The editors of RVtravel.com have published the 100th edition of their online newsletter “RV Daily Tips.” According to a press release, the first issue appeared Nov. 26 and has continued to run on a Monday through Friday basis ever since.
Editor Chuck Woodbury reports that the publication has helped double the traffic of RVtravel from about a half million page views a month a year ago to an average of 1.1 million. He added that the list of contributors is a “who’s who of experts” on RV technical and lifestyle subjects.
The Seattle-area company also publishes the monthly newsletter Great RV Accessories, which typically reviews a dozen products of interest to RVers.
Subscribers to the newsletters receive an email reminder for each new issue. An open rate of between 50% and 64% have helped earn RVtravel.com an “All Star” award from Constant Contact, a leading e-mail distribution service.
All the newsletters are supported by advertising, which Woodbury says has dramatically increased in recent months. “There is no question that the RVing economy has vastly improved,” he said. “At our e-commerce site RVbookstore.com we have seen a recent surge in sales with books and DVDs about buying and using an RV. When the economy worsened years ago, sales of these titles almost disappeared. It was obvious to us that the RV industry was in trouble.”
Along with about three dozen active blogs about RVing, written by 10 paid bloggers, RVtravel.com and its online community is read by more than 200,000 different RVers a month, according to Woodbury. Beginning in late May most of the blogs will be consolidated onto the RVtravel.com server. “We expect to see our ranking improve dramatically with all our traffic in one place,” said Woodbury. “Since we started RV Daily Tips, RVtravel alone has gone from a worldwide ranking on Alexa.com of 121,000 to 69,000. Today, Alexa ranks it as the 12,232nd largest website in the United States.
Each issue of “RV Daily Tips” includes a helpful video tip, hosted at YouTube on the RV Travel Channel and embedded into the newsletter. The steady output of new videos has increased the channel’s views to about 200,000 a month, up about four times from a year ago according to Woodbury.
The weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which appears every Saturday morning, is in its 12th year of continuous publication with an estimated 60,000 readers a week.
The YouTube channel for RVtravel.com has passed 2 million views and is attracting about 100,000 new views a month, according to a report on RV News Service.
“The pace is speeding up now that we’re posting a daily newsletter,” said RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. “We have often included a video in our weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, which we’ve published for more than 11 years. But we’re including one in every issue of our new weekday publication RV Daily Tips. Each one offers concise advice from an RVer, usually a well-known expert, about some aspect of RVing.
“For those of us with roots in print publishing, being able to include a video in an issue of a periodical — in this case online — seems almost too good to be true. I dreamed about doing something like this years ago when I published a printed magazine, but it seemed like science fiction.”
Articles and videos from each issue of RV Daily Tips are indexed for future reference. “As we add videos this easily searchable archive will become a convenient way for an RVer to get concise advice,” Woodbury said.
Although most of the videos are provided by paid freelancers, Woodbury produces many himself. He is currently on the road in the Southwest with his motorhome for six weeks, writing stories and videotaping advice segments for future newsletters. “I plan to be busy at the big Quartzsite RV show coming up later this month,” he said.
Woodbury said that other videos hosted on the RVtravel.com YouTube channel are embedded on the company’s other websites and blogs including RVtechTips.com.
Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury, offers insight into a changing RVing environment as he relates his experiences encountered during a recently completed coast-to-coast RV trip.
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury recently returned from a two-month trek through 26 states. Along the way he visited the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally in Indianapolis and America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa.
“I had hoped that in attending the events and talking with RVers in campgrounds that I could gain some insights into the current state of RVing,” he said. “What I learned is that RVing is as popular as ever, but the way we do it is changing.”
He was hosted at Thousand Trails preserves and by some KOAs, but spent much of his time in independent parks. “Most KOAs and virtually all Thousand Trails are catering to RVers as a destination where they can spend days, even weeks at a time, with the park entertaining them,” he said. “It’s not just ‘come, stay and entertain yourself’ like the old days of public campgrounds, but ‘come, stay and we will entertain you.’ The list of facilities and social activities they offer is longer than ever — jumping pillows for the kids, hot tubs, evening movies, ice cream socials, more sophisticated playgrounds, free WiFi, fishing and paddleboat lakes, mini-golf, swimming pools, and special events for holidays keep their customers busy. KOA, in particular, seems to be beefing up its visitor offerings and is pushing its cabin rentals, where a customer does not even need an RV.
