DENVER, July 8, 2011 – The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) plans to extend its membership to a greater number of state parks in an effort to strengthen the campground industry’s political power and marketing potential. “Times are changing, and we need to look to the
public parks not as competitors, but as industry partners since we are typically viewed as one in the same by camping consumers and we also share many of the same marketing and government affairs objectives,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO. ARVC bylaws have
permitted public park membership for many years, and while some states, such as Maine, California and Vermont, have aggressively pursued public park membership, the national association remained relatively quiet. In June, however, ARVC launched a mail campaign Photos Page 2
Continued from Page 1 offer to all non-members in early June.
Paul Bambei designed to attract nonmembers to the Association by hailing its multiple benefits, and many have taken notice. “We’ve already received several inquiries from both non-member private parks as well as public parks that see the value of ARVC membership, and we plan to make ARVC membership available to them on a six month trial basis,” Bambei said, adding that the offer has been warmly received by top representatives of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). ARVC’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors approved the sixmonth trial membership
“State park directors will be making independent decisions to participate in the trial over the next few weeks,” Bambei said, adding that Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of membership and government affairs, is assisting the effort by contacting each director to answer any questions. “There is strength in numbers, both financial and political,” Sims said. “Already, those states that have recognized the wisdom of proactively welcoming public parks to their associations over the past several years have been generally pleased with the relationship.” Bambei added that by representing both public and private parks, ARVC can strengthen its marketing and government affairs efforts. “Working together as an industry for the good of all is not only outwardly beneficial in our dealings with the press, government officials and consumers, but can also have far reaching benefits to our
members as campground owners,” Bambei said, adding that increased publicprivate park collaboration could pave the way to beneficial business relationships for both segments of the campground business. “The natural trails, rivers, lakes and woodlands that are such a huge consumer attraction on these public park lands could become more accessible to private parks as a result of this relationship, which in turn could make camping more enjoyable for all,” Bambei said. “Alternatively, state parks generally do not have the pools, stores and infrastructure of private parks, so there could be many reciprocal opportunities for guest referral as a result of this relationship.” Having public and private parks speak with one voice will also strengthen the industry’s government affairs efforts. “Together, we will have a stronger voice in Washington and in the state legislatures,” Sims said, adding that state government cutbacks have forced many public parks to raise their fees and operate
more like business entrepreneurs, which has helped to level the playing field between public and private park sectors. “These economic pressures being felt among public parks will surely continue,” Sims said, adding that over time it will likely erode, if not erase, price differences that exist between public and private parks today. ARVC Chairman David L. Berg, who is also president of the Maine Campground Owners Association, said the state association has welcomed state parks as members for several years and that the relationship has been mutually beneficial at all levels. Continued
David L Berg
Continued "Times have changed,” Berg said. “And while it took some time for a few of our members to realize the benefits of working together, it is now clear that we are all in the same business. We often have the same customers. And public parks receive the same benefits of membership as private parks.” Berg added that he is happy to welcome public parks into ARVC. “Once they experience the benefits of belonging to a national as well as, in some cases, state associations, we will all be working together promoting camping for the betterment
of ‘our’ members and ‘our’ customers.” Dan Wright, president of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, said his state association believes the move to encourage increased state park membership in ARVC is a step in the right direction as well. “The board of CalARVC has really encouraged this type of collaboration,” Wright said, adding that public and private parks need to be working together to strengthen public interest and support for camping, regardless of whether it’s in public or private parks. Wright himself manages The Springs at Borrego RV
Resort in the Southern California desert, which generates most of its business from visitors who want to visit neighboring Anza Borrego Desert State Park. “In an age when we’re talking about closing state parks, instead we should be talking about ways to enhance state park revenue opportunities and how they can offer more amenities and services to their guests,” Wright said, adding that strengthening private park relationships with state park operators can be mutually beneficial. David Gorin, executive director of the Virginia Campground Association, said it’s time for the private park sector to move beyond the days of looking
at state parks as competitors. “The competitive playing field is leveling on the price side, and we in Virginia welcome state parks as partners in the growing camping market,” Gorin said. Gorin added that public park members can also strengthen camping industry tradeshow attendance. “We don’t think it’s good for anyone to have the Virginia Campground Association in one booth at an RV show and the Virginia state parks promoting camping in their booth on the opposite side of the floor,” he said. “As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all ships.” NASPD responds next page
Public and Private Campgrounds have been serving recreational campers for the better part of the past century. They serve as base camps for individuals, families and groups as they explore the great outdoors, recreate for the betterment of their physical health as well as their mental and spiritual well being. Camping is also the most affordable way to travel across our great country.
OKEMOS, MI-(Marketwire - Jul 8, 2011) Based on post-holiday survey results, the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) announced a very successful Fourth-of-July holiday weekend for Michigan campgrounds. The survey estimates occupancy at Michigan's privately owned campgrounds at 87 percent, with over half of the respondents reporting 100 percent occupancy for the three-day weekend. Of those surveyed, 95 percent of campgrounds achieved the same or higher occupancy
I am very pleased to report the beginning of a national, collaborative partnership between America's state parks and the nation's private campgrounds. This natural collaboration will put power behind our collective efforts to promote the benefits of camping to Americans. We face a national health crisis as more Americans than ever have developed sedentary lifestyles that contribute to record levels of obesity. Camping and outdoor recreation is fun therapy that helps combat this epidemic.
