David Gorin, president and CEO of Best Parks in America Inc., has announced the addition of two parks to the company’s national network of independent and highly-rated RV parks and campgrounds.
“We are thrilled to announce that Bethpage Camp Resort, Urbanna, Va., and Grey’s Point Camp, Topping, Va., have become a part of Best Parks in America national network. Both of these facilities are among the highest rated parks in Virginia with both being rated 5/5 and 9.5/9.5/10 with Trailer Life,” Gorin stated in a news release.
“The parks are situated along the Chesapeake Bay and offer RVers and campers an exceptional array of facilities and amenities. Both feature direct access to the Bay, state-of-the-art water parks, and a full range of activities and events throughout the spring, summer and fall. Bethpage is a former winner of the ARVC Mega Park of the Year and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they or Grey’s Point were to receive that high honor again,” said Gorin.
Both parks are owned by Walt Hurley, a long time active leader in the Virginia campground industry. Hurley and his staff have worked tirelessly for many years to keep both parks up to the highest standards of customer service, facilities and amenities, Gorin stated. Both parks compete with the mega parks located in Virginia Beach, along the North Carolina coastal beaches and down to Myrtle Beach and Hurley has added all of the necessary recreational activities to keep RVers from the mid-Atlantic are returning to his parks.
“With the addition of Bethpage and Grey’s Point, together with the recent Best Parks affiliation of Holiday Trav-L-Park in Virginia Beach and Luray RV Resort Country Waye in Luray, Va., Virginia now has four outstanding Best Parks in America affiliates for RVers and campers coming to the Atlantic Coast area. With the 150th observance of the Civil War taking place in Virginia this year, RVers and campers from across the U.S. can enjoy the Best Parks in America during their visit to the state,” said Gorin.
In addition to these new Best Parks affiliates, the group recently also welcomed Big Timber Lake in Cape May, N.J., Frontier Town in Ocean City, Md., and Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine, as well as four parks that are part of RVC Outdoor Destinations.
“Best Parks continues to attract the most successful independent parks that comprise the highly rated and higher end segment of the park industry. For the first time,” Gorin said, “the industry has a new and broad brand that is attracting both parks and consumers who identify with the upper end of the market in terms of service, facilities and amenities.”
With 80 affiliates and growing throughout the U.S., Best Parks in America is a marketing solution for independent, modern outdoor resorts that want to remain independent, offer a unique sense of place, and have ownership and management that want to run their own show but at the same time wants to be part of larger marketing distribution network.
Packed with information about affiliated parks nationwide, the new “RVing and Camping at the Best Parks in America Directory” is now available, according to a press release.
“We are really excited about this upgraded version of the Best Parks Directory,” said Best Parks in America President David Gorin. “It features 73 wonderful parks in 28 states and in Canada. I think this new directory does an excellent job of highlighting all that the Best Parks in America have to offer.”
The release stated that the new book has a “bright, colorful new cover with an enhanced design and a more eye-catching layout.” The look is further enhanced with photos for each listed park and advertising that provides consumers with additional information.
Best Parks in America has also teamed with the RV Cooking Show to provide regional RVing and camping recipes throughout the book. These short pieces “bring to RVers the wonderful world of specialty recipes from around the country.”
“We are very happy to be able to include recipes from the RV Cooking Show in this year’s directory,” states Gorin. “It lets the campers and RVers know that we’re not just interested in getting them to stay at our parks, but we want to help them enjoy their stay in any way we can. Especially when it comes to eating quality food.”
Complimentary copies of the new directory can be ordered from www.Bestparksinamerica.com or can be picked up at any affiliated RV park or campground.
Best Parks in America is a national marketing network promoting and marketing America’s highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. Currently with 73 parks in 28 states, Best Parks is increasingly building consumer top of mind awareness of the quickest and easiest way to find the Best Parks in America.
Best Parks in America has announced that it has stepped up it qualifications for park eligibility in the Best Parks system. Effective immediately, parks must have a 5 Woodall rating for facilities with a minimum of a 9 overall Woodall rating or a 27 Trailer Life rating.
Prior to this change a park was eligible for Best Parks affiliation with a total Woodall rating of 9 or higher with either a 4/5, 5/4, or 5/5. Under the new requirements, the first number must be a 5. Also prior to the change, parks were eligible with a 26.5 Trailer Life rating; than rating has now moved up a notch to a 27 total.
“As we hear from more and more RVers and campers, we’re learning that they expect a higher level of facilities from Best Parks in America affiliates and we want to be sure we are meeting their expectations. Pushing the rating bar a bit higher is one step in that direction,” said Best Parks President David Gorin. “We want to continue to strive to make the RVer experience at Best Parks consistent across the brand this is one way to accomplish that,” Gorin said.
Parks currently participating in the Best Parks system will need to meet the higher rating on the date of their next affiliation renewal. Best Parks has introduced several new programs to assist parks that want to raise ratings to meet or exceed the new standard.
