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Indiana Jellystone Hosting Military Families

April 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on Indiana Jellystone Hosting Military Families 

The Ross family was the first family to participate in Operation Appreciation.

For a third year, Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV will be partnering with Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind., to provide free lodging for any active-duty military personnel and their families.

 According to a press release, this was a program introduced by CrossRoads President Don Emahiser in 2010 as a way to “give a little back for the sacrifice our local military families have gone through and provide some well-deserved rest and relaxation.”

Jellystone donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer.  The program begins April 14 and runs through the camping season.  Located in Northeast Indiana 50 miles north of Fort Wayne, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort in Fremont offers fun for the whole family including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, water zone, boat rentals, miniature golf, a playground facility and horseshoe pits.

“At Crossroads, we see the Operation Appreciation program as a small way we can give back to the military community,” said Emahiser. “Last year we were able to give more than 25 military families time together in a recreational setting.  We are extremely proud of that and are looking forward to hosting more of our local service families this year,” he added.

For more information on the Operation Appreciation program or to make reservations, contact Kathy Fuller at (888) 226-7496 or at kfuller@crossroadsrv.com.

Yogi Park in Fremont, Ind., to Host Service Personnel May 19

May 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on Yogi Park in Fremont, Ind., to Host Service Personnel May 19 

Boo Boo and Yogi get a chance to thank Roger Barry, (left), Fremont, Ind., Jellystone park owner, and Don Emahiser, pesident of CrossRoads RV, for making Operation Appreciation a huge success in 2011.

For the second year, CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake will be hosting an open house in honor of all active-duty and retired military personnel. The Operation Appreciation Open House will be held on Armed Forces Day, May 19, at the Yogi Park near Fremont, Ind.

The event is in celebration of the continuing partnership between the two Northern Indiana businesses, according to a news release. The program was designed to benefit active-duty military personnel with some “rest and relaxation.” For Operation Appreciation, Jellystone donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer for military personnel and their families to use, free of charge.

During the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all of Jellystone’s amenities will be available, including mini-golf, a waterslide and basketball. Additionally, special children’s activities are planned and a lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CrossRoads RV will also offer tours of the Operation Appreciation Hampton unit.

“At CrossRoads, we see both the Operation Appreciation program and our annual Operation Appreciation Open House as a way of giving back to the military community,” states Don Emahiser, president of Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV. “Last year we were able to give more than 25 military families time together as a family. Our goal is to increase that number this year by getting the word out about the program. ”

The Operation Appreciation Open House is free and open to all active-duty and retired military personnel. To attend, please RSVP to oa@crossroadsrv.com.

CrossRoads RV, Yogi Park Reprise ‘Operation Appreciation’

January 30, 2012 by · Comments Off on CrossRoads RV, Yogi Park Reprise ‘Operation Appreciation’ 

Boo Boo and Yogi get a chance to thank Roger Barry, (left), Fremont, Ind., Jellystone park owner, and Don Emahiser, pesident of CrossRoads RV, for making Operation Appreciation a huge success.

Twenty-six military families enjoyed CrossRoads RV’s hospitality this past summer in “Operation Appreciation.”

CrossRoads RV partnered with Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind., to offer free lodging to members of the U.S. military and their families in appreciation for their service to our country, according to a news release. The park donated a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplied a Hampton destination trailer, which the company manufactures. The program began May 6 and ran through the camping season.

The military families came from eight states, as far away as Texas, and stayed a total of 127 days enjoying luxurious accommodations in CrossRoads’ Hampton while experiencing the amenities of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort.

One service man wrote, “I want to extend my gratitude to you. . .The hospitality that was granted my family was outstanding. They are under an extensive amount of stress due to my deployment. For them to be able to enjoy some downtime and relax was well needed. By the kindness of your company that was made possible. Once again thank-you.”

Another military family wrote, “My husband and I wanted to send you a special note to thank you for the Operation Appreciation RV that we stayed in last week at Yogi Bear Campground. It was a wonderful week for our family to be together. The RV was great and made our camping trip a great experience. Thanks again for all your help and effort in planning this trip.”

“We are going to surprise our kids with this trip!. . .They are going to be THRILLED! We absolutely love to camp and this would have been the first year that we wouldn’t have gone. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this,” said another family.

A retired Naval Officer read about CrossRoads’ Operation Appreciation and expressed his gratitude by saying, “These men and women make great sacrifices for our freedom and safety. Your efforts to show appreciation is. . .very special to these service men and women. I’m glad to see. . .the American people show their gratitude and appreciation.”

The Ross Family was the first family to participate in Operation Appreciation.

According to Julie Corcimiglia, president of operations at the Yogi Park, the company launched Operation Appreciation as a way of honoring U.S. service men and women for their sacrifice, bravery, and hard work to ensure American freedom and plans to continue the program during next summer’s camping season as well. “We were thrilled to be part of Operation Appreciation honoring our military men and women for their service to our country. It was very rewarding watching the family’s camp and spend quality time together. They all deserve it so much! We are looking forward to meeting the new families again next year,” stated Corcimiglia.

CrossRoads will be accepting reservations for the 2012 camping season starting Wednesday (Feb. 1). For reservation please call (888) 226-7496 or e-mail oa@crossroadsrv.com.

CrossRoads RV is a division of Thor Industries Inc. Headquartered in Topeka, Ind., CrossRoads manufactures a wide variety of travel trailers, fifth-wheels, and destination trailers that are distributed through dealers throughout the United States, Canada, France, Japan and Australia. More information on the company, its products, and Operation Appreciation is available online at www.crossroadsrv.com.