Camping is also an affordable alternative for families - many of whom are struggling financially as a result of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
compared to 2010, with 65 percent reporting higher levels. The same campgrounds also saw level or increased sales for campground services, including items like camp store purchases, firewood sales, and watercraft rentals.
reserved sites well in advance), Michigan's weather over the holiday weekend was reported as perfect for camping enjoyment -- with sunshine, warm temperatures and little or no rain. The remainder of the Michigan camping season looks "sunny" as well, with 90 percent of campgrounds estimating increased reservations for the next two months, compared to last season.
MARVAC member Bob Rohn, owner of Lake of Dreams Campground in Merrill, commented, "Many campers stayed either the entire week before or after the holiday; some even stayed for the entire two weeks." Although not likely affecting reservation figures (most campers
I am thrilled to support this partnering effort between the National Association of State Park Directors and ARVC. This is a smart business decision that will have a positive impact on America's outdoor recreation industry that is so important to both the health of our society and our economy.
"July and August are our main camping months," said Rohn, "and looking at the reservations we have in so far, we're likely to be sold out through Labor Day."
Joe Elton, National Association of State Park Directors
Campgrounds reported that 79 percent of the weekend's guests were from Michigan, and 21 percent were from out-ofstate. Fuel prices did not appear to be a factor in holiday camping, even though the statewide average, according to AAA Michigan, was 97 cents per gallon higher than 2010. "I think people are getting used to the gas prices and economy and finding that camping is still affordable," said Rohn. According to PKF Consulting, a travel and tourism research firm, fuel prices would have to double for RVing to be more expensive than other forms of travel.
National Association of State Park Directors 2011 Conference Sept. 6-9, Custer State Park, South Dakota Hosted by South Dakota State Parks Join us this fall in the Black Hills of South Dakota for the 2011 NASPD Conference. This year's conference gives us the opportunity to learn from each other about current issues and trends such as the role of parks in health and fitness, connecting children to nature, and using partnerships and innovations to address funding challenges. The conference will take place in Custer State Park, a 71,000-acre vacation destination known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. Weâ€™ll stay right inside the park,
in your choice of historic buildings, new hotel rooms, or modern cabins. Several tours and pre-conference activities will also showcase the unique environment of the Black Hills. We also encourage you to bring your family along to share the experience. Several guest tours will be available to area attractions, and the park itself features a wide variety of outdoor activities, from hiking to wildlife watching to canoeing. Special lodging rates will be in effect for several days following the conference so you can stay and enjoy the Black Hills together. We look forward to seeing you at NASPD 2011 this fall. To Register: Lynn Spomer, Conference Coordinator Phone: 605-773-3930 Email: email@example.com
Washington, DC - The U.S. Travel Association unveiled a plan to create 1.3 million U.S. jobs and add $859 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020 by reforming an antiquated visa process that often drives international travelers to other countries. The heart of U.S. Travel's plan is to increase staffing, reduce visa interview wait
times and expand the Visa Waiver Program. "As a nation, we're putting up a â€˜keep out' sign," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "The United States imposes unnecessary barriers on international visitors, and that inhibits our economic growth. If we institute a smarter visa policy, we can
create 1.3 million U.S. jobs." By failing to keep pace with the growth in global longhaul international travel between 2000 and 2010,
the United States lost the opportunity to welcome 78 million more visitors and generate $606 billion in direct and downstream spending â€“ enough to support more than 467,000 Continued
Continued additional U.S. jobs annually over these years. U.S. Travel's report, "Ready for Takeoff: A Plan to Create 1.3 Million U.S. Jobs by Welcoming Millions of International Travelers," is the first comprehensive review of the negative impact that inefficient and unpredictable U.S. visitor visa and entry processes have on U.S. jobs, economic growth and exports. The report documents that travel is America's largest industry export sector, and the easiest export sector to expand, since the barriers to increased international visitation to the United States are largely selfimposed. Additionally, the report shows how commonsense reforms that are relatively easy to implement could create 1.3 million more U.S. jobs and add $859 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020 – all with little or no cost to taxpayers. The report's comprehensive, four-step plan will help the United States achieve its goal of becoming more competitive in the global travel market, which in turn will expand U.S. exports, create new jobs and drive economic growth. The report recommends: • America must align U.S. State Department resources with market demands;
• America must reduce visa interview wait times to 10 days or fewer; • The U.S. State Department must improve planning, measurement and transparency; and • America must expand the Visa Waiver Program. "Increasing travel to the United States is the most effective form of economic stimulus,” said Dow. “Travel supports communities, injecting billions into the U.S. economy and creating millions of new jobs." Coinciding with the release of the report, U.S. Travel will reactivate the Discover America Partnership to unite a diverse group of stakeholders behind a focused and intensive campaign to advance the report's recommendations. Joining the new Partnership at the leadership level are the , National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with U.S. Travel serving as chair.
