The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has launched ARVC Voice, an online members-only magazine that features news stories as well as embedded videos that highlight best practices and innovations in the campground business.
“We’re using cutting edge technology with one of the leading online magazine companies,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC president and CEO in a press release, adding that the inaugural issue of ARVC Voice was emailed to the association’s members on Monday (Oct. 31).
ARVC Voice, which replaces the ARVC Report newsletter, will be emailed to association members 11 times a year, with a single issue for the December/January period. Each issue of ARVC Voice will be produced by Evanne Schmarder, a videographer and digital marketing expert who previously reported and edited the ARVC Report.
“ARVC Voice is not a newsletter, but an online magazine,” Bambei said, adding that it is being produced in a flipbook format using Zmags software. “This format is very easy to read, easy to navigate and very intuitive,” he said. “We think ARVC members will be pleased.”
While ARVC Voice is delivered in an electronic format, individual pages, sections or the entire issue can be saved, downloaded and/or printed. It also has a built-in search function to enable members to search for particular words or phrases.
Advertisements are hyperlinked to each advertiser’s website, which is a desirable benefit to companies interested in marketing their products and services to campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the country, Bambei said.
Schmarder said each issue of ARVC Voice will be developed to provide news stories that are not available elsewhere in print or online publications serving the campground industry, with a heavy focus on human interest stories and best practices about ARVC members themselves. It will also contain useful information about member benefits, green initiatives and the latest information involving government affairs issues of interest to private park operators.
“While media experts claim electronic publishing is clearly the most efficient and widely adopted method of trade industry communication today, we recognize many members still like a printed version from ARVC. For that reason, we are committed to sending our members three printed issues of ARVC Voice in 2012, recapping a collection of the best content from the previous four months. Look for this first printed issue next spring,” said Bambei.
“We are asking ARVC members to consider shooting video at their parks focusing on their own unique innovations and breaking news,” Schmarder said, adding that a section of ARVC.org is being developed where members can upload content they would like to be considered for publication in ARVC Voice.
Based in Denver, ARVC is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. For more information, visit www.arvc.org.
Peter Warrick, founder and president of Southeast Publications USA Inc. which served the campground industry for 24 years, died May 17.
In 1986 Warrick started an advertising agency, Southeast Publications USA Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In its 24 years Southeast Publications USA Inc. has become the leader in the site map and area guide industry servicing over 1,300 accounts every year. Some other products include marinas guides, fairground interim directories, hotel/motel room guides, guest guides and campus guides for major universities, community colleges and private schools.
The firm also provides resl estate guides, shopping center directories, chamber of commerce maps and golf guides.
Warrick was active in a number of diverse business.
He opened Warrick Custom Hobbies in 1972. Warrick Custom Hobbies of Plantation, “The Hobby Super Store,” is one of the leading hobby retailers in the U.S. with sales worldwide.
Warrick also started Vespa of Fort Lauderdale in 1974 and was a major dealer for Vespa of America. In 1983 he became a Yamaha motor scooter dealer. He got re-involved in the scooter business in 2006 and opened what is now The Scooter Superstore of America with 10 locations.
Southeast Publications will now be under the leadership of Peter’s son, Wally. Wally has been involved with Southeast Publications, as well as his father’s other businesses, for many years.
“Along with the expertise of Southeast Publication’s vice presidents Wayne and Carlene Morris who have been with the company since 1990 and have 40-plus years combined experience in the site map industry, Southeast Publications will continue to lead, continue to grow and continue to create ‘The Best’quality products for its customers,” according to a company statement.
Warrick was born in Detroit in 1947 and had been a resident of Fort Lauderdale since 1949. He was a graduate of Fort Lauderdale High School, class of 1966 and attended Broward Community College.
He started his business career with Burger King Corp. in 1965 as an hourly employee and left Burger King in 1973 as regional manager to start his own business.
Many people not only know him, but love him. They refer to him as their friend first, and their business partner second. Richard “Dick” Hartford has a lot to celebrate this year — his 65th birthday, 37 years in the insurance industry, and 24 with Evergreen, a company insuring the campground industry, owned by campground owners.
