By Chuck Woodbury
I found the news segment below by a San Diego TV station interesting. In two minutes, it says something significant about how camping has changed, and how KOA is placing increased emphasis on serving campers without RVs. In this video, the owners of a Chula Vista KOA discuss their family-owned business and how it has changed through the years.
Pay attention as the camera pans 360 degrees around the park as they talk. What’s missing? RVs! What you see are, first, is an “Eco-Tent” (to serve “Glampers”), then one cabin after another. It isn’t until the camera is almost finished panning that you see a few RVs in the distance.
SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? To me, it’s that at a time when record numbers of RVs are being sold, and few new RV parks are being opened to serve them, that the largest chain of campgrounds (RV parks) is modifying its business model to serve customers without recreational vehicles rather than those with them. That means decreasing the number of RV sites in favor of permanent dwellings — cabins, Eco-Tents, lodges, yurts, teepees, even covered wagons and cabooses outfitted as overnight accommodations.
Most KOAs are independently owned, often family businesses, and the owners have every right to conduct their businesses the way it maximizes their income. But for those of us who travel with RVs, how they are changing isn’t helping improve the shortage of camping spaces that many of us encounter more with each passing year.