He added, “Independent parks, the mom and pop ones in particular, are all over the place in quality and need to get their act together. Some are very nice, but too many are unkempt or offer mediocre facilities. I drove a few miles off the highway to one park that looked attractive on its website. But at the entrance there were two junked cars, weeds a foot high, and a weathered mobile home for the office. I turned around. At another park, I paid $38 and was led to a site that was way off level. People don’t pay to sleep on a slope; they deserve better. In a park that I pulled into after dark, I nearly poked a hole in my thumb hooking up the water hose: a part of the round faucet handle was broken off leaving a sharp pointed edge. When I told the employee in the office, she didn’t express any concern or even note my campsite.”
Woodbury never stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot, but came to appreciate why so many RVers do. “A typical one-night stay at a commercial park by the highway is $30 to $50,” he said. “I can understand why RVers, no matter how well-off, choose to stay free in a parking lot rather than spend that much money just for a place to sleep for a few hours.”
In tiny Wasta, South Dakota (pop. 72) along I-90, he found the small, no-frills 24 Express RV Park that charges $5 a night for a gravel pull-thru site with water and 30- and 50-amp electric hookups. “They make money off their automated gas station and a family-run military museum and they have no employees,” he explained. “The RV park is clean and popular with overnighters. There’s a demand for other low-cost parks like this and I think an opportunity for a visionary entrepreneur.”
RVtravel.com is in its 11th year of publishing a weekly online newsletter and next month will debut a daily edition, RV Daily Tips. More than 200,000 RVers a month read RVtravel.com and its network of about four dozen other websites and blogs.
The publishers of the weekly RVtravel.com newsletter, now in its 11th year, will debut a new daily newsletter in mid-November.
According to a press release, the Monday through Friday online publication, RV Daily Tips, will include concise, helpful advice to RVers. RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury will oversee operations with long-time contributor Russ De Maris as editor.
“We are still refining the format, but our plan now is for one brief lead article each issue with advice that will enhance an RVer’s experience, whether it’s about lifestyle, maintenance, safety, towing or anything else about RVing,” said Woodbury. “In addition, we’ll embed one 60- to 90-second video tip in each issue from an RV expert. We already have two month’s worth ready to go that we videotaped at the recent FMCA rally in Indianapolis and we’ll be adding new ones this week at the RV show in Hershey.
“We’re looking for other video submissions from people in the RV industry who have something of value to say to our readers,” he added. “There’s no charge for appearing in the videos unless we have to travel to record them. I expect that each one, depending on its topic, will eventually receive 10,000 to 50,000 views through its archives on several websites and blogs, so it would be good exposure for a company.”
The RVtravel.com YouTube channel, where the videos will be hosted, has garnered 1.7 million views to date.
The free newsletter will debut with about 6,000 daily subscribers. “We’ve solicited sign ups in our RVtravel.com newsletter and Facebook page for a couple of months now,” said Woodbury. “But once the new newsletter is underway we’ll push harder and I expect it to grow fast.”
RV Daily Tips will be supported by advertising and from sales at RVtravel.com’s e-commerce site RVbookstore.com. More information is available from Woodbury at Chuck@RVtravel.com.
In an effort to expand its reach, RVBUSINESS.com will be linking regularly to RVTravel.com, a popular, weekly online newsletter penned by Edmonds, Wash.-based Chuck Woodbury, a savvy industry veteran with a unique consumer-oriented view of the recreational vehicle universe (to access click box on right).
“It’s all part of an effort to widen the reach of our active website and the perspective of RV industry people who visit RVBUSINESS.com on a regular basis with regard to the consumer they serve and the things those RVers observe out there on a regular basis,” says RVBusiness Publisher Sherman Goldenberg. “As part of our Phase II expansion initiative, it also serves to bulk up the content, depth and, to an extent, the entertainment value of our website. And Chuck Woodbury, with his wry and at-times blogger-style sense of humor and personal writing style, brings some of that to the table.”
In his first newsletter linked to RVBUSINESS.com, Woodbury takes Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) to task for its gas-price promotion.
