The entire 20-member board of directors of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has voted unanimously to maintain ARVC’s existing structure, which includes cooperative and affiliated tiers of partnership with state campground associations.
“The board sent a clear message that our current structure enables us to best serve campground and RV park owners, whom they view as our ultimate customers,” Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
The unanimous vote took place March 20 in Memphis, Tenn., after a strategic task force comprised of campground industry representatives had spent more than a year studying the various relationships ARVC could have with state associations and with park owners.
As directed by the board, task force recommendations have been publicly posted on the ARVC.org website since early December for over 60 days. Subsequently, seven state associations and several ARVC members voiced their comments, which were all documented and shared at the Memphis board meeting in March.
The options under consideration included creating a direct membership structure, in which parks could join ARVC directly without having to pay dues to their state association. This option is currently available only to parks in states that are not affiliated with ARVC.
The board also considered creating a federation of state associations in which ARVC and its staff would focus their attention exclusively on the needs of state campground association executives.
But after nearly six hours of discussion, all 20 board members agreed that maintaining ARVC’s existing structure is the best option because it serves the needs of park operators as well as state campground associations.
“All three options had pros and cons that were strongly considered and vetted,” Bambei said. “Each board member was educated on the pros and cons of the three types of structures that were under consideration, and out of that vetting came a vote that was unanimous.”
The actual motion stated “that the ARVC board out of three choices elects to pursue Option No. 2 (Partnership) and to make public to the membership the reasons as to this decision.”
Deb Carter, who serves as executive director of the Maryland Association of Campgrounds and is the ARVC board representative for the affiliated and cooperating state executives, said she was pleased by the “thoroughness and clarity of the education and voting processes” and by the fact that every board member had the opportunity to voice his or her opinion or concern before casting their vote.
“For me, I think the best part of that was the fact that everybody felt free to speak and everybody’s opinion was respected and discussed,” Carter said. “There were no hidden agendas. It had nothing to do with state or national associations. It really had to do with what’s right for our members.”
Carter also sent an e-mail to members of the Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP) notifying them of the unanimous vote and of the need for ARVC to maintain its current relationship structure with state associations. “I believe that the current form is so far improved from a couple of years ago that we need to give it more time to mature and become more solid and fair to all involved,” she wrote.
ARVC Chairman Rob Schutter, for his part, said he was pleased with the outcome of the vote. “I think the significance of the vote is that it underscores everyone’s desire to maintain relationships with state associations that are out there and established,” he said.
“It truly is a partnership, and it brings the question down the road of how valuable it is to affiliate with ARVC,” said board member Garry Cole, noting that the entire industry has benefited from ARVC’s work on the ADA pool lift issue.
Former ARVC Chairman David L. Berg also noted that maintaining the existing structure puts the onus on ARVC to produce results. “I believe that we need to continue our structure as is and show value to our state execs and members,” he said.
During their Memphis meeting, ARVC’s board also voted to lower the threshold required for states to have a “cooperative” relationship status with ARVC. Under the previous bylaws, 60% of a state campground association’s members had to also be ARVC members for a state to have “cooperative” relationship with ARVC. Under the bylaw change approved in Memphis, state associations can now become cooperative members if 50% of their members are also ARVC members.
In cooperative relationships, ARVC shares 10% of the membership dues it collects from parks with their state association. States that are affiliated with ARVC receive 20% of the membership dues ARVC collects.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and the ARVC Foundation announce the first Spring Seminar Series as an extension to its already popular Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo held in November and the National School of RV Park and Campground Management held in February.
The first Spring Seminar will be held May 16-17 in Denver.
“We’ve scheduled the series mid-week so that campground operators can get back to their parks in time to prepare for the weekend,” Barb Youmans, ARVC’s senior director of membership and education, stated in a news release. “Seminars will end at 2 p.m. on Thursday, making it easy to catch an evening flight.”
ARVC’s Spring Seminar Series features nine seminars:
• “Protecting Your Park From Perils” with Mark Maciha of Northern Arizona University. As part of this seminar, park operators will fill out a needs assessment that helps them determine areas of potential risk in their campgrounds. Maciha will work with park operators to develop a plan to reduce health and safety risks in their parks.
• “Happy Campers,” a seminar that teaches park operators how to communicate expectations to staff and ensure that those expectations are met every day so that guests achieve the highest levels of customer service.
• “Business Cents” with Mary Arlington of MMCC Inc. Arlington will help park operators learn how to optimize customer satisfaction within the business capabilities of their organization and develop a plan to achieve needed business modifications that are identified in the session.
