Twenty-seven campgrounds, RV parks and resorts earned all-around “A” grades in the sixth annual consumer satisfaction survey of campgrounds, RV parks and resorts.
According to a press release, the top parks were announced last week during the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ (ARVC) annual Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, which took place at the Knoxville Convention Center.
More than 30,000 camping and RV enthusiasts participated in the online survey, which evaluated guest experiences at more than 3,000 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated with ARVC campgrounds.
“Consistently earning an overall ‘A’ grade from guests is difficult, and our 27 winners this year represent less than 2% of all of the nation’s campgrounds. But what is even more impressive is that four of this year’s winners have also received this award for six 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 27 parks earning “A” grades this year are listed below. They include:
• Anaheim Resort RV Park, Anaheim, Calif., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.anaheimresortrvpark.com.
• Ashland Resort, Northfork, W. Va., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.atvresort.com.
• AtRivers Edge RV Resort, Brookings, Ore., a first-time “A” grade winner, http://www.atriversedge.com.
• Beaver Dam Campground, Berwick, Maine., a second-time “A” grade winner, www.beaverdamcampground.com.
• Camp A Way, Lincoln, Neb., a third-time “A” grade winner, www.campaway.com.
• Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Md., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.cherryhillpark.com.
• D & W Lake Camping and RV Park, Champaign, Ill., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.dwlake.com.
• Far Horizons 49er Village RV Resort, Plymouth, Calif., a second-time “A” grade winner, www.49ervillage.com.
• Kalyumet Camping & Cabins, Lucinda, Pa., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.kalyumet.com.
• Lake George RV Park, Lake George, N.Y., a six-time “A” grade winner, www.lakegeorgervpark.com.
• Las Vegas RV Resort, Las Vegas, Nev., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.lasvegasrvresort.com.
• Leaf Verde RV Resort, Buckeye, Ariz., a first-time “A” grade winner, www.leafverde.com.
• Meadowcliff Lodge & RV Resort, Coleville, Calif., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.meadowcliff.com.
• Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort, Canton, Texas, a five-time “A” grade winner, www.millcreekranchresort.com.
• Misty River Cabins & RV Resort, Walland, Tenn., a six-time “A” grade winner, www.mistyriverrv.com.
• Moose River Campground, Saint Johnsbury, Vt., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.mooserivercampground.com.
• Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Pa., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.mtnvistacampground.com.
• Pioneer Campground, Laporte, Pa., a six-time “A” grade winner, www.pioneercampground.com.
• Pismo Coast Village RV Resort, Pismo Beach, Calif., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.pismocoastvillage.com.
• Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport, Me., a five-time “A” grade winner, www.redapplecampground.com.
• Rivers Edge Campground, Connellsville, Pa., a second-time “A” grade winner, www.campriversedge.com.
• Shadow Hills RV Resort, Indio, Calif., a second-time “A” grade winner, www.shadowhillsrvresort.com.
• The Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Golf Course, Borrego Springs, Calif., a four-time “A” grade winner, www.springsatborrego.com.
• The Vineyards Campground & Cabins, Grapevine, Texas, a six-time “A” grade winner, www.vineyardscampground.com.
• Wine Country RV Resort, Paso Robles, Calif., a second-time “A” grade winner, www.winecountryrvresort.com.
• Wishon Village RV Park, Shaver Lake, Calif., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.wishonvillage.com.
• Yellowstone Holiday Campground, West Yellowstone, Mont., a three-time “A” grade winner, www.yellowstoneholiday.com.
It’s not entirely the money that keeps family campgrounds in business, according to Barb Krumm, president of the Carolina Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
“How often do you meet the people in the hotel room next to you? Do you even want to? In a campground, just pop the hood of your truck and all your neighbors will come over to see if they can help,” she said, relating a view that the co-founder of the campground she runs in Myrtle Beach, S.C., often expresses.
“I guess the owners and operators are like our guests,” Krumm said. “It’s about the relationships.”
The Star News, Wilmington, N.C., reported that plenty of families have had the chance to sell their land to developers, especially those perched on prime waterfront property. Some waterfront campgrounds have succumbed to the pressure, but a few that have hung on are adamant the land will stay what it has been for generations.
There are fewer than 10 listings for waterfront campgrounds in Southeastern North Carolina.
Lynda Wiggins, 47, the manager of Lanier’s campground in Pender County, said her owner is old school. The campground sits on the Intracoastal Waterway near Surf City.
“The owner says it’s still a place where middle-class people can go,” she said.
Others agree. No amount of money could wrest the land from them.
