Paul Bambei made some persuasive arguments during his presentation at the Twin States Campground Conference on why campground owners in Vermont and New Hampshire should join the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
But, according to a Woodall’s Campground Management report, how many owners decide to join the national association after the ARVC CEO spoke to about three dozen of them on Nov. 10 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vt., remains to be seen.
“He gave a very strong sales pitch for the benefits of ARVC membership,” said Peter Daniels, executive director of the Vermont Campground Association (VCA). “He gave a lot of examples of large discounts for ARVC members. The music licensing was the biggest.”
As he has done at various state and industry meetings this fall, Bambei told his audience that ARVC is creating unprecedented exclusive value for its members. For example, its new music-licensing program that covers the three major licensors (BMI, ASCAP and SESAC) provides enough savings to offset the cost of ARVC dues next year, Bambei noted.
For parks with less than 50 sites, the annual license savings will total $686. For parks with 50 to 200 sites, the annual savings will total $871. For parks with 201 to 400 sites, the savings will total $973 and for parks with 401 or more sites, the savings will be $1,165.
The deadline to realize these savings for the 2013 season is Nov. 30.
“Several of the newer members indicated that is something they should look into,” Daniels continued, while not offering hard numbers on how many might join the national association.
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The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has negotiated deals with American Society of Asset Protection (ASAP), Ecolab Inc., Moen Inc. and RVBackgroundChecks.com. Each offers substantial product and service discounts to ARVC members and is available immediately.
“We continue to add value for our members and these past few months have really shown it, especially with our selection of member benefit providers,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC membership director, adding that 2012 has been one of the most successful years for member benefit provider growth.
The substantial savings include 20% off a flat fee from ASAP, approximately 41% average savings on Ecolab products and similar savings with Moen products. RVBackgroundchecks.com will offer members special prices on a variety of services and offers a complimentary background check to all ARVC members.
ASAP can help ARVC members structure their businesses for lawsuit protection and prevention, while also reducing liability insurance costs, minimizing taxes and creating estate and business succession plans.
Ecolab is a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies and services to an array of markets, including the hospitality industry. It will offer ARVC members special prices on 30-plus products.
A leading manufacturer of faucets, Moen becomes the first ARVC member benefit provider in the plumbing services and supplies category and offers its discount on all Moen faucets.
Finally, RVBackgroundChecks.com becomes the second member benefit provider in the staffing, recruiting and training category. Services offered for special prices include access to a national criminal database, statewide databases, county court criminal searches, credit reports, employee verifications and drug screens.
To find out more information about each member benefit provider, visit www.arvc.org, sign in, and go to the Member Benefit Providers section. There, visitors will have access to the company’s contact information and a listing of the specific products that qualify for the special ARVC member discounts.
Three of the four new member benefit providers will be present at the upcoming 2012 ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), including Moen, ASAP and Ecolab. This year’s conference will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The way Rob Schutter Jr. sees it, the transition period for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) from the prior administration of Linda Profaizer to CEO Paul Bambei’s tenure two years ago is officially over, and it’s now full speed ahead on a number of initiatives that are already building value for the Centennial, Colo.-based national trade association’s 3,000 members.
Schutter, president and COO of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), the Cincinnati, Ohio-based franchisor of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, made this and other points during a recent interview with Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM) Editor Steve Bibler as he wrapped up his first year as ARVC chairman on the eve of the association’s annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, Nov. 26-30 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Schutter will speak to members as part of the chairman’s annual address at a Nov. 29 breakfast meeting and during the “Awards of Excellence Gala” on Nov. 30. Schutter’s message will likely focus on the association’s efforts to concentrate on its core mission and solidify its member base to bridge the gap with non-members and unaffiliated states after experiencing some “growing pains and a learning process” over the past couple years.
“After a period of upheaval, I’m sure some members were curious if bringing in a person from outside (the industry) to run ARVC was right,” he said. “There was the transition from the Washington, D.C., area to two different locales in the Denver area. A lot of things were unsettled. You are now seeing some permanency in place. Members are very pleased things have settled down and the focus is once again on offering value to members.
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The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has just completed a major overhaul of GoCampingAmerica.com to “help consumers easily find campgrounds and RV parks around their destinations,” according to a press release.
With its newly enhanced search function, consumers can now choose from over 90-plus campground features along with a location-based search. GoCampingAmerica.com also features photos, videos and online campground reviews by other consumers, allowing travelers to get a feel for campgrounds of interest before making reservations.
“Privately owned and operated campgrounds are more likely to offer park model cabins, yurts and other rental units to accommodate people who don’t have an RV and don’t want to sleep in a tent,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC. “We want people to know that there are other options out there and we’re making it easier to find them.”
