Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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Opinion: Just like campers, campgrounds are paying for fuel increases, too

Setting rates is going to be a tricky business for campground owners this summer.

I was talking last week with a campground owner who said he’d been contacted by more than one RVer this month who wanted to know if the owner would give them a “special lower rate” because of the increased cost of fuel.

No doubt the RVer’s cost of getting from home to the campground has gone up. Those eight-mile-a-gallon rigs make budgeting for fuel increases tricky. But expecting park owners to help soften the blow seems a bit … unseemly.

What you pay at the pump is just the tip of the spear when it comes to the true costs of fuel increases. Businesses – including campgrounds – are being hit from every direction with increased cost pressures, too.

When fuel prices rise, not only does the campground owner pay more to gas up his own vehicles (including lawnmowers, weed whackers and golf carts), they also pay more for everything they have delivered. When gas goes up, so do the costs of ice, groceries, propane, machinery, and all the services they may contract.

Labor shortages

Oh, and you’ve probably heard of the labor shortage every business is facing. Campgrounds are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to worker pay. Most are having trouble finding and keeping staff for what is, for most, a seasonal job. Getting good help is costing more, too.

You are certainly going to find park owners who are taking advantage of the current glut of campers to push their rates to the limit and (perhaps unfairly) reap the profits. But that isn’t going to be the case at many spots – especially those family-owned-and-operated spots that thrive on return business.

A full campground means increased expenses

A full campground doesn’t always mean an exponential rise in profits. The more campers you have, the more staff you need, the more water and electricity is used, and the more expenses go up.

Most campground owners will do what they can to fairly maximize their returns while charging enough to cover their increased costs and stay in business. It’s a tough balance to find. There likely won’t be a lot of special camping offers out there this summer.

Fuel costs, inflation, supply chain woes, war … it’s going to be a long year as far as costs go – for owners and campers.

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Michelle
1 month ago

We have an auto glass business. Nearly all of the discount requests we get are for a senior discount. We try to keep our prices low enough to be competitive so no discounts for anyone.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Ok fellow retirees, which campground that we like, do we want to volunteer at ?

Kathie
1 month ago

Sure…why not…everybody else is doing it. I think I will raise my prices when I list on marketplace too. After all, it takes electricity to charge my phone. I’m being sarcastic….

tom
1 month ago

Everyone wants a “discount” because – fill in the reason.

Bob p
1 month ago

My first reaction was I can’t believe people would ask a question like that. Then after thinking about it I can understand the ME generation thinking that “I’ve been given everything I’ve asked for all my life, so why not now?” Lol

Joe Balaz
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Funny the ME generation was considered the 1970’s. Just like fashion, it comes back in style.