In a viral article posted in October, discussing the overwhelming demand for RV sites (read it here), we argued that the time has never been better than now to improve your parks and increase your revenue. The cascading impact of an improving economy, changing demographic and demand for RV sites is soaking your park with a deluge of RV guests. As park owners and operators this perfect timing is also presenting some serious operational issues. The tried and true activities that were used to engage and entertain your guests in the past are no longer working today.

A park owner recently asked this excellent question: “What are other Resorts doing for Activities? It’s getting harder and harder to get people to participate. I’m also seeing that the RV’ers are getting younger and younger. What activities work for your Resorts?” Unknowingly the owner has presented a question that directly dives in to the rapidly changing demographics in the RV market. Your audience has changed and how you deal with this change will define the success of your park in the coming years.

Our research shows that the RV market is changing rapidly. A combination of the “second wave” baby boomers and upcoming millenial RVers are combining to drive a different type of camper in to parks. This audience we have dubbed “the next wave” of RVers are more self sufficient and self motivated. They are less interested in organized activities and more interested in exploration and fitness. As a result they are more interested in travelling more often.

These campers are easily identified by the type of RVs they are buying and travelling in. They tend towards units capable of more self contained travel and storage of toys. As an example two of the hottest trends in RV sales are Class B units and toy haulers. In addition these travelers favor electronics and technology. They are connected to their community of friends and family digitally fulfilling their need for community via these mediums.

For park owners and operators this new RVer presents a unique challenge. For this new audience your park activities should be designed to play in to this mindset. Instead of having the same activity every week consider one or two big activities during the season that form the backdrop of your resort. Are you near ATV trails? Plan a huge ATV jamboree. Are you near wine tasting? Plan a wine festival.

In addition consider adjusting your activity planning to become “availability planning”. For this active adventuring audience consider downsizing your activity calendar to support their adventures. Plan a morning coffee session or early evening hang out. Then focus your efforts on improving fitness facilities, pools, spas and the other onsite amenities that support a wandering spirit.

The rapidly growing yet changing demographic of your customers is presenting a unique list of challenges for park owners. By being proactive and aware of these changes park owners and operators can thrive with this new audience of campers.

What changes have you made to your park or activities to address your changing customer base? Share with others by logging in and commenting below.

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  1. kwenwego

    How can we go about setting up such a massive annual festival. That seems like a really big nut to crack.

    1. Mark Koep
      Mark Koep Listing Owner

      Great question. I suggest taking it a step at a time. First identify the event and test demand. If it is, as in our example an ATV event, call up the local motorcycle shop and discuss the idea. Do they think it will work in this area? What elements would it need to have? Would they be willing to start working towards something like this? Based upon the verification start building a partnership with like minded businesses. Overall it will be a several years process to build but could eventually morph into a huge event for your community.

      All that time you spend scheduling and managing the little activities can be redirected at this one big one.

        1. Mark Koep
          Mark Koep Listing Owner

          Ha ha then what is your park doing there? My guess… a big part of the appeal of your park is that isolated nature. Why not schedule an annual “nothing conference” People can come from all around to experience Nothing, do nothing and overall have an amazing time doing it. Be creative I imagine there is something you can do.

  2. herbsplace

    We were just talking about this. Really noticing the change this year with guests not showing at events that would normally be crowded. Great tips!

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