Bambei added that while state and national parks are popular locations for camping, privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts usually offer more amenities and services, such as Wi-Fi and cable television service, as well as bigger campsites, swimming pools, game rooms and other recreation facilities. Many privately owned campgrounds also offer organized family activities and special events.
ARVC recently launched an Internet marketing campaign to promote GoCampingAmerica.com through the Frommer’s travel website as well as Travora, which operates travel information websites across the U.S. and overseas.
“We’re trying to raise the profile of GoCampingAmerica.com and let people know that there are literally thousands of campgrounds across the country that are eager for their business,” Bambei said.
The first Spring Seminar Series scheduled for May 16-17 in Denver and sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has been postponed and will be rescheduled.
ARVC announced the postponement in the April issue of the ARVC Voice.
Prospective attendees were unable to commit to the mid-May date, the association noted.
“Our goal is to provide you with business-building tools, enhancing your knowledge base,growing your operation and, ultimately, boosting your bottom line. We would love your feedback on optimum dates as well as topics for future Seminar Series,” ARVC stated.
Members should send their input to email@example.com.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) threw private park operators a curve ball earlier this year when it published dramatic changes in accessibility requirements for swimming pool lifts under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to a press release generated by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), new regulations published Jan. 31 gave park owners only 45 days to install swimming pool lifts at their facilities – an “unrealistic timetable given the size of the campground industry and the relatively small numbers of pool lift providers,” according to ARVC.
DOJ officials also gave park operators differing interpretations of the new regulations, with some saying permanent pool lifts are required at every pool or body of water, while others said portable pool lift devices would suffice.
The 2010 ADA Standards gave park operators the option of installing either permanent or portable pool lifts to provide their disabled guests with access to pool, wading pool and spa facilities.
Given these contradictions, and the looming enforcement deadline, ARVC joined forces with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and other groups to call on the DOJ to revise its regulations to make it easier for small and medium size businesses to comply with the new regulations using portable pool lifts. ARVC and its industry partners have also asked the federal government to extend the deadline for compliance with the new regulations by six months.
ARVC submitted its latest comments on the ADA pool lift compliance issue to the Department of Justice on April 4, less than two weeks after ARVC joined its industry partners at a White House meeting to encourage the DOJ to revise its pool lift requirements.
Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, is working closely with the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery on the ADA pool compliance issue. In a recent Q & A, Sims addressed several key questions involving the history of the pool lift issue, where we’re at today, and what park operators can expect ARVC to do on this issue in the coming months:
Q: Were campgrounds, RV parks and resorts previously required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to make swimming and wading pools and spas accessible for the disabled?
Sims: No. Not until now. The ADA regulations and Standards for Accessible Design that were originally published in 1991 set the standard for what makes a facility accessible. And while the updated 2010 standards retain many of the original provisions of the 1991 standards, they do contain some significant differences. They are also used differently depending on whether you are altering an existing building, building a new facility or removing architectural barriers that have existed for years.
Q: When did the U.S. Department of Justice first indicate that portable pool lifts may not be compliant in some circumstances with ADA regulations?
Sims: On Jan. 31 of this year – Just two months before the deadline for compliance!
Q: Why is it important for ARVC members to be aware of these standards?
Sims: These standards can have a direct effect on park’s cost of doing business. This is also a civil rights issue about accessibility. The ADA’s regulations and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, originally published in 1991, set the standard for what makes a facility accessible. While the updated 2010 Standards retain many of the original provisions in the 1991 Standards, they do contain some significant differences. These standards are the key for determining if a small business’s facilities are accessible under the ADA. However, they are used differently, depending on whether a small business is altering an existing building, building a brand new facility, or removing architectural barriers that have existed for years.
Q: Are there other facilities besides swimming pools that are subject to new ADA regulations?
Sims: Yes. The 2010 ADA Standards also set new accessibility requirements for exercise machines and equipment; fishing piers and platforms; miniature golf and regular golf facilities; play areas; recreational boating facilities; and residential facilities and dwelling units.
Q: Campground operators have received conflicting information from federal officials over what the Justice Department really required, particularly on the question of whether private parks could get by using portable pool lifts or whether they would be required to install permanent pool lifts for each swimming pool. Do we know even now what the federal government really required?