• “Risky Business,” a session that helps park operators learn how to implement effective risk management practices.
• “Great Expectations” with Ron Williams of Travel Resorts of America. This session will teach park operators how to set standards for their business as well as how to monitor and maintain service levels.
• “The Social Stampede” with Barb Krumm and Rachel Beckerman of Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C. This session provides basic instruction in Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Park operators will learn how to use these tools and incorporate them into their business strategy.
• “Cash Cow” with Bud Styers and Associates and Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi, Wis. Styer will teach park operators how to identify creative ways to raise revenue by providing additional services, activities and products.
• “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions,” a seminar that helps park operators assess the various technologies that are available to help them attract more business. This session will show park operators how to make the best decisions for their business.
• “Let’s Go Shopping” with Janine Roberts of Tradavo, a wholesale supplier of foods, beverages and sundries to small format retailers. Park operators will learn how to manage the retail space they have while creating an appealing atmosphere and making more money.
Registration includes all seminars and materials, as well as, breakfast and lunch both days. Discounts are available for those who register before March 31. Special lodging rates are available for seminar participants at the Embassy Suites Denver Tech Center. For more information, visit www.arvc.org/seminarSeriesMain.aspx or call the ARVC Education Department at (303) 681-0401, Ext. 118.
Tucson, Ariz., RV park owner George O’Leary is putting the finishing touches on $1 million worth of improvements at his two Rincon Country RV Resorts, according to a press release.
“You would not believe the number of people who have complimented us,” said O’Leary, who recently resurfaced the roads and completed other cosmetic improvements to his two Rincon Country parks.
While the improvements have yet to translate into increased business for his two parks, O’Leary says it is imperative for RV park and resort operators in Tucson and across the Sunbelt to continually make improvements to their facilities if they want to continue to attract today’s snowbirds.
“I remember when we opened our first Rincon Country park in 1970,” O’Leary said. “Our first renters were World War One retirees and Depression Era campers – a very frugal and easy to please group of people.”
Today’s snowbirds, however, are increasingly looking for high-quality amenities , which means park operators have to continually upgrade facilities if they want to retain or expand their marketshare.
“We are continuously improving the appearance and modernization of our resorts,” O’Leary said. “Quite often when folks drive into our parks, they say to us, ‘This looks like a new park.’ They are surprised to learn that Rincon County East opened for business in 1979 and Rincon West in 1984.”
In addition to making cosmetic improvements, O’Leary has also hired a new activities director for each resort and expanded his parks’ offering of activities, including classes and professional live entertainment, including comedy shows, celebrity impersonators and musical entertainment. Classes include arts and crafts, woodcarving, pottery and ceramics as well as lapidary and silversmithing. The resorts also offer periodic seminars on health related topics as well as potlucks, wine tastings, dances and other social events.
For more information about Rincon Country RV Resorts, please visit the resorts’ websites at www.rinconcountry.com. Both resorts are affiliated with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the Denver-based trade association that representatives the outdoor hospitality industry that markets campgrounds, RV parks and resorts through its website at www.GoCampingAmerica.com.
The National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) is holding its 2011 national conference this week at Custer State Park in South Dakota.
NASPD’s event takes on added significance this year because members will be voting on a proposal to extend full NASPD membership to the National Association of RV parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The NASPD vote comes on the heels of an agreement announced July 8 to extend free membership in ARVC to NASPD members on a trial basis for the remainder of this year.
The NASPD members will discuss ARVC state park memberships today between 10 a.m. and noon Mountain Time.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) officially moved into their new headquarters building located at 9085 E. Mineral Circle, Suite 200, Centennial, Colo., in April without incident.
The new headquarters is in a professional office-park development called Panorama Falls and is located 10 miles from downtown Denver, within 35 miles of the Denver International Airport and easily accessible via all major highways, ARVC stated.
The building purchase was a wise business decision, according to Patrick O’Neill, CPO, and ARVC board member.
“The honeymoon of our new CEO Bambei and his ingenious idea to make an offer on a property that was not for sale got us the right deal at the right time,” he said. “We went from a rural ‘bears in the backyard’ log home setting to an urban office space that is ‘just the right size’ for our needs. The Centennial location will provide a high energy location that is befitting of the new ARVC direction, efficiency and the challenges ahead of us.”
Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), discusses his first three months on the job and the importance of marketing in a video provided by ARVC. Click here to watch the entire 25-minute interview with industry writer and publicist Evanne Schmarder.
June is National Great Outdoors Month, which is a wonderful time to enjoy fun outdoor activities with family and friends.