Woodbury, who first garnered attention 20 years ago as the founder of a written-from-the-road, quarterly tabloid publication called Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as editor of the popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers. Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to his RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox. In fact, he reached his 500th issue in September. Since he tracks his site visits closely, The Weekly Herald, of Everett, Wash., reports, he says he averages 60,000 readers weekly. So, an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
For about a dozen years he’s also run RVbookstore.com. At his warehouse a few blocks from his downtown Edmonds condo, rows of shelves are stacked with books and DVDs. There’s a big spool of bubble wrap on a wall. “Orders come in all day long,” quipped Woodbury, who recently toured Iceland in a rented motorhome and, of course, wrote about it in his weekly column. “We’re no Amazon but in this field, nobody has more titles than we do.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. And Woodbury, who says he’s driven at least 200,000 miles over the years in three motorhomes, says it’s never hard to come up with new subjects to write about for his readership, which includes a wide demographic and averages people 50 to 60 years of age. “It’s an older crowd,” says Woodbury, 64. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor,” and RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury will appear on a live one-hour webcast this coming Saturday (Oct. 22) at 9 a.m., Pacific Time. Information about where to watch will appear in that day’s RVtravel.com newsletter, according to a news release.
Bunzer is the author of the highly successful manual on RV repair and maintenance, the Woodall’s RV Owner’s Handbook. His column and articles about RVing have appeared for more than 35 years in popular RV periodicals, and more recently also on his website, RVdoctor.com.
Woodbury has traveled and written about the RV lifestyle for more than three decades. His website RVtravel.com and network of blogs about RVing attract more than a quarter million RVers a month.
The two RVing personalities will talk about RV maintenance and repair and the RV lifestyle, and respond to questions from viewers who can participate via live chat. The free webcast will originate from the offices of RVbookstore.com in Edmonds, Wash.
A lot has changed since Chuck Woodbury wandered the U.S. in a motorhome writing about everything from Fred Flinstone memorabilia in Bedrock City, Ariz., to aggressive Cheez-It-seeking chipmunks in Oregon.
Now the Edmonds, Wash., man who earned fame 20 years ago as the founder of his written-from-the-road, quarterly print magazine Out West, is celebrating his 10th year as the editor of a popular online newsletter written for recreational vehicle travelers.
Every Saturday morning for the past decade, the 24,000 readers who subscribe to Woodbury’s RVTravel.com newsletter have awakened to a new issue delivered directly to their email inbox – last Saturday, in fact, was his 500th issue. Since he tracks his site visits closely, he knows that he averages 60,000 readers weekly, so an additional 36,000 people find their way to the newsletter via referrals from blogs and related RV sites.
And thanks to his robust RV-focused audience, Woodbury is able to generate a good income with advertising, which he doesn’t need to sell – advertisers come to him with RV-related products and services for his national audience.
“We turn down a lot of advertising – because it’s either a questionable product or service or its not relevant enough,” Woodbury said. “It’s a waste of the advertisers’ space and a waste of our readers’ time. So everything has to be about our readers.”
Newsletter topics range from Woodbury’s campground and sightseeing recommendations to RV maintenance and repair tips from guest writers. He’s always had a passion for writing, and says it’s not hard to come up with new subjects to write about.
“When you travel it’s easy because you stumble across new stuff,” Woodbury said. “This morning it was raining and I wrote an essay on how the rain’s starting up in the Northwest, how I’ve become accustomed to it and kind of like it. And I led into how I really like it when I’m out in my motor home in the forest and it rains. How cozy it feels and the sound and the smell of the forest.”
He admits, thought, that there are a few topics he won’t touch. “I stay away from politics and religion,” he said. “You can never win.”
His readers range in age from 30 to 90, but average 50 to 60. “It’s an older crowd,” he said. “I’ve grown into the demographic.”
To view the entire article click here.
Chuck Woodbury’s weekly online newsletter RV Travel celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday with its 500th issue. Before that, Woodbury spent 10 years exploring the American West in a small motorhome publishing his acclaimed quarterly newspaper Out West.
“Some people think I’m 100 years old. My name has been around a long time in the RV publishing world — about 25 years now,” he wrote in Saturday’s newsletter. “I started traveling by motorhome in my mid-30s, when most RVers were retirement age. Most of my readers thought I was older.”
In the Out West years of the ’90s, Woodbury, now 64, was profiled on all the TV networks and in hundreds of periodicals. “The idea of a guy roaming at his own pace in a motorhome, producing a newspaper along the way was an appealing story to the media,” he said. “It was fun while it lasted — a Walter Mitty fantasy come true — a ‘nobody’ one day, then in People Magazine and on the Today Show the next.”
In 1994, his wife, daughter and he spent three months on the road in their 24-foot Tioga motorhome, traveling in 28 states promoting “Camping with Kids” as spokespersons for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
He started the RVtravel.com newsletter 10 years ago, two weeks after the 9-11 terror attacks. “Actually, it was set to go about the same time the events unfolded,” he said. “I didn’t post it: Who wanted to read about RVing?” At first he published every-other week, then switched to weekly. Issues include an essay by Woodbury, news, and columns about RV lifestyle and technical matters.
