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Good Ideas Shared at Virginia Meeting

November 10, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

Some novel approaches to improving the operations at campgrounds were shared at the fall meeting of the Virginia Campground Association Oct. 20-22 at the American Heritage RV Park in Williamsburg, Va.
Members offered their entries in the “Fourth Annual Best Idea Fair,” which brought together the best ideas VCA members implemented during the previous year, David Gorin, executive director, told Woodall’s Campground Management.
Voted the best three ideas were:

  • First, Express Check- in at holiday times – (see related story)
  • Second, On-Site Massage Therapist – very busy – great for special occasions
  • Third, Welcome Peanuts – at check in and on the counter in office – often leads to drink purchases in store!
    VCA members toured the Eaton Corp. factory in Williamsburg and attended a dinner sponsored by the electrical supply firm. “We had a good exchange with their folks on electrical products for the park industry,” Gorin said. (See related story elsewhere today.)
    Guest speakers included:

  • Keynote speaker Bob MacKinnon of MacKinnon Campground Consulting, who discussed strategic thinking in tough economic times. He also discussed the new GuestReviews service offered through the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
  • Tom Cervanek, director of marketing for Virginia’s State Parks, who reviewed the 2008 camping season. He noted that despite sharp budget cuts, camping held up well this year.
  • Bill Rhoades, owner of the American Heritage RV Park, spoke on the opportunities and challenges of owning multiple parks.
    “On the whole everybody had a relatively good summer,” Gorin reported, speaking of the 20 VCA member campgrounds present at the meeting. “Nobody reported a huge increase but everybody was satisfied.”
    Three campgrounds left VCA during the year but three parks joined, leaving no change in membership, Gorin said. The three who left cited economic reason, and one of them is closing temporarily.
    Fourteen vendors displayed their products and services during the trade show.
    As reported elsewhere in the U.S., campers traveled shorter distances to camp but stayed longer, he said. Virginia’s proximity to large population centers along the East Coast will continue to help the state’s campgrounds if a soft economy continues, Gorin noted.
    During the meeting,

  • VCA members had the first showing of their new website, which was is being created by AGS. The revised site will allow members to manage their own web presence on the VCA website.
  • The association re-elected its existing slate of officers. They are: Chairman Steve Albrecht, Walnut Hills Campground & RV Park, Staunton; President Karl Littman, Candy Hill Campground, Winchester; Vice President Ray Baker, Tall Pines Harbor Waterfront Campground, Temperanceville; and Secretary Angy Kinsey, Rockahock Campgrounds, Lanexa. Bill Rhoades of American Heritage RV Park was elected treasurer.
  • Long-time board member Larry Daniel, owner of Cozy Acres Campground/RV Resort in Powhattan, stepped down from the board but was replaced by his son, Scott.
  • Gorin reported that advertising revenue for VCA’s 2009 Campground Directory will likely be down by as much as 25%, due in large part to the economy-driven cutbacks by several tourism attractions that normally advertise in the directory. Some attractions have backed out or are reducing the size of their ads, he said.
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