Parks that receive an A Guest Review rating with at least 50 reviews remain eligible for Best Parks affiliation. That standard remains unchanged at this time.
“If 50 or more consumers review and rate the park at an A level, we’re confident that the park qualifies for Best Parks in America,” Gorin said. “Consumer acceptance and consistently high ratings is hard to argue with when it comes to park quality,” he said.
Best Parks in America is a national marketing group comprised of highly rated, independent RV parks and campgrounds. There are currently 80 affiliated parks across the US. For information on Best Parks in America, visit www.bestparksinamerica.com
Best Parks in America (BPA) has announced the addition of four new affiliated RV resorts, bringing the total number of parks carrying the Best Parks flag to 80. The new parks are located in Maryland, Virginia and Maine.
According to a press release, the new parks include Point Sebago Resort, Casco, Maine; Holiday Trav-L-Park, Virginia Beach, Va.; Frontier Town Campground, Ocean City, Md., and Fort Whaley Campground, Whaleyville, Md.
“These new Best Parks affiliates are very welcome additions to the Best Parks family,” said BPA President David Gorin. “Each of these parks has a long and successful track record of providing the highest quality facilities, amenities and services to their guests and the owners of these parks have been industry leaders for many years.”
The following offers a description of the new BPA affiliates:
• Frontier Town Campground is located on the Atlantic Ocean in West Ocean City. The resort offers 584 sites serving tents and 45-foot motorhomes. In addition to typical park amenities, Frontier Town has great crabbing and fishing, a 75-slip marina with boat ramp, restaurant and ice cream parlor, free beach shuttle and free admission to a full scale Water Park. The park also offers a Frontier Town Wild West Show during the summer season. The park is owned by Mitch Parker, a veteran park owner who also owns Fort Whaley Campground in Whaleyville.
• Fort Whaley Campground is located in Whaleyville, approximately 10 minutes from Ocean City. Park amenities include complimentary unlimited miniature golf, planned activities, swimming pool, fully stocked camp store, a fresh water fishing lake, paddle boats and free admission to the water park at cousin Frontier Town Campground in Ocean City, Md.
• Best Holiday Trav-L-Park in Virginia Beach is an 850-site vacation mecca and the closest campground to the Virginia Beach resort area. The park offers its own satellite parking area one block from the famous Virginia Beach boardwalk and beaches. In addition to the beach, the Virginia Aquarium, Ocean Breeze Festival Park with water slides, mini-Indy race track and mini-golf course are nearby. The parks is also close to Norfolk, Williamsburg and the southern Chesapeake Bay.
• Point Sebago is a 775-acre campground resort on Sebago Lake in southern Maine. The resort offers a mile of sandy beach, its own on-site, 18-hole championship golf course, marina, restaurant, and award-winning daily activities and entertainment for every age. The resort features RV sites, cottage rentals and a variety of ownership options. The resort is owned by industry pioneer Larry Gould and the General Manager is Don Toms, a long-time active leader in the Maine Campground Owners Association and National ARVC.
“We’re delighted to welcome this group of incredibly wonderful examples of the RV park business in the 21st Century,” said Gorin. “The addition of these resorts is a strong indication of how the Best Parks brand is creating a collection of the nation’s top independent parks,” he said.
Best Parks in America is an association of unique and highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. Each park is independently owned and operated and each features unique characteristics that appeal to a wide range of campers and RVers from young families to empty-nesters, full timers and retirees. For a complete list of affiliated parks, visit www.bestparksinamerica.com.
The first meeting of the newly created Best Parks in America RVer Advisory Board was held on March 10. Four active RVers from diverse backgrounds have been named to the board and will be both offering ideas and advice for better serving RVer needs and experiences, and critiques of the parks they visit and the communications from Best Parks to RV consumers, according to a news release.
The board members and brief bios follow:
- Stan Fleming of Maine–“My wife and I purchased our first RV/motorhome (23 foot) in 2006 as we were getting close to retirement. We have become true believers in the value and pleasure of traveling in our RV. While not full-timers, we are close, and the freedom and flexibility our RV has provided has made traveling to visit family and friends a real pleasure. We are now planning extensive travel throughout the U.S. in the comfort of our own ‘home.'”
- Pamela Wright of Florida–Pamela has been a full-time RVer for the past eight years. She has been a Workamper, a park manager and now has her own company and website, www.FocusedWords.com, where she puts her marketing experience to work for the park owner.
- Jerry Batt of Michigan–Jerry is currently vice president and CIO at Pulte Homes, a residential home builder headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “My wife, Christine, and I have three grown children who are married and live in different Midwest cities. We have two dogs with whom we travel to see our kids and between two homes in Rochester Hills, Mich.. and Mesa, Ariz. We have been RVers for 30 years, starting with a pickup camper and now a 40-foot 2009 Itasca Ellipse. We have camped in 38 states over the years and plan to visit Alaska summer of 2012.”
