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.