A not-for-profit Virginia trade association for RV resort developers has become a major source of timesharelike campsites for some 30,000 RVers throughout the U.S.
The Resort Developers Association’s (RDA), through its for-profit subsidiary, Resorts of Distinction Inc., provides resort campsites to RVers and others who are members or owners at 87 affiliated parks.
The RDA has 48 members operating 87 members-only parks, a majority of which contain both RV sites and condominiums.
“Resorts of Distinction are country clubs where you camp,’” said Steve Lamb, executive director of the RDA, Valentines, Va. “They are designed for the RVers. But if our members don’t want to bring their RVs, there are RVs, condos or cabins for them to rent.’”
Membership at one of RDA’s 87-member facilities, at a typical cost of $5,000 to $15,000, is required to become a member of Resorts of Distinction. There are is a $99 annual fee.
Annual resort membership dues in the RDA are $1,500.
Resorts of Distinction currently has about 30,000 members of a pool of some 140,000 people who are members at one of the association’s 87 resorts.
If an Resorts of Distinction member is towing an RV or driving a motorhome, a site for the night at any of Resorts of Distinction properties is free, and members may stay seven to 21 days, depending on their membership levels at the resorts to which they belong.
Cabins and condominiums are available to members for rent at a discount.
The RDA was created in the early 1990s by a group of resort owners who wanted to establish a system of standards and ethics within the RV resort industry.
“Nobody was regulating the industry,” Lamb said. “We figured that instead of having someone else do it, we would set a voluntary regulatory structure ourselves.
“Developers need to agree to standards and ethics, and must have amenities and facilities and be a members-only resort.”
The association launched for-profit Resorts of Distinction in 1996, and staffs a call center at its Virginia headquarters 12 hours a day, seven days a week to take reservations.
Resorts of Distinction also operates a website (www.resortsofdistinction.com) for its resorts and consumer members.
Lamb says it is the association’s intent to be a value-added proposition for an already successful members-only resort.
“If a resort needs us to sell their product, we don’t want them,’” Lamb said. “They must bring something to the dance.”