Evergreen USA Sees Good Year for Park Sector
Editor’s Note: The following Campground Outlook for 2010 was provided by Lucas B. Hartford, president of Evergreen USA. For more information, go to www.evergreenusa.com.
The Camping Industry in 2010
Having weathered the tough economy over the past sixteen months, many campground and RV Park owners are optimistic about improving their results in 2010, as well they should be. As the old saying goes, “we’re not out of the woods yet.” We know that our country’s economy, as well as the global economy, could be much better. However, there are many signs of improvement on the horizon.
Many forecasts call for renewed GDP growth across the board. The rebound in corporate profits is exceeding expectations. Home prices are on the rise. These are all very positive signs of improvement. With that being said, there are certainly parts of the economy that are still in decline. Defaults on commercial real estate borrowings continue to worsen, causing more trouble for the banking industry. The national debt currently exceeds twelve billion dollars. Even with these negative indicators, the majority of evidence still shows that recovery is under way. We are now headed in the right direction but we are starting at a very low point.
At the start of 2009, when some campers thought about their vacation plans for 2010, they were careful in how much time they wanted to spend camping due to strong concerns about the economy and about their jobs. But here at the start of 2010 there are signs of recovery and consumer confidence is starting to rise again – allowing them to do what they need to do most, relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
Camping is a strong and resilient industry. It is an industry that you should be very proud to be part of. I believe campgrounds and RV parks will have a better 2010 than 2009.
Regulations in 2010
With the change in the federal government administration a little over a year ago, one thing which happened very quickly, and continues to happen, is the development of new regulations in the insurance industry.
We welcome these changes, as the new requirements address issues that we are already in compliance with. We will see very few changes for Evergreen as a result of the new administration. However, with increased regulation inevitably comes more paperwork. Reporting voluminous amounts of data is a great challenge for all insurance companies.
Increased regulations are not limited to the insurance industry by any means. With a change at the helm of our federal government in 2009, and also a change for many state governments, we are seeing many new regulations for the camping industry as well. New life safety codes, tax laws and operating regulations are being forced upon you at a record speed.
As a business owner or manager it is your responsibility to know these new regulations, and to make certain you are complying with them. Evergreen will continue to do the best it can to keep our clients informed of the new life safety codes and regulations which affect your campground, resort or RV park, so continue to read our newsletter, The Source, for regular updates.
Evergreen in 2010
We at Evergreen are going to work hard in 2010 to improve our communications with on two fronts: electronically and personally.
Over the past few years, the use of the Internet has become a preferred form of communication for some people. The Internet is definitely here to stay, and whether you approve or disapprove, it has become a way of life for some people. As we work to provide better services, we are going to focus on ways to improve our communications with those who wish to do so electronically. E-mail, RSS feeds, websites and social media are now mainstays and we will do our best to provide our clients the information they expect in the manner that fits them best.
We are also going to work hard in 2010 to continue to improve our personal contact with campgrounds and RV parks. While electronic communications are important to operate efficiently, we believe it is just as important to maintain a personal relationship. Our business model is based on personal service. So while electronic communication methods are very important tools, we never want them to fully replace the personal relationship that comes from having a live receptionist answer the phone, seeing you face-to-face at a convention or stopping in your campground to review your policy or inspect your park. The camping industry is a “people focused” business. We at Evergreen believe that insurance should be treated the same way.
We wish you a wonderful and successful 2010 and please know that we are here to serve you.