The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has just completed a major overhaul of GoCampingAmerica.com to “help consumers easily find campgrounds and RV parks around their destinations,” according to a press release.
With its newly enhanced search function, consumers can now choose from over 90-plus campground features along with a location-based search. GoCampingAmerica.com also features photos, videos and online campground reviews by other consumers, allowing travelers to get a feel for campgrounds of interest before making reservations.
“Privately owned and operated campgrounds are more likely to offer park model cabins, yurts and other rental units to accommodate people who don’t have an RV and don’t want to sleep in a tent,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC. “We want people to know that there are other options out there and we’re making it easier to find them.”
Bambei added that while state and national parks are popular locations for camping, privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts usually offer more amenities and services, such as Wi-Fi and cable television service, as well as bigger campsites, swimming pools, game rooms and other recreation facilities. Many privately owned campgrounds also offer organized family activities and special events.
ARVC recently launched an Internet marketing campaign to promote GoCampingAmerica.com through the Frommer’s travel website as well as Travora, which operates travel information websites across the U.S. and overseas.
“We’re trying to raise the profile of GoCampingAmerica.com and let people know that there are literally thousands of campgrounds across the country that are eager for their business,” Bambei said.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) hopes to close escrow this month on 3,500 square feet of space in a professional office building in Castle Rock, Colo., according to a news release.
ARVC has offered $721,300 for the office space, which includes the entire second floor of a three-story office complex at 103 Fourth St. in Castle Rock. The second floor includes three office suites, two of which ARVC will use. The third suite is being leased by another business, which would pay ARVC more than $20,000 a year in rent.
“That’s more than enough to cover the association’s property taxes, insurance and utilities,” said ARVC Chairman David L. Berg, adding that the third suite also gives ARVC additional space for future expansion, should that ever be necessary.
ARVC is paying for the new office and various improvements to its new office space using $950,000 in net proceeds from the sale of its Virginia office, which it sold at the top of the real estate market three years ago. “We paid off the Virginia mortgage, moving expenses to Colorado, and rented space up until now, and we still have more than enough funds from the sale of the old building to pay for the new one in full,” Berg said, adding, “Not only will we have no mortgage, but we will be in a brand new building and have $20,000 of non-dues revenue from our tenant. It’s a real win-win situation.”
“The new building is just fantastic,” said ARVC Executive Committee member Michael Gelfand of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.-based Terra Vista Management Inc., whose properties include Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina in Newport Beach and Campland by the Bay in San Diego. “I think it’s a great move and is a significant upgrade that will benefit the whole organization. I wholeheartedly agree that purchasing the new office space in Castle Rock is the right thing to do.”
The Douglas County Economic Development Council has also agreed to reimburse ARVC for all of its various permitting fees in addition to allowing ARVC to put up GoCampingAmerica.com signage on the side of the building that would be visible to travelers on Interstate 25, which has over 90,000 vehicles pass by each day and cuts through Castle Rock, said ARVC Treasurer Patrick O’Neill of Camping on the Gulf in Destin, Fla.
Several ARVC board members noted that the headquarters location really doesn’t matter to most park operators, who typically only meet with ARVC representatives during the annual InSites convention and tradeshow, which is held in different cities each year.
Nor does the headquarters location matter to the association’s legislative affairs, media relations, advertising and website consultants, who conduct much of their work by phone and Internet from various offices across the country.
“So long as ARVC’s work gets done, that’s what matters to the membership,” said Michael Hobby, a board member from Moon Landing RV Park & Marina in Lake Greenwood, S.C. But having a headquarters in a location that is close to the post office, office supply stores, restaurants and other business services is helpful to ARVC’s staff members, several of whom currently reside in the greater Castle Rock area.
“The previous location we were considering in Larkspur was ideal as a vacation spot, but it’s not well suited for the association’s headquarters,” said ARVC President and CEO Linda Profaizer. “We’ve had issues with mail delivery, problems with overnight mail service, Internet access and other office-related functions that have made us come to the conclusion that we could better serve our members if we relocated our headquarters to a larger city closer to Denver.”
Gelfand said ARVC’s new office location will also be more convenient for board members, since it’s closer to Denver and between two major airports.
ARVC’s board of directors voted 18-2 earlier this year to explore new office locations in the greater Denver area after determining that the Larkspur building that the association has been renting from Jellystone Park Camp-Resort owner Ian Steyn was not the best option for the association.
Berg said ARVC’s timing in purchasing a new building now is also worthwhile, given that we’re at the bottom of the real estate market and that commercial real estate prices are the lowest they’ve been in many years. The purchase also caps a seven-year effort to find a permanent home for ARVC’s headquarters after the city of Falls Church, Va. announced plans to raze ARVC’s previous headquarters building as part of a city redevelopment effort.
ARVC’s board decided to sell its building in Falls Church after the city announced in 2003 that its redevelopment plans would include the eventual razing of the ARVC building. Rather than wait for the eventual loss of the building, the ARVC board began searching for other potential locations for the association’s headquarters.
Former ARVC Chairman Jason Sheaffer formed a nine-member task force in 2005 to establish criteria for the move and to research various headquarters options, including staying in Virginia. The task force, whose members represented the diversity of America’s campground industry, ultimately determined that Denver was the best location, citing the city’s prominent rankings for quality of life and low cost of living, ample labor supply, as well as its proximity to major highways and airports.
In April 2007, the ARVC board voted to sell the Falls Church building and to look for a location in the Denver area, with the association opting to rent a building on Ian Steyn’s campground property in Larkspur until ARVC’s board recently decided to relocate the association’s headquarters to Castle Rock. Berg said he expects ARVC to close escrow on its new headquarters building later this month.