For many years, America’s campgrounds and RV parks were simply designated areas where people could pitch their tents or park their RVs for the night. The better ones had clean restrooms and showers and a perhaps a swimming pool and a small playground and a camp store, but not much more than that.
It’s a different story today, according to a news release.
Privately owned campgrounds and RV parks are increasingly moving into the accommodations business with luxury cabins, park models and yurts with clean linens and daily maid service.
Many are also moving into the entertainment business, offering their guests a growing array of activities and special events, from weekend scavenger hunts and arts and crafts classes to Karaoke contests and live entertainment with professional entertainers.
But while the private park industry’s twin thrusts into the accommodations and entertainment businesses are proving to be very successful, these initiatives have also created a need for more and better trained park managers and support staff.
“It’s a constant struggle for our members to find the managers and support staff who have the training and experience they need to know how to deliver a top notch guest experience,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The challenge is compounded by the fact that an entire generation of private park owners who started their campgrounds and RV parks in the 1960s and 70s are now retiring and selling their parks to new owners.
“Much of the hospitality industry does not even know that hospitality, entertainment and management job opportunities exist in the private park sector, which is why we’re trying to get the word out,” Profaizer said.
ARVC has created a national job listings section on its members’ only website and the association regularly fields calls from job seekers looking for career opportunities in what the association calls “the outdoor hospitality business.”
The national association has also developed a fast track park management training program, The National School of RV Park & Campground Management, which is offered at the Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W. Va., Registration information is available at www.campgroundschool.com.
The national association has also begun to develop park management and guest service training programs through local universities, the first of which is now being offered through Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff as part of the university’s accredited Parks and Recreation Management Program.