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> Real Values At $40 Per Night, The alternative to RV Parks
Florida Native
post May 30 2010, 07:53 PM
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QUOTE
It's a fact that more & more RV's hit the road every year.


That has not been my experience. I see many dealers going under and many, many people cutting way back on their travel due to gasoline prices and uncertaintany about things on the horizon like large fuel price increases and taxes as well as cap and trade. My survey is totally unscientific. We usually try to remark on RV's going the other way when we are on the road and wee see a big reduction. During the last 2 90 day trips we have taken not stayed in a single full RV park and we have heard other owners say that the occupancy rate is down even with less competition. We are also big users of the half price camping clubs and frequently bookdock. many campers (like myself) rarely use the amenities of an RV Park. We are self contained and use the electric at each park, we hook up to water and sewage 1 out of 4 or 5 days. When we are ready to stop at 7PM for 10 hours of down time and m choices are paying $40 at a campground I will hardly use or staying a Wal-Mart where I can usually walk to dining, gas up, and shop at no extra charges, the decision is pretty easy and I believe that there are a lot of other campers who feel the same way. Campgrounds are not a destination to use, they are a place to park while we continue our adventure.[size=3]


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MinnysodaRVer
post May 31 2010, 09:28 AM
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QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 30 2010, 08:53 PM) *

That has not been my experience. I see many dealers going under and many, many people cutting way back on their travel due to gasoline prices and uncertaintany about things on the horizon like large fuel price increases and taxes as well as cap and trade. My survey is totally unscientific. We usually try to remark on RV's going the other way when we are on the road and wee see a big reduction. During the last 2 90 day trips we have taken not stayed in a single full RV park and we have heard other owners say that the occupancy rate is down even with less competition. We are also big users of the half price camping clubs and frequently bookdock. many campers (like myself) rarely use the amenities of an RV Park. We are self contained and use the electric at each park, we hook up to water and sewage 1 out of 4 or 5 days. When we are ready to stop at 7PM for 10 hours of down time and m choices are paying $40 at a campground I will hardly use or staying a Wal-Mart where I can usually walk to dining, gas up, and shop at no extra charges, the decision is pretty easy and I believe that there are a lot of other campers who feel the same way. Campgrounds are not a destination to use, they are a place to park while we continue our adventure.[size=3]


Well I know for a fact that the vast majority of manufacturers have bounced back as I work with over 40 dealerships nationwide. Some manufacturers went bankrupt, were bought by new ownership and workers have been re-hired, other ones shut their doors permanently. Nearly every single dealership I know is up at least 30% of where they were at this time last year.

As for gas prices, not sure where you live but prices are a LOT lower than in 2007-2008 when gas hit $4 a gallon. Right now in central MN unleaded is $2.56/gallon, the lowest it's been since 2006.

Even when gas was at $4 a gallon, people were still RV'ing. What changed was their habits - instead of taking longer trips, they took shorter trips more often. The general rule was if a customer can reach your RV park from their home on a tank of fuel or less, they will come. My RV parks market towards the higher-end RV's, and someone who pays $250,000+ for a motorhome isn't going to leave it in the garage all summer just because gas is $3-$4 a gallon. Now the pop-ups & tent trailer RV'ers might be more affected by fuel prices - ditto the RV parks that rely on that niche of business.

My company sits on the Business Forum for ARVC, so we get a lot of interesting marketing data about the entire industry. RV'ing and camping is a foundation of American life - the types of RV's and the habits of RV'ers may evolve and change ... but the demand for camping & RV parks is here to stay, particularly for nicer campgrounds in resort destination areas.
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Florida Native
post May 31 2010, 09:52 AM
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Gaines against last year are not helpful as last year was horrific. The sales of RVís are down significantly against pre recession levels. I went on a 9,200 mile trip during the highest of the gas prices. I am filling up today at $2.65/gal. The gas price vs. travel is a mental thing when people subconsciously cut back. I have heard this from Prevost to popup owners. When thinking of taking a trip that might be 60 40, the gas prices can tip the scale back. Anyone keeping up with politics and the energy policies in Washington knows that prices will be going up drastically. Fleet averages have been mandated now to 35 mpg by 2016. Many in Washington think conservation can be achieved through higher energy taxes and prices. I donít know what the industry average is for occupancy rates, but I do think it is down even worth less sites available.