Sims: We asked the Department of Justice to revisit and revise its Jan. 31 guidance, which required a fixed pool lift (if readily achievable). The guidance also stated that a portable pool lift is not compliant in some circumstances. In expressing a preference for and requiring a fixed pool lift, the federal guidance is at variance with the 2010 Final Rule, which did not distinguish between fixed and portable lifts. Furthermore, we believe there has been no evidence presented during the rulemaking that demonstrably shows the superiority and necessity of a fixed pool lift. In our experience, a portable pool lift is functionally equivalent to a fixed lift in that it provides entry and exit from the pool or spa. It’s also a more affordable option for park operators in meeting these new requirements.
Q: When did ARVC get involved in monitoring the pool lift issue and intervening on behalf of private park operators on this issue?
Sims: I was hired on Jan. 15, 2011, and became aware of the issue nearly immediately. ARVC hired McDermott, Will & Emery in Washington, D.C. to head up our legal and lobbying efforts in April of 2011. They issued their first “Guidance for ARVC Members Regarding the New ADA Requirements for Pools and Spas” on May 11, 2011. On June 16, they provided additional guidance to ARVC members concerning the term “readily achievable” in Department of Justice parlance. They have since helped us develop an effective grass roots campaign on this issue.
Q: What has ARVC achieved to date on this issue?
Sims: ARVC has been the leader in providing information concerning the new ADA Standards to the campground industry. Working with our coalition partners and our members, we were able to convince U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to delay the implementation of new ADA rules regarding swimming and wading pools for at least 60 days. That means the compliance deadline has been pushed back to May 15th. The Department of Justice also published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which solicited comments on whether or not it should delay the implementation of the new rules for pools and spas 180 days. ARVC organized a letter writing campaign to provide NPRM input on behalf of campground owners to insure our common voice was heard.
Q: What other business groups are working with us on the ADA issue?
Sims: We are working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Apartment Association, the National Multi Housing Council, The Real Estate Roundtable, and the World Water Park Association. There is strength in numbers and that is how we have been able to leverage ARVC’s voice.
Q: What did ARVC request of the Justice Department in its April 4 letter?
Sims: We stated that our members are very strong supporters of the spirit and intent of the ADA. However, we noted that the technical assistance document or “guidance” published by the Department of Justice on Jan. 31 is confusing, at variance with the 2010 Final Rule, and problematic for those of us who fully intend to comply with the ADA’s requirements. We, therefore, called on the Department of Justice to revisit and revise its Jan. 31 guidance. We noted that the department had failed to consider the financial burden permanent pool lift requirements would place on our members, not only for the equipment itself but for the required electrical bonding under the National Electrical Code and for the reconstruction of pool decks. We also noted that the installation of fixed pool lifts also requires building permits and construction work that can take additional time, and that places public accommodations at risk of being sued for non-compliance. In any event, a sufficient supply of fixed pool lifts is simply not currently available, according to a representative of pool lift manufacturers who met with Obama administration officials on March 26. We also urged the Department of Justice to make clear that public accommodations may store portable pool lifts and make them available after determining at check-in whether a disabled patron wishes to use the accommodation’s pool or spa. Additionally, we urged the Department of Justice to allow public accommodations to share portable pool lifts among pools and spas. In fact, such a requirement could make more pools and spas accessible to disabled patrons.
Q: What happens now?
Sims: The Department of Justice is considering nearly 1,400 comments that were submitted on the topic of extending the compliance date for 180 days, which leads us to believe the extension may be attainable. However, many advocacy groups for the disabled have argued that the compliance date should not be extended at all. Meanwhile, ARVC and other organizations are continuing to argue that the Justice Department should not require fixed pool lifts and that portable pool lifts should be compliant. Legislation has also been introduced in Congress to delay the implementation date and to the allow the use of portable pool lifts. But passage of such legislation seems unlikely. ARVC members should, therefore, continue to make their voices heard to their representatives on this issue. This will be a key topic ARVC members who are attending the National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C .on May 9 will be addressing in private Congressional meetings.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is urging park operators to contact their congressional representatives and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) before April 4 to voice their concerns about ADA pool lift requirements.
“ARVC and other groups – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Hotel and Lodging Association – met with key administration staff on Monday (March 26) to express our concerns,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO. “While we appreciated the opportunity to discuss the hardship this recent Department of Justice guidance would impose on our members, there was no indication that the administration would revisit the DOJ’s view that fixed pool lifts are required. We fundamentally disagree with that DOJ conclusion, which is at variance with the final regulation promulgated by DOJ in 2010.
“As a result, we need to redouble our efforts, and that means having as many park operators as possible write letters to the Department of Justice and to their congressional representatives to voice their concerns about the new pool lift requirements.”
Bambei has sent emails to ARVC members across the country asking them to write letters before April 4, which is the deadline the Department of Justice has set to receive comments on the pool lift issue. Comments can also be submitted online by clicking here.
