RVIA Committee Week: Campgrounds are Full

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June 11, 2009 by   1 Comment

Occupancy in the nation’s campgrounds was up about 3% over the Memorial Day weekend, but there’s a new trend emerging: Many campers are waiting until the last moment to book sites instead of planning ahead.

That’s what Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, reported to the Go RVing Coalitions at its Monday (June 8) meeting during RVIA Committee Week in Washington, D.C.

”People are making their reservations later than they did before, but reservations are coming in,” she noted during the afternoon session at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

”Memorial Day would be a great example of that. We didn’t know what the weekend would be like until a week before when reservations really came in. There was a 3% increase in reservations and occupancy this year compared to last year.”

All things considered, Profaizer said park operations are anticipating a decent — but not spectacular — year.

”While they might be having a decent year, it’s not going to be setting any records,” she told coalition members. ”We are all concerned about our businesses. They’ve been affected (by the economy) like we all have personally. We just have to keep promoting the benefits of camping.”

Profaizer, at the same time, said that a new market appears to be developing with people who are new to camping.

”We are seeing an increase in tenting, and please do not ignore the tenting market because tenters become RVers,” she said. ”They come into the campground and they see people enjoying the RV experience.”

Curiously, Profaizer feels that the general public has a lack of understanding about what camping and RVs are about.

”We are finding there is an amazing lack of knowledge on the part of the non-camping public about what it means to go camping,” Profaizer said. ”They don’t even realize that RVs have toilets in them or that campgrounds are not primitive-type camping.”

As for the Go RVing marketing campaign itself, ARVC, with almost 4,000 members, has seen a decline in participation. Perhaps as a reflection of the economy, only 160 parks have made voluntary contributions to the program so far this year — down from about 450 last year — with an average contribution of $178 per park. Although ARVC had a goal to contribute $50,000 to the Go RVing campaign this year, so far only $28,500 has been raised.

”That’s really not good,” said Profaizer, whose trade association has never been a major financial contributor to the pan-industry program.

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One Response to “RVIA Committee Week: Campgrounds are Full”

  1. Peter Hickey on June 11th, 2009 11:34 pm

    I get concerned when reading the above article, especially the headline: “RV parks are full”. I wonder whether the people providing the info or the organization(s) reporting data are in a different RV traveling world then we are. We have been on the road since January and we have rarely, if at all, seen a park that is “full.” Instead parks have ranged from lows of about 30% to 60% generally, with a few filling to 85-90% on weekends. It is true that on holiday weekends, the percentage is at it highest and that in the upcoming 4th of July we have run into some park that are full (particularly in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area of Virginia). But this should be expected at beach locations in the summer, especially when the holiday weekend is a long one. I admired your desire to be a cheer leader for the industry and to encourage RVers, but please lets keep it real. In terms of your headline writer(s), perhaps it would be better if he/she read the article better so that the headline matches the story. In the above article, nothing suggests RV parks are “full” or will be “full” in the near future.