He began the online newsletter as a way to sell books at his website RVbookstore.com. But Woodbury said it soon established its own identity and a loyal readership of about 60,000 RVers a week. It’s supported today by sales at the bookstore, advertising, and voluntary subscriptions from readers. He sees a bright future as more advertisers switch from print to the Web. “My biggest challenge is building readership and page views,” he said. “As is, our ad space is close to sold out.”
Nowadays, Woodbury spends most his time RVing in the West in a 24-foot Winnebago View motorhome, but he occasionally ventures east of the Mississippi, and even abroad in rental vehicles. He returned earlier this month from a campervan trip around Iceland’s Ring Road, which he is chronicling in RvIceland.com, one of several dozen blogs in the RVtravel.com network of websites. Even after 500 issues, Woodbury has no plans to stop. “My only plan now is to travel more and write more,” he said.
The first issue issue of a monthly online newsletter by Gary Bunzer, the “RV Doctor,” will debut May 25 to more than 7,000 RVers.
“The RV Doctor Newsletter” will include tech tips from Bunzer, answers to questions from readers and a short video of some aspect of RV repair and maintenance. The newsletter will be produced by RVtravel.com, which has issued a popular weekly online newsletter since 2001 with approximately 250,000 readers a month, according to a news release.
A limited number of advertising positions are available within the new newsletter. Each will consist of a headline, graphic and 50-60 words of copy, along with a link.
“These pull at least 50 to 100 times better than a banner,” said RVtravel.com Publisher Chuck Woodbury, who can provide more information. Email him at chuck@RVtravel.com .
Bunzer has served the RV industry since 1968 and continues to author technical articles, troubleshooting tips, installation guides and owners’ manuals for RV owners, suppliers and manufacturers. He writes and edits textbooks and curriculum materials for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA.
His column, “The RV Doctor,” has been in continuous monthly publication for more than 35 years. Bunzer is also the author of Woodall’s RV Owner’s Handbook, a popular, do-it-yourself manual. In 2009, Bunzer was awarded the National Education Service Award by RVIA for his many contributions to RV technical education.
Bunzer is one of the RV industry’s most sought after speakers at both the trade and consumer levels.
A one-hour seminar by RVing expert Cathy Atkins has been added to the lineup for the RVtravel.com seminar series set for April 23 in Edmonds, Wash. Her class will provide insights and information to women who travel alone with an RV, according to a news release.
Atkins is an avid RVer and a member of the board of directors of RVing Women, a national organization with 17 chapters that stages local events and provides education and support to single, divorced or widowed women who travel with RVs. It also holds an annual national convention, the next one set for Oct. 12-16 in Goshen, Ind.
Among the other speakers will be the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer, RV performance expert Eric Davis, veteran Alaska RVer Nyla Walsh, RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury, RV Life columnist Dave Helgeson and RV driving instructor Lorrin Walsh. Topics will include RV plumbing and waste systems, preparing an RV for spring, maximizing an RV’s performance, how to drive a motorhome, boondocking, traveling with an RV to Alaska and blogging for profit.
A limited number of seats are available for the seminars and are expected to sell out before the event. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. at the shared headquarters of RVtravel.com and RVbookstore.com at 170 W. Dayton St., Suite 103 in Edmonds with activities continuing until 5 p.m. Admission to the open house is free. An all-day pass for the seminars is $15. More information is available at RVtravelSeminars.com.
RVbookstore.com and RVtravel.com will hold an open house and seminars about RVing on Saturday, April 23 at their headquarters in Edmonds, Wash., the RV News Service reported
Among the speakers will be the “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer, RV performance expert Eric Davis, veteran Alaska RVer Nyla Walsh, RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, RV Life columnist Dave Helgeson and RV driving instructor Lorrin Walsh. Topics will include RV plumbing and waste systems, preparing an RV for spring, maximizing an RV’s performance, how to drive a motorhome, boondocking, traveling with an RV to Alaskaand blogging for profit.
Speakers and other RVing experts will be on hand at the open house in RVbookstore.com’s warehouse to answer questions from visitors. Free snacks and beverages will be available. A live webcast will be held during the event with appearances by both seminar speakers and VIP guests from the RV industry.
A limited number of seats are available for the seminars and are expected to sell out before the event. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. at 170 W. Dayton St., Suite 103 in Edmonds with activities continuing until 5 p.m. Admission to the open house is free. An all-day pass for the seminars is $15.
