A Mid-Winter Bonus: Campers, Media Flock to Cherry Hill Park for Obama Inauguration
ARVC member Cherry Hill Park in College Park, Md., enjoyed an unprecedented January due to the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama. In the two months prior to the January 20th event, we’re told, their office handled thousands of phone calls including hundreds of reservations and cancellations, logistical questions, and even some visits to check out the campground in advance.
Cherry Hill’s staff of 46 worked closely with Metro to get extra buses for Tuesday to help transport campers and purchased enough fare cards and bus tokens for 1,000 guests. The Cherry Hill gift shop was stocked with Obama souvenirs — pins, hats, posters, mugs, pens, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and even a life size cardboard cutout of Obama for picture-taking moments and memories. The café reopened with hundreds of servings of the Obama family’s chili recipe. The heated bathhouses, hot tub and sauna were readied for the moment, as it was bitter cold, actually the coldest temperatures in 10 years.
Campers started rolling in amid a media frenzy of which Cherry Hill was a centerpiece. Several media outlets including a marketing firm for RVIA, put the word out that RVers were traveling by the hundreds to D.C. for the inauguration. Over the months leading up to the inauguration, Cherry Hill personnel spoke with The Washington Post, The New York Times, AP, UPI, local and international newspapers and more. During the weekend itself crews from Good Morning America, local TV, BBC, Swiss, Japanese, and Brazilian TV were on site to interview campers, staff, and owners.
Curiously, not one guest complained about temperatures that rarely reached the 30s or of the crowded buses, the Metro lines or security that prohibited strollers, backpacks, thermoses, etc. The inauguration was an unqualified success for the Washington, D.C. region, an event that any city would love to host. For Cherry Hill Park, it was a welcome break from the usual slow winter months.
Listings Free to all ARVC Members
ARVC members may now take advantage of a new member benefit: A free enhanced listing on GoCampingAmerica.com, which will now include:
RVC members may take advantage of this offer by contacting Grant Barnette at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GoCampingAmerica.com is one of the prominent “go-to” camping sources on the Internet. Visitors to the site can find a park, review a park stay, pick up tips and ideas for enjoying the great outdoors, research state destinations and more. GCA boasts nearly 200,000-plus page views monthly from camping consumers and prospects. Advertising opportunities are available on GoCampingAmerica.com. Learn more at http://www.gocampingamerica.com/advertising.aspx.
National Operations & Economic
Impact Survey Now Available
The 2008 National Operations and Economic Impact Survey was conducted by Northern Arizona University’s Hospitality Research Center. As a sign of the times, the entire process was conducted online, smoothly and efficiently, using adaptable e-software that allowed the survey to be completed in several sittings, not all at once. The response rate of 33% and 410 completed surveys was one of the highest ever; with parks of all sizes well represented in the sample, the end product is high confidence and reliability in the results.
2008 study highlights include information such as the fact that one-third of parks changed ownership in the past five years, and another third are either currently for sale or have plans to sell in the future. Thus, it appears a new generation of park owners is taking the helm. We’ve also learned that most parks and campgrounds have little or no competition near them from public lands or other free camping, yet they understand the value of pro-active marketing and that half of the facilities spend most of their ad budgets on national directory placements, about 20% each on state directories and the Internet and 15% on billboards.
Other valuable data collected also consists of demographic, recreation, amenity, technology, competitive trends, and more. The survey results may be purchased by ARVC members and non-members alike through the arvc.org online store.
ARVC Partners with Industry
Coalitions to Promote Stimulus
ARVC has been working with two separate coalitions that are committed to advancing the interests of tourism and recreation in this sweeping legislation.
The first is comprised of 24 different national tourism organizations that met at an Industry Tourism Summit in Washington on Dec. 16 and agreed on seven recommendations to present to the Obama Transition Team and to Congress regarding tourism issues, the first four of which were targeted as stimulus initiatives.
Included in the recommendations — the first two of which were spearheaded by ARVC at the December summit — were federal grants and loans for travel and tourism development; increased funding for federal lands, including assistance for gateway communities; inclusion of the Travel Promotion Act of 2008 in the economic stimulus plan to increase international travel to the U.S.; expediting increased funding for transportation infrastructure projects and tourism development projects; creating more user-friendly visa regulations and procedures for easing U.S. international entry/exit systems; establishing an Executive Office of Travel and Tourism in the White House and re-examining international travel bans now enforced by the U.S.
The second coalition is comprised of 27 tourism, recreation and environmental organizations that support $2.25 billion in stimulus funding for projects in the National Park System, including $1.7 billion for already approved construction projects, $100 million for the National Park Service Centennial Challenge (to be matched with $100 million in private sector funds), $200 million for restoration of the National Mall (to be matched with $100 million in private funds) and $25 million to repair or improve substandard park roads and bridges used by millions of visitors every day.
ARVC is continuing to work with industry allies in support of these initiatives because of their potential for such a positive impact on RV parks and campgrounds and many other travel, tourism and recreation businesses.
ARVC Updating Model Code
First Developed in the 1990s
Developed in the 1990s, the ARVC Model Code was designed as a model RV park/campground ordinance to assist member parks located in jurisdictions (towns, counties) that were developing their own zoning or operating ordinances or updating older ordinances pertaining to the development and operation of campgrounds and RV parks. The model provided the industry view on what an ordinance should contain.
That said, a process has begun to review and update the ARVC Model Code and accompanying industry research. The objective is to provide members with a current model code and research paper and eventually seek the endorsement of the code from allied industry groups and national planning organizations.
Campground-sector industry representatives wishing to provide input on the ARVC Model Code may contact David Gorin at email@example.com or ARVC president Linda Profaizer at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to April 3, 2009.
ARVC Foundation Thanks
TengoInternet for Support
The ARVC Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization established by the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) with an eye toward industry education, recently penned a letter thanking Texas-based Wi-Fi provider TengoInternet for its recent donation. The letter, signed by ARVC Foundation Chairman Randy Packard, expressed appreciation “that companies like yours understand the value of supporting this pivotal organization.”