President of Evergreen Indemnity and Evergreen USA, Hartford resides in Lewiston, Maine, and has two sons, Lucas and Justin. He is a man who has supported many causes within the Northeast Campground Association (NCA) and has gaveled many charity auctions. He has received both the “Stan Martin Award” and the “Curtis Fuller Award” from state campground associations.
Hartford began a program of insuring campgrounds and RV parks in 1973 and started Evergreen in 1986. That year many campgrounds and RV parks were seeing their insurance premiums double and triple and often they could not even find coverage. During the mid-1980s nearly all of the insurance companies were pulling out of the camping industry. That’s when a group of people within the camping arena asked Hartford to find a long-term solution for insuring their industry. He set to work and found a group that was willing to invest to start Evergreen.
“It was exciting to put together a program when there was relatively no insurance available to campgrounds, and to get enough support from the camping industry from wonderful campgrounds that invested in the effort to start a new company like this one had never been done before,” he explained.
Today, Evergreen USA RRG Inc. is the oldest continuously operating insurance program for campground and RV park owners in the nation, providing comprehensive liability insurance, specialized services and unique coverage options exclusively to the outdoor recreation industry.
Hartford describes campground owners as a hardworking, down-to-earth and a respectful group of people.
“Very seldom do you ever find a rude campground owner,” he said. “You can’t meet a nicer bunch of people than in the camping industry. They are willing to help their fellow mankind and are very generous. As I look back, I can’t imagine that I could have ever picked an industry that would have suited me any better than the campground industry. I got to the point where I loved the camping industry more than the insurance industry.”
Today, Hartford continues to manage the long-range interests of the Evergreen companies, while his son Lucas oversees the daily activities.
“My dad brought me into the business by teaching me how to do risk management inspections and policy reviews of campgrounds and RV parks,” Lucas said. “But the biggest thing he taught me in this business is that Evergreen’s success only comes with the success of the camping industry. He realizes that the long-term interests of Evergreen come with the long-term success of the camping industry.
“As his son and business partner, I am forever grateful for him trusting me to run the daily activities of Evergreen. He has played many roles in my life from father, ski coach, boss, co-worker and friend. And in all those things I have seen him commit himself 100% to every effort. He does nothing half way. It is all or nothing for him and that is a quality I fully admire.”
In 2007 Dick and Lucas sold a local insurance agency in order to focus all of their efforts on Evergreen and the camping industry.
“My dad told me for years that the camping industry is the best group of people to deal with and he is 100% right – so that is what we focus on,” Lucas said.
Dick enjoys fly fishing, carpentry and electrical work and flower gardening. But most of all he enjoys watching Lucas take Evergreen to new levels of success.
“What I love now is watching my son take the company to heights that I couldn’t have,” he said. “It deflates my ego a little bit to watch that, but that is the most wonderful part about it, seeing how much better he is at it than I was.”
The future for Dick Hartford? He will remain the company’s chairman of the board and president for around five more years and at that time he envisions handing over full reign to Lucas.
“Maybe I’ll start an insurance company to compete with him, that will teach him a lesson,” he joked. “I can’t imagine myself not working and I will probably do carpentry and electrical work when I feel like doing it. I have gotten to a point where I can choose to do things when I want to which is kind of nice. Even if I give up the leadership of the company, I see myself being involved behind the scenes.”
On the subject of fatherly advice, Dick says one thing he has never tried to do is give advice to either of his sons.
“If they come and ask a question, I usually try to refrain and say, ‘What do you think you should do?’ I encourage them to do what they believe they need to do. I will give Lucas the same advice I gave him 15 years ago when I turned over the daily activities to him. He asked me, ‘But dad, what happens if I fail?’ I said, ‘If that happens, the only suggestion I have for you is to have another job lined up because you’re going to need it.’”
Failure, according to Dick, is the best education there is.
“Every young person in this world under the age of 50 needs the opportunity to succeed and fail on their own,” he said. “It makes you humble, teaches you a lesson and you move on. It wasn’t what I learned in a classroom in college – it was what I learned outside of the classroom – how to get along with people, how to budget my time, etc.”
It doesn’t take a long conversation with Dick to pick up on his sharp wit and sense of humor. When told people have nothing but compliments for him, he quipped, “They must be lying.”
“When I think of Dick Hartford, I think about family and friends,” said Rick Abare, president of Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP) and executive director of the Maine Campground Owners Association. “The business of insurance I think of as a secondary item when I think of him. I think about that uncle that everyone has who is wise, fun-loving, and energetic all at the same time. The good uncle.”
