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Gorin: Major Things Happening Outdoors

January 21, 2016 by   - () Comments Off on Gorin: Major Things Happening Outdoors

The following Industry Insites column by David Gorin appears in January’s Woodall’s Campground Management.

Gorin-with-arms-crossed-copy-200x300Amazing Things Keep Pumping Up the RV World

Just when you think things couldn’t get much brighter for the RV industry, another bit of outstanding news comes along.

Ford Motor Company announced it is licensing Livin’ Lite to create a line of Ford-branded camper trailers, camper shells and toy haulers.

Ford-branded slide-in truck campers will be offered for six- and eight-foot truck beds, while the first camper trailers and toy haulers will be offered in 22- and 24-foot lengths. Additional products, including a longer fifth-wheel trailer and smaller popup camper, are also planned.

A Ford executive noted that “Ford is an industry leader in towing technology, so it was only natural for Ford to license its name and designs in this industry.”

Not since the iconic GMC motorhome of the 1970s has a major auto manufacturer put its name on an RV, with the exception of a trial alliance of Livin’ Lite and Jeep a few years ago that didn’t pan out. With the industry booming with growing sales and increasing interest by many segments of the public, Ford is displaying great confidence in the industry and market by licensing its brand.

Any day now I expect a major hotel brand to make a move into the RV resort and campground business.

Public Parks Upping Their Camping Game

It wasn’t too many years ago that some in the campground industry were living in fear of the expansion of campgrounds and RV parks in local, county, state and national parks.

First it was that public parks were underpricing their services making it tough for commercial park owners to compete. Then it was public parks adding electric hookups, bigger RV sites and swimming pools. Then it was the addition and growth of rental cabins. And today, public parks continue to expand, with some now offering seasonal sites, RV storage, activity programs and a variety of recreational activities.

There is no doubt that public parks at all levels are pretty much now in the campground business — the very same business that an estimated 8,500 commercial private parks are engaged in. I must admit I’m somewhat surprised that the commercial park industry seems resigned to accept the situation whereas just a few years ago, most of the industry was concerned about the growth of public parks and in some states was aggressively fighting that growth.

I guess it was about four years ago that National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) President Paul Bambei announced that ARVC would welcome national and state parks into the ARVC membership on the same terms as commercial parks. The outcry from the ARVC membership was loud and clear — not going to happen.

Today I only hear silence as we read daily of the expansion and success of state and other public parks. Here are two examples of this growth as reported by Woodall’s Campground Management and other industry information sources:

Vermont Plans Opening of 17th State Park: State officials have released details on a plan to convert more than 300 acres into Vermont’s 17th state park.

N.Y. State Park Campgrounds Set Record: Attendance at New York State Park campgrounds showed that more than 2 million people camped at New York’s 66 state park campgrounds this year, surpassing the previous record set in 2014.

Has the park industry given up protecting its turf? I can’t think of another business segment where government at all levels is in the commercial business to fund a public program like a park and counts on campground and RV business to provide the revenue to keep the parks in business.

In Case You Missed it

You may have noticed that my consulting company, David Gorin Associates, has a new name. In late November, I announced that I’d joined forces with Jayne Cohen & associates to create a new, broader company with increased expertise and experience. While we continue to put the pieces together for the new firm, we are moving ahead under a new name. A new company website will be up early in 2016 and both Jayne and I look forward to working with many of our readers in the months and years ahead. Jayne and I can both be reached through our regular phone numbers or through david@davidgorinassociates.con or Jaynelcohen@gmail.com.

Our thanks to all who’ve contacted us in the last month or two wish us well. We appreciate the warm best wishes.

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