The editors of RVtravel.com have published the 100th edition of their online newsletter “RV Daily Tips.” According to a press release, the first issue appeared Nov. 26 and has continued to run on a Monday through Friday basis ever since.
Editor Chuck Woodbury reports that the publication has helped double the traffic of RVtravel from about a half million page views a month a year ago to an average of 1.1 million. He added that the list of contributors is a “who’s who of experts” on RV technical and lifestyle subjects.
The Seattle-area company also publishes the monthly newsletter Great RV Accessories, which typically reviews a dozen products of interest to RVers.
Subscribers to the newsletters receive an email reminder for each new issue. An open rate of between 50% and 64% have helped earn RVtravel.com an “All Star” award from Constant Contact, a leading e-mail distribution service.
All the newsletters are supported by advertising, which Woodbury says has dramatically increased in recent months. “There is no question that the RVing economy has vastly improved,” he said. “At our e-commerce site RVbookstore.com we have seen a recent surge in sales with books and DVDs about buying and using an RV. When the economy worsened years ago, sales of these titles almost disappeared. It was obvious to us that the RV industry was in trouble.”
Along with about three dozen active blogs about RVing, written by 10 paid bloggers, RVtravel.com and its online community is read by more than 200,000 different RVers a month, according to Woodbury. Beginning in late May most of the blogs will be consolidated onto the RVtravel.com server. “We expect to see our ranking improve dramatically with all our traffic in one place,” said Woodbury. “Since we started RV Daily Tips, RVtravel alone has gone from a worldwide ranking on Alexa.com of 121,000 to 69,000. Today, Alexa ranks it as the 12,232nd largest website in the United States.
Each issue of “RV Daily Tips” includes a helpful video tip, hosted at YouTube on the RV Travel Channel and embedded into the newsletter. The steady output of new videos has increased the channel’s views to about 200,000 a month, up about four times from a year ago according to Woodbury.
The weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which appears every Saturday morning, is in its 12th year of continuous publication with an estimated 60,000 readers a week.
The YouTube channel for RVtravel.com has passed 2 million views and is attracting about 100,000 new views a month, according to a report on RV News Service.
“The pace is speeding up now that we’re posting a daily newsletter,” said RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. “We have often included a video in our weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which we’ve published for more than 11 years. But we’re including one in every issue of our new weekday publication RV Daily Tips. Each one offers concise advice from an RVer, usually a well-known expert, about some aspect of RVing.
“For those of us with roots in print publishing, being able to include a video in an issue of a periodical — in this case online — seems almost too good to be true. I dreamed about doing something like this years ago when I published a printed magazine, but it seemed like science fiction.”
Articles and videos from each issue of RV Daily Tips are indexed for future reference. “As we add videos this easily searchable archive will become a convenient way for an RVer to get concise advice,” Woodbury said.
Although most of the videos are provided by paid freelancers, Woodbury produces many himself. He is currently on the road in the Southwest with his motorhome for six weeks, writing stories and videotaping advice segments for future newsletters. “I plan to be busy at the big Quartzsite RV show coming up later this month,” he said.
Woodbury said that other videos hosted on the RVtravel.com YouTube channel are embedded on the company’s other websites and blogs including RVtechTips.com.
Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury, offers insight into a changing RVing environment as he relates his experiences encountered during a recently completed coast-to-coast RV trip.
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury recently returned from a two-month trek through 26 states. Along the way he visited the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indianapolis and America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa.
“I had hoped that in attending the events and talking with RVers in campgrounds that I could gain some insights into the current state of RVing,” he said. “What I learned is that RVing is as popular as ever, but the way we do it is changing.”
He was hosted at Thousand Trails preserves and by some KOAs, but spent much of his time in independent parks. “Most KOAs and virtually all Thousand Trails are catering to RVers as a destination where they can spend days, even weeks at a time, with the park entertaining them,” he said. “It’s not just ‘come, stay and entertain yourself’ like the old days of public campgrounds, but ‘come, stay and we will entertain you.’ The list of facilities and social activities they offer is longer than ever — jumping pillows for the kids, hot tubs, evening movies, ice cream socials, more sophisticated playgrounds, free WiFi, fishing and paddleboat lakes, mini-golf, swimming pools, and special events for holidays keep their customers busy. KOA, in particular, seems to be beefing up its visitor offerings and is pushing its cabin rentals, where a customer does not even need an RV.
