Editor’s Note: This article appears in the National Association of RV Parks and Campground’s (ARVC) spring edition of the Voice

To ensure a successful future, every industry needs to learn how to appeal to the next generation of customers, and our industry is certainly no different.

While it’s not fair or even realistic to assume Baby Boomers, GenXers and Millennials all fit a certain stereotype or characteristic, experts agree the millennial generation — having grown up entirely in the digital age — is motivated differently than any previous generation. Familiarizing yourself with their motivations can help you know how to attract them to your campground.

To better understand Millennials, let’s start with a quick definition. Experts agree the generation generally includes those born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, which puts their current age range from the early 20s to late 30s.

This is definitely a generation worthy of your attention.

According to the 2017 North American Camping Report, an annual independent study supported by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Millennials continue to drive the growth of camping. The report states, “Not only are Millennials taking to the outdoors, they are doing so in greater numbers than what would be expected. In the overall population, Millennials comprise 31% of the adult population, yet account for 38% of campers.”

The Big Disconnect

Jaron Starner, park manager for Cedar Lake Family Campground in Dover, Pa., and chair of ARVC’s Young Professsionals Committee, says “The interesting fact about this generation is they are known as the first true generation to have had the Internet and technology available to them for the majority, if not their entire lives, yet, they are also the first generation developing new trends towards ‘disconnecting’ from the technology they have grown to know so well. They are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of iPads, smart TVs and cell phones. They seek a world where families talk face to face and not just through texting.”

For Millennials, camping is the perfect getaway to unplug, but they are looking for specific features in a campground, Starner says.

“Naturally, the camping industry is a great place to reconnect as a family while stepping away from technology. This trend is also affecting the way in which these guests are camping,” he explained. “Younger generations are looking for small, manageable-size trailers and rustic rentals.”

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