When Abare bought his campground in 1992 and went looking for insurance companies, he was thoroughly impressed with the concept behind Evergreen – that the campground owners are owners of the company.
“That kind of thing is what Dick Hartford would dream up,” Abare said. “He is always there for you. He is one of the people I have always looked to when I have a question about what is right or wrong and I know I will get the truth. He is genuinely one of a kind. The ‘what can I do for you, how can I help’ attitude is a Hartford family trait. This is part of why so many people look up to Dick and all he has done for the camping industry. There probably is no one like him. When you think of family and camping and put it all together and ask yourself who is always there for you, that would be Dick Hartford.”
Chip Menz, co-owner along with his brother Bruce, of Big Timber Lake Campground in Papemay Court House, N.J., met Dick in the early 1980s before he began Evergreen.
“When he decided to start Evergreen, we became invested in Evergreen,” explained Menz. “Dick is a straight shooter, he stands by his word and he is just a lot of fun, and easygoing.”
The Menz brothers are on the board of directors for Evergreen.
“Dick is good for the industry and I’m glad I met him,” Menz said. “He has a world of knowledge about the insurance business and he does what he does well. He has helped a lot of campground owners.”
April 26 was Dick’s birthday and this year his family planned a surprise party to mark 65 years.
“There haven’t been many chances to surprise my dad and he was completely surprised,” Lucas said.
To Dick his 65th birthday was just another day. But to his family there was a lot to celebrate.
“He doesn’t like parties or surprises,” joked Lucas.
“I was momentarily (mad),” Dick said. “But I got over it.”
That is a “pretty significant increase year-over-year,” Penner said in an interview with the Victoria Times Colonist.
“I’m certain some of that increase is due to the new features that we are now offering through the reservation system. In particular, you are now able to request a specific campsite within a campground.”
Penner, who used to work as a park ranger on the Lower Mainland, remembers campers who were devoted to certain spots. Some prefer to be next to a creek, hiking trails, near a woodlot, or washrooms and hot showers.
The province also recently moved the overnight rate in British Columbia campgrounds up by as much as $6 a night on April 1, depending on the location. Camping at the most popular spots on Vancouver Island, such as Goldstream Park near the Malahat, or Rathtrevor Beach near Parksville, has gone up to $30 per night.
However, 60% of British Columbia’s park campgrounds still offer campsites for $16 per night or less, Penner said.
There has been little feedback to the new rates, he said. “The new fees have hardly been a deterrent to camping as evidenced by a 30% increase in bookings,” Penner said.
During the first five days of bookings, there were 8,259 reservations for the season, up from 6,327 for the same days last year, Penner said.
British Columbia’s provincial parks have more than 340 campgrounds with 11,000 campsites. Overall attendance rose 5% last year.
Fees were increased to cover escalating operating costs, Penner said. Currently fees cover 40% of the cost of operating the parks system. Taxpayers pay the rest.
British Columbia’s provincial parks fees are 7-50% lower than those found in the private sector or national parks for similar services, he said.
To watch a video broadcast of the following news item, click here.
Things are looking up in the camping industry in Maine, a good indication that the economy is slowly turning around, according to WCSH-TV, Portland
The 6th Annual RV and Camping Show saw thousands over the weekend. Some campgrounds say they’re reservations are up nearly 20% from the last few years.
The industry was hit fairly hard by the mix of the economy and a few bad summers.
But this year, people seem to be booking early and often, even buying new and used RVs.
Most campgrounds in Maine open in May, but with the nice weather, some campground owners say they may even open as early as this month.
One indication that Vermont could be headed for a stellar camping season this summer is that sales of recreational vehicles are picking up in a big way. That could reflect a shift toward less expensive vacations closer to home, according to WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt.
Dave McGinnis, a partner with Pete’s RV Center in South Burlington, said, “It’s been really good. We’ve had to hire two new technicians, a salesman — a couple of sales people. So you know, we’re adding personnel. So I think the campgrounds can expect a good season this year. I think there’s gong to be a lot of interest in camping in Vermont.”
