CTPA Reviews Changes at State Confab
The California Travel Parks Association’s (CTPA) two-day convention Sept. 25-26 featured presentations by CTPA Executive Director Debbie Sipe and ARVC Chairman Max Gibbs as well as a keynote address by Lynn Carpenter-Shumann, deputy director of marketing for the California Travel and Tourism Commission, who talked about the latest advertising efforts to bolster California’s standing as a top travel and tourism destination.
The two-day convention at the Crown Plaza Hotel in San Diego, Calif., drew roughly 80 attendees.
Sipe briefed members on the association’s plan to change its name to the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (California ARVC) in an effort to more visibly align itself with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). The name change takes effect Jan. 1, 2008.
Attendees were also briefed on changes that have already been made on the association’s websites. The association’s online news website, www.CTPANews.com, has been changed to www.CalARVC.com, while the association’s consumer website, www.RVandCampOutWest.com, is now accessible through www.Camp-California.com
The convention featured seminars on the basics of splash pads, press coverage on a shoestring budget, the ins and outs of saltwater filtration systems in swimming pools, emergency planning and evacuations. There also was a session examining the merits of owning and operating a franchise park with Rob Schutter, president and CEO of Leisure Systems, Inc. (LSI), which franchises the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resorts, Robert Bouse of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), David Gorin of Best Parks of America and John Croce of Guest First RV Resorts.
William Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), also held an informal session with park operators in which he talked about the do’s and don’ts of accommodating park model owners.
Gibbs of ARVC, for his part, talked about the various educational, legislative and marketing services that the national association offers for it members. He cited the association’s new interactive DVD on customer service excellence as well as its “Fundation” program, which is designed to help parks start, improve or increase a recreational program at their park.
Gibbs also underscored the importance of campground membership in state and national associations. “We want to be a national association that works closely with you and the leaders of the state associations,” he said. “We want to give you the tools that will help you recruit more members to your state association because the larger the numbers of campgrounds in your state association, the more clout you have on the local and state level in dealing with political issues.”
CTPA’s tradeshow, meanwhile, attracted nearly 40 vendors, including park model vendors Cavco Specialty and Laurel Creek Homes, both of Phoenix, Ariz.; multiple insurance agencies, including Evergreen USA, which is marketed through International Insurance Services in Lewiston, Maine, and Sturgis, S.D.-based Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance; as well as several wireless Internet or Wi-Fi providers, including Napa, Calif.-based Airwave Adventures, Boise, Idaho-based NomadISP and TengoInternet of Austin, Texas. Providers of campground management software, website services and online reservations also had booths at the show, including Mission Management of Niagara Falls, Ontario; Friend Communications of Orange, Calif.; PARCS Software of Victoria, B.C.; and RVTripSetter.com, the online reservation service now being marketed by the Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) of Ventura, Calif.
While campground operator attendance at the show was less than anticipated, vendors said they have been having a good year, including Brian Legler, president of Gerber Manufacturing, a Madison, Wis.-based supplier of picnic tables and grills. “They’re spending money,” he said, adding, “I do think the campground industry as a whole is doing very well.”
Schutter of LSI was also upbeat on the campground industry’s performance this year. He said revenues for Yogi Bear parks were up about 12.5% through August, while occupancies were up roughly 6%. “We’re real happy with this year,” he said, adding that high fuel costs do not seem to have had an adverse effect on demand for campsites.
Other convention activities included a CTPA board meeting, during which time new officers were elected for the coming year, including President Bill Milligan of Rancho Los Coches in Lakeside; Vice President Lewis Ashcroft, who owns two parks, Kit Fox RV Park in Patterson and Sycamore Ranch RV Park in Browns Valley in the Sierra Foothills; and Secretary/Treasurer Grant Stoaks of Mountain Valley RV Resort in Hemet.
CPTA also presented President’s Awards to several campground operators, including Lewis Ashcroft for his work on behalf of CTPA, and Friend Communications, for sponsoring a badly needed branding workshop, while Doug Clauussen of Morro Dunes Travel Trailer Resort received an award recognizing its success with a CTPA pilot program to deliver state campground guides to travelers.
Next year’s annual convention will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nev.