Editors Note: How many millions of dollars are not reaching the Campground and RV Park market by not aligning the industry to this initiative and promote to this lucrative market?
November 6-9, 2011 (Expo on Nov. 9) South Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV Contact: (406) 248-7444 November 10-11, 2011 On the Internet Contact: (877) 901-3976 November 14-17, 2011 Embassy Suites, Covington, KY Contact: (513) 831-2100 November 28 – December 2, 2011 Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort Spa & Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Savannah, GA Contact: (303) 681-0401
a positive camping experience means that there is a level playing field between the public and private sectors and that we are all playing on the same field. We are not.
Having followed the latest news reports about ARVC and state parks, I’ve got a couple of comments on this subject. I realize times change and partnerships and new forms of alliances are important to meet new circumstances. But let’s not go overboard without some careful thought and reflection. The primary (if not the only) commonality between commercial and public parks lies in the fact that both serve the essentially the same customer - the consumer who goes camping. From the commercial industry point of view, we want that consumer to have a positive experience every time and every place they camp. Therefore, it’s in our best interest to do what is necessary to help the public parks provide a positive experience. If a new camper has a negative experience at a commercial or public park, the impact is
likely to be the same - that camper may not go camping again. Therefore, the public and private sectors need to work together to assure positive camping experiences. As I think most would agree that if poor private sector camping experiences are not good for anyone, poor public camping experiences are not good either. Beyond working together to assure that the consumer has positive experiences and is favorably disposed to continue going camping, it is a fact of life that the private sector and public sector are competitive. And that's no different than saying that commercial parks compete with other commercial parks. Franchised parks and branded parks compete with independent, individually owned parks. That’s what business and the capitalist system is all about. Competition. That’s why there are anti-trust laws – to assure fair competition in the market place. My point is, lets not go overboard thinking that working together to assure
It is wishful thinking that if the private and public sectors work cooperatively to provide quality camping experiences that we can also work cooperatively on government and public policy-related business issues. Will the state park departments go to the legislature and encourage legislation that requires them to collect lodging or sales taxes? Will the state parks encourage legislation that provides for commercial signage along the highways on the same basis as the state park signage? Will the state parks assist the commercial parks in seeking lower fees for highway logo signs? Do state parks pay to distribute their information literature in state Welcome Centers and through the state tourism office as we do in the private sector? Will state parks support and advocate for lower permit fees. Lower income tax rates? State parks are government agencies and are almost always are restrained from any lobbying or advocacy. They take their orders from the governor and the legislature. And that’s fine. That’s why they are government agencies and commercial parks are private sector businesses.
I believe that the state parks now have a national website called AmericasStateParks.com. That's the state park systems equivalent to Go Camping America. Does the Americas State Parks.com include commercial parks? The recent letter from ARVC to the state parks indicates that state parks will be listed on Go Camping America even during a 6 month free membership trial period. I don’t think the plan is to include commercial parks on the Americasstateparks.com website. And one last comment on the question of industry unity. I am a firm believer in industry unity. I do take a cautious approach to including government under the umbrella of industry unity. There are and should be inherent differences between industry and government. In the case of the camping and RVing, both may serve the same customer, they are different entities with different roles and objectives. Can commercial RV parks and campgrounds use volunteer labor? Can commercial RV parks and campgrounds disregard workers compensation laws? Do state parks pay tax on their surplus of income over expenses? Which entity pays real estate or property taxes? The reason to work closely with the state parks - and the national parks and any public entity that provides Continued
Continued camping facilities - is to work towards assuring a quality camping experience for all campers and to promote camping as a great life style and experience. We need and want more Americans to go camping and love it and to the degree that we can work together to make that a reality, the better off the private sector will be. Like Go RVing wants more people to buy RVs, the camping industry wants more people to go camping.
BILLINGS, MT (July 12, 2011) – What does the Leader of the Free World and Kampgrounds of America have in common? For a brief moment on July 6th, the connection was a custom engraved KOA Rolla Roaster marshmallow roaster. The KOA Rolla Roaster was presented to President Obama on behalf of Kampgrounds of America Inc. by Bruce Ward, founder of the “Choose Outdoors” organization and a special advisor to KOA, during a “Champions of Change” symposium July 6 at the White House in Washington, D.C. Ward was recently named a “Champion of Change” by the Obama Administration for his work to encourage and support outdoor recreation opportunities in the U.S.
Almost everyone on the business side of RV parks and campgrounds would agree that the last thing the park industry needs is more campgrounds and campsites. So working together to encourage the expansion of public campgrounds or the addition of commercial type recreational amenities in public sector campgrounds wouldn’t be a high priority on the industry agenda.
can work closely and cooperatively along those lines. Trying to portray both entities as non-competitive and one and the same entity is to ignore the realities. Ignoring the competitive issues in an effort to expand ARVC and state association revenues and membership won’t make the competitive (or unfair competitive) issues go away.
