Explorations of preferred and maximum booking windows among U.S. national park campers: Implications for improved fairness

William L. Rice, B. Derrick Taff, Sophie A. Morris, Bing Pan, Colby Parkinson, Peter Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this research note is to inform national park management regarding the strategies in rationing campsites in popular U.S. national park campgrounds and provide data-driven guidance for the design of more fair and equitable methods for distributing limited, highly demanded campsites. To explore preferences in campsite rationing techniques and preferred and maximum campsite booking windows, we collected survey data among randomly sampled onsite visitors in Grand Canyon National Park at scenic viewpoints and Mather Campground in 2023. The rationing technique with the highest level of positive support was advance reservation, followed by a combination of time frames for booking window (e.g., 6-month, 2- month, and 2-week) and a combination of rationing techniques (e.g., advance reservation and first-come, first-serve). Concerning fairness and equity, we found that respondents in higher annual household income groups had a longer maximum booking window, on average, than those in lower income groups. Thus, we discuss the merits of offering a diversity of booking windows to meet the needs of multiple groups, each with constrained booking horizons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTourism and Hospitality Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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