- Bob Gorden of Arizona–“I have been a tent camper and RVer for more than 50 years. Have owned and driven more than 50 RVs of various types. Owned and operated an RV rental business for several years. Constructed my own RVs in the 1970s. My academic background includes a Ph.D. in aquatic microbial ecology with experience teaching and conducting research at Texas Tech University, University of Southern Colorado and the University of Illinois. I have RVed in every state in the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico plus camping in RV parks in Australia. I have written more than 200 articles online as the Phoenix RV Travel Examiner.
” We are delighted at the response to the Best Parks announcement of the advisory board and the quality of the folks appointed to serve reflects the wide diversity of RVers,” said BPA President David Gorin. “This is a truly quality group of knowledgeable RVers who will help Best Parks continue to grow and develop into the leading national brand of RV parks in the U.S.”
The board will meet quarterly to review Best Parks’ programs and initiatives, suggest ways to improve outreach and top-of-mind awareness among RVers and to help craft the outstanding experiences that Best Parks offers to its guests.
Best Parks in America is the only national network of parks that sponsors an RVer Advisory Board to provide consumer input into the national group of parks that make up Best Parks in America.
Best Parks in America is a group of independently owned and operated RV parks and campgrounds that are highly rated by Woodalls and/or Trailer Life campground directories. There are currently 78 affiliated parks in 32 states and provinces. Each park offers a quality facilities and amenities and unique guest experiences. For a free directory of Best Parks affiliates, visit www.BestParksinAmerica.com.
The deadline to be listed in the new Best Parks in America campground directory is rapidly approaching.
”Parks that have been thinking about affiliating with Best Parks in America may want to move forward quickly to affiliate in the next couple of weeks,” David Gorin, president of Best Parks in America, stated in a news release. “The 2011-2012 print directory will close on April 15th and only parks that are affiliated as of that date can be listed in the next directory.”
In addition to the closing deadline for the directory, Gorin also noted that parks that affiliate with Best Parks in America between now and the end of 2011 will be considered as Best Parks “Founders” and will be entitled to special perks and benefits into the future.
“While Best Parks has experienced significant growth in 2010 and through the first quarter of 2011, building a national brand takes time and patience and the rewards are not always as fast or as great as one would expect,” Gorin continued. “We know we are absolutely on the right track of establishing an RV park and campground industry brand that says ‘highly rated parks’ to the consumer. To encourage parks to join the Best Parks brand now and work cooperatively to help build that brand, we are planning on a range of special ongoing benefits for these early adaptors. The benefits we’re working on will be of considerable value to the affiliates who join and stay with us as we go through the growing period.”
Qualifying RV parks and campgrounds can become a Best Parks affiliate in less than five minutes by going to www.Bestpark.net. All affiliation benefits and programs, qualifications and enrollment information are found on the website. Basic Best Parks in America affiliation is as low as $450 annually. A new tiered affiliation with many new business intelligence information, research, training and marketing benefits is also now available and is described on the site.
Best Parks in America is a national marketing network promoting and marketing America’s highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. Currently with 78 parks in 30 states, Best Parks is increasingly building consumer top-of-mind awareness of the quickest and easiest way to find the Best Parks in America.
For information, contact Best Parks in America at (703) 448-6863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Parks in America has announced a partnership with RVC Outdoor Destinations, a Memphis, Tenn.-based based company that has developed a unique brand of upscale RV and cottage resort properties in the Southeastern United States.
Four of RVC’s properties will carry the Best Parks in America brand designation and will be part of a national family of superior resorts that now numbers 76 and growing, according to a news release.
The four RVC Outdoor Destinations are:
- Pine Mountain, near Atlanta, Ga.
- Catherine’s Landing, which is opening April 1 and is located in Hot Springs, Ark.
- Carrabelle Beach, located on the Gulf of Mexico in Carrabelle, Fla.
- Live Oak Landing, which is located on Choctawhatchee Bay near Destin, Fla.
“We are excited about this new partnership with RVC,” said David Gorin, president of Best Parks of America. “RVC’s outdoor destinations embody the objectives of Best Parks by offering RVers and cottage vacation guests a high quality, unique vacation experience in superb surroundings. The company is staking out a new and different business model, featuring appealing natural environments, hotel-like services and upscale amenities, and all are located within minutes of great recreational activities and attractions that are unique to each location and the community.”
Best Parks in America is a leading national brand for highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. Through the partnership, the company will provide RVC with a wide range of marketing, branding, training, research, and business intelligence and information.
“We are proud to be affiliated with Best Parks in America, as we share the same values and goals of delivering a great experience to our guests. Partnerships such as this, with an established and admirable brand, allow our company to grow and become better known,” said Yale Spina, vice president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “We have motivated teams in place and great properties that include excellent amenities that will now be recognized with Best Parks in America. I can’t wait to get the word out.”