ARVC is urging park operators to request that the DOJ delay enforcement of its proposed pool lift requirements for six months. The association is also urging its members to request that the DOJ change its January 2012 guidance and permit public accommodations to utilize either fixed or portable lifts, and allow those with more than one pool or spa to employ one portable lift between those bodies of water as needed to accommodate patrons.
“Many of our members find that the proposed requirement for a permanent pool lift is excessive given the limited demand for such equipment. The installation of permanent pool lifts also introduces a new category of risk and liability for other pool users that the Department of Justice has not taken into consideration,” Bambei said, noting that the ADA pool lift requirement is out of sync with previous ADA compliance requirements. “More time is also needed for parks to comply with the new rules and to purchase the equipment they need.”
Park operators can learn more about the ADA requirements by visiting www.ada.gov.
Early-bird pricing ends March 31 for the first Spring Seminar Series sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The event is scheduled for May 16-17 at the Embassy Suites Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colo.
All sessions support the Outdoor Hospitality Education Program (OHEP) and CPO program, according to an email blast sent out this week to ARVC members.
Seminar fees are as follows:
• Early Bird – $169 ends March 31.
• Regular – $199 ends April 30.
• Late – $229 after April 30.
• Regular – $399 ends April 30.
• Late – $499 after April 30.
Fees include entrance to all seminar sessions, seminar materials, breakfast and lunch each of the two days and an evening reception.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) will join its industry partners Monday (March 26) in a White House meeting to discuss misunderstandings involving new pool lift requirements that have been proposed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to a press release, ARVC will be represented at the meeting by the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, which will voice private park operator concerns about the proposed requirements it feels are out of sync with existing ADA requirements for other amenities in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts.
ARVC and its industry partners have complained to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that they have received “conflicting guidance” and interpretations of the new pool lift requirements from state and local enforcement offices around the country. “There appears to be tremendous variations in interpretation by these local officials, many of whom are under the impression that DOJ intends this Guidance to apply only to new construction,” ARVC and its industry partners wrote in a March 13th letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and other Justice Department officials.
On March 15, Holder approved a 60-day extension of the compliance date for new ADA pool lift requirements following an aggressive letter writing campaign orchestrated by ARVC and other business groups. Holder also signaled the department’s willingness to consider a six-month month extension on ADA pool lift compliance while issues involving the proposed regulations are being discussed.
Al Johnson, who chairs ARVC’s Government Affairs Committee, said the association will continue to provide park operators with key talking points and other information to use in their correspondence with congressional and DOJ officials in connection with the pool lift issue. ARVC officials also plan to discuss park operator concerns about the proposed pool lift requirements in face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives in May.
“We’re making progress in getting our voices heard,” said Johnson, who noted that ARVC’s concerns are shared by a coalition of powerful business interests, including the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Apartment Association, the National Multi Housing Council, The Real Estate Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Water Park Association.
For more information on the ADA requirements and the extension of the compliance deadline by the Department of Justice, visit www.ada.gov. Based in Denver, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. Visit www.arvc.org for more information.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) plans to seek a six-month extension of new pool lift requirements that have been proposed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“While we fully agree with the intent of the act, we’re going to make the case that the proposed pool lift requirements are out of sync with existing ADA requirements that apply to other amenities in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts,” said Al Johnson, chairman of ARVC’s Government Affairs Committee, which is leading campground industry efforts to postpone enforcement of the proposed ADA pool lift requirements.
ARVC’s board has directed the Washington D.C. law firm of McDermott Will & Emery to submit comments to the Department of Justice (DOJ) by April 4, which will outline private park operator concerns about the proposed pool lift requirements.
ARVC will also continue to provide its members with key talking points and other information to use in their correspondence with congressional and DOJ officials on this issue, Johnson said, adding that ARVC officials will discuss park operator concerns about the proposed pool lift requirements in face-to-face meetings with congressional representatives in May.
“ARVC is going to continue to lead campground industry efforts on the ADA pool lift issue and will do so in concert with our industry partners,” Johnson said.
ARVC’s industry partners include the American Hotel & Lodging Association, American Resort Development Association, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Apartment Association, the National Multi Housing Council, The Real Estate Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the World Water Park Association.
Last Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder approved a 60-day extension that will push the compliance date for new ADA pool lift requirements following an aggressive letter writing campaign orchestrated by ARVC and other business groups.
For more information on the ADA requirements and the extension of the compliance deadline by the Department of Justice, visit www.ada.gov. Based in Denver, ARVC is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. Visit www.arvc.org for more information.