Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Joe Daquino, president of AmeriGO, discussing strategies for the new “all-encompassing online community” targeting RV consumers. The interview, conducted by campground industry veteran David Gorin, was provided to RVBusiness by Gorin and also appeared in a longer form in Campground Industry E News.
AmeriGO, the newest RV club entering the RV industry, comes into the game with many similarities to several existing RV clubs. AmeriGO is being established by several high profile industry executives with vast experience in club operations and close connections to some of the industry’s major park owning companies.
Joe Daquino, the oresident of AmeriGO, comes to his position with 27 years of sales, marketing, operations and general management experience within the RV industry. Joe served as president of Affinity Clubs, the largest consumer group of RV clubs, including Good Sam, Coast to Coast, and Camp Club USA, with a total of more than 1.5 million enrolled families. As senior vice president of Affinity Media he created the two most widely used resources for RV campground and travel information within the industry and helped transform Affinity from a print based organization to the digital leader in the RV industry.
DG: Joe, congratulations on the new venture – AmeriGO. In a nutshell, what’s AmeriGO and where’s it AGOing?
JD: In a nutshell, AmeriGO is a new, all-encompassing RV club and online community dedicated to RV enthusiasts – established to enhance the RV lifestyle and promote positive growth in the RV industry. AmeriGO RV Club is truly a game-changer in the RV industry. The net goal, as we grow and add even more benefits over the next five years, is to make AmeriGO a modern, full-service club that will be involved in all aspects of the RV market for the betterment of the RV consumer, RV industry and RV campgrounds throughout North America.
DG: When you say a Amerigo is a game-changer and that AmeriGO will be involved in all aspects of the RV market, can you give us one or two examples of where you see AmeriGO changing the game as we know it today?
JD: By virtue of our independence and digital member experience we will reach segments of the RV market that are looking for the full RV experience. We want to be the kind ofRV club that addresses the question, “what is it that prompted your interest in RVing?” Due to our digital nature we will be able to serve thetotal marketin a way never before seen in the RV market.
DG: From the company’s early press releases, AmeriGO bears a striking resemblance in many ways to the Good Sam Club. What’s the differentiator between the two clubs? What do you think AmeriGO can do better or different that will make it attractive to RVers?
JD: We view ourselves as very much different than any club in the market – a new paradigm in the world of RV clubs, if you will. There are some 9 million RVers but only less than 1.5 million belong to a club, so there’s plenty of opportunity out there. The key difference is at the core of all we do and drives the company’s development to be an all-encompassing and modern RV Club, with a fresh outlook and a value proposition for our members that’s in tune with the 21st century consumer. Also, our dedication to the RV industry is apparent across the board…from our inviting online community, and our benefits and services, to our third party partnerships and alliances, to our dealership network that features the leading independent dealers across the country. We take great care to plan each aspect of the club in a way that is about growing the entire RV industry. We are focused on constantly listening to and working with our Club members, bloggers and advisors, enabling us to shape AmeriGO according to the current wants and needs of today’s RVer.
DG: Any thoughts on what AmeriGO sees as the most important wants and needs of today’s RVer? How are today’s needs different from the last decade or so?
JD: RVers of today are some of the most technically savvy consumers in the country. They’re using desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices in ever increasing numbers. Their appetite for RV lifestyle news and information grows greater every year. They want the latest and greatest of what RVing has to offer, and they want it now. Since AmeriGO is not tied to the analog world we will be able to provide them with the latest information and satisfy their needs.
DG: Can you share with us the membership and growth objectives of AmeriGO? How many members do you think you can attract in 12, 24, 36 months? How many AmeriGO parks do you project? How many dealer relationships?
JD: AmeriGO has adopted a distinct business model to achieve critical mass in the shortest time possible. The club will amass upwards of 400,000 members in its first year alone. We’ve already signed some of the largest, most highly respected and independent RV dealers in the country, including General RV Center, Campers Inn, and Lazy Days. We’re represented in 28 locations nationally and plan to increase to about 100 as we grow. As for campgrounds, we’ve also focused on working with quality partners and signed 235 to date, including all properties in the Equity Lifestyle Properties portfolio as well as those that are part of the Carefree RV Resorts network. We predict that we will grow to more than 600 parks within the next two years.
