If Labor Day weekend is anything like the past few months for RV parks and campgrounds, then business will be booming in local communities throughout the United States.  
A national survey estimates that more than $3.8 billion was spent by RVers and campers in local communities when they visited the nation’s commercial RV parks and campgrounds from May through August of 2004, according to a press release issued this morning (Aug. 30) by Woodall’s Publications Corp.
The Woodall’s/ARVC RV Park and Campground Survey, conducted by Michigan State University, was rolled out this spring to the nation’s commercial RV parks and campgrounds and soon will be publicized on a regular basis through Woodall’s Campground Management and ARVC’s own membership publications.
The research collects weekly occupancy numbers and economic spending patterns from participating parks and campgrounds and offers the industry, along with suppliers and consumers, a better understanding of occupancy trends, spending patterns, and the industry’s overall economic impact on local communities.
According to Woodall’s and ARVC, this is the first time a study of this magnitude has been commissioned.
“Woodall’s partnered with us to conceive the initiative, develop the protocol, build a model that works for the RV parks and campground community, and fund the study,” said ARVC President and CEO Linda Profaizer.
Joe Daquino, Affinity Group, Inc.’s Multimedia Division Vice President and Woodall’s publisher, noted that the study was a good fit for Woodall’s, which publishes a North American Campground Directory along with several regional publications.
“The Michigan State Research team is managing this project, collecting the data, and analyzing the findings,” Profaizer said. “Their extensive experience in the outdoor recreation community ensures that they understand our industry and can provide the type of professional, research-driven analysis the industry needs to continue its growth and expansion.”
Looking at this year’s initial results, the highest overall average occupancy rate throughout the U.S. this year – nearly 80% – was reported for the July 4th weekend. Not unexpected, the highest occupancy rates are Friday and Saturday nights.
At least one region was at near capacity over the 4th: The New England states were at an 87% occupancy level while the Southeast reached 82%. The western U.S. reached nearly 78% in occupied sites and the southeastern U.S. topped out at 90% occupancy on June 18 and 19.
New England had the highest weekend occupancy rate during July and was followed by the West with 75%. Midwest Saturday night occupancy levels averaged nearly 72%, according to the survey.