“March Madness” takes on a different connotation for the campground industry, as the month by default has evolved into an unofficial jumping off point to prepare for the summer season.
Woodall’s Campground Management reports that at least 12 established state associations, headed by the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO), will assemble during the month to review plans for the coming year, to spend time at educational seminars and attend vendor trade shows and expos.
Add in the Northeast Campground Association’s (NCA) 10-state Northeast Conference on Camping in Sturbridge, Mass., that occurs the same week as a bevy of meetings for franchisees of Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) and you have a very busy month.
WACO Convention – Biggest of Them All
Nothing is busier than the WACO convention, set for March 20-24 in Stevens Point, Wis. The convention will outdraw the national conference in terms of campgrounds and vendors. WACO Executive Director Lori Severson anticipates attendance will top 600.
Special speakers include ARVC CEO Paul Bambei, who will address the luncheon on March 21, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who will speak at the banquet that evening. A number of state officials and outdoors representatives also are booked to address the massed audience and in smaller seminars.
Veteran campground consultant Bud Styer of Bud Styer & Associates, Lodi, Wis., and a WACO board member is a big booster of the WACO convention. “We have the largest trade show in the country,” Styer told Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM). “The ARVC show has 117 vendors. We average 195. And in 2013, we’ll have 50,000 more square feet. Our hope is to have 250 vendors by March. We’ve invited all our neighbors (parks in neighboring states).
“They have shows, yet the vendors only have one thing on their mind: they want buyers in front of them who are ready to buy,” added Styers. “We’ve designed our show so that we want our people to come with trucks and trailers prepared to buy things and haul them home. We want our vendors to have show specials and understand our people are here to buy. So give us a great product and give us a great price and everybody wins.”
To read the entire article on Woodall’s Campground Management click here.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is making affordable medical, dental and vision plans available to its members, which can be purchased as packages or on a la carte basis.
“The ARVC Health care Program offers significant discounts,” said Jennifer Schwartz, ARVC’s senior director of marketing communications and partnerships.
According to a press release, the ARVC Health Insurance Program is being administered by Warrenville, Ill.-based JBLG Health, the nation’s largest health insurance provider for business and trade associations. Key coverages and benefits include:
• Premium savings.
• A wide variety of choices for coverage from HSAs to PPOs for members, their employees or family.
• A shrinking deductible – a 20% deductible credit each year you do not meet your deductible.
• 10% healthy member discount and preferred rates.
• Optional free Health Savings Account.
• Optional PPO or traditional health plan with extensive networks.
• Plans with a $20, $25, $30 or $40 co-pay for doctor visits.
• Wellness benefits and Prescription Drug Card.
• Worldwide coverage, 24-hours a day.
• Enhanced wellness benefits based on PPACA Guidelines effective Sept. 23, 2010.
• Tele-Express, phone application – no paper applications to complete.
• Dental Insurance available with or without medical.
• Vision Insurance available with or without medical.
• Critical Illness coverage available that pays a cash benefit directly to you.
• Disability coverage available up to with a benefit of up to $15,000 per month.
Some insurance plan features are subject to state availability and may not be available to all ARVC members. To learn more about the options available to lower your health insurance costs and maintain comprehensive coverage, visit www.arvchealthplans.com for an instant online rate or call (888) 624-5891.
Forty-two campgrounds, RV parks and resorts earned all around “A” grades in the fourth annual consumer satisfaction survey of campgrounds, RV parks and resorts.
According to a press release, the top parks were announced during the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, which took place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
More than 30,000 camping and RV enthusiasts participated in the online survey, which evaluated guest experiences at 3,200 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated with ARVC.
“Consistently earning an overall ‘A’ grade from guests is difficult, and our 42 winners this year represent less than 2% of all of the nation’s campgrounds. But what is even more impressive is that 9 of this year’s winners have also received this award for five years in a row,” said Bob MacKinnon, president and CEO of GuestReviews.com, the Murrieta, Calif.-based company that conducted the online survey on behalf of ARVC.
“Consumers should take the time to check out the ratings that are posted for each campground on GoCampingAmerica.com because it is the quickest way to tell which parks are best meeting – and exceeding – guest expectations,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO.