He added, “Independent parks, the mom and pop ones in particular, are all over the place in quality and need to get their act together. Some are very nice, but too many are unkempt or offer mediocre facilities. I drove a few miles off the highway to one park that looked attractive on its website. But at the entrance there were two junked cars, weeds a foot high, and a weathered mobile home for the office. I turned around. At another park, I paid $38 and was led to a site that was way off level. People don’t pay to sleep on a slope; they deserve better. In a park that I pulled into after dark, I nearly poked a hole in my thumb hooking up the water hose: a part of the round faucet handle was broken off leaving a sharp pointed edge. When I told the employee in the office, she didn’t express any concern or even note my campsite.”
Woodbury never stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but came to appreciate why so many RVers do. “A typical one-night stay at a commercial park by the highway is $30 to $50,” he said. “I can understand why RVers, no matter how well-off, choose to stay free in a parking lot rather than spend that much money just for a place to sleep for a few hours.”
In tiny Wasta, South Dakota (pop. 72) along I-90, he found the small, no-frills 24 Express RV Park that charges $5 a night for a gravel pull-thru site with water and 30- and 50-amp electric hookups. “They make money off their automated gas station and a family-run military museum and they have no employees,” he explained. “The RV park is clean and popular with overnighters. There’s a demand for other low-cost parks like this and I think an opportunity for a visionary entrepreneur.”
RVtravel.com is in its 11th year of publishing a weekly online newsletter and next month will debut a daily edition, RV Daily Tips. More than 200,000 RVers a month read RVtravel.com and its network of about four dozen other websites and blogs.
The publishers of the weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, now in its 11th year, will debut a new daily newsletter in mid-November.
According to a press release, the Monday through Friday online publication, RV Daily Tips, will include concise, helpful advice to RVers. RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury will oversee operations with long-time contributor Russ De Maris as editor.
“We are still refining the format, but our plan now is for one brief lead article each issue with advice that will enhance an RVer’s experience, whether it’s about lifestyle, maintenance, safety, towing or anything else about RVing,” said Woodbury. “In addition, we’ll embed one 60- to 90-second video tip in each issue from an RV expert. We already have two month’s worth ready to go that we videotaped at the recent FMCA rally in Indianapolis and we’ll be adding new ones this week at the RV show in Hershey.
“We’re looking for other video submissions from people in the RV industry who have something of value to say to our readers,” he added. “There’s no charge for appearing in the videos unless we have to travel to record them. I expect that each one, depending on its topic, will eventually receive 10,000 to 50,000 views through its archives on several websites and blogs, so it would be good exposure for a company.”
The RVtravel.com YouTube channel, where the videos will be hosted, has garnered 1.7 million views to date.
The free newsletter will debut with about 6,000 daily subscribers. “We’ve solicited sign ups in our RVtravel.com newsletter and Facebook page for a couple of months now,” said Woodbury. “But once the new newsletter is underway we’ll push harder and I expect it to grow fast.”
RV Daily Tips will be supported by advertising and from sales at RVtravel.com’s e-commerce site RVbookstore.com. More information is available from Woodbury at Chuck@RVtravel.com.
Editor’s Note: The following column by Chuck Woodbury first appeared on www.rvtravel.com. Go there to see two short videos about an RVer and his pasttime.
David Bott sure seems like one happy guy. He travels in a 43-foot Tour Master motorcoach with his wife Brenda (a RVtravel subscriber), four friendly cats, a wall-mounted stuffed toy moose named Earl, and a flying robot that so far remains nameless. I met David and Brenda at the Family Motor Coach Association’s just-concluded rally in Indianapolis.
David is an amazing guy. He suffered a stroke five years ago at 40. At the time he owned and operated several popular online forums. If anything led to the stroke, says Brenda, it was the stress. Luckily for David, the couple lived five minutes from a hospital; David received immediate care and recovered quickly. After the stroke, they decided life was too short not to enjoy it fully. Before long, they hit the road in their motorhome. David still operates several online forums (he sold one), but he and Brenda say they pretty much run themselves.
LESS THAN A MONTH AGO, David acquired a 4.5-pound, custom made “quadcopter.” It’s the coolest device I can recall since my Marx electric train set when I was 5. It flies up and down, lands like a Mars Rover (well, sorta like one), and can zoom across the sky for up to 10 minutes at 45 miles per hour, up to 400 feet high (FAA legal limit). At the FMCA rally, David snapped aerial photos and recorded videos of the sea of motorhomes gathered at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The police showed up early on to investigate, wondering what David and his UFO were up to. They left smiling.
Wearing a pair of special goggles, David can see just what the X650 Quadcopter sees with its tiny GoPro camera. It can venture a half mile away. The device is controlled by a sophisticated computer. It’s not crash-proof, but it is crash resistant. For example, if it loses a signal from David’s hand controller, it will hover where it is, wait a few seconds and then raise up a bit to reestablish a connection. If unsuccessful, using GPS, it will return and land where it took off.