And this year, private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated withGoCampingAmerica.com will celebrate the occasion by offering a 20% discount on camping during the first three weeks of June, according to a news release.
“We think National Great Outdoors Month is a perfect opportunity for America’s campground industry to encourage everyone to get outdoors, explore nature and have fun with their friends and families,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The Denver, Colo.-based association represents more than 3,300 private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, which it promotes through the GoCampingAmerica.com website.
In addition to providing discounts on camping, GoCampingAmerica.com will also provide e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World stores and RV rentals booked through El Monte RV, which has agreed to provide 500 free miles plus 50 free miles a day to GoCampingAmerica visitors who rent an RV for at least one week during the June 1-25 period.
GoCampingAmerica.com will feature e-coupons for use at campgrounds, Camping World stores and El Monte RV beginning May 15. However, the discounts will be available June 1-25. Campground discounts will be available only at participating parks and on a space-available basis.
“We encourage campers to use GoCampingAmerica.com to locate the campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are of interest to them and to call at least 24 hours ahead to book their reservations,” Bambei said.
GoCampingAmerica.com is the largest searchable database of privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in the country, which offer fun family activities as well as rental accommodations ranging from safari tents and teepees to cabins, luxury park model cottages, yurts and RVs.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. For additional information, visit www.gocampingamerica.com.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is bringing new camping customers and new business to the nation’s RV parks and campgrounds with its June campaign, “Get Outdoors & Go Camping America…It’s Easy!” promotion set for June 1 – 25.
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage young families to go camping during the month of June, Great Outdoors Month, using GoCampingAmerica.com (GCA) coupons for discounts on all things camping and to document their camping experience on video for a chance to win a grand prize, according to a news release.
The web promotion page on GoCampingAmerica.com is not active until May 15.
For more information on the campaign and for a peak at the 20% off GCA park stay coupon, visit: www.arvc.org/june.aspx.
ARVC will be using social media, viral video, marketing efforts and media outreach to drive traffic to GoCampingAmerica.com where consumers can download various offers for discounts on camping. ARVC will be offering a 20% off coupon for all GCA/ARVC member parks. In addition, companies like Camping World, Coleman, El Monte RV, etc. are participating by offering discounts as well. Consumers will be able to download these coupons and try out camping, hopefully becoming repeat customers at your park.
The coupon states that it is only valid June 1 – June 25. It also states that it’s only accepted at participating parks and that the consumer must call the park at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation. The guest may use the coupon for up to a seven-night stay at your park during that time frame, but they can not use the coupon on an existing reservation.
More information will be available on the video contest portion as the campaign gets closer.
Editor’s Note: The following column by Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), appears in the April issue of the ARVC Report. It concerns a program for ARVC’s more than 3,000 members but has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on all campgrounds, both public and private, across North America, as well as the nation’s RV manufacturers and dealers.
Members will soon be seeing ARVC’s first national campaign aimed at young American families come to life as several promotional components are beginning to fall into place.
Kera Tomlin, ARVC director of marketing, has done a terrific job writing the campaign’s marketing plan – which we are sharing in presentations at the spring state association meetings and conferences where ARVC staff has been invited to speak.
Our general strategy is to use two forms of video media to reach a vast audience:
- The Outdoor Channel, which has a potential U.S. audience-reach of 35 million outdoor enthusiasts (referred to as “narrowcast audience.”
- YouTube, the video medium of choice by the younger generation.
The message being delivered to the mass audience by these two media outlets will be consistent – “family camping is easy” (and a cost-effective way to vacation). Industry research has shown that less than 11% of the significant, under-40 age segment of the population owns their own RV and of these, only 1% of those under age 26 are RV owners.
Hence, the creative television and internet video marketing we’ll be deploying will invite viewers to try the convenience of rental RVs, hassle-free cabins or other types of park rental lodging or just pure and simple tent camping. Most importantly, we want families to get outdoors and experience one of the many alternate forms of camping available at our member parks.
The viewing audience will be directed to GoCampingAmerica.com. This consumer site is currently undergoing some major renovations, making it more consumerinteractive and also improving the search methodology to direct visitors to your park. To ensure your listing is as updated and current as possible, over the next two months we are proactively calling every ARVC member in our database as part of this website enhancement. Please allow us the required 15-20 minutes of your time when your call comes.
Once on the GCA website, visitors will be directed to a new GoCampingAmerica “promotion area” which will incent them to take advantage of special pricing, again, designed to make the camping experience easy and cost-effective. We have specifically chosen the campaign period of June 1-25 – typically considered a slower, just-getting-warmed-up, early summer shoulder season for most campgrounds – when site nights need to be filled.