The 42 parks earning “A” grades this year are listed below. They include:
• Acres of Wildlife Campground in Steep Falls, Maine, a four-time “A” grade winner, www.acresofwildlife.com
• Anaheim Resort RV Park, Anaheim, Calif., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.anaheimresortrvpark.com
• Ashland Resort, Northfork, W.V., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.atvresort.com
• Beaver Dam Campground, Berwick, Me., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.beaverdamcampground.com
• Buffalo Lake Camping Resort, Montello, Wis., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.buffalolakecamping.com
• Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Penn., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.buttonwoodcamp.com
• Camp A Way, Lincoln, Neb., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.campaway.com
• Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park, Nathrop, Colo. a four-time “A” grade winner, www.chalkcreek-campground.com
• Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Md., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.cherryhillpark.com
• Cross Creek Camping Resort, Delaware, Ohio, a two-time “A” grade winner, www.alumcreek.com
• Custer State Park, Custer, S.D., a first-time “A” grade winner, http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/
• D & W Lake Camping and RV Park, Champaign, Ill., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.dwlake.com
• Dogwood Acres Campground, Newville, Penn., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.dogwoodcamping.com
• Far Horizons 49er Village RV Resort, Plymouth, Calif., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.49ervillage.com
• Gettysburg Campground, Gettysburg, Penn., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.gettysburgcampground.com
• Kalyumet Camping & Cabins, Lucinda, Penn., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.kalyumet.com
• Lake George RV Park, Lake George, N.Y., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.lakegeorgervpark.com
• Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nev., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.lasvegasrvresort.com
• Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, Yankton, S.D., a first-time “A” grade winner, http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/lewis-and-clark/
• Magnolia RV Park & Campground, Kinards, S.C., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.magnoliarvparksc.com
• Meadowcliff Lodge & RV Resort, Coleville, Calif., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.meadowcliff.com
• Misty River Cabins & RV Resort, Walland, Tenn., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.mistyriverrv.com
• Moose River Campground, Saint Johnsbury, Vt., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.mooserivercampground.com
• Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Penn., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.mtnvistacampground.com
• Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Myrtle Beach, S.C., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.myrtlebeachtravelpark.com
• Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Myrtle Beach, S.C., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.oceanlakes.com
• Pioneer Campground, Laporte, Penn., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.pioneercampground.com
• Pismo Coast Village RV Resort, Pismo Beach, Calif., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.pismocoastvillage.com
• Pontchartrain Landing, New Orleans, La., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.pontchartrainlanding.com
• Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport, Me., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.redapplecampground.com
• Rivers Edge Campground, Connellsville, Penn., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.campriversedge.com
• Shadow Hills RV Resort, Indio, Calif., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.shadowhillsrvresort.com
• Snowy Peaks RV Park, Buena Vista, Colo., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.southhavenfamilycg.com
• South Haven Family Campground, South Haven, Mich., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.southhavenfamilycg.com
• Sunny Brook RV Resort, South Haven, Mich., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.sunnybrookrvresort.com
• The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course, Borrego Springs, Calif., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.springsatborrego.com
• The Vineyards Campground & Cabins, Grapevine, Texas, a five-time “A” grade winner, www.vineyardscampground.com
• West Canada Creek Campsites, Poland, N.Y., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.westcanadacreekcampsites.com
• Willow Tree Resort, Longs, S.C., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.willowtreerv.com
• Wine Country RV Resort, Paso Robles, Calif., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.winecountryrvresort.com
• Wishon Village RV Park, Shaver Lake, Calif., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.wishonvillage.com
• Yellowstone Holiday Campground, West Yellowstone, Mont., a two-time “A” grade winner, www.yellowstoneholiday.com
The GuestReviews online survey program was launched early in 2008 and has become the most widely utilized benefit program for ARVC members.
Consumers are invited to submit their own reviews for any ARVC member campground or RV resort that they have recently visited by finding the park’s page on www.GoCampingAmerica.com and clicking on the “Reviews” tab. Previous guests’ comments and ratings are posted on this park’s page along with a review submission form.
For more information about the online survey program, please contact Bob MacKinnon of GuestReviews.com at (877) 707-7080 as well as Jake Poterbin of ARVC at (303) 681-0401. Also visit www.GuestReviews.com and www.GoCampingAmerica.com.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) recognized the achievements of top private park operators, state associations and industry volunteers during its annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo last week in Las Vegas.
According to a press release, “Park of the Year” awards were given to RV parks and resorts based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service. Winners included:
• Small Park of the Year: The Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine, Texas.
• Medium Park of the Year: Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in Mission, Texas.
• Large Park of the Year: Holly Shores Camping Resort in Cape May, N.J.
• Mega Park of the Year: Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna, Va.