“This has been and always will remain a campground,” said Seamist Camping Resort manager Dottie O’Donnell. The camp borders Waterway Campground in Brunswick County, on the Intracoastal Waterway across from Ocean Isle Beach.
Krumm said the family campgrounds can hold on because of the low overhead in operations.
To read the entire article click here.
Campers now have a new online “home base” for everything they need to know to enhance their outdoor lifestyle.
Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s (KOA) new blog, “The Greater Outdoors,” brings together multiple tools, the very latest information on everything happening outdoors, easy-to-prepare recipes, new product reviews and news of the latest additions to the KOA family of campgrounds, according to a news release.
“We’ve always tried to provide our campers with the best camping information possible via our KOA Kompass website and monthly email newsletters, but we feel The Greater Outdoors blog takes things to a different level,” said Toby Hedges, KOA’s vice president of marketing. “The new blog will be much more dynamic, with fresh content pouring in continuously, instead of just once a month. We think campers will want to check back often to keep up with the latest in RV tips and tricks from our experts, fun and easy camping recipes and also interact with us and each other.”
The Greater Outdoors blog is designed to serve as an “online community” for campers to comment on articles and share their own ideas with other campers.
There will also be multiple entertaining contests and giveaways to enhance campers’ experience on the blog.
Another new feature on KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog is “Campstagram,” a photo sharing feature linked to the popular online application Instagram. Campers simply “hashtag” their KOA camping photos with #koa or #kamping and the photos will automatically be fed to a rolling display on The Greater Outdoors blog.
“It’s another fun way for KOA to interact with campers, and for campers to share the fun with each other,” Hedges said.
To access KOA’s The Greater Outdoors blog, visit www.koa.blog.com.
Millions of families across North America are hitting the road in a recreational vehicle and leaving airlines and hotels in the dust. According to a press release, the Recreational Vehicle Industry (RVIA) recently reported that the number of RV-owning households in the United States has risen to a record 9 million, and roughly 40% of these have kids that are 18 years old or younger.
To help RVers find the parks best-suited for family play and relaxation, Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory has compiled a list of the top family RV Parks for 2013. Boasting campgrounds from Alberta, Canada, to the Emerald Coast of Florida, this list of 52 RV parks is tailored for RV travelers seeking campgrounds that help them get away from the stresses of everyday life.
Each park on the list boasts unique qualities that make it a special vacation destination. At Normandy Farms Family Campground in Foxboro, Massachusetts, families can participate in an Easter egg hunt, a Mother’s Day weekend and Fourth of July celebration. In Warrens, Wisconsin, the staff organizes themed activity weeks, such as Wild West Week and Yogi’s Birthday Week. Some RV parks create a whimsical environment.
To view the list click here.
Editor’s Note: The following news release comes from Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA).
Purchasing a campground is a huge decision. Each year, dozens of families throughout North America “make the leap” and purchase their very own KOA campground.
At the other end of that purchase is another family – the current KOA owners – who have owned and nurtured the campground for years, even decades, before deciding it was time to sell.
Kampgrounds of America does everything it can to make the transition as easy as possible for both of those families.
“Our sales department works very hard to find new owners for existing KOAs and make sure they are ready to take over when a current owner decides it’s time to sell,” said Chris Fairlee, vice president of sales and conversions for Kampgrounds of America Inc.
“We hold Buyer’s Workshops at various locations around the country each year that answer prospective owner’s questions, and give them a clear view of what it takes to own and operate a KOA campground,” Fairlee said. “The workshops start new potential owners down the road to ownership. It’s our goal to make both the buyer and the seller happy with their decision.”
Fairlee said there are several similar workshops held each year by independent campground brokers, but none can match the level of detail provided to buyers thinking about a KOA purchase.
“We don’t have to guess at how the season is going for our campgrounds on the local, state or regional level,” Fairlee said. “We have that data at our fingertips.”
So far in 2013, the efforts of Fairlee and his team are working.
“We have closings set for five KOA campgrounds for this summer alone,” Fairlee said. “By the end of August, we will have re-sold as many KOAs as we did in all of 2012.”
He said the recent KOA Buyer’s Workshop in Nashville, Tenn., was one of the most successful in KOA’s 51-year history.
“Buyers are usually pretty serious about it by the time they come to our workshop,” he said. “One participant was a college professor who is currently working overseas. He flew in from Abu Dhabi specifically for our workshop and is now purchasing his first KOA.”
Fairlee said a recent increase in sales activity is being driven by the availability of credit by banks and SBA loans, and increased public exposure for camping, such as KOA’s recent episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS.
