Campground Feedback - Choosing the Right Campground Part 2

Picnic lunch at Choctaw Lake

Previously, I shared about how to choose the right campground.  After you have picked your camping spot and struck out for camping adventures, what do you do next?  Camping feedback and reviews are vital.

Feedback validates campgrounds in their efforts to provide the best experiences to guests.  It also helps campgrounds to improve their facilities and services.  Reviews can help other campers to make informed decisions before booking.  However, all feedback and reviews are not equal.

Be Direct and to the Point

State specifically what problems you encountered during your stay.  This spring, we took a trip where there were drainage issues in the bath house along with poor ventilation.  We also experienced unsatisfactory help from staff when we asked for help.  

I wrote to the camp director and stated very specifically what happened along with examples of what happened.  It is much more helpful to stick to the facts.  Leave emotions for internal discussions at home.  Emotions blur the message.  If you want your experience and problems to be conveyed clearly, state exactly what happened in detail.  Providing a bulleted or numbered list make it even easier to convey.  I suggest going this route.

Put Your Concerns in Writing

Verbal feedback is often forgotten and may not reach the person you need to hear it.  If you have a serious problem while at the campsite, certainly express that concern then and there.  However, always put your concerns in writing.  Enough people expressing the same concern can certainly press for needed changes.

Also, ask yourself are you concerns realistic.  We experienced a lot of ticks while camping this spring.  I have never gotten a tick on me in my whole life.  This trip, we found them on up multiple times a day and even after we returned home.  However, this is not really a complaint worthy event.  We were camping in the woods.  Ticks are part of nature.

We loved this campsite, but we were eaten alive with ticks here!

Direct Contact Before a Review

Before you post a public review, contact the park first.  Don't threaten the park with a bad review.  But contact the park first.  Then, when you review (if it is not favorable) state that you contacted the campground with your concerns.  Stating that you have contacted the park lets readers of the review know that you tried to work out your concern with the park.  It also gives that park an opportunity to make a bad situation right.  I think this is common courtesy.  

Write a Helpful Review

If you want to write a review that helps others, stick to the facts.  Reviews that start out with "This was the worst place ever..." is often passed up or not very helpful.  If you feel like your camping experience was the worst ever, tell why.  "During our camping stay, there was no hot water in the bath houses.  I reported this concern to the staff on the first day, but it was never repaired during our entire 5-day stay."  Specific examples of why this was the worst camping trip will say that it is the worst trip ever without saying it in broad terms.

Include information in a review that talks about the facilities, staff, and campground itself.  I also think it is helpful to tell information about how close spots are to each other and how easy they are to back in or pull through.  Stating seasonal and campground appeal based on family friendly, nature activities and proximity to activities off site are helpful.  

Be Sure to Tell the Good Too

During a trip in February, we had a great camping experience.  The camping manager communicated well through email.  We had fire wood at our site waiting on us.  The bath houses were immaculate.  I wrote after our trip to thank them for such a great experience.  Too many times, we only tell the bad but forget to tell the good things that happen.  Share this information in a review as well.  Public praise is great and really helps other campers.

Legion State Park has been a favorite place for us to visit!

Pick Up the Phone or Say Some Things In Person

While I think you should put your concerns in writing, there are times when this does not apply.  I have emailed parks with questions prior to arrival with no response.  I pick up the phone to call only to find out that the email address listed on the site is either not monitored or has changed.  Ask your questions first.  Then, ask politely that they update their website.  Express that electronic communication is important and that you had not been able to get an answer to your needs because of lack of accuracy on the website.  If you feel strongly about this, state this fact to the staff in person when you arrive if possible.  

Have a Realistic Expectation for Responses

Some feedback is met with concern and acceptance.  Other times, the campground will respond with denial or apathy.  Feedback and reviews are the check and balance system for public places.  State and National Parks may have budget limitations and may take longer to correct issues depending on what they are.  It takes time to correct issues.

The camping world is a great community of people that do tend to look out for one another.  Reviews and feedback on camping sites help us all to have better experiences when we get outdoors.  Be active in the camping community and share with others.  Join a camping group on Facebook.  These are places where you can learn about new places to camp and ask about places where you want to go.

Your reviews reallhy do matter when camping!