By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Planning your RV trips for this year? You might add a little more money for RV park fees. We say this as we’ve been reading with interest (and trepidation) an article appearing in trade journal Woodall’s Campground Management. The readership of WCG is largely made up of RV park owners and managers.

“Camping is hot”

In a recent article in the journal, Moore: Are You Sure the Price is Right at Your Park?, writer Michael Moore recommends that RV park owners seriously consider jacking up their site fees this year. Moore is employed as a manager with AGS Guest Guides, a division of Texas Advertising. The firm is a promotion company for Texas RV parks.

In part, Moore writes, “Camping is hot, maybe hotter than ever heading into 2021. Several campgrounds report having the busiest winter season they’ve ever had during a time when they normally can shoot a cannon down the middle of their park and not hit anyone. Future reservations are looking just as good, depending on which part of the country you’re in, which begs the question – are you priced right?”

“If you raise your prices 10%, you won’t lose 10% of your business”

Moore mentions that many parks have been insulated from COVID-19’s business-busting and adds, “If your reservations looked good last year and are looking even better this year, there’s no reason not to raise rates. It’s like one of the founders of the Texas Association of Campground Owners said to a new park owner – ‘If you raise your prices 10%, you won’t lose 10% of your business. But, you will get 10% more on 90% of your business – do the math!’”

There’s no doubt that RV park owners really have to do the math—it’s their livelihood at stake. Of course, as customers, the results of “doing the math” can have a direct impact on how much green is left in our wallets. Will you need to add more money for RV park fees? Savvy and experienced RVers will soon figure out if RV park owners are making a fair price increase – or soaking the public.

Taking advantage of ignorance

It seems that Michael Moore figures that ignorance is bliss—and something to take advantage of. “Let’s not forget the number of new RVers hitting the road this year,” Moore writes. “Do they have any idea what your rates were last year? They didn’t buy their RV because of the exact price you posted six months ago. They bought that RV because they know it’s still an affordable way to travel and see this great country. You’re still offering a high-quality experience at a very reasonable price and well below what a hotel or resort would cost.”

It might be wise now, before park owners decide to implement Moore’s strategy, to take a look-see at park rates in your travel area. You might put together a list, then check back on those park rates before you hit the road. It could be that competition might make some parks more attractive than others. That is, if there’s any competition left with the potential crush of new RVers.

Here’s another potential: If your plans are fairly trustworthy, you might be ahead to put in your reservations in now. When you’re on the phone with the park, double-down on the clerk and ask if your rate is locked in. If the boss decides to crank up the rates, you could be ahead and not have to add more money for RV park reservations on your route.

Related

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Battle brewing between campers, RV parks on electricity usage
Alternatives to expensive RV resorts and campgrounds

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Katrina
2 months ago

I understand supply and demand but I’ll be doing much more boondocking this year and saving my money. I’m not paying more for amenities we can’t even use now, no organized activities, or having to wear a mask everywhere in the campground.

Mel Kraft
2 months ago

In your write up there was a comment that the cost of a campsite is still way cheaper than staying in a Hotel or Motel. Before you run to wild with that theory maybe you need to take a look at what is not taken into account in the cost of camping:
To arrive at a campsite the camper will have covered either cost of interest and purchase price of the RV. The cost of fuel, maintenance and repairs that has been spent before the RVer even arrives at the campsite to shell out the camping fee. Those costs have to be averaged out over the number of days you actually spent in the RV over the year. So be careful thinking the cost of the campsite is only consideration by an RVer.
To make it clear I would rather camp than stay in a Hotel or Motel especially with the onset of C-19. I feel safer in my RV. Only my stuff.
Now lets consider a Motel or Hotel. My meals are all made for me, my room is cleaned up and the bed made, coffee is ready when I want it. Throw bags in the Car, Gone.

John Crawford
2 months ago
Reply to  Mel Kraft

I agree and I’m not convinced that the huge influx of RVers is going to last very long. With the vaccine starting to go out and the junk RVs being sold, I think it will be short lived.

Roy Davis
2 months ago

I have seen prices going up at restaurants and such already. My barber even raised his prices. One reason is to try and regain loss revenue, another is less competition, but a third is because the government regulations have driven up their cost. I can honestly say a 10% increase wouldn’t deter me and actually expect it will be even more in high-demand areas.

