By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When Marcus Lemonis took the reins controlling the Good Sam Club, it wasn’t long before many members dubbed it the “Good Spam Club.” Lemonis saw the club membership list as ripe for harvesting. It meant club members could expect to receive tons of junk mail. Mail selling everything from gadgets to extended warranty products, all at inflated prices. Get ready for more spam from Camping World.

More than “A chicken in every pot”

We’ve seen Camping World’s march for dominance across the U.S. Lemonis’ own stated goal is to have a footprint in every state in the Lower 48. It’s a promise more fulfilled than “a chicken in every pot.” Nearly every week Camping World announces the takeover of what were often formerly family-owned RV dealerships. Not much junk mail there, but wait – there’s a new acquisition that will give Camping World a real way to spam the unsuspecting.

Camping World Holdings Inc. has now taken over, not another RV dealership, but something farther-reaching. A campground “booking engine” called Nomad Reservations has now become part of the CW empire. In essence, it means yet more spam from Camping World.

Gobbledygook translated

We’ll try to translate the gobbledygook from a press release. “This technology platform enhances the company’s data ecosystem by providing multiple unique data points regarding the customer’s upcoming journey.” In other words, the poor schlep that uses the Nomad Reservations system will be providing yet more information to Camping World about their trip. Here’s where the spam comes in:

“These data points allow customized, relevant marketing communications while consumers are engaging in the lifestyle before, during and after their trip.” Just what we always wanted! “Spam in the mornin’, Spam in the evening, Spam about supper time.” Expect to get an email box full of helpful “suggestions.” Before you leave and after you get home. And, of course, in the middle of your trip, too.

Lemonis isn’t shy about the purpose of the buyout. Regarding the purchase, Lemonis says  this: It “represents our goal of improving the RV and outdoor experience for our current and future consumers. These tools provide relevant data for real-time marketing messaging and engagement with our brand.” More spam from Camping World.

Are there workarounds?

Is there any way around it? Since the reservation system is “built into” customer websites, you might not even know you’re dealing with it. Say you log onto an RV park website that uses the system. In addition to making it “easy” to make a park reservation, you may also be offered the opportunity to plot in your trip.

Sign on, you’ll find all sorts of “points of interest” that could make your trip more enjoyable. In so doing, you’ll be “providing multiple unique data points regarding [your] upcoming journey.” Yep, imagine that, you too, can “enhance [Camping World’s] data ecosystem,” and “allow customized, relevant marketing communications while [you] are engaging in the lifestyle.”

There’s not much to be done about avoiding the use of the now-Camping World-owned system. You might not know the system is in use on a given RV park website. Pick up the phone, instead, and make an old-fashioned 20th century reservation. And certainly if you want to avoid more spam from Camping World, DON’T use a trip-planner function.

Photo: Base image by DaveCrosby on flickr.com, edited by authors

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J.D. Livingood
2 days ago

Set up a unique rv travel email address. Scan to see if there is anything interesting. If not delete en masse.

C.Lee
3 days ago

I made the mistake of signing up for Camping World ads and newsletters back in 2018 when I bought a water pump at their store in St. George, Utah, only to find when we finished the trip and got home the pump was supposed to be on sale. They were good enough to refund the difference, and kudos to them for doing so, but the overwhelming amount of spam I started to receive from them was incredible. I finally started changing my email preferences with them to opt out of getting any more notifications, and no matter how many times I’ve done so, I still receive a few email messages from them every month. Seems once you sign up, you will NEVER totally get rid of them. Beware.

William Johnson
3 days ago

I believe you have been slamming Camping World for a long time and I have only had good experiences with CW Katy, TX. The only thing I miss is the Good Sam magazine.

Jim A
3 days ago

Camping Worlds entrance to campground reservations will greatly accelerate a campgrounds ability to charge and adjust their daily camping rates based on seasonal and daily demand and availability. Just the same as the airlines and hotels are doing right now. All of this making trip planning and the expected costs more complicated.
Good for Campground profits but not necessarily good for RV’ers

HOWARD MALPASS
3 days ago

I stopped using “camping world” about 5 years ago when they bought out the local RV Repair and sales center in Bossier City. Their so-called repairs are ripe with 2nd hand work, outrageous pricing, and always, yes always, a return visit to continue to fix what they were paid to do in the first place!

Paul Sternett
3 days ago

Instead of spending money to xpand his ’empire’, it might be a good idea to focus on the image his current ’empire’ has. Camping World is a last resort for many today; you mention them on Facebook and you’re in for a LOT of negative commentary.

Ken
3 days ago

When Camping World stock got down to around $5.00 and with no RV sales during the height of the Covid mess, it did indeed look bad for CW and RV manufacturers. Not many would have put money on the return of that industry. What a surprising turn around!
Like CW or not, there are a sufficient number of negative ratings, reviews and outright serious complaints to warrant caution and criticism. The new found joys of the RV experience may be short lived if build quality, dealer tactics (notably CW), and campground crowding are experienced.
I agree that CW stores do have some value prices and I do shop there along with other outlets. Comparison pricing helps and so does Purchasing from Mom & Pop. As you travel across this country observing the boarded up stores that will never return, give some consideration to the little Guy. The rig you buy for $20,000 to $500,000+ could be outfitted for a fair price and keep the economy going for all.

