RV dealers should forge relationships with local campgrounds to help fulfill consumers’ expectations about the RV lifestyle, according to Linda Profaizer, president of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
“From your lots to our parks, consumers go from the imagined to the reality,” Profaizer said during the recent Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) annual meeting. “They’ve made an investment and they are looking to us to help them reap the benefits.”
About 250 people representing 111 dealers, manufacturers, campgrounds and suppliers registered for the FRVTA meeting, which took place Sept. 4-7 at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina in Stuart.
Also there was a briefing on the Go RVing Coalition’s national advertising campaign by Chris Morrison, senior director of marketing communications for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), and Phil Ingrassia, vice president of communications for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
Jim Carr, director of the RV Training Institute at Lake City Community College in Florida also updated FRVTA members on the nationwide satellite training program that FRVTA originated as a state-run program in 1998.
During her speech, Profaizer said some campgrounds and dealers already are working together, but that more need to do so. “New consumers are just discovering our world and from where they stand, we’re one collective travel resource,” she said. “They don’t generally view us as dealers, manufacturers, parks, providers and vendors. They simply see one community – outdoor hospitality – and they’re looking to us to make sure their experience is everything they want it to be.
“We can’t afford to work in our traditional industry ‘silos’ – manufacturers, dealers and campgrounds – each tending to their individual segments and hoping that consumers connect the dots between us,” said Profaizer, the former president of Woodall’s Publications Corp.
She said RV parks and campgrounds all over the country are upgrading their facilities to meet the increasing demands of younger RV buyers who are showing up at campgrounds with larger units and expecting high quality service.
“You feel the impact in your businesses every day,” she said. “Whether you’re stocking rigs in your dealership or our parks are ushering them through the front gates, we’ve all seen and felt the changes first-hand. Gone are the days when a single slideout was noteworthy. Today’s new rigs boast three, maybe more, and cruise in at a svelte 45 feet.
“Our parks are upgrading, enhancing and modifying their offerings to accommodate these new campers. And entertainment demands are being met with more pools, spa service, wireless Internet and ‘concierge camping’ amenities. Cell phones and laptops seem almost as essential as the Coleman cooler and folding chairs. The good news, of course, is that they’re generally willing to pay for it. We just have to make sure we can deliver.
“Outdoor hospitality, and especially camping and RVing, are the success stories of the travel and tourism sector today. Many folks are still wary of flying. Others just don’t want to endure the hassles – however well intended or vital – of airport security. For many, international travel just seems far too uncertain. And economic concerns have a direct, bottom-line impact on spending decisions.
“All the research confirms what we already know. Families are looking to reconnect with each other, and camping and RVing seem to be just what the doctor ordered.”