“Traffic to our Own A KOA website (www.ownakoa.com) went up 930% in the week that the ‘Undercover Boss’ episode aired in January,” he said. “We’ve had more than 500 inquiries for more information from potential new owners so far in 2013.”
Fairlee said new KOA owners often tell him the effort KOA makes to find new owners is a big reason they purchased a KOA franchise.
“They like to know that we are going to do everything we can to help them when the time comes to sell their KOA,” he said. “They view it as if it’s an insurance policy for their new business.”
Along with the www.ownakoa.com website, KOA supports new franchisees with its huge www.KOA.comwebsite (the most popular camping website in North America), and consumer-based marketing such as its KOA Kompass e-newsletter and nearly a million distributed copies of the annual KOA Directory.
At the forefront of KOA’s sales efforts is Cecil Pegram, who has more than 20 years experience matching existing KOA campgrounds with new owners.
Pegram often works with potential new owners for five years or more before they are ready to purchase a property.
“Cecil takes the long view,” Fairlee said. “We have a vested interest in getting just the right owner into just the right KOA. We don’t disappear after we’ve sold you the property. You will continue your partnership all down the line with KOA.”
“The KOA system only wants great, quality owners taking over at our campgrounds,” he said. “That’s because we know that they are going to be a part of the KOA family for the long haul.”
Editor’s Note: The following information appears in a news release issued by IbisWorld.
The Campgrounds and RV Parks industry was not immune to recessionary declines. Cutbacks in travel and falling recreational vehicle (RV) sales contributed to disappointing years of decline in 2008 and 2009 when industry revenue fell 6.0% and 1.8% respectively. “The industry finally started its recovery in 2010,” IBISWorld industry analyst Stephen Morea says. Aided by strong job growth, increasing disposable income levels and increased domestic travel, the industry rebounded, offsetting any declines experienced during the recession. In the five years to 2013, IBISWorld expects revenue to increase at an annualized rate of 2.4% to $5.0 billion.
The campgrounds and RV parks industry is driven by a number of factors including the state of the economy and other travel-related trends. “During the recession, people cut back spending on luxuries like vacation and travel,” Morea says. In 2009, domestic travel fell 5.1% and international arrivals into the United States declined 5.2%, adversely affecting the industry.
Starting in 2010, incomes started to rise again and people began to spend more freely; travel rates subsequently improved. Adults older than 50 years old, also known as the baby-boomer generation, are a key customer segment for RV dealers and the campgrounds and RV parks industry. During the five years to 2013, the number of adults aged 50 and older increased at an annualized rate of 2.2%, which contributed to greater industry revenue growth. All of these factors contributed to industry revenue’s expected growth of 3.6% in 2013.
The campgrounds and RV parks industry has low market share concentration, with the four largest companies in the industry controlling less than 5.0% of industry revenue. Currently, the industry’s largest companies include: Equity LifeStyle Properties, Kampgrounds of America Inc., Outdoor Resorts of America Inc. and International Leisure Hosts Ltd. The industry is comprised of mostly smaller establishments; however, consolidation in the industry has become more commonplace. Low interest rates have provided the industry’s largest companies with access to capital and sound amounts of financial resources, allowing them to expand, consolidate and upgrade existing properties. An example of such a consolidation was Equity LifeStyle Properties acquisition of Thousand Trails, which was a RV and outdoor-vacation membership business.
A potential threat to the industry is any further strength in the U.S. dollar, because a stronger dollar makes it more attractive for U.S. residents to travel abroad. Another possible threat to the industry would be a rise in fuel prices, as, RV and campground patrons are often required to travel to their destination by automobile. In the five years to 2018, IBISWorld estimates that the world price of oil will increase. Nevertheless, steady economic growth and favorable demographic trends are expected to propel industry growth past these concerns. During the five years to 2018, industry revenue is forecast to increase. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s campgrounds and RV parks in the U.S. industry report page.
Fathers and their families throughout North America went camping at Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) locations in increased numbers last weekend, according to figures released by KOA today (June 18).
KOA said camper nights across the 485-campground KOA system in North America were up 4.1% this Father’s Day Weekend, compared to Father’s Day Weekend in 2012, the company announced in a press release.
“Our offer that kids stay free at participating KOAs during Father’s Day Weekend resonated with campers,” said KOA Vice President of Marketing Toby Hedges. “Campers know that there are few things that compare to camping when it comes to spending quality time with your children.”
The 2013 Father’s Day Weekend results continued the trend of strong holiday camping numbers at KOAs this year. Advanced reservations for the Fourth of July holiday are up 13.2%, and total peak season reservations (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are up 9.2% over the same period in 2012.
“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.
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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.