Parks that made exemplary efforts to become environmentally friendly received ARVC’s “Plan-It-Green” award. The winners included:
• A tie in the small/medium park category between River’s End Campground & RV Park in Tybee Island, Ga. and Cypress Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
• Sun N Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla. received the award in the mega-park category.
Marketing awards were presented to state campground associations that produced the best statewide campground directories. Marketing award recipients included:
• Medium State Association category: Missouri Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
• Large State Association category: Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Top-performing state campground association executives were also recognized, including:
• State Executive Director of the Year: Bobby Cornwell from the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
• State President of the Year: Jimmy Felton from the Tennessee Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
Mark Anderson of Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort in Stow, N.Y., received The Stan Martin Memorial Award, which recognizes RV park and resort operators who serve as role models for their peers in the industry through their exceptional volunteerism.
Herb Strauss of Papoose Pond Resort & Campground in Waterford, Maine received the Pioneer Award, which recognizes campground industry pioneers.
The Supplier of the Year award was given to Lucas Hartford of Lewiston, Maine-based Evergreen USA, a leading provider of campground insurance since 1989.
Donald Bennett Jr., president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York (CONY), reports the association held a successful and informative 49th annual Exposition for the Outdoor Hospitality Industry. The event was held Nov. 1-3 at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark in Queensbury, N.Y.
According to a press release, attendees represented 65 campgrounds from across New York State, with several being first-time attendees as new park operators or representing parks in development.
According to Bennett in a CONY news release, the exposition, which also featured a trade show, was jammed with many timely educational seminars and presentations. “We really covered a lot of ground in terms of topics of interest to CONY park owners, managers and staff, ranging from CPR certification to campground accounting, to tips on influencing legislators,” notes Bennett. “Some sessions were so engaging for our members, they ran over time with questions from attendees.”
One of the most highly anticipated and informative events was a general session given by Bill Botten of the U.S. Access Board, regarding the Architectural Barriers Act and Accessibilities Guidelines, as advocated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
CONY also unveiled a new session entitled, “CONY 101.” Bennett and CONY board chairman Mike Papp introduced to new, prospective and long-term members to everything they need to know about interacting with CONY and getting the most out of their membership. Topics included organization history, structure and mission, as well as CONY’s services and benefits programs and marketing opportunities.
In addition, the slate of officers and directors for the 2012-2013 year were elected and sworn in during the annual membership meeting on Nov. 3. Gregg Nicholls of Lake Bluff Campground moves up from third vice chairman to second vice chairman. Rob Kaiser of Medina/Wildwood Lake KOA moves up from Region 2 director to third vice chairman. Nina Latello of Sleepy Hollow Lake Campground takes over as Region 2 director.
Laurie Bulluck of Rainbow Shows Campsites & Motel steps down from her position as second vice chairwoman on the CONY board of directors.
Honored during the awards banquet were:
- Janine Paddock, Deer River Campsites: Janine was the 15th member inducted into the CONY Hall of Fame.
- Laurie Bulluck, Rainbow Shores Campsites & Motel: Recipient of the Chairman’s Award for dedicated service to CONY and its mission.
- Matt Anderson, Camp Chautauqua: Honored for his leadership in organizing the Camp Good Days fundraiser, and for his campground’s efforts to raise $11,400 for the charity.
- Copake KOA: CONY marketing award winner for best website design.
- Lake George RV Park: CONY marketing award for best simple brochure.
- Rainbow Shows Campsites & Motel: CONY marketing award for best mailer piece.
- New York State Senator Elizabeth “Betty” Little: Recognized with a plaque for her friendship and championship of the outdoor hospitality industry in her role as a legislator. Senator Little is chairperson of the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation committee for the NYS Senate.
Paul Bambei made some persuasive arguments during his presentation at the Twin States Campground Conference on why campground owners in Vermont and New Hampshire should join the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
But, according to a Woodall’s Campground Management report, how many owners decide to join the national association after the ARVC CEO spoke to about three dozen of them on Nov. 10 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vt., remains to be seen.
“He gave a very strong sales pitch for the benefits of ARVC membership,” said Peter Daniels, executive director of the Vermont Campground Association (VCA). “He gave a lot of examples of large discounts for ARVC members. The music licensing was the biggest.”
As he has done at various state and industry meetings this fall, Bambei told his audience that ARVC is creating unprecedented exclusive value for its members. For example, its new music-licensing program that covers the three major licensors (BMI, ASCAP and SESAC) provides enough savings to offset the cost of ARVC dues next year, Bambei noted.
For parks with less than 50 sites, the annual license savings will total $686. For parks with 50 to 200 sites, the annual savings will total $871. For parks with 201 to 400 sites, the savings will total $973 and for parks with 401 or more sites, the savings will be $1,165.
