Running a Successful Martial Arts Summer Camp: Your Frequently-Asked Questions on Set-Up, Pricing, & Marketing

It may be 25 degrees here in the Philly suburbs today, but, in just a few short months, sunshine and warmth will fill the air, BBQ grills will be dusted off, swimming pools will open, and school will be out.

That means now — mid-Feb into March — is THE TIME to be promoting your summer camp.

The sooner you get the word out about your camp, the greater your chances of filling every. single. spot. with a happy camper. 🙌

Over the past 30 years, we’ve had the pleasure of helping thousands of martial arts schools and membership organizations build successful camps through our guidance and event registration solution.

So, whether you’re looking to launch your first-ever camp, or looking to punch up your turnout for your existing camp, check out these best practices — culled from our decades of experience — to help you elevate your camp success.  

How long should I run my summer camp? 

The most popular structure is to break your camp up into weeks (either a 6-week, 8-week, or 10-week).

Within our client base, an 8-week program is the most common length, but you should set the length that is best for all involved in your camp: you, your staff, your student base, and your community.  

How should I price my summer camp?

It’s common to charge per week per child.

Many of our clients encourage families to register their child for the entire camp (all weeks) by offering a deep discount.

For example. if you’re running an 8-week camp and the price per camper is $175, offer $1260 for the entire 8-week program. 

Sibling discounts are also an effective way to encourage all family members to partake. The most common sibling discount is offering an additional 10% off each registration should parents register 2 or more children.

What should I charge?

The average price point per week among our client base is $175/week. However, when pricing your own camp, you should take into consideration the specific themes and activities you offer as well as the actual cost to run and staff your individual camp. You should look at the prices of local camps in your area to ensure your camp is competitively-priced.

What marketing message is appropriate? 

Most camps promote a blend of martial arts with character development by way of martial arts training, games, activities, crafts, and field trips.

When running a weekly camp, it’s a good idea to create a theme each week to keep campers excited and engaged. 

Let parents know that camp is an opportunity for their child to have fun, make friends, learn martial arts AND strengthen character development by way of your weekly lessons.

When should I begin marketing my summer camp? 

As with all event marketing, you need to have ample time to build excitement and hype around your event. You want to allow enough time to get the word out through multiple channels, multiple times. 

At minimum, begin marketing 3 months ahead of your start date. Ideally, 4 months ahead.

That means if your camp start date is June 15th, you should begin promoting your camp around February 15th.

How do I begin marketing my summer camp?

First, you need to determine your camp basics. Start by establishing the following:

✔ The name of your camp

✔ Location of your camp

✔ Number of weeks of your camp

✔ Days and hours of your camp

✔ Promotional description

✔ Your camp fee

Once you have these basics down, create a flyer or brochure as your base marketing piece.

By creating a flyer or brochure, you can then model other pieces such as posters, door hangers, and Facebook Ads with the same look and feel for a cohesive presentation.

Member Solutions Clients! Utilize the Summer Camp marketing materials to get your camp marketing out in a flash. The Summer Camp kit includes a fillable 8.5 x 11 inch full-color flyer, a fillable 18 x 24 inch full-color poster, a fillable 3.5 x 8.5 inch 2-sided, full-color door hanger, and a 1200 x 628 px full-color Facebook Ad image. Simply add your details and business contact info – and you’re set!

How should I take payments for my summer camp?

The best way to take payments for your camp is to take them online. Parents are used to paying for goods and services online; the last thing you want to do is create friction in the sign-up process by having parents write out a check and bring the check to your facility.

By accepting payments online 24/7, you make the sign-up and payment process incredibly simple and convenient for parents.

How do I take payments online for my summer camp?

Using an event registration tool like our Event Manager software makes it easy to take camp sign-ups and payments online.

The benefit of utilizing our software over other platforms is that you can sign up today AND take payments online today for your camp.

Another big plus is the software’s flexible pricing functionality.

There are a variety of pricing and payment options in our Event Manager software that are designed to help drive camp registrations and simplify management, including the ability to:

✔ Set quantity discounts (e.g. Buy one, get the second 50% off!)

✔ Set limited-time promo codes (e.g. Enter “SUMMERCAMP” by March 31, 2022 to get 25% off your camp registration)

✔ Reward early-bird registrations with a reduced rate (e.g. Sign up by April 30, 2022 and get $100 off!)

