How to Increase Summer Camp Registrations and Attract Families

Children Run Together to the Summer Camp

What better way to improve your summer program than to rely on direct feedback from your campers and their parents or guardians?

While there are several different ways to get their opinions and understand areas of improvement, online surveys have proven to be an effective outlet for gathering this information.

Take for example a recent project our market research company completed for a daycare and learning center in Portland, Oregon.

Below we share our easy-to-follow process for conducting an online survey with the goal of making their summer camp more successful.   

Challenges of Growing a Summer Camp

After-school programs and day or overnight summer camps are extremely beneficial for children. They provide a space for growth, physical activity, and a place parents can feel safe bringing their kids while at work.

However, when not marketed successfully, they can turn into a huge expense that provides little return for schools or organization leaders.

Perhaps you struggle to sell the value of your programs and therefore bring in fewer registrations each year.

Or maybe your website isn’t properly designed for SEO so it doesn’t appear in Google’s search engine when parents search for summer camps.

There could be countless reasons – which is why relying on your community’s feedback is so important.

Solution: Surveying Campers

When it comes to getting more members for kid’s programs, there may be no better place to start than with an online survey.

Rather than relying on general assumptions and strategies for increasing registration rates, you can use action-driven data to lead decision-making.

By surveying campers, child daycare programs can learn the following:

  • Inputs to design better summer camps
  • Insights to enhance or improve offerings
  • Instilling confidence in the enrollment process
  • Understand what the ideal camp looks like
  • Identify the right content for future planning
  • Discover ways to maintain and attract families
  • Influence how to market (design and communication)

How to Make Your Summer Camp Successful with Surveys

An Oregon summer camp contacted our online survey company for help. The goal of the market research was to learn more from existing campers to determine the future of summer camps.

Below is the streamlined process we followed to meet the care center’s objectives.

Kickoff meeting

The first step in any market research study conducted by our team is to host an introductory kickoff meeting with our client.

The reason kickoff meetings are important is not only is it a chance for us to learn more about your organization and project objectives, but we can also share more about the process and timeline so both parties are on the same page.

Writing the survey

We like to treat every project as its own study, even if we conducted a similar survey in the past. Each summer camp is different, therefore their survey shouldn't be designed the same as any other school program. 

This initial meeting is where we get to dive deeper into those differences and how the data will help achieve their unique goals and objectives. 

Based on these conversations, we write the survey in a Google doc. Once complete, we send it for approval to the client.

Our market research firm makes sure both parties are happy with the summer camp survey before we move forward with programming or launching it.

Fielding the summer camp survey

For this client, rolling invites were sent every 2-weeks to families who had completed programs with the camp. These regular invites assisted with improved response rates and fresh recall.

Additionally, survey reminders were sent to non-responders -- another great strategy for increasing survey response rates.

Cleaning and reporting the data

A step that should never be overlooked in an online survey project is data cleaning. Drive Research looks for duplicate responses, speedy survey takers, straightlining, and other red flags that signal low-quality responses.

It is important to spot poor survey respondents because you don't want to rely on illegitimate feedback to drive marketing strategies, operational changes, or updates to program offerings. 

Debrief meeting

Lastly, the dedicated project team hosts a debrief meeting with the client. Here we spend time walking through the report and uncovering the key findings from the survey about the future of summer camps. 

Every report we provide includes expert recommendations for how to implement the data to assure it is easy to take action with.

While the data and facts are important for the client to have, it's even more important they understand what the charts mean and how they can take this evidence to support future decision-making. 

Outcomes of Improving Day Camps with Parent Feedback

The online survey included 25 questions and took campers up to 7-minutes to complete. It included customized and recommended questions from our research team based on their goals.

The deliverables of the summer camp survey included:

  • Online Portal(s) and CSV file
  • Summary report in PowerPoint
  • Virtual presentation

More importantly, the market research assisted our client in improving their service offerings for 2023 child day camps.

They uncovered new ways to attract families such as partnering with local schools, enhancing their SEO strategy, maximizing social media use, and more.

By implementing these data-driven recommendations, the client was able to improve their summer camp retention rates.

Increase Summer Camp Registrations with Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company in Upstate New York. We’ve partnered with leaders from summer camps, after-school programs, and nonprofits to help use data to increase registration rates.

To learn more about our services, contact us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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