RVC Outdoor Destinations has been actively seeking to develop or acquire RV properties in highly desirable vacation areas. The company anticipates that the new “Outdoor Destination” concept will have great appeal across a wide range of RVers, as well as the offering of the increasingly popular RVC Resort Cottages, yurts, and cabins to not exclude those who may not own an RV.
“I’m sure RVers, campers and others who’ve visited Best Parks in America resorts across the U.S. will applaud the partnership with RVC Outdoor Destinations,” said Gorin. “For Best Parks, the partnership marks a new opportunity for us to work with multiple park companies in providing a national brand presence that identifies superior resorts to vacationers,” he added.
For more information on Best Parks of America, visit http://www.bestparksinamerica.com.
For more information on RVC Outdoor Destinations, visit www.rvcoutdoors.com. Also visit them on Facebook and Twitter: @RVCoutdoors.
Best Parks in America (BPA) is sponsoring a seminar and the keynote address at the upcoming Northeast Campground Association (NCA) Conference on Camping in Sturbridge, Mass.
Blake Ashdown, a key BPA strategic partner, will present his seminar on March 27 at 1 p.m. on the topic “Marketing in the NEW Experience Economy.”
Ashdown will also present the keynote address that evening starting at 8 on March 28. Ashdown will also be joining Best Parks for the Monday morning meeting of Best Parks in America affiliates and invited New England park owners who qualify for affiliation, according to a news release.
The conference, the RV park and campground industry’s largest regional event, runs March 27-29 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center and will draw campground owners and operators from throughout the Northeast. It also features a trade show.
On Monday morning, the NCA buffet breakfast will take place in the hotel courtyard. The meeting room is right off the courtyard and very convenient to where breakfast will be. Guests are encouraged to pick up their breakfast and bring it to the Dudley Room where the meeting will be held. Park staff attending the NCA conference are cordially invited to join in.
“If you have a campground owner colleague who you feel would qualify and be a good addition to the Best Parks in America family, please invite them to attend the meeting with you,” David Gorin, BPA president, stated. “If you can assist us in enrolling a new BPA affiliate, we will gladly send you a $100 Visa Gift Card to thank you for your assistance.”
Ashdown is a successful entrepreneur who has started 15 businesses over the past 30 years, including 10 RV resorts and campgrounds. His last venture in the park industry was the acquisition, redevelopment and eventual sale of Tropical Palms Fun Resort in Orlando. For the last four years, he has been a professor at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University where he teaches marketing and business strategy. Ashdown is the president of SureVista Solutions, a marketing research firm that provides marketing tools designed to increase income.
For more information contact Gorin at (703) 448-6863.
David Gorin, president of Best Parks in America (www.BestParksinAmerica.com), has announced the creation of the Best Parks RVer Advisory Group to provide advice and counsel on how to best meet the needs of today’s RVers and campers who visit Best Parks affiliates. Best Parks is seeking RVing consumer volunteers who wish to be part of the new Advisory Group, according to a news release.
“We are embarking upon a nationwide search to find three to five experienced RVers who represent the diversity of the RVing consumer to serve on the group,” said Gorin. “The Advisory Group will be comprised of RVers of different ages and experience levels from different geographic regions. They’ll meet twice a year most likely by conference call or through an online web conference with Best Parks in America management and a corresponding group of Best Parks in America park owners. This group is very important to helping shape the direction of Best Parks and the consumer experiences at affiliated parks.”
Gorin and Best Parks cordially invites RVers who are interested in serving on the Best Parks RVer Advisory Group to contact him at David@BestParksinAmerica.com. Interested RVers responding should include background information on their RV experience, a brief statement on why they are interested in serving on the Best Parks RVer Advisory Group, and contact information. There is no financial compensation for serving on the Advisory Group and there will be no expenses incurred if selected to serve.
Addressing Myths About Best Parks Part of Advisory Group Outreach
Gorin noted that he has seen a variety of comments on online blogs and RV forums indicating that there is some misunderstanding about the Best Parks in America brand. “It is important that consumers have a clear idea of what Best Parks is all about. The Advisory Group is one way we hope to reach out to consumers and demonstrate our commitment to serving the needs of all RVers who enjoy visiting the highly rated parks in the Best Parks system,” he remarked.
Best Parks in America recently posted a special message to RVers and campers on their homepage at www.BestParksinAmerica.com. The message addresses some of the myths and misinformation about the Best Parks network. The message delivers facts about Best Parks in America including its ownership, states that it is not a membership park or system and that parks do pay an annual fee to be a part of Best Parks in America. The message also clarifies the qualifications used to measure RV parks and campgrounds suitability to be part of the national Best Parks system.