The fine weather this past weekend lifted economic prospects as Vermont and other places struggle with the aftershocks of the recession. But there are signs that things may be getting better,
Vermont state parks don’t open until Memorial Day, with the exception of half a dozen that will open earlier in May. By opening day several new construction projects will be finished, including solar-powered bath houses. There will be one for each of more than two-dozen Vermont state parks with overnight camping, thanks to capital spending authorized by the Legislature last year.
Forests & Parks Commissioner Jason Gibbs said, “While a lot of states are moving away from investing in their state parks system and in fact are having to make the difficult decision of closing parks or dramatically contracting their operations, Vermont’s moving in exactly the opposite direction.”
Gibbs says Vermont state parks cover 90% of their operating budgets through fees. And he says the improvements are likely to bring additional benefits to the economy and taxpayers. He says reservations for state parks are up 10% over last year.
Gibbs added, “Of course, the more people we get into our parks, the more money they’re spending in the local economy and the better it is for the entire state. But also, the more visits we get to our parks the better bale we are as an organization to reduce our reliance on taxpayers in difficult times.”
Attendees at the 46th Annual Northeast Conference on Camping and Trade Show March 18-20 in Springfield, Mass.,“Recipe for Success 2010″ were encouraged by incoming reservations for the upcoming season, according to show sponsors.
The trade show attracted 126 representatives from over 70 companies, which filled the third floor of the Sheraton Springfield Hotel.
“Those in attendance were impressed by a program packed with quality seminars, fun events, time to listen and learn from others in the industry, and three state meetings for Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said Cyndy Zbierski, Northeast Campground Association (NCA) executive assistant.
The conference began with four technology seminars conducted by SkillPath covering everything from “Computer 101” in Technology Basics to “Getting the Most of Microsoft Excel” during Technology Plus. The entire day’s seminars were sponsored by Evergreen USA and that evening a winner was chosen for a new Acer laptop.
The next two days provided seven CPO qualified seminars ranging from “Accounting for Campgrounds,” presented by Don Bennett, CPA, CPO and the president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York, to “Management Secrets of a Large Campground That Can Be Used By Any Size Park,” presented by Peter and Barry Brown of Lone Oak Campsites, Connecticut.
All 11 state associations that make up the NCA were given the opportunity to share their individual state’s legislative issues, which included drastic reductions in state tourism budgets, new taxation rates on campsites and continued departments of environmental protection concerns, according to Zbierski.
NCA Executive Director David Tetrault and wife Pat received the Curtis Fuller Service Award during the Awards Luncheon of the conference. The award, established in March 1986, commemorates the unselfish contribution made by Curtis Fuller to the furtherance of camping throughout the United States. The award is in recognition of service given to camping in the northeast over an extended period of time. The service can take any number of forms but shall be unselfish, done in a manner to reflect credit upon the association, and be meaningful in accomplishing the aims of the association.
There are no plans for Tetrault to retire as executive director. He began on Oct. 1, 1990, replacing retiring Gerry Harrison. Pat will continue working with her husband and daughter, however for fewer hours allowing her time to enjoy a bit of free time.
During the board of directors meeting held during the conference a number of new marketing ideas were discussed to continue promoting camping in the Northeast, Zbierski said.
“The board voted to continue several successful NCA marketing ventures, such as NCA’s participation in the Tampa SuperShow in January 2011, the production of an NCA Rack Card listing all 11 states’ contact information and the NCA ad in Camping Life magazine,” she said. “Something new that will soon come out of the Northeast Campground Association’s office is the offer of banner ads to its member campgrounds on the CampNCA.com site and to its business members on the member site CampNCA.org.”
In addition, two $500 scholarships were awarded from the NCA Robert A. Hartford Memorial Scholarship Fund during the Friday awards luncheon. The parents of Cortney Goodale, of Mineral Springs Campground, Connecticut, and Zachary Fulton, of Rest N’ Nest Campground in Vermont accepted the awards for their children.
Special guests included Cheryl Smith, CPO, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) education director; David L. Berg, CPO, Red Apple Campground, Maine, and the current ARVC chairman and Region 1 representative, and also past president of NCA; Marcia Galvin, CPO, Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Massachusetts, ARVC second vice chairman and Region 1 representative; Donald Bennett, CPO, Conesus Lake Campground, New York, ARVC at-large delegate; Norman Boucher, LCN Outdoors, Connecticut, ARVC Supplier Council representative; Janet Keen, CPO, Keen Lake Camping, ARVC Council of Delegates secretary; and Randy Packard, CPO, Pine Acres Family Campground, Massachusetts, ARVC Foundation board of trustees.