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MinnysodaRVer
post May 31 2010, 01:20 PM
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QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 31 2010, 10:52 AM) *

Gaines against last year are not helpful as last year was horrific. The sales of RVís are down significantly against pre recession levels. I went on a 9,200 mile trip during the highest of the gas prices. I am filling up today at $2.65/gal. The gas price vs. travel is a mental thing when people subconsciously cut back. I have heard this from Prevost to popup owners. When thinking of taking a trip that might be 60 40, the gas prices can tip the scale back. Anyone keeping up with politics and the energy policies in Washington knows that prices will be going up drastically. Fleet averages have been mandated now to 35 mpg by 2016. Many in Washington think conservation can be achieved through higher energy taxes and prices. I donít know what the industry average is for occupancy rates, but I do think it is down even worth less sites available.


True, but you are also talking about a 10-year span of record-breaking sales from 1996 to 2006. The industry exploded during that time, became over-saturated, and when the economy went south the weak ones went under. We are still not out of the woods as far as the economy goes, but just because manufacturers and dealers aren't selling as many units in 2010 as they did in 2003-2006, doesn't mean they are doing poorly.

And again - even if nobody in the USA sold another RV for 2010 - there are still 5 RV's on the road for every one spot to park them in, and every year that number increases as the number of RV parks close vs. the number of new RV's hitting the road.

And while you may have spoken to a few RV'ers from Prevost to pop-ups, I look at the numbers of my parks in 10 states. I look at the national numbers from ARVC and have access to a lot more marketing data. The DOW is above 10,000 and the baby-boomers are exiting the job market and going into retirement in massive numbers - further boosting the RV market as well as demand for nicer campgrounds.

So again, while some people may not be taking longer trips, they are still using their RV's to make more frequent trips within 200 miles of home. Anyone driving a Prevost certainly can afford fuel for a 200 mile trip whether it's $2.65 or $3.65 a gallon. The demand for quality RV sites has definitely not tapered off, and it will not go down in the next 10 years as more & more baby-boomers retire and hit the road in their RV's.

What you will see are more & more state campgrounds close as states continue to slash budgets (CA, NY, and MI to name a few), because state-run campgrounds are not profitable at the rates they charge and rely heavily on your tax dollars to stay afloat ... and as more of them close, it will only further drive demand for sites at private campgrounds.

I'm just saying - the days of $20-$30 nightly rates at campgrounds are numbered with the dramatic increase of operating costs/fees/permits coupled with the increasing demand of more RV'ers hitting the road. Like everything else in the last 30 years - whether it's milk, gas, or a hamburger - prices for rv parks are going to go up, not down.
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nedmtnman
post Jun 1 2010, 08:49 AM
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"True, but you are also talking about a 10-year span of record-breaking sales from 1996 to 2006. The industry exploded during that time, became over-saturated, and when the economy went south the weak ones went under. We are still not out of the woods as far as the economy goes, but just because manufacturers and dealers aren't selling as many units in 2010 as they did in 2003-2006, doesn't mean they are doing poorly."

I was working for a OEM supplier in the early 70's when the RV industry went through the same thing. Then it was the gas shortage. It then weeded out the small manufacturers ( some that were good ) and the weak dealers. The ones that had been around and gave good service survived.


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bilmo
post Jun 1 2010, 09:22 PM
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Just left Elkhart and Goshen IN. Compared to last year, things are rebounding nicely RV wise, but a way to go. Surprised to see several mfgrs are bring out new lines--obviously to compete in place of the many failed marks.