To view the entire interview click here and flip to page 16.
The Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis will be the site for the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 87th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase event Aug. 27-30, 2012. FMCA, an international organization for motorhome owners, is calling the event “Formula For Fun.”
According to a press release, the conclave will provide motorhome owners the occasion to explore the local area and to socialize with others who share their interest in the RV lifestyle.
In addition, a full slate of seminars will be offered. Topics include motorhome maintenance, dinghy towing, travel destinations, the RV electrical system, and health and wellness. Approximately 150 different technical and lifestyle topics will be covered, all focused on enhancing the motorhome lifestyle, which is FMCA’s mission.
Motorhome dealers and manufacturers from around the country will join in by bringing motorhome models that showcase the latest amenities. Today’s RVs include an impressive array of features, allowing travelers to take along all of the comforts of home and are available in a variety of sizes and price ranges.
Most FMCA members will drive to the Indianapolis gathering in their motorhomes and stay on-site, having pre-registered for the event. Registration begins in January at http://www.fmca.com. The public will be able to purchase a pass at the FMCA public gate.
Even before the conclave in Indianapolis, FMCA will offer motorhome owners opportunities to gather for similar events but on a smaller scale. Each of FMCA’s nine geographic areas will host regional rallies in 2012, with locations ranging from the West Coast to the East Coast, and points in between.
The year will kick off with the Western Area Rally, set to take place Jan. 11-15 at the Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival grounds in Indio, Calif. Following closely will be the Southeast Area Rally, Feb. 1-5, in Brooksville, Fla. Memorial Day weekend will bring the Great Lakes Area Rally, May 24-28, in Berrien Springs, Mich.. Summer fun will include the Northwest Area Rally, June 21-24, in North Bend, Ore.; the Midwest Area Rally, June 27-30, in Pecatonica, Ill.; and the Northeast Area Rally, July 19-22, in Essex Junction, Vt.
The FMCA area rally season doesn’t end with the big event in Indianapolis. Motorhome owners can enjoy the splendor of fall by attending events in varying locations. The Rocky Mountain Ramble takes place Sept. 11-16 in Gillette, Wyo. The South Central Area Rally will call Shawnee, Okla., home from Sept. 26-30. And the Eastern Area Rally will be celebrated in York, Pa., Oct.10-14.
FMCA also has nearly 500 chapters — smaller subgroups organized on the basis of geographic locale, motorhome make or model, or a special interest. Each of them has its own rallies throughout the year. Through chapters, motorhome owners connected to FMCA never lack ways to get out there and have a good time using their rolling homes.
AccessCamping.com, a camping website portal with links to more than 500 campground databases across the U.S., has added links to RV clubs as well as databases of Canadian campgrounds, according to a news release.
“We think these latest additions will further enhance AccessCamping.com’s stature as a ‘must see’ website for anyone planning to visit campgrounds in North America,” said Brian Schaeffer, president and CEO of Texas Advertising, which launched the website portal a little over a month ago.
Texas Advertising launched AccessCamping.com as a web portal with links to more than 500 databases with listings of both privately owned and operated campgrounds as well as government-run campgrounds.
The newest additions include links to more than 40 RV clubs, ranging from brand-specific groups, such as the Coachmen Owners Club, Gulf Streamers International, the Jayco Travel Club, the Vintage Airstream Club and the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers Club, to clubs that cater to specific demographics, such as RVing Women, the National African American RVers Association and the International Snowbird Travel Club.
AccessCamping also added links to more than 70 Canadian campground databases that collectively list more than 2,000 public and privately owned campgrounds in Canada.
AccessCamping.com also includes links to online databases of the major campground industry directories, including those provided by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the Trailer Life and Woodall’s North American Campground directories, as well as the websites of campground chains, such as Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) and Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts.
Schaeffer said AccessCamping.com is needed because most websites have limited campground listings. “The government run websites, for the most part, list only government run parks while the websites for campground industry associations typically limit their listings to parks that are members of their associations. As a result,” he said, “most websites only give the camping consumer a partial view of what’s out there in terms of potential camping venues. The good news about AccessCamping.com is we truly ‘pamper the camper’ by giving them more camping options than any other source.”
For more information on AccessCamping.com, contact Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.