In Defense of Discount Camping Programs
Editor’s Note: The following column was written by Pat Stehwien of Gunnison Lakeside Resort in Colorado and appears in the current issue of the Colorado Campground and Lodging Owners Association newsletter.
We have a Passport America membership personally (we go RVing with our fifth-wheel}. It saved us the membership price the first three nights we used it. That doesn’t mean we stay only in PA parks. It is just nice to have. As campground owners, we sell and promote Passport America and Camp Club USA memberships. We also honor all other discount cards.
In this economy, and with the price of gas up, everyone is looking for a way to save money. Many of our senior travelers have taken a beating in the stock market and have seen their retirement funds dwindle. The money they were counting on to travel and to do all the fun and exciting things that they had put off during their working and raising a family years can no longer buy what they had expected. It is no wonder they are trying to save as many ways as they can.
We are trying to do our part to help all campers be able to afford a quality experience. It does not diminish the experience by lowering the price. It also does not diminish the value of the site. How many of your campers ask other campers around them how much they paid? Maybe someone has. We have never asked that question when we have stayed at RV parks. We have also never been asked “why did so-and-so in the next site only pay $x and we had to pay $y?”
We can’t count the number of times people have come in for three nights on their half-price card and ended up staying a week, two weeks or even a month. We currently have a couple that came for their maximum three-night Passport America stay and are here for a month.
With the camping club memberships, you can set your own parameters. You can limit the number of nights they stay at the member rate, stipulate drive up availability only, or any number of other conditions. IT IS UP TO YOU. Which is what running your own independent campground or RV park is all about, isn’t it?
We were very happy to have Passport America members here during our cold, cold May this year. If it hadn’t been for them, almost no one would have been here. Which brings us to our mantra: Half of something is better than all of nothing.