Leaders of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) spent 4½ hours on Wednesday (Jan. 14) smoothing over their differences concerning dues payments. By day’s end, the two associations appeared to be closer than when they started.
The setting was TACO’s Winter Board Meeting at Pecan Park Campground in San Marcos, Texas, where Mark Anderson, ARVC chairman, and Max Gibbs, ARVC past chairman, were invited to review the membership status of TACO for 2009 and future years. TACO President Doug Shearer led the meeting.
Anderson told Woodall’s Campground Management, sister publication of RVBusiness, that it was an amicable meeting.
From a TACO press release and Anderson interview with WCM came these revelations:
• As of Jan. 14, 71 Texas campgrounds, or 17%, of the TACO membership had responded with an ARVC dues payment. TACO and ARVC are hopeful that number will at least double prior to the membership deadline of Jan. 31.
• TACO agreed to do a follow-up mailing with its members and to also notify members who had not paid their ARVC dues of ARVC benefits that would end on Jan. 31 as a result of non-payment, allowing for one final opportunity to pay their 2009 ARVC dues.
• If less than 60% of TACO members renew their ARVC dues, TACO will become a direct membership state. This means campgrounds can join ARVC on a direct basis and receive full ARVC benefits as are provided to those who paid their 2009 ARVC dues through TACO this year.
• In an effort to maintain an industry connection, the TACO board passed a motion. It stated, “To continue providing a dues billing service for the national association in 2010 and provide a 10% ‘early bird’ payment discount, all at TACO expense, to those who join ARVC through their state organization.” TACO believes this will provide an incentive for TACO members to maintain ARVC membership and it would be a significant costs savings to ARVC.
• In addition, this ‘cooperative effort’ should provide for increased membership in ARVC, with the ultimate goal being the 60% threshold of TACO members joining ARVC, at which point TACO would receive cooperative status, thus allowing a 10% across the board discount on ARVC membership to TACO members.
Anderson sounded a conciliatory tone in his interview with WCM, acknowledging that both associations are improving their communications with each other.
“Both organizations are much better off if we choose to work together,” he said.
But he also noted that ARVC’s direct services go to the member campgrounds, not the state associations. “I hope our concern will always be in doing the best job for our members,” he said.
The financial hit that ARVC will sustain with diminished membership from Texas RV parks and campgrounds won’t be known for some time, Anderson said. But presumably the level of membership will be less.
In 2008, TACO registered 403 members with ARVC and collected about $56,000 in ARVC dues from those members that went to ARVC.
Anderson said that sometimes, “it gets lost in the vision. While we partner with the states, we reimburse them 20% for collecting ARVC dues.”
Anderson took the opportunity to note that there will be upgrades to ARVC member benefits in 2009, including an extensive PR campaign and a re-build of the GoCampingAmerica.com website.
In addition ARVC members realize considerable savings through various professional licensing agreements ARVC has been able to negotiate on behalf of its members, Anderson added.
He said ARVC will continue to work with all states to improve the campground industry.