Spring 2019 - Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | SPRING 2019 22 In-Season A Camping Community Connection The Dyrt helps campers find campsites and outdoor brands find campers L et’s face it, planning a group or family camping trip isn’t al- ways easy. Prepara- tion can take a lot of time and effort, from clearing eveyone’s schedule to shopping, packing and coordinating transporation. One big challenge, said wife-hus- band team Sarah Smith and Kevin Long, is securing a spot in a clean, safe and family friendly campsite – especially when searchers can’t really tell what they’re booking due to a lack of information. Vacation- ers seeking hotel and private rental options have grown accustomed to excessive amounts of photos and us- ers reviews to help them make their choices. Most campsite search and booking systems, particularly those run by government agencies, remain rudimentary, if not downright frustrat- ing to use. Smith and Long saw this as an opportunity and decided to act. “All throughout the summer months we’d argue about who had to look for a campground online for the coming weekend,” explained Long. “This is something millions of Ameri- cans across the country struggle with when planning outings.” So Smith applied to the exclusive Telluride Venture Accelerator program, was accepted and launched a startup service to help people discover and re- view campgrounds. The Dyrt launched in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Today, The Dyrt also has con- tests, a magazine and a gear collective. According to Long, The Dyrt now has the most user-generated pic- tures, videos and reviews of camp- grounds of anyone on the internet. “We have over 300,000 pictures, videos and reviews submitted by us- ers all across the country,” Long said. “Essentially, we solved one of the biggest problems that campers run into when searching campgrounds online; that is, you can’t see what you’re getting. When you pick an Airbnb, for instance, you want to look at pictures and reviews. It’s the same with campgrounds.” As it turns out, though, The Dyrt isn’t just for campers. It also offers a valuable service for outdoor brands. “We gamified the whole experi- ence of reviewing campgrounds,” Long continues. “Every state has a leaderboard, and an outdoor brand partner who ‘owns’ that leaderboard. Users get points for submitting camp- ground photos, videos and reviews. They move up and down the lead- erboards in real time to compete for these products from these outdoor brands.” At the end of every month, The Dyrt distributes prizes to the winners, clears out leaderboards and starts over. The prizes come from The Dyrt’s outdoor clients. “Outdoor brands today are faced with super competitive and hard to By Gerald Baldino The Dyrt’s mobile user interface