The deadline to realize these savings for the 2013 season is Nov. 30.
“Several of the newer members indicated that is something they should look into,” Daniels continued, while not offering hard numbers on how many might join the national association.
To read the entire article click here.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has negotiated deals with American Society of Asset Protection (ASAP), Ecolab Inc., Moen Inc. and RVBackgroundChecks.com. Each offers substantial product and service discounts to ARVC members and is available immediately.
“We continue to add value for our members and these past few months have really shown it, especially with our selection of member benefit providers,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC membership director, adding that 2012 has been one of the most successful years for member benefit provider growth.
The substantial savings include 20% off a flat fee from ASAP, approximately 41% average savings on Ecolab products and similar savings with Moen products. RVBackgroundchecks.com will offer members special prices on a variety of services and offers a complimentary background check to all ARVC members.
ASAP can help ARVC members structure their businesses for lawsuit protection and prevention, while also reducing liability insurance costs, minimizing taxes and creating estate and business succession plans.
Ecolab is a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies and services to an array of markets, including the hospitality industry. It will offer ARVC members special prices on 30-plus products.
A leading manufacturer of faucets, Moen becomes the first ARVC member benefit provider in the plumbing services and supplies category and offers its discount on all Moen faucets.
Finally, RVBackgroundChecks.com becomes the second member benefit provider in the staffing, recruiting and training category. Services offered for special prices include access to a national criminal database, statewide databases, county court criminal searches, credit reports, employee verifications and drug screens.
To find out more information about each member benefit provider, visit www.arvc.org, sign in, and go to the Member Benefit Providers section. There, visitors will have access to the company’s contact information and a listing of the specific products that qualify for the special ARVC member discounts.
Three of the four new member benefit providers will be present at the upcoming 2012 ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), including Moen, ASAP and Ecolab. This year’s conference will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Despite omnipresent forest fires in the West that rousted countless campers, record drought across much of the U.S. that dried up recreational lakes, ponds and rivers and a late-summer hurricane in the Gulf, the summer camping season that limped along in many areas seemed to finish on a positive note.
That’s one take on how business is evolving, based on reports gathered by Woodall’s Campground Management.
The two biggest names in camping, Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), franchisor of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, each reported seasonal upturns.
Advanced reservations for the 2012 Labor Day Weekend holiday were about 2.5% ahead of the same period in 2011 according to KOA, the world’s largest system of family-oriented campgrounds.
In fact, KOA was running more than 2% ahead of 2011 year-to-date in the number of short-term camper nights in the system as the summer ended.
Even with the unusual camping patterns caused by a Wednesday, July 4 holiday, we continue to have a very strong summer camping season,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “Campers continue to show their love for our Deluxe Camping Cabins, which were up nearly 17 percent in camper nights last week alone. Our campground owners continue to add Deluxe Cabins and other amenities to their inventories, and that is exactly what our campers are looking for.”
KOA’s advanced reservations for the rest of the summer were still running more than 5.5% ahead of the same period in 2011.
Overall, on a same-campground basis, revenues are up about 4.5% over 2011, he said.
Meanwhile, at LSI, same-park revenue was up a little over 9% through the end of August compared to the same time last year, reported Rob Schutter Jr., LSI president and COO. Occupancy was up around 4%.
Like at KOA, “rental units continued to be the main driving force behind the increased occupancies at the parks,” Schutter said, showing a 12% increase in park model lodge and cabin occupancies over last year.
Parks that offer RV rentals, typically travel trailers, reported a whopping 80% increase over a year ago, he added.
To read the entire article in Woodall’s Campground Management click here.
Best Parks in America announced the addition of four new affiliated resorts situated in “strategic locations” across the U.S., according to a press release.
The new affiliates are Elite Resorts at Citrus Valley, Orlando, Fla.; Strawberry Park, Preston, Conn.; Far Horizons 49er Village in Plymouth, Calif., and Far Horizons Tucson Village RV Resort in Tucson, Ariz.
“Four parks in four corners of the U.S. are terrific,” said David Gorin, Best Parks founder and president. “Best Parks in America is thrilled to add a park in one of the nation’s leading tourist towns, Orlando, Fla. Adding first Best Park affiliates in Connecticut and northern California and a new park in Tucson is a giant step forward for the Best Parks network.”
He added, “We hope these new Best Parks will catch the attention of park owners in other key markets and that this is the vanguard of a wave of new network affiliates in key destination areas.”
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.