Officers elected were:
- President Michael Irons, Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort, Thurmont, Md.
- Vice president Roger Druck, Pine Cradle Lake Campground, Rome, Pa.
- Second Vice President Judy LaPorta, Little Oaks Campground, S. Seaville Cape May Courthouse, N.J.
- Treasurer, Mark Wright, Terrace Pines Campground, Center Ossipee, N.H.
- Past president David L. Berg, Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport, Maine.
The next NCA event will be the “2010 NCA Great Escape” hosted by the state of New Hampshire at Danforth Bay Camping Resort in Freedom, N.H., Sept. 14 –16. Contact information can be found at http://campnca.org/greatescape.htm.
Editor’s Note: Thor Industries Inc. on Tuesday (March 23) announced that it is joining Midwest Leasing Inc. in rolling out a leasing and financing program for the rental lodging arena. Coupled with Thor’s previously announced vendor relationship with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the Midwest Leasing deal brings Thor’s team of RV lodging professionals full circle. Thor manufactures “ruggedized” rental lodging units customized to withstand the rigors of rental use under the Airstream, Breckenridge, CrossRoads and Keystone divisional brand names. Midwest Leasing, based in Crested Butte, Colo., will provide the financing to get them on site. “This Midwest Leasing announcement could not have been timed better, as ARVC owners are looking for the opportunity to add lodging inventory before the upcoming summer season,” said Shane Ott, a former KOA president and current director of campground relations for Jackson Center, Ohio-based Thor. His comments appear below with those of Midwest Leasing President Fran Wickenhauser, who is based in Crested Butte, Colo.
RVB: Why is this deal with Midwest Leasing Inc. important to the campground industry?
OTT: The No. 1 hang-up for campground owners right now is the lack of the ability to obtain financing. Banks have routinely struggled to understand the campground model anyway because our industry doesn’t have a lot of publicly traded companies. They don’t understand the dynamics. With the downturn in the economy it became increasingly tough. We’re providing an option. If you want to pursue lodging accommodations, we think we have an outstanding offering of park models and ruggedized RV units. It’s exclusive to Thor products.
RVB: How did this relationship unfold?
OTT: I pursued it. I talked to a couple of national lenders (about the program) and it was apparent it was going to be a long road. They didn’t say no to us but it was apparent this would be an arduous process going through two large companies, Thor and the institution. The window of opportunity is right now! Midwest Leasing, a smaller regional lending group, was able to move quicker and be more flexible with our needs at Thor. I spoke with Fran Wickenhauser, the president.
(Ott suggested RVB contact Midwest Leasing. Ott added, “Don’t be surprised if Fran answers the phone.” RVB called Midwest’s 800-number and sure enough, Wickenhauser answered the phone.)
RVB: Why are you entering the RV park and campground sector?
WICKENHAUSER: It is a brand new market for us but we have always known that sector of the market was out there. We’re a general equipment leasor; we finance any type of equipment, computers to school buses to construction and production equipment. We have leased motorhomes and travel trailers in the past; we just haven’t done it on an organized basis and we haven’t done it for the campgrounds
In this economy, credit is tight all over. Campground owners are not unique. We realize we are coming into a segment of the market in a time when credit is still tighter than it was two to three years ago. That is true in the lending community in general. We are confident this economy is on the slow rebound and recovery and that lending will get more relaxed in their requirements as times goes on.
RVB: You are in a sense a middleman in this operation. Please explain.
WICKENHAUSER: We are a privately held company and have been in business since 1985. We have bank lines of credit. That’s typically how it is done in the leasing community. We have a fair amount of staying power and have gone through a number of cycles and survived them all.
RVB: You have offices in Colorado and Arizona but you see this program as a nationwide program, right?
WICKENHAUSER: Yes. In lending community, it’s somewhat impersonal. Ninety-nine percent of the clientele I deal with, I never meet them face to face. All work is done on the Internet and in e-mail and the electronic world we are all in. We cover the entire U.S. through the Internet. It’s a very expeditious way to handle that. You attach documents and quotes and can have it on a campground owner’s desk within 30 seconds. We’ve been covering the entire U.S. for 25 years. Now the campground industry will become a part of our world.