About Best Parks in America
Best Parks in America is a nationwide network of highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. With 75 affiliated parks in 29 states, the Best Parks brand is rapidly gaining RVer recognition as the place to go when they are looking for the best RVing and camping experiences. To obtain a comprehensive directory of all Best Parks in America or to become a Best Guest in America visit the website.
Florida and Alabama RV resorts that are affiliated with the Best Parks in America network are collectively investing more than $8 million in improvements this year in an effort to provide enhanced experiences and service to their guests.
“Park operators that continually re-invest in their facilities, amenities and services to keep up with the times, have greater success than those that do not, and that’s clearly the case with our affiliates in Florida and Alabama, which are upgrading, enlarging and adding sites and other amenities this year,” David Gorin, president of Best Parks in America, stated in a news release.
New facilities include everything from new big-rig friendly RV sites to waterfront sites with park model cottage rentals, new boat docks and clubhouse facilities. Consider these examples:
- Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Ala.: This premier Class A ownership resort is adding another 23 sites this year at a cost of roughly $525,000, bringing the total number of lots at the resort to 110. The 40-acre Best Parks in America affiliated resort, roughly 25 miles west of Pensacola, Fla., includes customized outdoor kitchens and barbecues and a zero entry infinity edge swimming pool. In addition to selling its RV sites, Bella Terra also offers RV sites for rent.
- Belle Parc RV Resort in Brooksville, Fla.: This 101-site property is midway through an extensive $1 million improvement and expansion effort that will more than triple its size to 325 sites over the next year, said park owner John Hurtado Jr. “We just renovated all of our buildings, installed a pool and spa pavilion and just finished a spacious dock on our waterfront,” he said.
- Emerald Coast RV Beach Resort in Panama City, Fla.: This 138-site park is spending more than $1 million to install 10 more premium lakeside RV sites as well as 23 new park model cottages, eight of which will have RV pads facing a pond. The new sites will also have access to a new swimming pool, a new bathhouse with two private shower and bathroom facilities, an exercise room and a game room. The resort is also expanding its clubhouse by 625 square feet, which will add more seating capacity while also creating more space to expand the kitchen. These improvements come on the heels of another $150,000 in improvements during the past two years, which include the installation of a dog run and pet wash facility, new playground equipment and restroom upgrades. “Our expansion efforts are being driven by rising demand,” said Jerry Broch, the resort’s general manager. “We have a lot of snowbirds in winter. And in summer people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee come to the beach.
- Flamingo Lake RV Resort in Jacksonville, Fla.: This 288-site resort, which sits on the only certified swimming lake in northeast Florida, is in the midst of a $1 million improvement effort that will include providing new water and sewer connections to 100 RV sites, which are also being paved. Park manager Bob Little said the improvements are needed to help the park continue to expand its business base, which already includes snowbirds as well as swimming and fishing enthusiasts and medical travelers who receive specialized treatment at Shands Jacksonville, Nemours Clinic, Wolfsons Children’s Hospital, University of Florida Proton Therapy, the Cyber Knife and the Mayo Clinic.
- Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort in Webster, Fla.: This exclusive Class A motorcoach resort, located 45 miles west of Orlando, has begun extensive capital improvements including landscaping, a new fitness center and various furnishing upgrades and plans to begin construction this year on 119 additional RV sites for a combined cost exceeding $500,000, said Tripp Keber, COO of Bella Terra Resort Management, LLC, which recently took over management of the property. Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort features a 20,000-square foot clubhouse that includes multiple recreation and meeting rooms, a library and exercise room, a full kitchen and a 2,500-square foot heated all season swimming pool.
- Quail Run RV Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.: This 292-site resort, which is more than half through a $4 million expansion effort, has recently doubled in size, and further stepped up its focus on accommodating RVers with big rigs, who are often hard pressed to find big sites in Florida’s older RV parks and resorts. “That’s why we build them the way we do. Our motto is ‘No rig is too big,’ ” said park co-owner Frank Gilmore. The park has added140 sites in the past two years, all of which are 40 by 70 feet, with the exception of pull through sites, which are 85 feet long and 40 feet wide. Even the park’s older section includes 35 by 50-foot sites with 35- by 70-foot pull through sites. RV sites feature 50-amp electrical service, free cable and free Wi-Fi service at each site. “We just poured 5,000 yards of concrete,” Gilmore said, adding his next improvements will include a new state-of-the-art laundry facility and a new 4,500 square foot clubhouse. “We hope to have both completed by the end of summer,” he said.
- Vacation Inn Resort in West Palm Beach, Fla.: This 400-site park offers sites for rent and for sale, and has spent $150,000 in improvements during the past two years and plans to spend about $80,000 in improvements this year and next year, said Del Highfield, the resort’s manager. Recent improvements include repaving the park entrance, repainting the park’s buildings and installing new landscaping. “We will be rejuvenating about four miles of roads inside the park this year,” Highland said.