What incentives are effective in driving registrations for a summer camp?

It’s natural for people to wait to sign up until urged to act or given an extra incentive to sign up. That’s why we recommend enhancing your event marketing and your results by adding an incentive.

Four incentives to consider:

 Offer special payment plans – To increase the likelihood that multiple weeks or the entire program will be booked, consider offering registrants a payment plan. Payment plans ease financial strain allowing parents to pay the total camp fee over time. 

For example, in our event registration software, Event Manager, you can set a minimum initial payment, then offer a payment plan where parents pay the remainder of the total camp fee in installments leading up to the start of camp.

 Promote pricing discounts for multiple registrations – Adding a 2-for-1 promotion, or “buy one, get the second 50% off” encourages multiple registrations for your camp. Consider a special sibling and/or friend promotion. Tie the discount to an expiration date to create urgency.

 Offer a bonus for early sign-up – You’ll see that most events offer an early bird price break for those that register by a certain date. This is an effective tactic used to get people to action early on, rather than waiting to register days before the event.

As an alternative, you could provide a tangible gift – such a camp T-shirt – to those that register for your camp by a specific date.

Either way, an incentive tied to an expiration date is almost guaranteed to give you a nice spike in camp registrations.

 Set a capacity and promote limited availability – Often times, when running a camp, you must put a limit on your capacity, so that you can ensure enough staff per child. Advertising how many spots are left will encourage prospective campers to register right away since there’s a good chance that they could miss out on the opportunity if they stall. Post about your number of spots on social media and in email communications to past campers, leads, and members.

What’s the best way to market my summer camp?

Due to its time-sensitive nature, event marketing is most effective when done online. However, don’t limit your efforts to online advertisement only!

The best results are realized when you utilize MULTIPE marketing channels, MULTIPLE times; everything from grassroots efforts like mentioning summer camp at the end of each class to running Facebook Ads should be utilized if your budget allows.

The following is good “starter list” of avenues to pursue for marketing your summer camp:

1. Create an event on Facebook

2. Pass out flyers about your camp at the end of each martial arts class

3. Display a poster about your camp in the parent’s waiting area

4. Pass out flyers to parents in the waiting area

5. Post an Ad on your website’s home page

6. Post about the camp on your member portal home page

7. Submit camp information to local events calendars and websites

8. Post about your camp on local sites like NextDoor and Patch

9. Advertise your camp in your member newsletter

10. Post about your camp on your social media pages

11. Send emails to past camp participants to let them know about the upcoming camp

12. Add a blurb about your camp in your email signature and in your staff’s email signatures

13. Add an announcement to your member app

14. Print a flyer for distribution at your front desk

15. Distribute a flyer throughout your community

16. Display posters around your facility

17. Send push notifications through your member app

18. Ask staff to mention the camp at the front desk upon check-in

19. Ask instructors to mention the camp to students at the start and at the end of class

20. Partner with local businesses to distribute your camp flyers to their patrons

Time to soak up the sun and success

No doubt, running a summer camp brings TONS of benefits to your martial arts business.

A summer camp will help you generate a significant amount of additional revenue throughout the summer months.

A summer camp will enable you to engage students during a time when attendance usually runs thin.

And, a summer camp will draw in NEW students.

But that’s not all!

There’s a lot MORE to be gained from running a summer camp. When done right, a summer camp can provide loads of fun, countless teachable moments, new friendships, and lasting memories – not just for your campers, but for you and your staff. It’s the icing on the cake and quite possibly the sweetest benefit of all. 😊

We wish you a fantastic summer season and a successful summer camp!

Hosting a Summer Camp?

Take Sign-Ups & Payments Online — Instantly!

Taking camp sign-ups and payments online is simple, fast, and secure with Event Manager software by Member Solutions! 

In 30 minutes or less, you can create an attention-grabbing registration page that captures all your camper info, then easily download the info into an organized spreadsheet! 

Even better, camp payments get DIRECTLY DEPOSITED to your bank account! That’s right, no more time-consuming trips to the bank to deposit checks or cash. 

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Leading provider of billing and member management solutions. Proudly serving the martial arts and fitness industry since 1991.