers” or “we are focused on supporting digital nomads” or “camp with us if you work remotely”, here are a few messages we’ve gotten from campers requesting to book at our campground:
“Planning a surf trip to Montrose river park. Need wi-fi during the day to work a bit.”
“My work is remote so I will be bringing it with me for the week and we’ll be traveling during the weekend. It’ll be my first time working away from home and I’m excited to explore another city in the process!”
“Your fiber internet was really the clincher because we will need to upload a lot of footage while we’re there. I wanted to ask what your upload speeds are?”
We didn’t advertise on our listing that these are exactly the type of campers we want to serve. All we said is that we have fiber internet and a coworking space and it attracted exactly the kind of campers we are looking for. (We currently have 300 up and down, and will upgrade to 1 GB up and down once we open for real next year, BTW.)
Do we say no to the camping requests from people who aren’t working on the road?
Of course not!
We don’t even ask if you plan on working during your stay. How weird would it be if we did?
But by focusing our park on the amenities that we know our ideal camper is looking for, our ideal camper found us. They saw our amenities and reviews and recognized that this property was for them.
I suspect that with a little SEO something similar will happen once we are an operational RV park competing with other parks in our area.
Niching down is one of the more intimidating aspects of developing our park because in a way it feels like you’re intentionally limiting the number of people who will pay to camp with you. But it also means we can serve a specific group of campers better than every other RV park in the area and increase our bookings.
Just as RVing is becoming more popular than ever, the opportunities for remote work and running a mobile business are abundant. Our goal is to create a camping experience that enables remote workers to travel more by offering the amenities they need to work on the road while camping a stone’s throw away from beautiful outdoor destinations.
Because there’s really nothing better than ending your workday and heading straight into views like this 😍