Based in McLean, Va., Best Parks in America is the only nationwide RV park brand comprised entirely of highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. With 75 affiliated parks in 29 states, the Best Parks brand is rapidly gaining RVer recognition as the place to go when you are looking for the best RVing and camping experiences. There are currently 12 Best Parks affiliates in Florida and Alabama and others are expected to affiliate in the next few months. For a directory of all parks, visit www.BestParksinAmerica.com.
David Gorin, president of Best Parks in America, has announced the addition of six new affiliated parks. The new parks range from Washington state in the west to Virginia and Florida in the East. The new affiliates also includes parks in Ohio, Arkansas and Texas.
According to the news release, the following parks are now part of the Best Parks in America family of highly rated RV parks and campgrounds:
- Harmony Lakeside RV Park, Silver Creek, Wash., is owned by Joyce and Ronald Hinckley.
- Luray RV Resort Country Waye, Luray, Va,. is owned by Erich and Shulamit Schumacher.
- Lazy River at Granville, Granville, Ohio, is owned by Mark and Kathy Kasper.
- Cloud Nine RV Park, Hot Springs, Ark., and Oak Creek RV Park in Wetherford, Texas, are both owned by Steve Sanders of Tulsa, Okla.
- Hill Country RV Resort, New Braunfels, Texas, is owned by Bryan Kastleman.
Best Parks in America is a national marketing group and brand exclusively for highly-rated RV parks and campgrounds across the United States. With 75 affiliated parks, the brand is rapidly expanding its reach and gaining consumer recognition as the brand to select when seeking the best RVing and camping experiences in America.
For affiliation information, Best Parks can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (703) 448-6863.
David Gorin says he’s ready to take the five-year-old Best Parks in America marketing network to the next level as a quality brand in the RV park and campground business that will give North American travelers confidence that they are dealing with a quality facility when they pull into any of the 71 affiliated facilities.
“We give them (parks) a brand that has a national awareness among consumers that allows them to expand their marketing clout way beyond what an individual property could do,” says Gorin, a consultant, lobbyist and Florida park owner, who is also president of Best Parks. “The goal here is to be the same kind of brand as a Hilton when they are planning trips. They will know they can be satisfied in they go there.”
Gorin’s comments came on the heels of the network’s Dec. 1-2 annual meeting and well attended marketing seminars held during the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ InSites 2010 Convention & Outdoor Hospitality Expo Dec. 1-3 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“We opened our seminars up to the entire group that was here to provide a couple of new educational experiences for the attendees and to introduce Best Parks in America to a broader audience of park owners,” he explained. “We were very successful in doing that.”
As to where things are headed next for the network, Gorin says he’d like to see Best Parks grow in the next phase to become sort of a “non-franchise franchise” with 125 to 130 affiliated members. In the process, he maintained, it will remain a system of highly rated “independent unique parks,” but without royalties or long-term contracts.
“A lot of benefits will be available for a tiered structure for those parks that are interested in more than just the marketing component,” said Gorin. “This will entail getting involved in developing business tools that help park owners learn more about their business and providing new information for them about their customers, their consumers, their likes and dislikes and how all that information can be interpreted to help the owner make better decisions.”
All this, he added, follows a period of self-evaluation during which Best Parks’ leadership came to the realization that the network’s original goal of involving only the very top tier of North American parks was unrealistic – even though Best Parks is still clearly focused on facilities that are highly rated in Woodalls, Trailer Life and GuestReviews.
“We have made some major changes in the last year or so that have pushed us forward,” said Gorin. “The mistake we made along the way was that we were going after a super-premium park as the affiliate. Frankly, in the industry there are not enough parks at that highest level to make a national network work. So, we’ve reevaluated.”
These, of course, are not regular times. These are post-recessionary times — emphasis on recessionary — when the U.S. is digging out of a tough situation. And, as you know, we’re still digging, more so in some areas of the country than others.
Yet, as sister publications RVBusiness’s and Woodall’s Campground Management’s small staff sat down to review the year that was, we couldn’t help but marvel at the top-ranked story in our list below — the fact that the industry had indeed outperformed many other American business sectors for the second year in a row.
Without looking a gift horse in the mouth, it’s hard to figure in times like these.
But maybe that’s the point: Maybe times like these in some cases bring out the best of those lucky enough to enjoy them. Maybe we’ll just chalk it up to North America’s drive — lust might be a better word — for affordable recreation, a habit that the average family has retained throughout the global recession.
We’ve seen it at the tollgates in large public parks like Yellowstone and at the registration desks of hundreds of private campgrounds and resorts enough to know that it’s real. Having said that, here’s a quick look at our Top Ten campground news stories for 2010:
(1): RV park and campground business again bucks recessionary pressure to post gains in 2010. “Our members are generally reporting a better year than 2009, with the exception of the Gulf Coast areas,” Linda Profaizer, retiring president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), noted in her President’s Message.
