How to Increase Summer Camp Registration With Surveys

The success of your camp activities, programs, marketing campaigns, and, ultimately, camp registrations all depend on how well you understand who your campers are and what they expect from your camp.

When your goal is to obtain that information, few tools are as effective as surveys when it comes to collecting reliable data directly from people for whom your camp is intended in the first place.

Still, there’s a right way to conduct surveys, and then there’s the wrong way.

In this article, we tell you all about the right way. The how-to, the when-to, and the what-to-askwe cover it all!

So read on and find out how you can create surveys that’ll provide you with all the information necessary for boosting your summer camp registrations.

Survey Both New and Returning Families

When it comes to upping your registration rates with surveys, it’s a good idea to capitalize on both new and returning families’ opinions.

Each will give you completely different but equally valuable insights.

The new families will let you know what their expectations, needs, and wishes regarding their camping experience are.

They’ve never sent their children to your summer camp before, so it’s crucial to find out what would make them more comfortable with taking that big leap.

For instance, if, according to the survey, the new parents’ number one concern is safety, you can organize an open house tour and show them the cabins, nurse’s office, and anything else that might interest them and put them more at ease.

Going that extra mile to find out what attracts or discourages families from choosing to send their child to your camp could make all the difference for your registrations.

Source: @LSUSContEd on Twitter

Returning families, on the other hand, actually got to experience your camp, meaning they can tell you all about the things you’re doing right and the areas that might need improvement.

Listen to what they have to say, address their concerns, keep what’s good, and you just might see them return year after year.

Source: @ScoutingCNY on Twitter

And if you have trouble incentivizing families to fill out a survey, consider offering a chance to win some sort of a prize.

This is usually a discount or even, in some cases, a free summer camp session.

Ultimately, with camp surveys, it’s all about strategy.

Send Your Surveys Out at the Right Time

An efficient survey strategy involves good timing, too.

As it turns out, there is a right and wrong time to send out your questions. Pick the wrong time, and chances are you’re not going to get many (effective) responses.

The right time, on the other hand, might help you:

  • Leave a good first impression
  • Collect more responses
  • Get better responses because you’ll be catching respondents in a better mood
  • Avoid the frustration people often experience with companies when they feel like a business is intruding on their time

As a result, you get more reliable data, which is indispensable when it comes to productive decision-making and boosting your registration rates.

So, what’s the right time to send out a survey?

There’s been a lot of research on this topic, but it all boils down to this: it depends.

Essentially, it’s crucial to take a look at your own target respondents. What’s their schedule like? What are their habits?

Naturally, you want your campers and their parents to fill out a survey while the experience is still fresh in their minds, so consider emailing your evaluation forms the first week after the end of camp.

Data: GetResponse/Illustration: Regpack

There is a general consensus, though, that weekends are to be avoided.

As you can see in the illustration above, research suggests that the best time to send out an email is Friday as early as 6 am, but Tuesdays yield the best click-through rates.

A little pro tip: use software that saves the answers, so that, even if parents give up on your survey before finishing it, you’ll end up with at least some of those valuable answers, no matter what time and day you send out your evaluation forms.

Ask How Families Found Out About You

How do people find out about your camp anyway? Is it through social media? School?

It’s important to figure this out because it helps you evaluate your current marketing efforts and their efficiency in camper acquisition.

Source: Regpack

In other words, investing in newspaper advertisements won’t do you much good if your campers or their parents don’t read them.

Instead, if people, for instance, hear about you mostly through social media, update your Instagram or Facebook accounts more frequently and post engaging and relevant content to attract more clicks and entice the users to try out your camp.

At the end of the day, each marketing channel offers unique opportunities. It’s up to you to find out what works best for you and your campers.

Collect Useful Camper Demographic Data

If you’ve ever filled out a survey, chances are you had to enter your age, gender, or location.

Demographic data is quite commonly collected in surveys, but this is not just a pro forma practice.

This type of data can reveal trends in the way the respondents think and behave, which is crucial for developing a productive marketing strategy.

According to the American Camp Association:

Data: ACA/Illustration: Regpack

After all, each camp is unique, so in order to properly market yours, you need to understand who your target audience is.

Therefore, while creating your survey, consider asking for some of the following information:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • School district
  • Ethnicity

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to determine if this is the first time the camper’s attending your camp, and whether he or she has any siblings.

Consistently collecting demographic data could potentially reveal patterns you weren’t even aware of and inspire some creative marketing activities.

For instance, if the survey shows that there’s a considerable number of families that live nearby, consider inviting them to visit your camp in the off-season to show them the changes you’re making to provide their children with a better experience the upcoming summer.

Get Feedback on Your Registration Process

In the end, all your marketing efforts lead to camp registrations.

However, if this part of the experience is not up to par, you might lose some of the potential campers.

Yes, the quality of your registration process has the ability to make or break your registration rates.

The truth is not all parents have the patience or the know-how to deal with long, complicated registration forms filled with too many questions.

Therefore, make sure you ask the parents how they feel about the sign-up experience you provide. That one simple question can do wonders for your results.

Source: Regpack

If the majority agrees the whole thing might need some improvement, it’s time to course correct.

The safest bet when it comes to a seamless camp registration experience is definitely camp registration software.

Systems like our Regpack allow you to create great-looking forms and embed them on your website so parents can register and pay for campall in one place!

Source: Regpack

And to further elevate the process and make it easier to navigate through, there’s Regpack’s conditional logic that guides the parents through the registration form, showing them only questions that are relevant to them.

Such a user-friendly and seamless registration process will surely get only positive reviews in your next survey and, more importantly, increase the number of campers who sign up.

Inquire About the Overall Camp Experience

Naturally, when we talk about increasing camp registrations, we have to talk about the overall camping experience you provide. Therefore, your survey should be camper-focused.

Source: Regpack

The camping experience is far more complex than just the activities you’ve planned, so you should try to find out if you’re meeting expectations on all possible fronts.

Try covering these topic categories in your survey:

  • Activities
  • Field trips
  • Food
  • Cabins
  • Counselors
  • Pick-up/drop-off process

Still, never forget to keep a perfect balance between covering your ground thoroughly, and not making the evaluation form too long.

The best thing to do is to include as many closed-ended questions as possible.

For instance, Likert scales or Yes/No questions are easy enough to go through but still yield a lot of valuable insights.

Just like with registration, the process should not be overwhelming or tedious.

Include at Least One Open-Ended Question

That being said, there’s still room for open-ended questions in your survey.

In fact, they can be very valuable because they provide survey respondents with an opportunity to give constructive criticism and express their true feelings and opinions.

Source: Regpack

Unlike other types of survey questions, open-ended questions come with no predetermined answers, so campers and their parents are able to express opinions in their own words and in more detail.

This can be beneficial for you because:

  • There’s no limit to the answers you can get
  • The answers are not just the ones you thought of
  • You get deeper, richer insights
  • The responses you get are authentic

In other words, open-ended questions produce answers that tell you how the families really feel about your camp.

Be careful not to go overboard with these types of questions, though.

Not only are they sometimes tedious for parents to answer, but the data they provide is more complex, making it much more difficult for you to analyze.


All in all, there’s an art to creating efficient surveys.

There are many little things you need to be mindful of. If you overlook them, you risk losing your respondents and, with them, very valuable insights that can help you improve your camp.

Therefore, consider implementing the tips from this article in your next evaluation form. They’re a surefire way to make the most of your surveys and, in turn, boost your camp registrations!

About The Author
Asaf Darash

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