David and Brenda’s goal is to travel North America in the motorhome and shoot aerial photos and videos as they go. Coming soon: Alaska.
Because of federal regulations, David can’t fly his small aircraft for commercial purposes (such as selling aerial photographs and video). But what he can do is post them to his blog at www.OutsideOurBubble.com. I will let you know about some of his most interesting ones when he posts them. Those from Alaska should be stunning!
In this week’s newsletter, veteran RV journalist Chuck Woodbury reports that he was forced to curtail is Northwestern motorhome trek. In issue No. 525, he tells readers that he will have to return home due to some critical business matters. “I feel bad for myself, because I feel cheated. And I feel bad for you (readers) that I huffed and puffed about the trip,” Woodbury noted. To read the entire newsletter scroll down the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page and click on the RV Travel Newsletter icon.
In this week’s newsletter, long-time RV journalist Chuck Woodbury offers readers a preview of his upcoming West Coast trek. He will embark from his native Washington state and meander in his motorhome through Oregon and into Northern California. To view the entire newsletter click on the icon located on the bottom right of the RVBUSINESS.com home page.
Travel photography and rare diamond finds were on the mind of roaming RV.travel.com journalist Chuck Woodbury Saturday (Feb. 4) when he released the latest weekly issue of his RVtravel.com enewsletter, now available through a link on the lower right side of RVBUSINESS.com website’s homepage.
“A 2.44-carat diamond found at Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park has been appraised for $21,639 after it was made into a 1.06-carat, pear-shaped diamond,” reports Woodbury, who used to publish an “Out West” newspaper before transitioning a decade ago into a virtual newsletter. “The park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. On average, two diamonds are found there each day.”
With that, Woodbury invites his readers to visit him at the RVtravel.com booth at the Seattle RV Show beginning Thursday (Feb. 9).
In an effort to expand its reach, RVBUSINESS.com will be linking regularly to RVTravel.com, a popular, weekly online newsletter penned by Edmonds, Wash.-based Chuck Woodbury, a savvy industry veteran with a unique consumer-oriented view of the recreational vehicle universe (to access click box on right).
“It’s all part of an effort to widen the reach of our active website and the perspective of RV industry people who visit RVBUSINESS.com on a regular basis with regard to the consumer they serve and the things those RVers observe out there on a regular basis,” says RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “As part of our Phase II expansion initiative, it also serves to bulk up the content, depth and, to an extent, the entertainment value of our website. And Chuck Woodbury, with his wry and at-times blogger-style sense of humor and personal writing style, brings some of that to the table.”
In his first newsletter linked to RVBUSINESS.com, Woodbury takes Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) to task for its gas-price promotion.
Woodbury, who first garnered attention 20 years ago as the founder of a written-from-the-road, quarterly tabloid publication called Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as editor of the popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers. Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to his RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox. In fact, he reached his 500th issue in September. Since he tracks his site visits closely, The Weekly Herald, of Everett, Wash., reports, he says he averages 60,000 readers weekly. So, an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
For about a dozen years he’s also run RVbookstore.com. At his warehouse a few blocks from his downtown Edmonds condo, rows of shelves are stacked with books and DVDs. There’s a big spool of bubble wrap on a wall. “Orders come in all day long,” quipped Woodbury, who recently toured Iceland in a rented motorhome and, of course, wrote about it in his weekly column. “We’re no Amazon but in this field, nobody has more titles than we do.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. And Woodbury, who says he’s driven at least 200,000 miles over the years in three motorhomes, says it’s never hard to come up with new subjects to write about for his readership, which includes a wide demographic and averages people 50 to 60 years of age. “It’s an older crowd,” says Woodbury, 64. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor,” and RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury will appear on a live one-hour webcast this coming Saturday (Oct. 22) at 9 a.m., Pacific Time. Information about where to watch will appear in that day’s RVtravel.com newsletter, according to a news release.
Bunzer is the author of the highly successful manual on RV repair and maintenance, the Woodall’s RV Owner’s Handbook. His column and articles about RVing have appeared for more than 35 years in popular RV periodicals, and more recently also on his website, RVdoctor.com.
Woodbury has traveled and written about the RV lifestyle for more than three decades. His website RVtravel.com and network of blogs about RVing attract more than a quarter million RVers a month.
The two RVing personalities will talk about RV maintenance and repair and the RV lifestyle, and respond to questions from viewers who can participate via live chat. The free webcast will originate from the offices of RVbookstore.com in Edmonds, Wash.