“It appears that snowbirds are returning in bigger numbers than last year as well,” she added. “Most parks report an increase in rental accommodations and tenting is still a major part of the picture.”
Indeed, in his remarks during ARVC’s annual meeting, ARVC Chairman David L. Berg said the economic downturn has actually created new business opportunities for private parks as families and other travelers look for more affordable ways to enjoy weekend getaways and vacation time.
It’s not just an isolated trend. Industry leader Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) reported year-over-year gains in each of the first 10 months of 2010 with total revenues up 8.5 % over 2009. For the summer camping season, same store revenues were up 6% and camper nights up 4.5%.
Leisure Systems Inc. ((LSI), franchisors of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, reported same park revenue up 5% in 2010. While site revenue was down 4%, rental income was up 15%, store revenues grew 15% and miscellaneous revenue was up 19%. And LSI looks for more of the same in 2011, thanks in part to the release in late 2010 of a new “Yogi Bear” Warner Brothers movie starring the voices of Dan Akroyd and Justin Timberlake.
(2) The RV Centennial, the focus of which was in June when the ARVC Business Forum ventured to Elkhart, Ind., along with much of the recreational vehicle industry for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) joint Annual Meeting and Committee Week proceedings and a party at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
RVIA determined that 2010 was the centennial year for the industry, and what a year it was. The Go RVing Coalition promoted events throughout the year in conjunction with the centennial. The Coalition’s “Ambassadors of Affordability” cartoon characters appeared in Go RVing TV spots, and “Centennial Charlie,” a stuffed bear, made a PR tour across the country. The highlight of the year came in early June with a big bash in Elkhart, but other events were held across the nation at campgrounds, RV dealerships and elsewhere. It was, by most accounts, a public relations extravaganza.
(3) Gulf Coast RV parks share with other commercial segments in negative oil spill spillover. An explosion on April 20 at a Deep Water Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men working on the rig and set off a massive oil leak that would ultimately send more than 250 million gallons of oil into the Gulf and threaten hundreds of miles of ocean frontage.
The oil fouled beaches from Florida to Louisiana, stifling tourism for months. Business was down significantly at campgrounds across the region, even where the beaches were never involved. It was a major PR problem for the tourism industry, which was still gradually recovering at year’s end.
(4) Flash flood kills 20 campers in June at Arkansas campground. Heavy rains the night of June 11 sent a wall of water in the “Loop D” area of secluded publicly operated Albert Pike Campground nearly Langley in western Arkansas. In all, 20 campers at the 54-site park were killed in the disaster,
The Caddo and Little Missouri rivers — two normally gentle waterways — rose by 20 feet overnight, engulfing the hikers and campers who were spending the night in tents along the rivers in the isolated Ouachita Mountains. “Within ten minutes the water had rose and campers were floating down,” a survivor told ABC News. “If they didn’t get out of their camper within five, ten minutes, they weren’t getting out.”
(5) Succession at ARVC — Linda Profaizer retiring and Paul Bambei succeeding her. Profaizer announced in the spring that she would be retiring after 10 years at ARVC’s helm and 40 years in the industry — a tenure that included her time as president of then Chicago-based Woodall Publications Corp.
ARVC looked both inside and outside the RV park and campground sector for her successor and recently hired Comcast Corp. veteran Paul Bambei. He never owned a campground, but he’s an avid RVer and was touted as an expert marketing executive. He was introduced at ARVC’s InSites Convention in December.
(6) Succession at KOA — Pat Hittmeier named president of KOA in February, succeeding Shane Ott. A 29-year veteran of the Billings, Mont.-based franchisor’s front office, Hittmeier was named president on Feb. 28 after Shane Ott stepped down. Hittmeier held several positions at KOA before taking on the presidency of the 475-member campground chain, and so far, from all we can gather, his relatively quiet demeanor and astute business instincts are serving him well.
(7) Virtual Campground Expo breaks ground on new era of trade shows. Campground vendor Art Lieberman earned praise in 2010 for introducing the industry’s first virtual online trade show, a “Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo” that kicked off in early November and continues today for those choosing to pay the site a visit.
While some argue that these online expos are the way of the future, Lieberman gets an “A” for effort, but a “C” for the site’s actual performance due to software issues that soured some on this landmark event. Lieberman, owner of MCPS for Campgrounds, was up front about the problems and pledged to try again, if not in 2011, then in 2012.
(8) Best Parks in America expands membership to 71 by year’s end. Best Parks in America, launched in 2004 by industry consultant and entrepreneur David Gorin as a marketing network, must be somewhere close to reaching critical mass by now, as the 71-park organization held its annual meeting and a slate of seminars Dec. 1-2 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on the brink of the ARVC InSites convention.
Now, having made some serious changes over the past year, Gorin says Best Parks is getting ready to grow to the next level as an organization that will provide more business tools yet remain “a system of independent unique parks.”