Guess our bigest complaint regarding RV site prices is that many of the RV parks, especially in the northern tier have added the word "RESORT" to their name and have raised their prices 50%--no improvement to the facilities at all. We use PA and CCA when possible and have found many enjoyable campgrounds at a sometimes reduced rate.
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Florida Native
post Jun 2 2010, 11:59 AM
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We also use PA and CCA a lot and have found them to be a real money saver. For us, the amenities at the park are rarely used and I see no since in paying extra for them. We also stay at Wal-Mart and other concrete boondocking places to cut down on costs. We see very expensive rigs there also. It isn't just the doing it on the dime folks either.


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adventure
post Jun 3 2010, 09:12 PM
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That's great to be able to stay at hotel/condo resorts for around $50. I stayed at a Condo in Kauai on the beach for $60 a night. Orlando has 2 bdrm apts for 100 bucks a week There are some great deals to be had at hotels right now. However, the truth is I much prefer to stay in my own RV. Hotels are gross and so are vacation rental homes. There are lots of germs and filth of other people I don't want to sit or lay on. Most RV parks we have stayed at have been between $14-37 in the past two mnths of RVing. That seems pretty reasonable considering we've been traveling all though the West - including CA. Both are a nice way to travel, I just feel more comfortable and homey in an RV.
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Tom
post Jun 4 2010, 06:32 AM
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Most weekends that we are able to camp, nearby hotels are double or more than a campground. Or there are no hotels nearby if we are in the woods. Most of our camping is done on weekends during the "season", so we rarely would be able to enjoy "off season" or "shoulder" rates for hotel rooms. Plus, with older kids now (teenagers), I would really rather have two hotel rooms which, of course, doubles the cost.

I don't even want to get into the difficulties of hiding a campfire in a hotel room.

For us, right now, camping on a per night basis is more cost effective.



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coacbcps
post Jun 4 2010, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE(Tom @ Jun 4 2010, 08:32 AM) *

I don't even want to get into the difficulties of hiding a campfire in a hotel room.


laugh.gif tongue.gif laugh.gif
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RVRVRV
post Jun 6 2010, 03:33 PM
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I live in Oregon and there are very few places to stay for 40 or 50 dollars a night in a hotel or condo. Used to live in California and it was the same.
What a lot of people do not under stand is a modern RV will use way more power than anyone could ever use in a motel room. The costs to run a RV park have gone up significantly. The days of $20 dollar a night spots are going away. Yes you will still find them but not as easily as before.
If people want to so called camp in a paved parking lot that is great but that is not for me. I will pay for a spot in a clean and nice campground and enjoy it.
Buy the way people that complain that they do not want to pay for a place for a few hours sleep
are usually the ones you will find using the most amenities. Electric, water and sucking down the band width on the Wi- Fi when they have their own air card. Emptying their stale water to put in fresh water in the tank. Running electric heaters to save their propane and so on.
Just an observation in my 20 years of camping.
The Oregon coast has its share of RVs on the road. Many state parks book in the summer months and California it is hard to find a spot on the coast in the entire summer.
It does not make sense to park $100 + thousand dollar vehicles on the side of your house to save a few bucks on fuel or camp fees. That is a no win situation. So get out and enjoy while you still can.
The cup is always half full!
Pog.
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TX_RV
post Jul 7 2010, 03:04 PM
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Just completed a 16-day, 3K+ mile trip to the West Coast and I have to say the prices being charged by NE campgrounds are fairly high compared to locations in the the Southwest. I'm retired military so I planned our family trip to stay at mostly military campgrounds as much as possible (primarily because they are less expensive & highly secured). I paid from $17-$27 per night, and most have the same (or better) amenities than private campgrounds. As far as private campgrounds, I paid as low as $33 to as high as $60 (only because it was the only campground we can find in Sedona AZ). Heck, in Las Vegas, we got a room in Circus Circus because my wife found a deal for $23/night vs. their RV campground that was charging $80/night! We parked the RV in the parking lot & stayed in the hotel instead.