The commercial campground industry and the public camping interests
Let's work as closely as we can with our public sector friends to grow the camping pie. Sharing marketing
The KOA Rolla Roaster presented to Obama was custom engraved with the words “Let’s Move Outdoors S’more,” in reference to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” national campaign against childhood obesity. Obama entertained those at the meeting with a story about the debate in the Obama household regarding the “perfect s’more.” To see a video of Obama with the KOA Rolla Roaster, go to http://www.youtube.com/wat ch?v=fodCoEs3jic. “We know that the President enjoys camping, so it was no surprise that he knew immediately the intended use of a Rolla Roaster,” said Kampgrounds of America CEO Jim Rogers. “It’s always fun to see
someone like the President holding what you consider to be one of the icons of your company and the outdoor recreation sector,” said Rogers. “Everyone involved in the Outdoors sector fully supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to combat childhood obesity, and getting kids outdoors, experiencing nature through activities such as camping, is a great way to achieve the goals of the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign.” The President isn’t alone in his love of camping. Kampgrounds of America recently had the largest single check-in day in its 49year history on the Friday prior to the July 4th holiday. “Camping is still one of the most affordable, convenient and enjoyable family vacation options out there,” said Rogers. “We hope that President Obama gets a chance to actually visit us
programs aimed at increasing the number of campers, sharing educational opportunities and general camping promotional opportunities is where we all need to work together. As far as sharing business practices, direct to consumer marketing, advocacy and other non-marketing activities, I think we're going to continue to be competitors.
CustomEngraved Rolla Roaster Celebrates National 'Let's Move' Campaign
at one of our great KOAs very soon.” The KOA Rolla Roaster is manufactured by Bob Holzer, owner of CMS Manufacturing Inc. in Orofino, Idaho. Find out more about the Rolla Roaster at www.rollaroaster.com.
Leo Molloy has built a reputation around the Burin Peninsula over the last two decades with his salvage yard. Now, the Marystown resident plans to expand into the world of tourism. The owner of Molloy’s Auto Salvage said he has been determined for the last five years to open up a state-ofthe-art park for recreational vehicles, or RVs, in the Winterland area. After cutting through the red tape, surveying the land, gathering statistics and information and preparing a business plan, Mr. Molloy indicated he hopes to start development of the park this year and to open up for business next spring. He’s calling it ‘Tranquility RV Park’. “The reason being is it’s going to be like a piece of heaven on earth.” Besides a spectacular view and natural scenery, Mr. Molloy plans to install electricity, 24-hour security, a dumping station, a children’s playground, a canteen, a rock climbing wall, a driving range, a minigolf course and a manmade pond. He said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to turn his dream into a reality. “I was turned down for a loan, so I’m doing this out of
my money. I’m going to do this regardless.” The park will be just a short walk away from the Winterland EcoMuseum and has a number of water inlets. It’s already in high demand. Mr. Molloy, who indicated people started to inquire when they heard a rumour he was in the process of developing the facility, indicated the need is there on the peninsula. “Last May 24 weekend, there were 32 campers turned away (from various sites in the area). There’s more demand then what there is supply.” He plans to employ four to six people at the facility during its start up year. As the park grows and develops, so will the staff. He hopes to eventually have 80 sites available. “This will bring economic good to the peninsula, because (people) are going to know its here, and they are going to come here. They are bringing their money here and they are going to buy stuff from the stores, like camping gear and everything.” Full Article: www.southerngazette.ca
BILLINGS, MT (July 6, 2011) – Despite the plethora of challenges that faced outdoor enthusiasts this spring – from record rain and flooding to tornados – campers still visited KOA campgrounds in record numbers to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Total KOA camper checkins on Friday, July 1st were up 3.4 percent from the previous single-day record set on Friday, July 2, 2010 at the 475 KOA campgrounds in North America. “When you put current economic challenges together with the terrible weather we’ve all experienced this spring, I think our strong results for this Fourth of July weekend bodes well for healthy camping activity for the rest of this summer,” said KOA President Pat Hittmeier. “A month ago, our advanced reservations for the holiday weekend indicated we were down about 2.7 percent from last year,” Hittmeier said. “A large number of campers delayed making their plans until the week before the Fourth of July weekend. But - in the end - they decided to spend their holiday weekend at a KOA.” With 35 KOA campgrounds in Canada, the annual July 1st Canada Day
celebration is also an important holiday for the Kampgrounds of America system. KOA camper check-ins at Canadian KOAs for the July 1st Canada Day holiday weekend were up 13 percent compared to 2010 results.
KOA’s full-service luxury Lodges – continued to be a bright spot during the July Fourth weekend. Camper registrations for KOA Kabins and Lodges grew more than 23 percent over 2010 Fourth of July results.
The accommodations category – which includes
“Our advanced reservations for the rest of the summer season are
also trending in the right direction,” said Hittmeier. “Strong results like we experienced last weekend prove that camping is still one of the most popular and affordable vacation options. We are the largest campground network in North America, so KOA serves as a good barometer for the camping sector of the outdoor recreation.”
SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. -Following a final hearing in Marion County Florida Court July 1, auction company Tranzon Driggers was selected to conduct an auction of the Wilderness RV Park Estates property in Silver Springs. The auction, which was was initiated by mortgage holder TD Bank, will take place Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. at Wilderness RV Park Estates, located on Hwy. 40 at the Ocklawaha River Bridge. Included in the sale are over 200 unsold condo RV lots, rental lots, commercial facilities and common amenity facilities. The Wilderness project includes 412 private RV Lots, many of which are owned by individuals and are within one of three condos: Preserve Estates for motorhomes only, Town Park where park models
are permitted and Village Park. The property is located about five miles from the Super Wal-Mart in Silver Springs and abutting the Cross Florida Greenway and Ocklawaha River. Wilderness RV Park Estates offers a beautiful natural setting while at the same time, the conveniences of the greater Ocala area are close by, the company said in a press release.
It is important to note that the project continues in full operation with active rentals and active condo associations and can be visited at any time. The restaurant on the property serves breakfast and lunch on a regular basis. The Wilderness offices can be reached by calling 352.625.1122. Reservations are accepted. For more information about the auction and the property, call Tranzon Driggers at 352.369.1047.
Does that sentence make any sense? If it does then you probably don’t need to read any further. If it doesn’t, then join the crowd. Now along with Facebook, Twitter, Google +, blogging and newsletters you need to consider mobile marketing. What the heck is mobile marketing? The use of “smartphones” is quickly taking over. During the first quarter of 2011, 54% of ALL mobile phone sales were smartphones. The original prediction was for this to happen by the end of 2011. As we move further into the year the number of smartphone users will only increase. Next let’s add into this statistic the fact that, according to Google, 82% of smartphone users notice
mobile ads. Get ready for the next mind-numbing statistic. 49% of those people seeing a mobile ad take action. Now, let me ask you again, “Do you mobile?” If your answer is “No, I haven’t considered mobile”, then maybe now is the time to start taking a serious look at it. Here are two steps to get you started. 1.) Create a mobile website. There are a lot of programmers out there that want to take your money to give you a mobile site. Before you sign that contract with them, make sure that they are going to give you what you need. A mobile site is not just a smaller version of your existing website. Make sure your developer understands and can tell
you what their feelings are on the following items. a. It has to work on ALL mobile systems, Droid, Apple, RIM, etc. b. The mobile screen is very tiny so it is important to get as much of your content “above the fold” as you possibly can. c. Make sure that people accessing your page on a mobile device have a reason to return to your site. Give them directions, local information, anything you can think of that will bring them back. d. Less is more on mobile. Make the site design clean, simple and easy to navigate. A mobile user has different needs than a laptop user. e. Make sure the site is easy to read. Remember the size of the screen, so condense what you want to say into short, explicit language. f. Minimize the number of clicks that the user has to use. Remember that the speed of download for a
mobile device is much different than that for WIFI enabled devices such as laptops, iPads, etc. g. Give strong consideration to a “clickable” phone numbers. Make it as easy as possible for the user to reach you. h. If you want the user to be able to reach you by email as well, make it a one-click process. i. Limit your scrolling to vertical only. A user doesn’t want to be bogged down by having to scroll horizontally to get to the end of the sentence and then vertically to go to the next paragraph. j. Eliminate anything that will slow the loading of pages down. Don’t use Flash, limit the amount of video, and make sure that the page is optimized for the fastest performance possible. k Eliminate pop-ups or additional windows Continued
Continued opening as this will slow the whole process down. 2.) There are things you can do without a mobile site that will still engage the mobile user. At the risk of repeating myself again, you MUST have a mobile plan before you begin. Think long and hard about what you want to do with mobile before you jump in with both feet. a. What do you want your mobile marketing plan to do for you? Don’t get mobile just to be able to say you are using mobile in your marketing. Make it work for you and pay off. b. Who do you want to address with your mobile marketing. To use mobile marketing for your current guest base, you need to get them to opt-in to your marketing efforts the same as you will for your future guests. Get a text based system that will allow for opt-in, opt-out. c. What are you going to do with your mobile marketing? Text based ads are a great way to go. In fact the current statistics say that text messages see a 98% open rate. I know that number sounds huge and I am skeptical as well, but even if we say the number is inflated, the open rate will still be a huge number compared to email. d. When are you going to launch your mobile marketing effort? If you are a winter park, now is the time to plan for your fall launch. You still have time to make it happen. If you
are a summer park, you have plenty of time to plan for next season and make your mobile marketing plan a huge success. e. Where are you going to market? Now is the time to decide not only what operating systems you are going to optimize for but also decide whether you are going to market globally, locally or statewide. f. How are you going to market and what is your schedule for the marketing effort? Defining your marketing plan is going to require the same level of detail that you need for your print advertising or for your other types of advertising. You may want to set up your opt-in plan with a QR code to ease your guest’s ability to sign up. What about looking to other businesses to market with you? What Do I Do Next? Your options for mobile marketing are wide open and can be complex. But the bottom line is that mobile marketing isn’t going to go away. You can either jump out there and get your feet wet while everyone else is figuring things out or you can wait until everyone else is having success before you jump in. The problem with waiting? The users are already going to be attached to someone else’s marketing efforts and now you will have to learn not only how to market with mobile, but also you will have to figure out how to pull the user’s away from your competition. Where do you want to be?
