RV resort operators across Southern California anticipate a strong winter season, with reservations and occupancies running ahead of last winter’s figures.
“Reservations are looking very strong this winter,” said Daniel Wright, general manager of the Springs at Borrego RV Resort in Borrego Springs, which added 53 RV sites last winter to accommodate rising demand.
But even though Wright increased the size of his park by 60%, he still has more snowbirds than he can accommodate. “We are already in a waiting list situation for February for stays of 30 days or more,” he said.
Paula Turner, who owns and operates Shadow Hills RV Resort in Indio, said her park would be filled up with snowbirds this winter. “We’re completely booked,” she said, adding she’s also gearing up to accommodate guests attending the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in the spring.
Winter bookings are also up at Newport Dunes RV Resort in Newport Beach as well as Campland by the Bay in San Diego. “We are way up at both properties,” said Michael Gelfand, who manages both resorts. “2012 has been approximately 5% better than 2011 and (winter) reservations at both parks are up over 7%.
La Jolla-based SunLand RV Resorts, which owns and operates seven RV resorts across Southern California, also anticipates a strong season. SunLand’s properties include Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet and Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert.
Park operators throughout Southern California attributed the growth in business to improvements they’ve made to their parks as well as the growing array of activities that are now available at many RV parks and resorts that are frequented by snowbirds.
Golden Village Palms, for example, recently added four pickleball courts and remodeled its exercise room and equipped it with new exercise equipment as well as a large flat screen television.
Springs at Borrego RV Resort has added a large amphitheater to accommodate large outdoor events. The resort is also offering massages for couples as the latest amenity from its on-site spa and wellness center.
“Over the summer, our pool and spas were completely replastered and the pool deck was resurfaced, so the pool area is like brand new,” Wright said, adding that he is also adding a propane fire pit near the pool area that will create a cozy gathering place on chilly winter evenings.
“Another thing that some RVers may be interested in is the configuration of our new ‘Fairway Sites,’ which border right on the 2nd and 5th fairways of the golf course,” Wright said. “These ultra-deluxe 40-by-80 RV sites are double-loaded, meaning power, water, cable TV and sewer are located on both sides of the 18- by 70-foot concrete slab, allowing folks to park a motor home headed in or backed in, their choice.”
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has re-examined its stance on state conventions. Despite the desire and interest of CalARVC’s staff and board, a decision was made to put CalARVC’s convention on a hiatus. The reason is waning attendance, according to the association in this week’s edition of “Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates.”
CalARVC noted, “The financial and resource commitment to produce a convention is well over $100,000. Documented attendance at CalARVC and other industry conventions has been in a steady decline over the past six years. The board and staff decided that it could not risk the money to finance such a venture. You entrust us to spend your dues dollars wisely. Producing a convention is no longer a wise use of your membership dues.
“The question then becomes, ‘How do we provide education and networking opportunities for our members?’ ‘How do we connect the essential services of the industry’s suppliers with our member campgrounds?’ We are looking for a select group of CalARVC members and suppliers to help us figure out a new delivery model for these services. Our members have always brought home valuable information and insights from the convention. They have always connected and built relationships with each other and vendors. In this day and age of the Internet, smart phones and social media, fewer and fewer people are willing to take time off of work and invest in off-site meetings….even when they know and admit it was always worth the time and investment in the past.”
The California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) will once again be partnering with other sectors of the tourism industry to create awareness of the enormous impact tourism has in California.
According to this week’s edition of CalARVC’s “Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates,” CalARVC members are being encouraged to gather on the afternoon of Feb. 22 beginning with lunch with CalARVC’s lobbyists. Next, members will join Visit California for a Policy Forum, providing legislative and policy updates on travel issues.
Then CalARVC members are encouraged to visit their legislators. This is their chance to showcase their business and industry. The day will conclude with a Legislative Reception and Premier of “Dreamland,” an inspirational new film chronicling a day in the life of innovative “True Californians.” This documentary will air on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and key international markets.
On other CalARVC news, the board is working on plans for the 2013 convention. Previously, the board decided to not hold a convention this year, opting to support ARVC’s annual Outdoor and Hospitality Conference slated for Nov. 28-30 in Las vegas.
Later this spring, CalARVC will hold its annual business meeting in conjunction with a CalARVC board meeting.
The San Luis Obispo, Calif., County Planning Commission last week unanimously approved a 130-space residential vehicle resort north of Paso Robles that its owners said would attract an upscale clientele.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that the resort, described by backer Bruce Jordan as “state of the art,” is targeted for the site of the former Almond Blossom restaurant, which closed in 2008.
The developer, Siempre Adelante LLC, intends to convert an existing building into a clubhouse, as well as add a building that would incorporate an office, convenience market, laundry facility, exercise room and restroom. The resort also would include two swimming pools, a playground and a barbecue area.
Jordan said the park will include 130 RV spaces with full hookups to include electrical, water, sewer and Internet connections. It will have 19 pull-through spaces and 111 pull-in spaces. Jordan said he expects the park to draw upscale, semi-retired people, “mostly in their 50’s, whose average stay is likely to be three and a half days.”
That description of the campers drew concern from some nearby residents, who said visitors could include tourists visiting local wineries who might drive back to the resort while intoxicated.
Others said they worried about traffic at the intersection, as well as water. Commissioners said the developer and planning staff had addressed those worries adequately.