5 Top Reasons Parents Will – or Won’t – Pick a Camp for Their Kids

You already know that every family is different, but it turns out that the top five things that families are looking for when it comes to making a decision about camp registrations are very similar.

If you want to position your camp as a top pick for parents, pay attention to how you communicate the top five things that drive camp registration decisions.1

1. Location: Whether parents are looking for camp that’s close to work or close to home, this is going to be the number one factor they’re checking for. Having your location information displayed prominently is key. 

  • Use your header or footer space to display location data. Repeat this on every landing page and group it with other contact information, like telephone number and email address, to create the easiest experience.
  • Surprisingly, many websites don’t make the camp location visible on the home page and require users to hunt for it, or give up in frustration.
camp location example
Image credit: fuzefit.com

2. Schedule: When it comes to the schedule, parents are looking for the camp dates and/or start and end time. Parents should be able to see at a glance the days and camp hours, registration fees, and how to register. If putting all of the necessary details in one place isn’t feasible, make it clear where they can go next for other information.

  • Showing your session availability will let parents know which weeks are filling up or already have a waitlist. Camp websites like Hiller.org keep their availability updated automatically using the ActivityHero schedule widget.
camp schedule example
Image credit: Hiller.org website with ActivityHero schedule widget

3. Category: To communicate what kind of experience you offer, you’ll want to use multimedia such as photography, video, and descriptions. Using high-quality photography and video from actual events can help drive better engagement and more interest. Having a landing page that can go into depth about the types of experiences you offer helps families more readily imagine kids in your classes.

  • Give parents a sense for how their kids will spend the day. You can describe the daily schedule, highlight the parts of the activity that are most popular, describe what students will create, or describe what children will learn/know by the end. 
  • If you have a more specialized program, like dance or sports only, and offer different levels or styles within each program, use the descriptions to explain the differences. 
camp category description
Image credit: avid4.com

4. Price: You should know how your prices compare against other local options. You want to position yourself competitively, but that doesn’t mean price cutting. If your camp is priced higher than other options in the area, offer parents an explanation why. Are there premium features included, like transportation, materials, or food? Does your staff have additional certifications and educational experience? Sharing a bit about why you’ve shaped your pricing structure the way you have can create a level of transparency with parents that builds trust.

  • If you offer discounts, make sure to make the discount deadline clear – this can help to drive a sense of urgency, as too much time to think about making the commitment might lead to parents putting it off or forgetting about it all together. Take a look at our tips on effective camp discounts
  • Alternately, it might make sense to offer a payment plan to early birds. The ability to pay over time and budget month to month until the start of camp encourages earlier commitments. It can also position your camp as a partner to parents; offering payment flexibility can communicate that you care about the kids in your community and want to connect with more families. 

5. Reviews: Got some great reviews? Show them off. When parents are searching for the right fit for their kids activities, they’re reading up on what other families have to say. Adding a reviews stream from ActivityHero, Google, or Yelp to your website can help lend credibility to your business.

  • Respond to your reviews. When you take time to reply to your customers’ feedback – both positive and negative – you show that you value the relationships you’re making with families. In this interview, Yelp expert Darnell Holloway explains that responding within 24 hours leads to better outcomes. 
  • Consider investing in testimonials. While it takes time to interview customers and craft a narrative around their story, it can benefit your business. Testimonials give you the opportunity to find out – and share – what parts of your camp experience families really loved. You can use this to continue shaping your activities and experiences and also to share real feedback with users. 
online camp reviews
Image credit: oneheartmusic.org

“Who else is attending” is a consideration that didn’t break the top five, but is still influential. A lot of parents and guardians – and kids – more strongly consider enrolling in camps with people they know. To encourage more word-of-mouth business, consider offering a small discount or credit towards a future registration for any referrals from current customers. 

While it’s not possible to be the perfect fit for every family, paying attention to how you share and showcase what you offer will help you turn your website visitors into  more registrations. 

For more valuable tools and services to help you run and grow your business, talk to someone on the ActivityHero team. Our online marketing services and camp registration tools help camps reach more families in the ActivityHero.com marketplace, accept online payments, and more. 

1Data from an April 2019 email survey of ActivityHero users.