The private campground sector’s ongoing public relations campaign scored one of its biggest media hits of the year this week with a feature report on CNN that highlighted the growing interest in luxury camping.
“It’s good high-profile coverage,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
Although the RV industry has received considerable news coverage since 9/11, the media has not focused as intensively on campgrounds. But the media is increasingly taking the campground sector seriously, as ARVC’s  2-year-old public relations campaign continues to work regional and national newspapers.
The campers CNN highlighted this week were Baby Boomers, the sector that has driven North American park operators to spend significant amounts of money to upgrade their facilities; Baby Boomers tend to prefer luxury as part of their camping experience.
“There’s a whole new variety of campers out there who want to do it their own way – luxuriously,” Profaizer told CNN.
Private campgrounds are responding to the demand for luxurious amenities in innovative ways, the CNN report states, by offering everything from laptop connections to gourmet food.
“One night we decided we wanted filet mignon, sweet potatoes and corn and it was there when we got back,” James Harpe, 50, said of his stay at the Chattooga River Resort near Clayton, Ga. The resort’s bathhouses, he added, were outfitted with marble and tile.
The CNN report cited a 2002 study commissioned by ARVC, which showed that 90% of RV parks and campgrounds had invested to improve and expand their facilities. “The fastest growth in our camping area has been in things that make the outdoors comfortable instead of just accessible,” said Doug Peterson, product manager for R.E.I., a national retailer of outdoor equipment.
Profaizer doesn’t see any letup in demand for luxury and other high-tech amenities at the nation’s campgrounds. “We’re seeing wireless Internet being as usual as fire rings these days,” she added.