Pamela and her company, FocusedWords, are dedicated to helping you promote and market your RV Park/Resort/Campground to RVer’s everywhere. Be sure to follow her on Twitter: @RVStops and @FocusedWords and on LinkedIn. Check out her blog at
rally. Be sure to fill out your park form with your facilities information.
Pamela has redesigned her website, FocusedWords.com, to provide a place for you to tell Rally groups what your park has to offer for their next
LITTLE AXE, Okla. (AP) Thousands of mobile homes that were rejected as temporary housing following Hurricane Katrina are finally being put to good use?? Nearly six years after the storm, the government has quietly given many of the homes to American Indian tribes in need of affordable housing. The trailers were once a symbol of bungling by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but they're being welcomed by poor families.
In the aftermath of the 2005 storm, the government bought thousands of mobile homes and travel trailers for $20,000 to $45,000 each. But the mobile homes proved impractical. And people living in some travel trailers fell sick after the RVs were found to have high levels of formaldehyde. Since then, it seemed doubtful that many of the homes would ever be used.
Campers and RVers with Android phones can now pack a tent, rev up the RV, and hit the road with the new Camp Finder app for Droid. Following the success of the Camp Finder app for the iPhone, CampingRoadTrip.com was inundated with requests on Facebook, Twitter and email from campers and RVers demanding an app for their Android phones. “The camping and RVing community has spoken and here it is, by popular demand!” says Julian Fenn, founder of CampingRoadTrip.com “Our team has worked tirelessly to redesign the
Camp Finder app experience specifically for Android users. We’ve kept it simple and useful, so people can spend more of their time enjoying the outdoors and finding great campground and RV parks with just a few taps”. Camp Finder described in The New York Times as “the best of the paid camping apps” and chosen as one of the “…five apps to enhance your summer…” by SmartMoney.com, is a hassle free way to find the perfect place to stay. RVers and campers can now use the new Camp Finder app for Droid to access the most up to date Continued
Continued information and search for campgrounds and RV parks by name, city and state or current location. With just one tap campers and RVers can check out rates, amenities, camping discounts, contact details, photos and reviews posted by others. Campers and RVers are getting more tech savvy and embracing apps to plan and go mobile. “The credit for Camp Finder for Droid really goes to our community – folks like William, Barbara, Peter, Bruce and Tricia who kept asking ‘What about my Android?’ Now we can transform your smart phone into a clever campground and RV park directory. Camp Finder puts 14,000
U.S. campgrounds and RV parks in your pocket so you can get the latest information rather than relying on old paper based campground guides.” The Camp Finder app features a simple yet powerful campground search function, the ability to get directions to any campground or RV park, and access to recent RV and camping tips and articles to help outdoor enthusiasts get the most from any camping road trip. Camp Finder app for Droid can be purchased from the Android Market for $1.99. Find out more about Camp Finder at http://www.campingroadtrip. com/camp-finder-androidapp
The Stormwater editor on June 27, 2011 posted the early estimate of what our unusually brutal weather is costing. Droughts, floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and wildfires have cost so far this year between $23 and $28 billion. Minot, N.D., has incurred $90 million in damage to public facilities from the flooding, just one of hundreds of towns and cities, not to mention thousands of homes, many of which are still under water. 140,000 acres of farmland were flooded in Missouri when the Corps of Engineers needed to blow up a milelong levee to relieve flooding from the Mississippi. There will be much more added to the tally as those homes and businesses still flooded begin to get inspected. And the wildfires rage on. Next comes hurricane season, with a prediction that at least four tropical
storms will hit the U.S. mainland. The median cost from tropical storms is 1.8 billion. (Katrina cost 145 billion). The majority of damage from these storms is usually flooding that occurs inland after landfall and is not counted in the hurricane estimates. None of these estimates actually describe the true losses: farmland that cannot be farmed, crops that are lost, jobs and businesses that are no more, lost wages and benefits, land values that plummet, illness caused by the contamination left behind, livestock that is lost, human life and injuries for which there is no adequate monetary value. None of us are immune from natural events. The mountains in Washington State received up to 50 feet of snow last winter. People were still skiing
Is this Mother Nature? there on the Fourth of July the snowmelt is still happening. Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, the mammoth thunderstorm that devastated parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin on July 3rd - let them be reminders to everyone to take precautions, have proper insurance, and maintain good warning,
evacuation and shelter systems. Above all, remember those who have lost loved ones, incurred injuries or suffered losses of homes, business or jobs. Our hearts and prayers go out to each of you. By Larry
