Categories: Guides & hacksHosting

Why Positive Camp Reviews Matter and 3 Easy Ways to Get Them

What’s a sure-fire way to attract more Hipcampers? Positive reviews. Collecting them early-on is the best way to expedite your listing’s success, because glowing reviews provide “social proof” that your listing rules. In other words, positive reviews make it really easy for future Hipcampers to decide they want to book with you.

You might be asking, how can I get my Hipcamper to leave a review, let alone a positive one? To answer this question, we analyzed our entire dataset for Hipcamps with the highest follow-through on reviews—interestingly, they were also our top-rated Hosts. These Hipcamps ranged across Texas, New Hampshire, California, Colorado, and Utah, and represented a wide variety of camp types, from 15-minute hike-in tent spots, to cozy, amenity-packed cabins, to trailers nestled in mountain foothills, but their overwhelmingly-positive reviews had three things in common:

  1. The Host was communicative, from when the booking was made to when their Hipcampers left their land
  2. The Host created a comfortable, clean, and welcoming space for their Hipcampers
  3. The Host helped create magical memories for their Hipcampers

Our key takeaway? It’s the Host who drives the Hipcamper to have an amazing experience and leave a stellar review. Read on to learn more about each pillar of getting a great camp review.

1. Be responsive and communicative

Hipcamp Hosts who get the best reviews are either Instantly Bookable or have a 100% Response Rate—which means they don’t expire any booking requests—and always respond to booking requests in less than 6 hours. Being responsive early-on helps establish trust with your Hipcamper, while being communicative about rules and need-to-know’s helps make their check-in process smooth (and yours too!)

Here are a few examples from real reviews on how responsiveness positively impacted Hipcampers’ stays:

  • Answer any questions the Hipcamper has about their stay in a timely manner
  • Provide a welcome message with important info when a Hipcamper’s booking is confirmed
  • Provide thorough directions with relevant landmarks if you’re in a remote area
  • Keep in touch about the Hipcamper’s expected arrival time
  • Greet the Hipcamper when they arrive, and make sure they know their way around the property

Connecting your account to SMS is a great way to stay in touch with Hipcampers (you can do this in your personal account settings.) You can also check out our webinar on successful Hipcamp hosting, which is jam-packed with tips on how to be communicative.

If you’re ever curious about your responsiveness ratings, you can check them out in your Host dashboard.

2. Think like a camper when prepping the space

When you put thought and effort into creating a comfortable place to stay, Hipcampers notice. From making sure there’s TP in the outhouse to adding helpful signs around the property—these little touches make the camper’s experience stress-free.

Here are some things Hipcampers spoke up about in reviews:

  • Provide a trash bag or receptacle at each campsite
  • Provide traditional amenities like a shelter, picnic table, firepit or grill
  • Add helpful signs to direct Hipcampers to parking, trails, and bathrooms
  • If you offer a glamping experience, provide bedding and towels
  • Add motion sensor or solar lights to guide late night check-ins
  • Open up paths to interesting features on your land

Hipcamp Host Jim Reveley of Songdog Ranch in New Cuyama has even more tips. He makes killer tent site setups look easy—each site has a shelter, picnic table, trash can with a fresh bag, fire pit, two star-gazing chairs he made himself, and a framed list of property rules and history.

Photo by Lisse L.

At Hipcamp’s 2019 Host Summit, Jim (pictured speaking above) provided his top tips for getting positive reviews, all of which centered around thinking like a camper:

  • Remember the “golden rule:” treat others the way you would like to be treated
  • Keep an extra site or two on reserve, just in case issues arise (double bookings, extra people)
  • Make guests feel welcome, but understand when they want to be left alone
  • Make sure your sites provide guests with as much privacy as possible

Check out a few photos of Jim’s listings and reviews of his property.

Photo by Hannah P.

“The property is beautiful by nature and absolutely beautifully kept—no trash, well-kept pavilions and probably the cleanest outhouse you’ll ever find…Each site has plenty of space to itself, giving a relaxing sense of privacy. Very nice chairs are provided too…Thank you so much Songdog for making this wonderful space open and welcoming to campers!” — Devon D.

Photo by Madison K.

“Jim is the perfect host—friendly, welcoming, and very accommodating without being intrusive. His beautiful ranch dogs were also good company. The campsite is beautifully-kept and well worth a visit.” — Laura F.

Photo by Madison K.

3. Help create magical memories

Unexpected gestures that make your Hipcampers’ stay even more special are a big theme in positive camp reviews. From providing a farm-fresh breakfast to remembering personal details about a camper—here are some “above-and-beyond” gestures that made a huge impact on Hipcampers:

  • Recommend your favorite restaurants, activities, trails nearby, either in person or a printout left at their site
  • Offer to cook a farm-fresh breakfast
  • Provide coffee fixings or s’more materials waiting for them at their site
  • Let them get fresh eggs or pick vegetables from your garden
  • Hipcamp Host Dana, in Utah, gave Hipcampers a piece of artwork to commemorate their stay
Photo by Lisse L.

Kim Windsor (pictured speaking above) of Windsor Family Farm, just north of Gilroy, has mastered providing magical experiences for every guest. She shared some of her top tips at Hipcamp’s 2019 Host Summit:

  • Parents will be forever grateful if you have fun things to occupy their kids (craft kits, toys, animals)
  • Ask the camper about what sort of stay they’re looking for—is it a celebration? A romantic getaway? This gives you cues on how you can help them have the experience they want.
  • Spending a couple bucks on a special treat goes a long way—a bottle of wine, chocolates, or a little trinket.

Here are a few snippets of the reviews she’s received, as well as some photos from real campers:

Photo by Claire K.

“I would say this was one of the best birthdays of my life. Kim surprised me with ‘happy birthday’ sign in front of the cabin and a cute flower as a gift.” — Claire K.

Photo by Sabrina B.

“Kim is an AMAZING host! We arrived on Easter Eve and she organized an egg hunt for our kids, then took them to feed the animals, and the next day organized a treasure hunt for them on a beautiful trail… that’s what I call going above and beyond.” — Guy M.

Photo by Sabrina B.

“Kim should definitely be considered a Star Host. She went out of her way to make us feel comfortable. She provided a tea kettle for tea and hot chocolate and chocolate covered strawberries in the afternoon. The fresh eggs and breakfast in the morning were delicious and she introduced us to all the animals.” — Arianne J.

Bonus points

Looking for more ways to get positive reviews? Here are some other common themes from our positive review analysis:

  • Good value — your listing is affordable for what the Hipcamper is getting
  • Privacy — put the camper’s experience above cramming in as many sites as possible
  • Expectations — make sure your listing is exactly as described or portrayed online

In the end, we are so grateful to partner with incredible Hosts like yourself because you make Hipcamp what it is today—a special experience in nature. Hipcamper Jérémie T. sums it up with his review of Sacred Nectar Sanctuary, New Hampshire:

“When we left for this trip, I thought I’d know what to expect. I thought we would have some good climbing and a nice fire at night. I thought we would see great landscapes and escape the swarming nature of city life. And I was right. This place simply has a magical feeling. At a normal campground, you just pay the hosts. But this is no normal campground. Now, the hosts are our friends. That’s the part you don’t expect. Yeah, we’ll be back.”

Madison has been on Hipcamp's Host team since 2016. 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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