RVB: Walk me through how this would work for a campground owner seeking to use your service.
WICKENHAUSER: The campground owner will come with a borrowing request. Let’s say he wants to buy five park models, $40,000 each for a total of $200,000. The campground owner would ask for a quote. We say we’ll provide a quote within 24 hours, but typically it might be within the hour. We’ll e-mail the quote. If the quote is acceptable, we will send them a credit application. Within two to three days of the return application, the campground owner would receive a credit decision. If the decision is positive, we would move forward with a lease agreement. At this point, we would wait for Thor to deliver the park models. As soon as they are delivered, Midwest would pay Thor and the lease commences, with the campground paying Midwest Leasing. Typically, a lease would be for five years. At the end of 60 payments, they own the park models.
An analogy would be school buses or modular classrooms for schools. We’ve been working with school districts for years.
RVB: The initial response has been good, we understand.
WICKENHAUSER: I’m getting calls daily from interested parties, be it KOA, Jellystone, associations or sales and marketing people. The information is so new it’s just now being released. I’m hearing from marketing and sales people from Thor Industries, from people who want to better understand the program.
RVB: How do you see this business unfolding this year?
WICKENHAUSER: I have no idea, only because I don’t know if Thor knows how many people will be interested in financing their products through Midwest Leasing. I think we’ll get a good feel for this in the next six to nine months, after the summer season and some trade shows. I’ll be in Reno in April and standing next to the Thor people in their booth as they market their products to the campground owners…We’re all very hopeful it will be very productive for both of us. It’s all based on the strength of the individual campground entrepreneurs. As I told Thor Industries, each opportunity has to stand on its own two feet.
Thor Industries Inc. announced that it has joined with Midwest Leasing Inc. to provide the rental lodging industry with leasing and financing solutions.
Added to Thor’s previously announced association with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), Midwest Leasing brings Thor’s team of RV lodging professionals full circle, according to a news release.
Since its inception in 1985, Midwest Leasing has provided customized and structured finance options for virtually any type of equipment. Now they will design those options to meet the specific needs of campground owners seeking lodging opportunities. All financing products can be customized and structured to meet the unique requirements with appropriate term and repayment schedules needed by today’s campground owners.
This threesome – Thor, Midwest Leasing and ARVC – is a first in the campground industry. Thor manufacturers Airstream, Breckenridge, CrossRoads RV and Keystone provide quality, ruggedized, rental lodging units customized to industry standards. Midwest Leasing provides the financing to get them on site.
ARVC’s commitment to promoting the campground industry continues. All three successful organizations combine to provide a first-time collected resource for campground owners.
According to Shane Ott, Thor’s director of campground relations, “Our commitment to meet the needs of our customers continues as we develop efficient and profitable ways of doing business. This exclusive offer from Thor sets us as the premium brand of choice for lodging accommodations. Right now the biggest need of campground owners is finding financing. This Midwest Leasing announcement could not have been timed better, as ARVC owners are looking for the opportunity to add lodging inventory before the upcoming summer season.”
Contact Ott or Fran Wickenhauser for more information on Thor’s Rental Lodging opportunities by calling (406) 670-7181 or e-mail Ott at email@example.com.
The occupancy at private RV parks and campgrounds in California in 2009 was 57.8% or down 0.6% from 2008, according to a study by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).
The 2009 occupancy rate was down 2.7% from 2007 and down 4.9% from 2006, making 2009 the lowest occupancy for the past 10 years, CalARVC noted in its current Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates e-newsletter.
Occupancy was highest in 2005 at 63.8%, followed by 2001 at 63.5%. Statewide occupancy at 57.8% is 0.6% less than the average for the past 20 years. This slip in occupancy is widely attributed to continued high fuel prices and a slumped economy that resulted in many job losses and home foreclosures.
Occupancy decreased in eight regions, with San Francisco showing a 15.4% decline. Monthly regional averages vary in accuracy depending upon which CalARVC members respond in any month resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus two to five percentage points. The error of margin for the statewide averages is one to two percentage points.
Average statewide occupancy increased over last year in six months, and decreased six months resulting in an overall decrease of approximately a half percentage point.