DENVER -- While parents are away the kids will play! This year, for the first time, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and Leisure Systems, Inc., the franchisor of the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park CampResorts, will be joining together to host the first ever Kid’s Camp at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo. The event takes place in Savannah, Ga., Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. On the agenda will be arts and crafts, journaling, homework support, Leave No Trace activities, and educational sessions. Educational sessions will include topics such as “Growing up in the Outdoor Hospitality Industry” where kids will participate in a round table discussion on the ups and downs of growing up in a family business and brainstorming ideas on how to make it easier. Also included will be sessions from the “Give ‘em the PICKLE … and they’ll be back” series which incorporates customer service and leadership skill topics that kids can use when they return to their parks. The Jellystone Park franchise system has partnered with Leave No Trace to offer its campers fun and educational
programming and activities designed assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic, snowshoe, run, bike, hunt, paddle, ride horseto s, fish, ski, or climb. "Hands-on educational activities and games will introduce the kids to the seven principles of the Leave No Trace program," said Barb Youmans, ARVC senior director of administration and education. "Plus, these activities can be taken back to your campground and used there as well." The exact activities and times on the agenda will vary based on the ages of the kids who attend. Kid’s Camp is open to any child between the ages of 5 to 12 whose parent or guardian is a registered attendee at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo. The camp will operate Tuesday through Friday on the following schedule: Nov. 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Cost includes all activities, snacks, and meals (lunch Tuesday to Thursday and dinner on Friday) throughout camp. Costs are minimal: $40 per day or
$150 for all four days. Registrations are accepted on a first-come first-served basis and space is limited. To register please complete the registration form and send payment to ARVC at 9085 E. Mineral Circle, Suite 200, Centennial CO 80112 or call Margaret at 303.681.0401, Ext. 121 to pay by credit card. Registration forms can be obtained from
OutdoorHospitalityConferenc e.aspx or by calling ARVC at 303.681.0401. Space will not be reserved until registration forms and payments are received. For more information, e-mail Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303.681.0401, Ext. 118.
A campground in South Dakota is proving saving money on its electricity bills is, well, a breeze. The Mitchell KOA has the largest, electricityproducing wind turbine of any campground in the entire United States and even Canada. We spoke with the owners about how they found a big improvement to the quality of life out there blowing in the wind. Jim Cobb is the co-owner of the campground. He says recently the electricity bills to run the place have skyrocketed, we're talking thousands of dollars every month.
So Jim and his business partner Jerry decided they had to do something. Jim says they had Cleaner Greener Energies assess the possibility of putting a wind turbine in to help power the grounds. He says in May they commissioned a Xzeres 442 wind turbine, with the help of some grants from the Treasury and USDA. It's the first of its kind in the whole state. Jim says when there's a good wind going the turbine creates enough power to take care of about 20% of the electric needs for the camp.
He says this helps keep more green in both his and his guests' pockets and the clean energy keeps the environment greener too, saying, "this sets the tone for other people to follow we all have to pitch in, do our little itty-bitty part, even though it's not your own backyard when you're traveling, you've gotta recycle, re-use, reduce."
Jim says he hopes this gets more people interested in wind turbines for energy. He says South Dakota is the number four state for the amount of wind we get, but we're only number fourteen when it comes to generating that wind into clean electricity. Article and Photo: www.ksfy.com
MEADVILLE, Penn. -Robyn Chilson, the owner of Meadville KOA, seeks to warn campground owners of a potential scam that appears to be targeting campgrounds in her area. The individual, who uses an e-mail account email@example.com, contacts campgrounds and asks to make one-month reservation for two adults and three children. After settling on the price, he asked the campground to charge money to his credit card to pay for their reservation as well as additional money for a thirdparty caterer.
Here's what his e-mail asked the campground to do: "Thanks for the mail and am very excited with the way you working on this and also i would like to inform you that i shall be giving you my credit card to charge for $2,200 and you will hold your fee and help coordinate the remaining balance with the Catering that is in charges for our Food arrangement , actually i suppose to have paid the Catering service directly but am out of cash and have used all the money i have to pay my medical bill at the hospital so kindly get back to me
asap if this is understood, so i can email my credit card and Catering service Manager payment details to have things done asap." Chilson said she talked to an agent at the Pennsylvania attorney general's office who confirmed that the scam was being perpetrated throughout the region. An agent with the attorney general's office has not yet returned a message left by RV Daily Report to explain how the scam works. However, Chilson suggested that the camper may seek to put a large charge on a credit card, ask the campground to cut a check to give to a ficticious company, and then dispute the charge with the credit
card company. "At first, we thought the request was legitimate," said Chilson. "We get a lot of requests from Europeans and others whose English isn't the greatest. But we became suspicious when he asked us to charge his credit card to pay the bill for a thirdparty vendor. Chilson posted a warning on the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association website, and received calls from two other campgrounds saying the same person tried the same thing at their businesses. For more information, call Chilson at 814.789.3251.
