If you didn’t know, there is a total solar eclipse occurring across the US on Monday, August 21, 2017. If you don’t know what a solar eclipse is, it is when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, resulting in a full or partial blackout of the sun. Now, you may ask what any of this has to do with your park, but in fact it has A LOT to do with your park because people want to be out in nature to view this eclipse! It is estimated that millions of people are going to be migrating to the places with the best viewing opportunities, even international folks. Our friends in the following states have a really great opportunity to capitalize on this large influx of people: OREGON, IDAHO, MONTANA, WYOMING, NEBRASKA, KANSAS, IOWA, MISSOURI, ILLINOIS, KENTUCKY, TENNESSEE, GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA, and SOUTH CAROLINA.
If your park happens to be in one of these states, you have a great opportunity to get your park ready for the eclipse hunters out there (see map here for a more detailed path). Here are a few tips to get your park ready for the 2017 solar eclipse.
1. Get your name out there
You can start marketing your park as one of the best locations to view the solar eclipse and even garner international attention with lots of people traveling across the pond to view this once in a lifetime event. It also may be smart to register your park on sites like the Eclipse 2017 website.
2. Check your prices
For such a rare event, there should be such a high demand for your sites that campers wanting to stay over the 21st and beyond will be more than willing to pay a premium. I would recommend setting up dynamic pricing so that your first few campsites over the date range will be your normal rate but the majority are sold at a premium. Talk with your reservation system support staff about setting this up.
3. Verify occupancy
A big issue with having such high demand for a specific date in the year is not allowing too many people in the park at once. We have a park in Oregon that is having to cap their occupancy on their reservation system to be sure and keep the fire marshal happy 🙂
4. Prepare facilities
Several parks in the path of the eclipse are opening up overflow sites, marking off sites in open fields, and even selling parking spots. It may be a good idea to get creative to try and put as much inventory out there as possible. With the extra people coming into the park, be sure that your facilities can handle it. If not, plan on bringing in at least a few portable restrooms.
Is your park doing anything interesting to prepare for the eclipse? If so, we would love to hear about it!