Your camp is about to start, but you still have a couple of spots available in some of your programs?
No need to worry.
In this article, we take a look at some of the things you can do to make sure you get those last-minute registrations.
After all, a fully booked session makes for a more fun experience for everybody!
Keep Registrations Open for as Long as You Can
This might seem obvious, but the longer you keep your registrations open, the higher the chance you’re going to get last-minute sign-ups.
However, there’s already so much to do during those last few days before the summer camp starts that many camps actually close their registrations at least two to three days ahead of the arrival of the campers.
For many, this is when camper groups are already set, staff assigned, and schedules for the activities developed.
Other camps, such as, for instance, CampCo, allow parents to register their children even on the day of the camp, but they do charge a small last-minute registration fee.
In any case, if you’re looking to get some more last-minute registrations, you have to take the “last-minute” part seriously.
Try looking at it from the parent’s perspective.
On top of taking care of their children, which is complex enough as is, they have work, chores, and other responsibilities. It’s easy to get lost in the mix while summer just creeps up.
And although many parents register their children in advance, especially if you offer early-bird discounts, you shouldn’t disregard those looking for a last-minute solution.
According to the American Camp Association (ACA), a considerable amount of parents dedicate time to camp registration outside the usual working hours. This includes the weekends and the period after 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Therefore, if your camp starts on, say, a Monday and you close registrations the weekend before, you might miss out on plenty of eager campers that would have otherwise loved spending their summer with you.
Should you leave registrations open through the weekend, on the other hand, you might see all your sessions fully booked.
Seeing those very-last-minute registrations rolling in might seem daunting, but if you prepare in advance, they’re nothing you can’t handle.
For example, if you make name tags for campers a couple of days before camp starts, leave a few of them blank so the names of any latecomers can be handwritten on them later, just in case.
All in all, it’s best to leave registrations open as long as you can. It might surprise you how many new sign-ups come through.
Provide Up-To-Date Information on Session Availability
Of course, no matter how long you leave registrations open, you won’t get real results unless parents can actually see there are available sessions at your camp.
Parents are very, very busy people. They probably don’t have time to call you to check a particular session’s availability. You need to tell them yourself.
In other words, if your website isn’t up to date and available sessions are not clearly indicated, the parents might leave and go look elsewhere.
Below, you can see Camp Willow Springs’ list of available and booked sessions.
Source: Camp Willow Springs
The information is presented clearly so parents can immediately tell if the session that suits them is available or not.
Moreover, never underestimate the power of social media.
If you are marketing your camp to modern parents, chances are you’re probably marketing to millennials. That generation encompasses anyone born between 1981 and 1996.
And according to research, millennial moms have 3.4 social media accounts on average, and spend around 17h on them per week.
What is more, 81% of millennial women themselves say social media is the best way to reach them.
Such numbers are too significant to ignore. So make that Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post and tell everyone there are still sessions available at your camp.
Source: @cmasummercamps on Twitter
In other words, if you have some room for a few more campers, make it known. Update your website, but don’t overlook your profiles on social networks, either.
The more ground you cover, the more likely you are to attract those last-minute registrations.
Make Registering for Camp as Easy as Possible
When you finally get the parents’ attention, it’s time to have them actually finish signing up.
And the best way to make that happen is by creating a registration process that’ll be quick and easy to complete. Otherwise, you risk failing to capitalize on that potential last-minute interest.
In 2017, The Manifest surveyed 502 people with the goal of finding out what exactly makes them abandon online registration forms.
A staggering 81% of the survey respondents said they’d abandoned at least one registration form recently.
The reasons for form abandonment are many, but the top two are security concerns and form length, according to The Manifest.
In other words, lengthy forms are a no-go if you want to avoid parents giving up on camp registrations.
Another big problem lies in the fact that after people abandon the online form, they rarely return to it. A very small percentage of The Manifest survey respondents claimed they actually completed registration later.
