ARVC Report: Consider Joining a 20 Group

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August 9, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Evanne Schmarder

The following story by Evnne Schmarder appears in the August issue of the ARVC Report.

What if I told you that a collection of dedicated, knowledgeable industry professionals were standing by to help you improve, develop and advance your RV park or campground. I might continue to explain that several of these individuals have experienced the very same business challenges and yes, successes that you have and have compiled a report on performance and result benchmarks that they’d be willing – even delighted – to share with you.

What’s the catch? Like most things worthwhile you’ll be required to step out of your comfort zone. There will be an investment of your time and money. You’ll be required to travel a couple times a year, bearing the financial burden of the trips. There will be homework.

These professionals are even going to ask you to lay bare your organization’s most closely held records – your financials. The outcome, however, will pay dividends for years to come – perhaps even shaping your future.

I’m speaking, of course, about ARVC’s 20 Group program. 20 Groups had its genesis in the late 1940s when automobile dealers were struggling to cope with the tremendous changes in their industry. Sound familiar?

They found that by assembling a group of no more than 20 non-competing dealers (hence the name 20 Groups) and sharing business practices, financial data and other statistics they could greatly benefit from another’s mishap or success. By the '70s 20 Groups had grown into a business standard itself. Today a wide variety of industries boast a 20 Group program – dealers included.

Currently ARVC hosts several 20 Groups. Ask around a gathering of 20 Group members and most likely you’ll hear that joining a 20 Group was one of the best (best? absolutely!) business decisions they’ve made.

Meetings are held two times a year – usually at a group member’s park. The meeting host is given quite a bit of leeway to set an agenda, schedule guest speakers and organize park tours and meals and the groups’ members share the cost. One of the most coveted benefits of hosting a meeting is the park review. The group breaks apart and each individual member evaluates the park with an eye for increased revenue, safety and insurance matters, amenity placement, business  expansion, and more.

20 Group members are placed in specific groups based on a number of criteria. Gross revenue, business type, size and geographic location are all taken into consideration. This diverse mix allows for a broad range of trends, consumer habits, business cycles and other influences to provide a well-rounded picture of industry indicators. Group members are typically non-competing but exceptions may be made by a Group vote. All data is shared in the strictest of confidence. All statistics, composites and financials are coded so as to be identifiable to their 20 Group alone. Interested parties are asked to complete a 20 Group Placement Form as well as a one page “business experience” resume. There is a one-time fee of $200 and an annual fee of $350.

The ARVC member 20 Groups are a core component of the industry’s education program. Nowhere else can a park owner get such in-depth, tried-and-true business information than from fellow owners who have “been there” at some point in their career. The wealth of knowledge in these groups is astounding, surpassed only by the willingness of one business owner to share his or her experiences with another in order to help them build a more profitable and efficient business. And most importantly, the successes of 20 Group members are well documented and attributable to their participation in the program.

There will be a 20 Groups roundtable at this year’s InSites Convention. If the 20 Groups concept is remotely interesting to you plan to attend or to receive an audio version of the gathering. You, too, may find it’s one of the best business decisions you’ll ever make.

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