A quiet meeting held two weeks ago outside Denver could lead to significant impacts on your future RVing lifestyle.
The RV Industry Association brought together movers and shakers in both the RVing and camping industries to establish a new, ongoing forum designed to “find common ground and synergies to significantly improve the consumer’s camping and RVing experiences,” RVIA said in a news release.
The RV Industry Association is famous for setting up groups and committees to study whatever issues are roiling through the industry at the time. Leaders in the camping industry are often included in these groups, with mixed results over the years.
Here’s why you should care about this new group. The RV and camping industries are currently both blessed and cursed. Interest in camping has never been higher, and new families are flocking to the lifestyle by the millions. That huge interest has led to an explosion in RV sales.
One of the big downsides is that finding a desirable campsite where you want it, when you want it, has become much more difficult as both public and private campgrounds report massive reservation numbers. On the RV Industry side, the influx of new RVers has boosted sales to the stratosphere, but manufacturers are struggling with a busted supply chain, lack of replacement parts, and an overstretched and largely inexperienced work force that leads to quality issues.
This new collection of industry leaders has a long agenda. The group agreed they need to learn more about these new consumers, as well as what opportunities and resources were available in the marketplace. The group also discussed how the overall size and scope of the “campground ecosystem” is not clearly defined. The RV Industry Association is partnering with CHM Government Services to conduct a survey of the campground industry they are touting as the “largest ever.” They are going to examine campground inventories, as well as the facilities available at private and public campgrounds. That should be interesting.
“More people than ever before are enjoying all the benefits that RV travel and camping provide,” said RV Industry Association President and CEO Craig Kirby. “Creating an outstanding campground experience for them is central to our continued growth and a priority for our industry organizations and members. This meeting started the process to identify immediate areas where we can work to do this and establish a strong foundation for continued progress.”
“This meeting kickstarted engaging conversations on how we can work as partners on the crucial issues that impact all of us,” said Paul Bambei, President and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and a participant in the recent forum. “I’m excited and optimistic about what can be accomplished.”
Dyana Kelley, President and CEO of CampCalNow, also seems optimistic about her participation in the new group. “Having state campground associations is critical to these discussions. This provides the framework to consider important state and local regulations regarding RV parks and campgrounds and the capability to better scale approaches and programs to a regional level,” Kelley said.
Fingers crossed that this group is able to tackle – and have actual impact – on some of the serious issues facing RVers and campgrounds. Their plate is surely full.
Here’s a list of the participants at the recent forum:
- Paul Bambei, President & CEO, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC)
- Bobby Cornwell, President & CEO, Florida & Alabama RV Park & Campground Association
- Nick DiBella, Senior Vice President of Operations & Sales, Sun RV Resorts
- Amir Harpaz, CEO, Harp Development
- Al Johnson, ARVC Past Chairman and Operator, Mt. Rushmore/Hill City KOA
- Dyana Kelley, CEO & President, CampCalNow
- Michael Moore, General Manager, Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO)
- Steve Mulvaney, Moderator
- Toby O’Rourke, President & CEO, KOA
- Jeff Rutherford, President & CEO, Airxcel, and Chairman, RV Industry Association
- Lori Severson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO)
- Matt Zimmerman, Group Manager, THOR Industries, and Chairman, RV Industry Association Campground Task Force
RV Industry Association Staff:
- Craig Kirby, President & CEO, RV Industry Association
- Jay Landers, Vice President of Government Affairs, RV Industry Association
- Bill Baker, Senior Director of Membership & Research, RV Industry Association
- Chris Bornemann, Director of Government Affairs, RV Industry Association