The campaign avoids the last week of June leading up to the busy July 4th weekend.
The online campaign e-coupon available during the promotion offers our target market a 20% multiple stay discount for up to seven nights during the campaign. We particularly hope to drive business during the often-difficult to fill Monday-Thursday period via this offer. To make the deal even more compelling, we are partnering with several nationally recognized RV rental companies to offer fantastic rental discount coupons on our website promotion page.
While this campaign includes many variables that apply to the majority of campgrounds, we realize some park owners may not want or need the business during early June and for this reason, you can simply opt-out of the consumer offer being made from the website.
Finally, there is a huge public relations component to this campaign that will drive awareness and create some great local publicity for ARVC members. Under the guidance of CAMP state executives Rick Abare, CPO (Maine) and Don Bennett, CPO (New York), and working closely with sister associations like Derrick Crandall’s American Recreation Coalition (ARC) as well as ARVC’s own PR consultant, Jeff Crider, there are now 22 states/state executives that are committed to participating in the Great Outdoors publicity initiative.
Coinciding with the June 1-25 promotion and especially during the Obama Administration’s proclaimed “Great Outdoors Day” June 11-12 weekend, participating states will be involved in their own flavor of publicity-attracting events, including several who plan to demonstrate the wonderful world of camping on the grounds of their state capitals.
So now for the big question…will it all work? To me, that depends on several things. For instance, if a majority of ARVC member parks/associations get behind this project, that’s success in itself. There’s always a feeling of accomplishment whenever our associations and mutual members work together for the common good. Getting families outdoors, experiencing all our special brand of outdoor hospitality has to offer is certainly a win as well.
What about the good that could come in the form of new business? I look at site rentals as “perishable” commodities. If folks aren’t renting sites in your park, those rental opportunities are lost and can never be recouped. As a result, one of our main goals at ARVC is to help you seize this business opportunity by bringing customers to your doorstep that might normally never experience your business. In other words, we want to help you reach 100% capacity as often as possible, with you standing at the cash register adjusting for when and when not to take advantage.
The beauty of promotional marketing is that it builds on itself. The more our message is pushed into the marketplace, the more it gets seen and heard, and eventually, the more often it gets acted upon. Our marketing strategy is to develop four of these campaigns throughout the year, all with the goal of shoring up soft, shoulder periods when most parks need help.
Clearly, marketing isn’t the only value behind ARVC membership. There are many others in the form of government advocacy and industry education, however, in the months and years ahead, our promise is to make ARVC marketing value so obvious, you’ll see ARVC membership as the best investment you can make in your business.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) plans to retain one of the most reputable law firms in the country to handle its government relations work.
ARVC’s Public Affairs Committee, which reviewed the proposals, gave unanimous support of the recommendation on Wednesday (March 23) to retain the Washington, D.C., law firm of McDermott Will & Emery after concluding an extensive two-month RFP process that generated several proposals from government affairs firms across the country, according to a news release.
“The committee was impressed with both the depth and caliber of the proposals we received. But after reviewing each of the proposals, McDermott Will & Emery clearly stood out as the firm that would best meet ARVC’s needs,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
McDermott Will & Emery will replace McLean, Va.-based King & Gorin, which has worked as ARVC’s government affairs lobbyist for the past decade. “On behalf of ARVC, I want to thank Aubrey King and David Gorin for their dedication and many years of service. They will be missed on many levels, “ said Bambei.
Bambei said McDermott Will & Emery, which is both an established lobby and legal concern with deep research and analytical resources, will begin working for ARVC on May 1. Its initial assignments will include assessment of key national issues affecting ARVC and the outdoor hospitality industry, as well as strategically re-establishing a National Issues Conference involving key face-to-face meetings between ARVC members and their elected officials on the Hill.
Additionally, because of its six-office reach throughout the U.S., the firm will be asked to closely monitor and assist ARVC in assessing the many state issues that affect the association.
Initially founded as a tax practice in Chicago in 1934, McDermott Will & Emery has grown to become the 33rd largest law firm in the world, with more than 1,000 lawyers in the United States and Europe. Its client base includes more than 82% of Fortune 100 firms and 33% of the Forbes 100 Largest Private Companies. The firm has been recognized as a leader in 25 practice areas. Its specialties include environmental law, government strategies, labor and employment, employee benefits and pensions, corporate law, antitrust and competition, safety and health, as well as state and local tax issues. More information about the firm is available at www.mwe.com.