The travel patterns of snowbird RVers is changing to reflect the more active lifestyle of the “leading edge of the baby boom generation,” according to Jim Beach, general manager of Mesa (Ariz.) Spirit RV Resort, who was interviewed by The Tribune of Mesa, Ariz.
The leading edge boomers “want to do more than sit around with other RVers, chit-chat under the sun and wait for the early-bird special at the Hometown Buffet,” wrote Chris Coppola, business editor of The Tribune.
Instead, leading edge boomers visit the “East Valley” of the Phoenix metro area “to see the Diamondbacks (Major League Baseball team) play, to see the orchestra, or they want to go to the Mesa Amphitheatre for a show or they might want to see any of the cultural events in downtown Phoenix,” said Beach, who was interviewed by Coppola.
The number of “traditional snowbird” visitors at Mesa Sprit was down 2% during the most recent Arizona peak tourist season, which is coming to an end now, said Beach, who manages an 1,800-space RV resort. He defines traditional snowbirds as those who visit RV resorts such as Mesa Spirit every winter and stay five or six months.
Meanwhile, the number of “traveling RVers,” which Beach defines as those who visit an RV resort for a week or two while touring a region such as the Southwest, was up nearly 10% at Mesa Spirit during the season that’s concluding.
There are 25 RV resorts in Mesa alone with 13,000 spaces, and Beach believes they will need to change their marketing strategies in order keep RVers coming back.
“Our brochure doesn’t say we have bridge tournaments any more,” Beach said. “Our brochure says we’re centrally located not far from the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Superstition Wilderness, golfing in Scottsdale and casinos nearby. Our brochure has changed because of the different person who is going to be reading it.”
What is happening now is similar to what happened during the 1970s, when the RV lifestyle first made a big impact, said Beach, who has managed Mesa Spirit for six years. During the 1970s, there was a major influx of traveling RVers visiting the Phoenix area who, over the years, kept returning and staying longer. The opportunity now exists for the same thing to happen with the leading edge baby boomers who may be traveling the country in their RVs now, searching for the ideal place to keep returning and spending more time, Beach said.
“We’ve got to change our way of doing business to accommodate this customer because those are the (traditional) snowbirds of the future,” Beach said.