Dick Grymonprez, center, representing Athens Park Homes, a recreational park trailer manufacturer based in Athens, Texas, displays the Supplier of the Year award presented to APH at this week’s Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) Spring Meeting and Trade Show. He is flanked by Doug Shearer, left, TACO president, and Brian Schaeffer, TACO CEO. More than 150 people attended the event held May 17-19 at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas. The trade show featured 45 vendors. A number of informative seminars were conducted and TACO handed out several other awards. Mill Creek Ranch in Canton received the Large Park of the Year award and Website of the Year award, while Vineyards Campground in Grapewine was named Medium Park of the Year.
Ninety-two percent of RV enthusiasts camping in Texas RV parks and campgrounds say it’s cheaper to stay in a campground or RV resort than a hotel or motel, and many derive additional savings by cooking some or all of their own meals, according to the latest online survey by the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).
More than half of the survey respondents said they save anywhere from $20 to $50 a night by staying in a campground or RV resort, with an additional 25.7% of respondents saying they save $50 to $100 per night. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said they save even more by eating only dinner out, while 32.3% cook all of their own meals.
“Our latest survey indicates that people are still wanting to get out and enjoy some time off, but I think they are also trying to stretch their dollar as far as they can, and the camping lifestyle is giving them the options that they’re looking for in that regard,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director.
The April survey, conducted through www.texascampgrounds.com, generated 614 responses involving the cost of RVing, percentage of meals out and fuel costs, Schaeffer said.
The survey also collected data on how RVers travel:
- 57.7% travel with a spouse or significant other.
- 35.5% travel with a spouse or significant other and their children or grandchildren.
- 3.6% travel alone.
- 3.6% travel with friends.
TACO markets more than 400 private campgrounds and RV resorts.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) plans to market memberships to unaffiliated Texas parks as it attempts to recoup as many members as possible in the Lone Star State.
The move comes after the membership of the Texas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (TACO) opted not to rejoin ARVC – as a group – starting in 2009, according to Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO.
TACO offered the ARVC membership in a separate promotion over the winter and reported this week that just 153, or 34%, of its 444 members elected to rejoin ARVC.
The percentage response was not unexpected, said Profaizer, who has had several months to plan for the membership decline and resultant dues drop-off. “It’s not something we like, certainly, but we will try to get our members back.”
Many of them are small parks with less than 50 campsites, she added.
The TACO board adopted the voluntary membership option last year in partial response to the $50 annual increase in ARVC dues effective for 2009. TACO informed ARVC of its change in policy in late October.
By falling below the 60% level, TACO went from its “Affiliated” status, and below the “Cooperating” status requirements, to a “Direct” membership status. Under the Affiliated and Cooperating arrangements, ARVC required campgrounds to be a member of their state association to become an ARVC member.
Now, ARVC is free to go directly to these non-member parks and solicit their membership. Non-members of TACO also will finally become eligible to join ARVC.
The task will mean added work for the ARVC staff, Profaizer said, but she sees it as an opportunity to take the ARVC story directly to the campgrounds.
“Every time you have a challenge, it’s better to look at it as an opportunity so you want to be proactive about it and get the results you want,” she said.
The plan is to solicit memberships through letters, e-mails and phone calls to the nearly 300 Texas parks and campgrounds that were ARVC members up until this year, she explained. ARVC will do the same for the Texas parks who are not TACO members.
The marketing effort will soften the financial hit that ARVC absorbed with the drop in Texas campground membership. Profaizer is to receive from TACO a list of those Texas campgrounds that renewed their ARVC membership and will then have a good idea of the revenue impact. ARVC dues are based on the size of campground and range between $135 and $458 annually.
Daniel Gurley, ARVC’s new director of membership, will head the effort. “We’ll do whatever needs to be done. We all at some point in time will get on the phone and be speaking,” Profaizer said.