The best course of action to prevent problems like these is to take a look at your registration process and adapt it according to these findings. Make it quick, easy, and without unnecessary questions.
Consider using camp registration software, like Regpack, to make your own customized registration forms.
Regpack’s online form builder is incredibly easy to use, too. Just drag and drop the elements you want, and your form will be ready in no time.
Another useful feature of Regpack’s camp registration solution is conditional logic. It makes parents just glide through the registration.
Conditional logic ensures that the parents are asked only the questions that are relevant to them.
For example, if they click on “Yes” under the question “Does your child have any food allergies?” a set of questions regarding those allergies will immediately appear on the form.
On the other hand, if they click on “No,” the software will deem that set of questions irrelevant, and the parents will never see them.
The parents will appreciate the convenience.
Ensure Your Registration Process Is Mobile-Friendly
Part of making the registration process easier and more convenient for modern parents is making sure it can be done on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet.
As a matter of fact, it may be argued that smartphones are the epitome of convenience. Compact, lightweight, portable, and serving a variety of purposes—no wonder the use of smartphones is on the rise.
With the rise of smartphone popularity, many businesses and their operations were impacted as well, and a lot of old practices changed.
The camp industry is no exception. From marketing strategies to the registration process – everything that happens in the online environment is affected by mobile technologies.
Findings from the American Camp Association confirm this.
They analyzed 7.2 million camp bookings from 2022 and found that 60% of these were carried out over the phone or tablet.
Obviously, that’s a pretty high number of mobile phone bookings, so it’d be a shame to overlook this source of potential last-minute registrations.
Therefore, if you already haven’t, take the time to reevaluate your website and make it more mobile-friendly.
The first thing you could do is visit your own web page and ask yourself, “What does it look like when I visit it on my phone?”
Below you can see an example of a camp website that looks clean even on a smartphone.
Source: Camp Tecumseh
The mobile version of your website needs to be as equally polished as the desktop version. Parents need to be able to navigate through it easily and quickly find the information they need.
Moreover, manual registrations via, for instance, downloadable PDF files have got to go. They’re extremely difficult to interact with over the phone.
Use camp registration software instead. With it, you can create registration forms that look equally good on desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Also, find out how much time it actually takes to register for your camp via phone. Try completing the whole process yourself and time it.
This will give you a whole new perspective and show you your registration process through the parents’ eyes.
As a result, you’ll quickly figure out what you’re doing right and what areas might need some improvement.
Stay On Top of the Emails You Receive From Parents
No matter how seamless, quick, easy, or mobile-friendly your registration process is, it’s highly likely you’ll still receive emails from parents asking you lots of different questions before they commit.
Email has been many people’s preferred form of communication for a long time.
But did you know a surprisingly large number of people consider it to be the most personal channel of communication with brands?
Obviously, parents feel more connected to you when you communicate that way. Such a personal method of communication, in turn, builds trust, which is extremely important.
After all, parents need to trust you if you want them to send their children to your camp.
Therefore, if parents don’t get a timely response from you, what they’re getting is a nonverbal cue that tells them you either don’t care enough or you’re not as organized as you should be.
And although that may not be the reality of the situation, the fact remains that, according to the writer Margaret Heffernan, “how you deal with email says something fundamental about how reliable you are.”
So, during the last couple of days before camp starts, you should aim to reply to as many emails as possible as soon as possible. Try not to wait more than a few hours to reply.
Often parents just need to hear from you before they click on that Register button. So make sure you’re there for them.
All in all, when it comes to getting last-minute registrations, convenience is key.
Leave your registrations open for as long as you can, and don’t forget to let parents know you still have available sessions.
Make the registration process go smoothly for them by using an online registration form builder. It’ll make the whole experience more seamless, even if they do it on the phone.
And lastly, make sure you answer any and all questions they might have. Parents will appreciate it.
So follow these simple steps, and you’ll see all your summer camp programs fully booked in no time!