Personally, I don't mind paying a bit more if the sites are nice (concrete & level), showers & restrooms are clean, laundry & WIFI are free, etc. But I also wouldn't mind "roughing it" in a Walmart parking lot if nearby campgrounds are charging more for what I see as unreasonable for the condition & the services they provide.
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Fitzjohnfan
post Jul 12 2010, 03:10 PM
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I agree with all the other posts that the RV parks need to be mindful of their cometition, but also keep in mind that the demands for "extra" services has increased as well. It used to be if you had a flat space with 20amp electrical, a water spigot, and maybe a sewer hookup, you could call it a "site" and 90% of your visitors would be happy.
Now the newer coaches almost "requre" 50amp hookup and most people need Wifi, Cable TV, etc. and the RV parks that don't keep up may be left behind. It's the same as movie theaters. It used to be as long has you had compfrtable seats you could bring them in, but then statium seating came in and now all the older theaters have closed that had flat seating.

All these "extras" do cost money, and I can't see RV parks that don't increase their fees to defray upgrade costs surviving long.

Just look at the complaints on this site. More and more, people complain that they can't get wifi or it was weak or intermitant.


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ttg
post Jul 22 2010, 12:55 AM
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Just curious and perhaps an RV park owner can enlighten me. I fully understand there are costs to maintaining an RV park - especially parks that offer all sorts of amenities ( e.g., pool, clubhouse, games, golf, etc.) What I'd like to know is how difficult would it be to "segregate" a park for those who want the amenities and those who just want hook-ups and set price accordingly? I ask the question because in the 6 years we've been on the road, we have never once used any amenities offered by any RV park where we've stayed. Our interest is simply to have a place to put our m/h while we're off seeing area sights. I don't think we're unique. I'm sure there are other RVers simply looking for hook-ups, not resort amenities.
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MinnysodaRVer
post Jul 22 2010, 02:00 PM
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QUOTE(ttg @ Jul 22 2010, 01:55 AM) *

Just curious and perhaps an RV park owner can enlighten me. I fully understand there are costs to maintaining an RV park - especially parks that offer all sorts of amenities ( e.g., pool, clubhouse, games, golf, etc.) What I'd like to know is how difficult would it be to "segregate" a park for those who want the amenities and those who just want hook-ups and set price accordingly? I ask the question because in the 6 years we've been on the road, we have never once used any amenities offered by any RV park where we've stayed. Our interest is simply to have a place to put our m/h while we're off seeing area sights. I don't think we're unique. I'm sure there are other RVers simply looking for hook-ups, not resort amenities.


I understand the question from the RV'er perspective as I RV a lot myself in my offseason.

From an owner's standpoint, it doesn't make any sense. From a logistics standpoint it would be tough to enforce that policy. How do I control who uses the showers, the clubhouse, the swimming pool? Do I make everyone wear a silly wristband, and have checkpoints throughout the park to make sure a "Basic Amenities" customer isn't using the pool/laundry/clubhouse?

From a financial standpoint, look at it from a business perspective. I have a mortgage on the land, marketing & advertising costs, payroll, etc. that are fixed expenses. I have about a 3-4 month window to make as much revenue as I can to cover these expenses, net a profit, and stow away some capital for future upgrades (or when the state/county/city comes knocking for Lord knows what).

Look at the scenario this way:

If I have 100 sites at $40 per night, why would I segregate 20 sites down to $20 per night just because a few customers want to save a few dollars? The land for the discount sites costs the same as the land as the full-rate sites. And what happens if the other 80 full-amenities sites are full, but now only 5 of the reduced-amenities sites are occupied, and I have 15 open spots because other customers want full-hookups and full amenities and are willing to pay for it, but I can't offer it? Now I've just shot myself in the foot and lost 15 full-revenue RV sites by trying to accommodate a few people who don't like paying the full rate.

I'm not trying to be defensive, but there are plenty of Wal-Mart's and state parks that undercut private RV parks enough, and many of RV parks are struggling to stay afloat as it is.
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