Webinar: How to be a successful Hipcamp Host

At Hipcamp, our mission is to get more people outside and to inspire the next generation of people who are passionate about exploring AND protecting our lands. We are committed to making getting outside fun, easy, and as simple as selecting what, when, and where Hipcampers want their camping experience to be. As a Host on Hipcamp, you help us accomplish our mission and vision by upholding our core values (Leave it Better, Diversity is Strength, Practicing Self Care, and Holding Each Other Up) and creating lasting and memorable experiences for our community of Hipcampers. We put together this video to help set YOU up for success with us. We’ve spent a lot of time listening, reading, researching, and conversing with Hosts to understand what success looks and feels like. If you’d like to follow along, download the slides we’ll be covering here.
We hope you found the video useful! As a recap, here’s what we have found as the main variables for success:

Location & Land

Location matters. We understand that this is not entirely within your control. You have the land you have. All our data shows that proximity to urban areas or popular outdoor destinations is the key. We’ve found that being within 2-3 hours from a city or outdoor destination is the sweet spot. It’s important to highlight your proximity to places Hipcampers will want to go. Using keywords in your listing name or listing description can help. An hour away from a city? Describe that! Next to a state or national park? Use that to your advantage! Let’s say you have a cattle ranch near a national park and you would like to offer tent camping. Find a way to plug words in to give a prospective Hipcamper a sense of what you are offering. Example listing name: “Cattle Ranch Tent Camping Near Yosemite”. You should then work to create a listing description that lists what land features you have that makes your property special. You know and love your land most- spending some time on sharing that passion and love in a listing description will pay off in the long run. What if you are not within 2-3 hours of a city or popular outdoor destination? That’s totally fine! You can still be successful on Hipcamp with a little more thought and creativity going into your listing name and description. Land features are really helpful. Describe the great views, water features, sunrises, wildlife, fishing, hiking, rock formations, etc. you may have. Activities and terrain go a long way with Hipcampers. Use what you have to your advantage!

Motivation

Now here’s what you can control! This includes everything from how nice of a camp you create to how much you market your listing. Put yourself in your Hipcamper’s shoes. What would you want out of a campsite? What would make a lasting impression on you? We’re excited that you have listed with us but it doesn’t end there. Create a special social media account for your listing. Email your friends and family and ask them to book your spot on Hipcamp and leave reviews and photos. Pitch your listing to your local tourism board or chamber of commerce, find Facebook groups dedicated to camping spots in your state, collaborate with local adventure guides. Get the word out there! Here are some quick takeaways related to motivation to help create a great experience for both you and your Hipcamper:
  • Build a camp you’d want to stay at
    • Clean, clutter-free (clear, flat spot for tents)
    • Private (camp isn’t in view of neighbors, your home, or the road- if possible)
  • Add amenities Hipcampers love
  • Ensure a flawless check-in
    • Directions — correct and accurate, detailed enough so Hipcampers are left thinking if they made it to the right place, gate codes provided (if you change them don’t forget to share the new code! This happens a lot)
    • Signage — parking, camp, toilet.
    • Check out some examples of great signage!
  • Take good photos!
    • Good photos = Zoomed out, shows where camper will be sleeping, gives a great sense of where they will spend their time
    • Not good photos= satellite images, blurry photos, close-ups of flowers (take a step back and show the whole garden- not just one flower, photos of pets and people- we love animals and people but sometimes it’s best to leave them out unless they will be a part of the camping experience. Have a llama that lives on the property? Share a photo of her and describe her in the photo caption! Photos of indoor pets are not very helpful here. Also, photos of children and grandchildren are always fun to see but not really helpful to a prospective Hipcamper.
    • Refer back to slide 8 in the presentation to see examples of helpful vs. non-helpful photos!

Top Tips for Other Hosts

We reached out to Hosts who have at least 5 bookings, 1 of which was made in the past 30 days, and have a 95% recommendation rating from their Hipcampers. We asked what their top 3 tips would be to a new Host joining the Hipcamp community. Here’s what they had to say:
  • Make sure listing is thoughtful & engaging, amenities are up to date, give campers a true sense of what it is like on your property, add good quality photos that highlight your property and where campers will stay when there
  • Most bookings are for the weekend so make sure you have availability- this also helps get you more bookings and that’s what you want!
  • Response time is critical, especially if you have a listing that is request to book – aim for under 5 hours
  • Quality is of the highest importance
  • Meet and Greets allow you to set the tone for your property
  • Pay attention to your calendar!
  • Find ways to highlight and value your distinct environment to your guests
  • Have a small “gift” at your rental. I always have my fresh farm eggs in a cute container in the mini fridge. For a tent site maybe just fire-making supplies, or extra, cheap flashlight, etc.

Resources to have in your Host Toolbelt:

  • Host Dashboard
    • One stop shop to see how you’re performing as a Host (recommendation rate, # of page views in 30 days, # of upcoming bookings, response time, hosting tips, lifetime earnings, land owner referrals)
    • This is the page you first see when you log in to Hipcamp!
  • Journal
  • Host Facebook Group
  • Hipcamp Host Transparent Product Roadmap
    • We love hearing from our community about what works and what could be better. Definitely check out our new transparent product roadmap where you can see what features we are working on, vote on changes, and submit new ideas. We bet other community members would love to weigh in on your ideas and vote for them, which will really help us prioritize changes!
    • https://trello.com/b/5Dhms9MJ/hipcamp-host-transparent-product-roadmap
  • FAQs
  • Support
    • Need help with something not in our FAQs? We’re always here to help!
    • Email: support@hipcamp.com (7 days a week 9am – 6pm PST- average response time under 3 hours)

Check out these Star Hosts’ properties, and see their recipes for success:

Whidbey Island, WA

  • Host: Lynn
  • “We have the hearts of old summer camp directors!”
  • 2 listings, both instant book
  • Very clean compostable toilet
  • Dogs allowed off leash
  • Goes above + beyond- offers homemade cheeses to campers to try, takes care to create an amazing experience, has a super clean outhouse and a beautiful outdoor shower overlooking the woods
  • Amazing Review:
    • Lynn was a wonderfully communicative host and met us upon arrival to the camp”

Camping near Hamilton Pool, TX

  • Host: Sheri
  • Our philosophy in a nutshell, we consider ourselves Golden Rulers, meaning we try to treat people the way we want to be treated”
  • Responds to every review
  • Pets allowed on leash
  • Response rate: 100%, response time: within 1 hr
  • 82 recommendations, 100% !

Land of the Arches Campground, KY

  • Host: David
  • Communication is key. But so is having a strong presence on the web to drive traffic to the booking engine.”
  • 91% recommendation
  • $8 per night
  • 3 listings, all Instant Book
  • Accurate photos, to set the right expectations!
Hipcamp Staff

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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