Member
Julie Chickery (@juliechickerystravels-com)
3 days ago

We love our Good Sam membership! We also know the hard working full-time RVers who worked hard for years creating this campground booking system and are happy that they were able to sell it to Good Sam enterprises. It was a tremendous success for them. We personally find online booking to be very helpful, and if there are two campgrounds at a location: one with online booking and one without, we’ll choose the one with online booking every time.

Maureen Botts
3 days ago

We used to get “blitzed” with junk mail from Good Sam’s enterprises. A lot of it had “no postage reply” envelopes included. After mailing back about a hundred of these, requesting no more mail, (increasingly rudely and profanely), it finally worked. And email from these stupids is easily routed to the trash automatically!

Kate
3 days ago

Oh YAY! One more business that is going to mine my information to track my every move. No thanks. I already get enough spam from CW. I dropped my Good Sam membership, and have no plans to return.

Engineer
4 days ago

This is the same writer that predicted CW going bankrupt in 2020. What happened to that line? I have never gotten “spam” from CW just ads for some nice RVing equipment…..since it’s obvious there is no love loss or Christmas card exchanges between CW and RV Travel it may be important for readers to know the bias that exist.

WEB
3 days ago
Reply to  Engineer

I have never gotten “spam” from CW just ads for some nice RVing equipment…..
HA! You are funny…. not.

Joe
3 days ago
Reply to  Engineer

👎👎👎 It would be interesting to see what happens going forward. Just take a look at what happens when you purchase an item from Amazon, usually they follow up with a spam ad with something related, they now have an idea of what you like! Read the book 1984 by George Orwell, I think we are already there and this just could be another nail in the coffin.

Engineer
3 days ago
Reply to  Joe

If folks think they are receiving “spam” from anyone…it’s easy to block it…My point is that RV Travel has an ax to grind with CW. But continuously pushing this down our throats is too much IMO.

wanderer
3 days ago
Reply to  Engineer

CW actually was overextended in deep financial trouble til the covid-19 RVing boom pulled their pan out of the fire.

If you like CW that’s your choice, but most of us don’t see a large junky conglomerate taking over too many dealerships while offering bad service as a good thing.

And I’m alarmed to know they now want to jack up the price of camping by adding their ‘value’ to the reservations process, while data mining every move we make. Kudos to RVT for letting us know what’s going on.

Donald N Wright
4 days ago

he is skilled at making a profit. He is willing to share his knowledge. Remember, you cannot buy what someone is not willing to sell.

Michael
4 days ago

My guess is that even if you call the RV park, they will be entering your relevant information into the reservation system. I think you’ll need to ‘opt out’ of the snail mail and email mailing lists, if that’s possible.

Dan
4 days ago

I’m certainly no fan of Marcus Lemonis, but I won’t condemn his reservation system before I get stung by it. I would probably set up an alternate email address to see what happens. And remember, you can always block email from unwanted sources.

David Lastoria
4 days ago

Camping world- in my opinion, is nothing but a huge company that takes hard working people’s retirement money by charging overpriced fees for goods and services.. there are so many independent honest shops out there! Read customer reviews on Google and the company’s websites. Protect yourself from these thieves portraying themselves as Goldilocks. They are, in all reality, the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Bob P
3 days ago
Reply to  David Lastoria

I too am not a fan of Marcus Lemonis or his business practices however, we just bought a new midsized TT and started accessorizing it. Most of the time if Walmart has what I need I get it there because of price, the rest of the time I use eBay because I don’t have to have a minimum purchase to get free shipping. Now our trailer didn’t come with vent dome cover over the bathroom, Walmart don’t carry that, eBay wanted $65+, it was on sale at CW for $24+, DW wanted some stainless steel table cloth clamps(the plastic ones she bought at Walmart last year have been broken) CW price for 6 PCs $4+. Saw an ad for Walmart online this AM 6 PCs $9+. I bought 2 pls 12 PCs for less than half what Walmart sells them for. Walmart has business practices that will make Marcus look good. When Walmart opens a new Super Center everything in the store is priced below cost until they have successfully ran their competitors out of business, the their prices then slowly rise until they’re higher than (cont’d)

Bob P
3 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

they should be because of no competition. This I found out from a fellow worker whose son was an assistant manager at a new super center where I lived. They only raise their prices by a few cents at a time so you don’t realize a price hike and it may take several years before they regain the loss when they first opened, but they plan on being there and you shopping there for many years to come. As I said at the beginning I am not a fan of Marcus Lemonis and what he has done to the Good Sam Club of which I am a life member.

Tommy Molnar
3 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

You are exactly right about how Walmart operates, Bob. When Walmart comes to town to build a store, they send in a team of “investigators” to check out all the other stores in town. Check prices, products, and traffic. If they decide to build, it’s only when they are sure they can crush all the competition. It’s not just “mom and pop” stores either. I’ve seen some rather major chain stores move out of our town.

We’re life members of Good Sam as well. We joined when we bought our first trailer in 1996. It was cool to belong back in those days.  😎 

Jim A
3 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

If you look at Walmart’s prices on line you’ll only see small price variations by regions if at all.
When Walmart came to our town several years ago the prices in our local store were the same as they were 100 miles away. No Lower prices here at all because they were trying to kill the local competition..