The event is sponsored in part by RV Comfort Systems. More information and a registration form are available at RVtravelSeminars.com or by calling (425) 744-0415 during business hours.
Most RVers are unwilling to pay high fees for primitive campsites at public campgrounds, according to more than 2,800 RVers who responded to a survey in last weekend’s RVtravel.com newsletter.
According to the RV News Service, the survey was prompted by RVtravel.com Editor Chuck Woodbury’s recent experience of coming upon two California state parks where the fee for primitive campsites — those with no utility hookups — were $35 a night. “My reaction was that it was too much,” he wrote. “The park system, of course, is trying to raise more money to keep its parks open. But I wonder if they have priced themselves out of the market.”
More than 95% of the recreational vehicle enthusiasts who responded to the survey said they would never pay — or probably never pay — that much to stay in a public campground. “Look at it from this perspective — $35 per night equals $1,050 per month,” one reader commented. “Would you pay that to rent a house with no walls, no water, no electricity, no toilets?”
Another reader commented, “It would make more sense to have a full campground at a lesser fee than a mostly empty one at the higher rates, and this goes not only for California but all states.”
“It’s a real shame that the going rate to camp in a public campground these days is often what you’d pay for a room in an economy motel,” said Woodbury. “There are a lot of people out there, individuals and families, where camping is becoming financially out of reach. I think the big losers are the children, who miss out on the opportunity to be with their families in the outdoors.”
Woodbury said he does not know the solution to the problem of escalating camping fees. “I just know that there comes a point where you charge too much, and in that case you end up with less.”
The real-time results of the survey are available at http://rvtravel.com/rvtravel/results.aspx.
According to a survey in last weekend’s RVtravel.com newsletter, only about 8% of its readers are inclined to buy a new or used RV in 2011.
More than 1,400 RVers responded to the survey. Four percent said they would almost certainly buy, with another 4% saying there was a “good chance.”
Forty-nine percent of the respondents said they would definitely not buy in 2011, and another 34% said it was not likely they would buy. Ten percent said there was a 50-50 chance they would make a purchase.
The good news for the RV industry is that when RVtravel.com asked a similar question two years ago, only about 2% of the 1,800 respondents said they would definitely buy in 2009, with another 3.6% saying “most likely” — a total of about 30% fewer than in last weekend’s survey.
RVtravel.com has monitored the habits of RVers for more than seven years, providing a revealing picture of their buying and lifestyle habits. The website’s weekly newsletter edited by Chuck Woodbury is now in its 10th year of online publication with a monthly readership of approximately 300,000.
Today’s Featured Video of a “tiny transformer house camper” comes from Japan. Thanks to www.RVTravel.com for sharing this unusual video.
Editor’s Note: Chuck Woodbury, noted RV industry writer and editor, has begun a cross-country trek by motorhome. Read about the start of his journey below, as reported on www.rvtravel.com.
I’m off and running (driving, actually) on a two- to three-month motorhome adventure across America, from the Northwest to Northeast and then to who knows where? My daughter Emily will be with me the first two weeks, and then I will be on my own — a rolling stone.
Be sure to look for me at the big Hershey, Pa., RV Show Sept. 15-18. Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, and I will do a live webcast from there Saturday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m., Eastern time (10 a.m. Western time). Please join our audience. I plan other live webcasts as well from RV parks and campgrounds across America (more about this later).
I’ll write a lot this trip, posting short updates on Twitter and writing often in my blog. I will also provide updates most days right here in the newsletter. So return here often each week and look for the trip update logo below.
That’s about it for my opening comments. Now, I need to get everything packed up and ready, and leave some extra time for map studying and daydreaming about the road ahead.
Friday evening, 10 p.m. (Pacific): We didn’t leave Seattle until 2 p.m., and then drove straight through on I-90 to Post Falls, Idaho — just beyond the Washington/Idaho border. Emily was quiet today, very sad about leaving her childhood friends as she heads off to her freshman year of college in New York. So most of the drive we didn’t talk — each occupied with our own thoughts. The late afternoon light on the rolling hills of eastern Washington was spectacular. It’s warm here tonight in Post Falls. Tomorrow we plan to stay in Billings, Montana. UPDATE Saturday, 7 a.m. I’m up early to read emails from readers to see if I made any typos or other mistakes. Emily is sleeping in. Gorgeous morning. UPDATE: Sunday 10 p.m. Visited Battle of Big Horn site today, now camped in park campground in Devil’s Tower National Monument. Gorgeous scene here, now with a billion stars in the night sky. More trip updates coming twice a day (most days) throughout the trip. So keep checking back.