Sep 1 2009, 03:26 PM
This just in from Good Sam CyberSam Newsletter. Another point of view heard from.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Campground Owner
By Brent Peterson
I wouldn't own a campground for anything – it's too hard. RVers, while some of the nicest people on earth, demand a dualistic environment when they camp – rustic, but sophisticated. Convenient, but secluded. Loaded with fun things to do, but inexpensive…
It's a very hard line to tow, and for the most part I find campgrounds doing a bang-up job. Of course, there's always room for improvement, and the following is a wish list, or some constructive criticism, if you prefer, to make your campground even more appealing.
Abolish shower fees. A pay-for-use policy is not in effect for most other things: swimming pool, Jacuzzi, playground, air conditioning in the rec room, so why the showers? I know water is expensive to dispense and even more so to heat, but the typical shower room is not so luxurious that folks are staying in there for very long, running through a catalog of Broadway's musical scores as they consume the last drop of precious water. And no one likes to search for a change machine in a robe. If it's that big of deal, just add another 50 cents to my bill.
Greed is the plague throughout many of our great industries (attended a baseball game lately?), and that's exactly what I think when I pull into a campground and find my site right on top of my neighbor's. There's nothing appealing about rows and rows of cookie-cutter slabs, crowding one another, in an infinite line of aluminum and concrete. If we wanted to camp in a parking lot, we would have, well, camped in a parking lot. And these also always seem to be the parks that describe themselves as "woodsy." Spread out, and let us enjoy a little personal space.
If you run a campground and don't sell marshmallows, Hershey chocolate bars and graham crackers, you might as well get out of the business – you just don't get it. These items require no refrigeration, take up little room and price is no option. This request is non-negotiable.
Some owners really stew over the fact that some RVers boondock in parking lots, such as the local Wal-Mart, Camping World or other random locations off the Interstate. In fact, sometimes they really want to make a federal case over it. Here's the deal: It's not personal. I have never endorsed boondocking in any way – I feel it's potentially unsafe and if you're doing so without permission, you're just being a vagrant in a 40-foot motorhome. However, with that said, I do see the logic of not wanting to pay $40-$50 to a campground, just so you can maneuver your big rig through the dark, wake up everyone in the park and get a little shut eye before you leave early the next morning. Some folks just want to make time and get home – and as a campground owner you need to accept that. You don't see McDonald's lobbying against consumers eating at home, do you?
It's tempting when constructing your glossy brochure to exaggerate, and one person's rustic campground is another person's vacant lot. However, a broken down pinball machine does not a game room make; the gravel path to the showers is not a "hiking trail"; and just because you can scrounge up a six-pack of V-8 doesn't mean you have a "full-service grocery store." And while we're on the subject, why are the games in the game room always broken? Furthermore, if you don't have a money changer, don't get uptight when I ask you for quarters all night long.
After a long day of driving and arriving at a new campground with some excitement and expectations, the worst thing you can do is not welcome us. It's a simple thing really, and maybe I'm in the minority on this one, but looking up from the cash register would be nice. There are thousands of campgrounds to choose from and we picked yours, so the very least you can do is say ‘hello'.
Sep 1 2009, 08:46 PM
I read this online before it was posted here. The writer makes some good points that we have discussed on this forum. What I think he fails to consider is that different people want different things from a campground. I have no problem with his telling what he wants for a campground to be more appealing to him, but I don't think he speaks for everyone. However, I absolutely agree that it is very hard to run a campground, and it is impossible to please everyone all of the time.
Sep 2 2009, 07:51 AM
As Texasrvers stated, it is impossible to please everyone all of the time. However, it is not impossible to give what you offer on your web site or advertising. If you say you have clean restrooms, keep them clean. You know how many people are staying at your campground. If you have 60 sites occupied instead of your usual 30, you're going to have to clean the restrooms more often. If you tell me you can accommodate my 40 RV with slide outs on both sides, don't let me drive eight hours and put me in a site that I can't even open up my awning. If you advertise your state of the art game room, don't let me get there with my kids only to find out it is open seasonally and this isn't the season. On the flip side, if we are given little unadvertised extras, we should speak up about them. If you, as a camper, had to change your reservations and the campground happily accommodated you without dinging you on it, let the readers know. If a campground employee helped you with some kind of problem with your RV out of the kindness of their heart, let the readers know. If the guy/gal at the register told to of a great secret local restaurant, fishing hole, golf course, etc., tell us. Any thing that the campground does that they didn't really have to should be appreciated and passed on.
Unfortunately, a lot of us find things not as advertised when we arrive at a campground. If this weren’t the case, there probably wouldn't be many review sites like this one. But, we also discover some good unadvertised things in our stays that we should appreciate and pass on to our fellow campers.
Sep 2 2009, 10:17 AM
Recently, it seems a lot of people are complaining about campground advertising. People, it is advertising!!! Does someone really expect advertisements to fully explain every situation. If a professional football team uses an advertising slogan of "60 minutes of action" would you demand your money back for false advertising if the final score was 7 -3? Do you take your new vehicle back to the dealer if it doesn't get the exact mileage listed on the window sticker? Can a park in the middle of Iowa advertise "scenic views", or is it false advertising because there are no oceans or mountains to be seen. If something is advertised, I expect it to be available, but I do not have any expectations beyond that. In some situations, I even expect to find the advertised item no longer available "i.e. Big Rig sites" if they are sold out. If the park says "gameroom" all I expect is a room with some games, not a professional arcade. "Big Rig Friendly" is very subjective, I don't think there is a legal definition, so if my rig fits, I can't argue the site isn't big rig friendly. If there is wifi on the property, I feel they are within their right to advertise it. Just because it costs more, isn't as fast as I want it to be or not available everywhere, does not mean it does not exist. If the advertisement is totally subjective (i.e. Beautiful views) who am I to argue. I have seen reviews where the reviewer liked having trains next door and planes landing overhead and I do not expect a park to advertise that they are in a flight path, next to a train depot or across the road from the sewer treatment plant, that is what this site provides and why you should research places you plan to stay at if these items are a concern. If there is something I absolutely require, I ALWAYS ask, if I am lied to, only then do I have a problem.
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