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Unique Stays: Billings businesses generating extra stream of revenue through RV camping

Eaglerock Golf Course
Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-04 11:50:13-05

BILLINGS — Small businesses in Billings are running a hospitality side hustle hosting RVers overnight on their property to find new customers. Places like Yellowstone Cellars and Winery, Canyon Creek Brewing, and Eaglerock Golf Course are participating, welcoming campers year-round.

Oftentimes, campgrounds in Montana have limited vacancies. But now, campers can find spaces to stay in unique places.

“It’s kind of nice having people stay out here," said Dane Martinson, a golf pro at Eaglerock, on Thursday. "Last year was busy but I feel like this year was more consistent. We typically only let two campers stay, but we have a big parking lot, so if there’s more we’ll let them come most of the time."

Dane Martinson
Dane Martinson

It's all thanks to a special business venture—Harvest Hosts.

“Billings has a couple claims to fame with our hosts," Joel Holland, the CEO of Harvest Hosts, told MTN News via Zoom on Thursday. "When I look through our hosts (in Montana), these are some of our more popular hosts in the whole country."

As long as you have an RV and a membership, you’re allowed to stay at any of the 5,000 locations across the country.

“Harvest Hosts makes all of our revenue from memberships. So we charge our members $99 a year, so like less than $100, to be in the program. And that gets you unlimited access to then stay at all 5,000 locations. And you can search and book through our app or our website."

Joel Holland
Joel Holland

Holland took over the company in 2018.

“I traveled all over the country, all 48 lower states, and discovered Harvest Hosts on that journey," Holland said. "Just loved the concept and the program. And so I stayed at a Harvest Hosts and said, 'I need to grow this.’ So I bought it."

Memberships are $99 a year but camping is free. Guests are encouraged to pay the businesses back by purchasing an item or service.

“As a Harvest Hosts member you get to stay at over 5,000 truly unique and exciting locations," Holland said. "Wineries, breweries, distilleries, golf courses. And in return, you support the businesses that you visit, right? You don’t have to pay anything per night to stay there. It’s very generous of the hosts."

Harvest Hosts locations
Harvest Hosts locations

That brings in an extra stream of revenue for places like Eaglerock.

"I’d say 50% of the people will go out and play golf or hit range balls, just practice a little bit. Some of them aren’t even golfers in the first place but they’re like, ‘We’re here, let’s try it. Let’s go have fun.’ But a lot of other Harvest Hosts areas are vineyards and breweries," Martinson said. "It’s great. It’s a win-win for both parties involved but adds an extra stream of revenue for us, and it gives someone a place to stay for the night."

Eaglerock Golf Course clubhouse
Eaglerock Golf Course clubhouse

A win-win—allowing guests to visit new places and businesses.

"I promise you’ll have some of the most incredible experiences of your life," Holland said.

To learn more about Harvest Hosts, click here.

To learn more about Eaglerock Golf Course, click here.

Eaglerock Golf Course
Eaglerock Golf Course