(9) CalARVC takes lead on holding tank chemical ban in California, despite legislative headwinds. Based on the premise that formaldehyde-containing products used in RV holding tank waste treatments have troubled RV park and campground septic systems for years, the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) decided earlier this year that it was time for a change.
So, CalARVC lobbied extensively to ban six specific chemicals from all holding tank treatment solutions utilized in the Golden State, and the California State Assembly passed landmark legislation in late summer. However, outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill to ban the chemicals and referred the matter to a state agency for remediation while CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe has vowed to march on with an education program.
(10) ARVC’s ongoing headquarter saga. The national trade association announced in late spring its decision to move from Larkspur, Colo., a rural location to which it had moved in 2009 from Washington D.C.’s suburban Virginia, to more urban Castle Rock in the Denver area on the premise that it would be a better place in which to do business.
Then, in December, after some internal debate a few weeks ago, the ARVC board voted unanimously not to move to Castle Rock and instead authorized new CEO Paul Bambei to look elsewhere for suitable space in the greater Denver area.
Best Parks in America (BPA) will hold its upcoming annual conference Dec. 1-2 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel in Las Vegas at the same time that the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) will be holding its annual InSites national convention.
The meeting opens at 8 a.m. on Dec. 1 with the Best Parks in America annual meeting. This session is for BPA affiliates only and will provide an opportunity for affiliates to get acquainted and to hear a report on BPA marketing progress from David Gorin, president and founder of BPA, according to a news release.
Blake Ashdown, BPA’s Entrepreneur in Residence for the conference, will present three seminars during the two-day meeting. Ashdown’s presentations include a 10 a.m. session on Dec. 1 on “Marketing in the New Experience Economy” and a 2:30 seminar that afternoon on “Making Better Decisions with Today’s and Tomorrow’s Technology.” A third seminar on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. will cover “2011 & Beyond: Where BPA is Headed & How You Can Benefit.”
The two seminars on Dec. 1 are open to all attendees at the ARVC convention as well as BPA affiliates and both seminars are approved for credit in ARVC’s Certified Park Operators program. The seminar on the afternoon of Dec. 2 is open to all park owners attending either the BPA or the ARVC meeting.
Ashdown is a successful entrepreneur who has started 15 businesses over the past 30 years including 10 RV resorts and campgrounds. His last venture in the park industry was the acquisition, redevelopment and eventual sale of Tropical Palms Fun Resort in Orlando. For the last four years, he has been a professor at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University where he teaches marketing and business strategy. Ashdown is the president of SureVista Solutions, a marketing research firm that provided marketing tools designed to increase income.
On the morning of Dec. 2, Best Parks affiliates will attend an Affiliate Roundtable on “Best Practices: Implementing the Best Parks Brand” from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. This session is followed by a Strategic Partner Showcase featuring a series of cameo presentations by five of BPA’s strategic partners.
- Wade Elliott, Utility Supply Group – “National Electrical Code 2011 Changes.”
- Jay Zandman, Manning & Nozick – “Reducing Insurance Premiums Without Reducing Coverages.”
- Bruce Hoster, Coast to Coast – Increasing Revenue with Wholesale Programs.
- Deb Kohls, Leisure Interactive – “Taking On-Line Reservations. Why Should I Care?”
- Steve Zimmerman, Beach House Logos – “What’s Pet Friendly? Products for Pets.”
“Best Parks is pleased to be able to offer Blake’s seminars as part of the ARVC convention and we look forward to sharing his expertise with the entire industry,” Gorin stated. “By opening the Best Parks meetings to all, we hope to contribute to the success of the ARVC meeting as well as introduce Best Parks in America to a wider range of park owners.”
“Best Parks in America is excited to be introducing a new program to enable parks that may not currently meet BPA qualifications but are working towards improving park operations, facilities and amenities to raise their ratings to the Best Parks in America level. This meeting is a great way to introduce park owners to Best Parks and to show how the brand can assist them in improving revenue and profitability,” said Gorin.
Best Parks in America is a national marketing group and brand exclusively for highly rated RV parks and campgrounds across the United States. With 69 affiliated parks, the brand is rapidly expanding its reach and gaining consumer recognition as the brand to select when seeking the best RVing and camping experiences in America.
For information on the Best Parks meetings and for affiliation information, Best Parks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (703) 448-6863.
Best Parks in America is offering a special reward for fall RVers who visit any of the 68 Best Parks in America locations.
Campers who camp at any Best Park through Nov. 30 will be eligible to receive a $7 camping voucher that can be applied to any camping stay at a Best Parks resort from Dec. 1 through 2011.
To be eligible, campers need to send a receipt for each camping stay at a Best Park to Best Parks in America, Post Office Box 9928, McLean, VA 22102 and in return they will receive a $7 camping voucher for each receipt they submit.
Campers will receive a voucher for each separate stay through Nov. 30. There’s no limit to the number of vouchers campers can collect. For more information visit www.bestparks.com.