4 Tips for Effective Camp Discounts

Discounts are great for boosting enrollment. But, what kind of discount? How much? And what deadlines? We analyzed discount trends for thousands of camps to share these 4 tips.

By ActivityHero Team

Discounts are everywhere — from Black Friday to Groupons and Flash Sales. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to camp marketing, discounts play a big role in driving registrations. We analyzed data from thousands of day camp registrations on ActivityHero and found 4 key tips to grow your camp business through effective discount strategies.

Tip 1: It’s About the Deadline

Early registration discounts (also known as early bird) are the most popular discount between January to March. In February 2016, over 21% of families received an early registration discount on a camp.

Why? It’s because the deadline makes families take action if they want to save money. What is considered “early” depends on your local area, for example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, many early discounts end on Feb 28.

Summer camp discounts

If you have a discount deadline, don’t make it too far in the future, because then people tend to wait and forget. The most effective discounts are less than four weeks long, and some camps use flash sales that are as short as a few days long.

Tip 2: Benchmark Your Discount Amount

Unlike retail discounts, where it’s common to see store signs advertising 40% off, camp discounts are not quite as deep, but still offer good savings for families.

A few key insights:

  • Early registration discounts in our data averaged 17% in January and 10% in March.
  • The average multi-session discount was 11%.
  • Sibling discounts averaged at 6%.

Keep in mind that discount amounts vary by month and by region, so it’s important to look at your local market to see the range of discount amounts. If you’re a newer camp or an existing camp opening up to a new age group, you might want to offer more than the average amount to get attention.

summer camp discount - save more in January

Tip 3: Use Big Numbers

If you are wondering whether to present your discount as dollars off or percentage off, it’s more effective to use whichever is the larger number. For example, if your camp is $300, a 10% discount and $30 off discount is the same thing, but shoppers usually react more favorably to $30 off. Dollars off is also simpler and easier to compare without any calculations. In fact, you’ll see that 76% of the discounts on ActivityHero use the dollars off method.

Tip 4: Reward Your Best Customers

Who is a better customer?

  • Family A – Registered in February and spent the next few months telling friends where their kids are going to camp.
  • Family B – Registered the weekend before camp starts.

While we love both families (and we may be guilty of behaving like Family B from time to time), Family A is making a real commitment and giving you a cash advance to attend camp.

If you value Family A, your discount strategy should give the best discounts in January and February to get more like them. You can even use the early registration season to offer a special discount to returning families only. It’s a great way to to show appreciation to those who return year after year and jumpstart your cash flow.

Some camps offer a larger discount in January, then smaller discounts in the next few months.

Similarly, you might offer multi-session and sibling discounts to show families that you appreciate their loyalty. These discounts are used the most after the early registration discounts are gone.

By planning out your discount strategy at the beginning of the year, and making sure families know about it on websites like ActivityHero, you can get a steady stream of registrations from January through end of summer.

Data Source: ActivityHero 2016 registration data

About ActivityHero Team

The ActivityHero Team is based in California and includes staff members and bloggers who love to share what they know about parenting, keeping kids active, choosing just the right camps and classes, and running successful businesses for kids.