John Crawford
2 months ago
Reply to  Roy Davis

I’ll tell you another thing when this pandemic is over you can expect a tremendous increase in taxes for all the give away programs going on. This will slow down the increase in new RVers and purchase of new RVs.

Grant Graves
2 months ago

One thing to consider when raising prices is will the demand stay high or will you have to lower you price again if demand drops off. After COVID-19 how many of the new RVers will keep their new toys once they have to pay storage fees and find that it is not the same as going to Hawaii or Cancun for a vacation. One dealer I know is already seeing a lot of consignments for newly purchased coaches.

bull
2 months ago

Let’s look at this from this perspective of a Park Owner with a DECENT RV park.

Great site is $50/night. Let’s raise that price 10% so this year the same site is $55/night.

4 nights x $50/night last year (2020) was $200 + tax for the rental

4 nights x $55/night this year (2021) is a total of $220 + tax for the rental.

Now if “I” am of a DECENT park owner I’m sittin here thinkin that IF $20.00 + tax is that big in your RV Lie “I” probably do not want you as a guest in my park!

Your probably not going to make any purchases in my store IF I have one or pay even a minimal fee if needed for anything else that is EXTRA over the site rental cost. You the renter want perfect WIFI, a flat site, superb view, no neighbors, superb electrical connections, clean crappers, free dump station, every amenity available at the park for free and still want to complain about everything!

That’s how BROKE PEOPLE THINK and “I” don’t want BROKE RV’ers in my RV park.

JimR
2 months ago
Reply to  bull

Cool thinking, what’s the name of your DECENT PARK? I’ll make sure to avoid it!!!

Toni Calzone
2 months ago

be prepared to pay 20 to 30 per cent more in gettysburg and hershey pa. just saw rates for 2021. their holiday weekend or weekend rate a easy 40 per cent more. gettysburg battlefield campground have new owners that have a park in hershey and own artillery ridge. same goes for md. cherry hill i. dc went up also. those parks are controlling by price the types of people and quality of rvs coming to their campgrounds. wish them well. my camping dollars will not support those fees

wanderer
2 months ago

That 10% theory sounds slick. But in reality, if the campground owner has already raised prices a few times in prior years, another raise could very well kick the CG into the ‘no way’ category. RVers don’t drive up and take what’s offered, they research on Allstays, etc. And they do not choose the higher priced parks unless they have great amenities or location. The owner will never know how many people screened him/her out of their plans and why the vacancy rate is creeping up.

That said, many campground owners lie about their rates on their websites by simply ‘not updating the web page’, so make a call to confirm the advertised rate, it may be a few years old and false advertising.

Traveler
2 months ago

His math is off.
10 campers @ $10/night=$100
Lose 10% but charge 10% more.
9 campers @ $11/night =$99

bull
2 months ago
Reply to  Traveler

Your assumption is that the park owner will lose 10% of his business by raising their nightly rates.

FAT CHANCE of that happening in this RV Herd Mentality world of today!

The park owners only limitations in today’s world is the number of spots they have available and the weather!

Traveler
2 months ago
Reply to  bull

No, not my assumption. The speakers.

Roy Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  Traveler

But also less electricity and water used which saves money.

Bob
2 months ago

I’ve already checked some states parks off my list because of all the extras they charge unless you are a resident of that state. If parks start jacking prices more people will start boondocking. Some will leave their site in much worse condition than when they arrived. Seems like he is urging parks to take advantage of what I believe to be a temporary uptick in camping due to Covid. Those of us who made the decision to full time years ago are the ones who will be taking the hit in the chin and the hip pocket .

bull
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Bob

As is the case with most everything today “It’s All About You” and your pocketbook!

Bob P
2 months ago

The increasing price of gas will put a crimp in the camping of the “new” RVers. Their trips will be shorter and fewer. When they have families to support and the cost of moving that RV down the road gets higher RVing will get moved down the list of priorities.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

And relegated to the storage lot where it will still cost them!

Ed Dewitt
2 months ago

We look for mobile home parks that have rv spots in the park. The regular campgrounds and 100% rv parks are getting too crowded. We get to use club houses in the parks and mobile home people are not climbing all over each other like in rv parks. We have 35 ft 5th wheel and generally have more room in mobile home parks.