A recreational vehicle burned at the KOA campground last Wednesday afternoon. Billings firefighters responded at about 1:30 p.m. to find the RV with a motorcycle trailer attached engulfed in flames. Jaylea Siroky, 11, of Billings was swimming in the pool with her 7-year-old sister when they saw the smoke. "We saw big black smoke and huge flames coming from the back," Siroky said. Amanda Todd, who works at the campground, said she was eating lunch at a
picnic bench when she saw the flames coming from the back right corner of the RV. After calling 911, she and some others tried to put out the flames themselves. "We grabbed five fire extinguishers and ran as fast as we could and tried to get it out, but it was too big," Todd said. "We had to stop because of the propane tanks." Todd said no one was inside at the time of the fire. She said she saw the owner arrive on scene. Article: http://billingsgazette.com
CASEY PAGE/Gazette Staff The owners of a motor home watch as firefighters finish putting out a fire that gutted the vehicle and a trailer at the KOA campground Wednesday, July 6, 2011
By Art Lieberman It might surprise you to know how little time campground owners spend examining their credit card statements. When we ask campground owners what their rates are, they very rarely know precisely what they are paying. It certainly isn’t that unusual considering how confusing rates can be or how quickly they can change. Recently, we have been able to save Campground owners substantial amounts of money on their processing by using a different rate structure. One is what we call “tiered rates”. These rates are traditionally swiped or qualified rates, midqualified rates and nonqualified rates. There also are rates for off-line and online debit transactions. Add to this a per-transaction fee and a monthly statement fee and this is what traditionally is offered to retail businesses including campgrounds. Sometimes a transaction will “downgrade” from qualified or swipe rates because it is a REWARDS CARD. This reward is offered by a Visa or MasterCard card issuer but PAID BY THE MERCHANT. How dumb is that? It means the customer is getting a discount offered by the credit card issuer and YOU’RE PAYING THE BILL. Almost sounds illegal, doesn’t it? Finally, debit cards are not processed by Visa and
MasterCard but by the Debit Networks. They charge processors dollars and cents rather than percentages. These networks: MAESTRO, NYCE, EXPLORER//Star NE, INTERLINK, MAC/Star W, HONOR/Star E, PULSE, AFFN, CREDIT UNION 24, ACCEL and several others charge what is called a “switch fee”. Most have limits, excepting PULSE and INTERLINK. Translated in rates and percentages, the processor charges LESS for Debit Cards taken over the phone than for swiped credit card transactions and a switch fee only when taken live using a pin-pad. The savings to Campgrounds can be dramatic. Confusing? Just wait. Now we come to “INTERCHANGE FEES” or rates. This is the name used in the credit card industry to describe the fee that “acquiring bank” such as Woodforest (ours) Chase or Bank of America, or any of the 22 processing banks, pays to Card Association such as Visa, MasterCard or Discover for transactions. In a transaction, the Card Association deducts the Interchange Fee from the amount it pays to the Acquirer that processes the transaction for the Merchant. Got it so far? Interchange Fees have a complex structure that is based on card brand, card
type, the type of merchant and the type of transaction (on-line, offline, phoneorder etc.). There are foreign cards, rewards cards, business cards, branded cards, oil company cards, and pre-paid cards ad nauseum. Nearly 100 card types in all. Believe it or not, Interchange rates can be found on the web at Visa’s, MasterCard’s and Discover’s websites. The MasterCard Interchange listing, complete with explanation of each card type is 101 pages long. Have a good time. These rates, however, could end up saving Campground Owners money depending on the processor they are using. The rates are offered to merchants in a package called Interchange PLUS. The “Plus” are dues and assessments the Card Association adds to interchange rates in order to make a profit. Usually the Interchange is raised a very small percentage such as twenty - thirty-five hundredths of a percent (.20% - .35%) plus a transaction fee. Here is where processors compete since the Interchange Rates are the same to all processing banks. If you switch to Interchange Rates you should be aware of two caveats. One is that the Card Association can arbitrarily increase the Interchange rates and that it happens, generally, twice a year. They also can reclassify card types. In the
last year or so, rewards cards went to another classification which caused Card Associations to raise rates on them. Also your monthly credit card statement will increase in length, since it will contain details on many different card types. If you are having trouble reading a “tiered rate” credit card statement now, you’ll absolutely hate an Interchange statement. There is one story we have encountered, that shows that even with posted Interchange Rates, you still can be cheated. We once were sent a statement by a Louisiana campground to evaluate, that had phenomenal PLUS rates – plus .10% and a 10-cent transaction fee. We couldn’t beat it with a stick. We sent it to an analyst at the bank and they were amazed and said that they had terrific rates. It seemed to be a dead issue. Then, by chance, we discovered that they did not have TRUE Interchange Rates. Their processor had raised every single Interchange Rate about .40% on their statement. We didn’t spot it (nor did our bank) because one assumes that Interchange is, Interchange. Many campgrounds are discovering, however, that the Interchange Highway could be the cheapest road to travel although it may contain some sharp curves and a cliff or two.