Editor’s Note: RVBusiness and Woodall’s Campground Management Publisher Sherman Goldenberg writes a monthly “Publisher’s Corner” column for WCM. This column appears in May’s issue.
I had a chat this week with Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), coming out of the Colorado-based association’s most recent spring board meeting in Denver.
I had wanted to get a take — beyond Woodall’s Campground Management Editor Justin Leighty’s credible WCM news coverage — on how things are going with ARVC, a national trade association that represents the interests of some 3,000 RV parks and campgrounds from coast to coast.
And, frankly, I’m glad I did because one gets the sense that ARVC — now in Bambei’s fifth year in the saddle — seems to have developed a pretty good focus on its core mission when considering some of the most recent news generated by ARVC in general and specifically out of the special spring board meeting wherein governance, public affairs, marketing communications and membership committees each nail down their respective agendas for the year.
“I think it’s going very well,” said Bambei. “There’s always bits of controversy, and that’s healthy in my view. Anyway, I think the board is certainly in sync on moving forward with the 2015-17 strategic plan.”
Looking at some of the other current ARVC initiatives, we’d have to agree — taking into account legislative work overseen by stalwart staffer Jeff Sims, the working relationships ARVC’s developing with sister trade associations and the efforts now underway to incorporate ARVC’s recommendations into NFPA standards to protect RV parks in the next round of the National Electric Code.
Add to that the ARVC Foundation’s move to add a weeklong summer session in Denver to the National School of RV Park & Campground Management’s annual schedule, the trade group’s decision to come to the legal defense of a Texas park in a discrimination suit, ongoing GoCampingAmerica.com website upgrades, a new social-media-focused public relations program and the message is clear: ARVC sure seems to be doing a good job of representing its membership.
The PR program, a new emphasis, is perhaps the best example, given the association’s limited budget for such things.
“We’ve always done public relations through the traditional news, writing a press release and sending it out to umpteen different publications,” said Bambei. ”But people don’t seem to digest information like that as much as they used to. So, it really was an indication for us to put down the old method and pick up the new method of using electronic channels to reach people. What’s beautiful about all this is that we now have concrete research that tells us how to spend intelligently and how to direct our messaging most intelligently. So, yeah, that’s new for ARVC, and it’s very sophisticated. But it’s working. Just last month, we had an 85% growth in new visitors to GoCampingAmerica.com.”