Roger V
2 months ago

Just basic supply and demand folks. Nothing wrong with that. I’m actually surprised more parks haven’t gone to instant demand based pricing much like the airlines. It’s coming. Owners of parks that are worth the higher price will succeed. Those with parks that aren’t will eventually lower the prices as they lose business. Self-regulating independent businesses for the most part. There’s always Cracker Barrels and other boondocking available if you just look for it. Check out Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome too. Or sell the rig and go back to $150/night hotel rooms. That’s always fun…

Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger V

This!! x1000. Its simply economics. Don’t have to like it, but it is what it is. If I were a park owner, I wouldn’t need somebody to tell me what already makes sense. Especially if my park stays full and it’s in a desirable area. 10% on $50 a night is only $5. That would not make me want to change my plans.

Mike

Rod B
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger V

When I find a park that I really like, (location, amenities, location, staff, location) I’m more than willing to pay more. I know several park owners and not one of them are millionaires. Supply and demand rules.

Grant Graves
2 months ago
Reply to  Roger V

Wow, where do you find a hotel for as little as $150 a night. I haven’t seen those prices for years anywhere I want to go. 🙂

Ran
2 months ago

Sad. I bet Mr Moore is getting a kickback/percentage of these parks?! This last year, up to now, most of the facilities don’t have amenities. No pool, Spa, showers, restrooms, meeting rooms, stores or restaurants open! Raise the fees? Is this like, Taxation without representation?! It’s getting radical out there. Maybe I can make more money selling my RV now? ……
Be safe out there, whatever you do.

Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Ran

Taxation without representation? Think you need to go back to history class.

When the price of wood skyrocketed, was that taxation without representation? What about the restaurants that raised prices to compensate for the hits their businesses took?

Practically every industry has raised prices because the cost of doing business has changed, sometimes dramatically. Whenever there is an increase to the cost of doing business, no matter what it is, that cost is generally passed on to the consumer.

Just wait until $15 minimum wage hits. Care to guess what the price of your Big Mac will be then?

Mike

Rod B
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike

A lot of states min wage is 7.50 an hour. How many of you can live on $ 15 thousand dollars a year?

John K
2 months ago
Reply to  Rod B

Rod, minimum wage was never meant to live on. It is a starter wage, always has been, always will be. If you feel that minimum wage should be set for someone to live off of then why settle for $15 and hour. Let’s got straight to $25 an hour so you’re no longer poor but middle class.

Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Rod B

Its suppose to be a first job for younger people not to be a career job flipping hamburgers. Set your goals a littlr higher. At age 16 my first real job was flipping burgers for .85 cents and hour. I went on to school and a much better job. At $15.00 per hour lots of part time jobs will be gone.

John Crawford
2 months ago
Reply to  Rod B

Those jobs aren’t meant for people to live on, those are starter jobs for kids still living at home. If you plan on doing those jobs for a living you better plan on moving up in the company.

Donald N Wright
2 months ago

Let’s see how many campgrounds that raise their prices go out of business.

Mary Ann
2 months ago

We are planning a cross-country trip this summer. Because my husband is disabled, we need and prefer full hook-ups. I’ve already made reservations for the campgrounds on our route and are willing to pay whatever they charge. However, 2022 we are seriously looking at other options. Shorter trips. Use of more state parks. Maybe a cruise.

Louie
2 months ago

Supply and demand except I don’t have to pay a higher price. I’ll just go down the road. When the “RV FAD” goes away true RVers will be left and the prices will drop!

Tom
2 months ago

A park we used to stay at overnight in Florida rates have more than doubled. We no longer stop there. There is a real need for Chuck’s idea of “just the night” RV parks along the Interstates. Water, Power and keep on going down the road. No pool, no clubhouse, no laundry, just a safe spot.

Dan
2 months ago

It sounds like Mr. Moore is another business expert that has never owned a business but can tell you how to run yours. He must have read all the books and wrote some important papers. Maybe he does have some real stake in owning a business, but there is so much more to it than trying to make more money, especially if you do it only by raising prices.

Donna
2 months ago

We’ve noticed park prices going up – one in particular 100%. There’s a park near our daughter that we stay in while visiting. The last time we stayed there, they had made some improvements and it was starting to look very nice. When we made reservations for the wedding, we were told that it would be going from $35 to $65 and would no longer accept Passport America. We did send a check for the older amount because they honored our reservation before the increase. This kind of thing plus the increase in gas prices may keep visitors away.