CrossRoads RV Launches ‘Operation Appreciation’

May 31, 2011 by · Comments Off on CrossRoads RV Launches ‘Operation Appreciation’ 

Roger Barry, founder and CEO of Yogi Bear's Camp Resort at Barton Lake (left) and Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV, stand in front of the Hampton destination trailer being provided free of charge for active military members and their families.

Executives of Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV, a division of Thor Industries Inc., officially launched the company’s “Operation Appreciation” program Thursday (May 26) at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind.

The program provides active members of the U.S. military and their family with free use of a Hampton destination trailer, which the company manufactures, for up to a week. Roger Barry, founder and CEO of the resort, donated the use of a seasonal lot.

“We wanted to do something special for U.S. service men and women to show our appreciation for their sacrifice, bravery, and hard work that ensure our freedom and American way of life,” CrossRoads President Don Emahiser told RVBUSINESS.com. “While experiencing the great amenities of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, they will enjoy luxury accommodations in our Hampton destination trailer that includes a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen, master bedroom, kid’s bunk room, and full bath.”

Both Emaheiser and Barry were on-site at the park in northeastern Indiana Thursday to welcome the unit’s current vacationers, Robert and Kim Ross and their family. A staff sergeant in the Army Reserve, Robert looked forward to spending the week with his family before being deployed to the Middle East next month.

In addition to helping to set up the lot use at Barry’s bucolic resort, CrossRoads RV involved a number of its suppliers in the project, including Crane Composites, Dicor Corp., Dometic, Middlebury Hardwood Products, LaSalle Bristol, Lionshead Tire & Wheel, Lippert Components, Sharpline, Shaw Floors and Yellow Dog Extrusion. Several other companies, including Alpha Graphics, Martin Marketing and Lithotone assisted CrossRoads in promoting the program.

The Robert Ross family

For Barry, providing the use of the lot was just one of several programs the park sponsors to recognize the nation’s military. The award-winning resort also holds a number of special celebrations for service men and women throughout the year, including “Yogi Bear Honors Our Heroes” and “Patriotic Week.” The 60-acre park, located 50 miles north of Fort Wayne, offers amenities and activities for all ages including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, water zone, boat rentals, a beach, miniature golf, playground facilities, basketball, volleyball, horseshoe pits and more.

According to CrossRoads Marketing Director Dave Boggs, reservations for the Hampton destination trailer are quickly filling up but a number of openings still exist. Any active member of the U.S. military wanting to make reservations should contact Boggs at oa@crossroadsrv.com or by calling (888) 226-7496. Reservations must be made in advance with availability on a first-come, first-serve basis.

CrossRoads RV/Yogi Park Say ‘Thanks’ to Active Military

May 25, 2011 by · Comments Off on CrossRoads RV/Yogi Park Say ‘Thanks’ to Active Military 

Splash Park at Yogi Bear resort in Fremont, Ind.

CrossRoads RV, a recreational vehicle manufacturer in Topeka, Ind., has launched Operation Appreciation to show its support for the men and women serving in the United States armed forces.

CrossRoads and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in nearby Fremont, Ind., are offering free lodging to any active member of the U.S. military. The park is donating a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV is supplying a Hampton destination trailer, which the company manufactures, to be used exclusively by active members of the U.S. military and their families free of charge.

Reservations must be made in advance with availability on a first come, first serve basis, according to a news release.

“We wanted to do something special for U.S. service men and women to show our appreciation for their sacrifice, bravery, and hard work that ensure our freedom and American way of life,” explained CrossRoads President Don Emahiser. “While experiencing the great amenities of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, they will enjoy luxury accommodations in our Hampton destination trailer that includes a spacious living area, fully equipped kitchen, master bedroom, kid’s bunk room, and full bath.”

The following are two quotes from military families that have booked a vacation through Operation Appreciation.

  • “Thank you for considering our family for this opportunity during this time of separation from my husband who is currently stationed in Iraq for a 12-month tour. I cannot begin to express how much your generosity means to me and my children, we are grateful from the bottom of our hearts!! Best Wishes,” Amy.
  • “We are going to surprise our kids with this trip! We are taking them to Grandma’s the night before and packing everything up. They are 11, 13 and 17 and they are going to be THRILLED! We absolutely love to camp, and this would have been the first year that we wouldn’t have gone. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this,” Kim.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake is located in northeast Indiana 50 miles north of Fort Wayne and offers amenities and activities for all ages including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, water zone,boat rentals, beach, miniature golf, playground facilities, basketball, volleyball and horseshoe pits.

Information about the camp resort can be found by visiting their website at www.jellystonesbest.com.

Any active member of the U.S. military wanting to make reservations should contact CrossRoads Marketing Director Dave Boggs at oa@crossroadsrv.com or by calling (888) 226-7496.

Crossroads RV manufactures a wide variety of travel trailers, fifth-wheels and destination trailers at five plant locations with headquarters in Topeka. Its products are distributed through dealers throughout the United States, Canada, France, Japan and Australia. CrossRoads is a division of Thor Industries Inc. More information on the company and its products can be obtained online at www.crossroadsrv.com or by calling (888) 226-7496.

Fairgoers Swarm CalARVC Booth to Win an RV

August 11, 2010 by · Comments Off on Fairgoers Swarm CalARVC Booth to Win an RV 

Pictured center are winners Mike & Gary Spiller of Tehachapi, Calif., holding the keys to their new trailer. To Gary’s left is Mark Lucas, president of CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Kan., and Ronnie Raddigan, general sales manager of Happy Daze RV, Sacramento.

Editor’s Note: The following story and photos concern a recent promotion conducted at the California State Fair by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC). Story and photos appear in the current issue of CalARVC’s Wednesday Morning Coffee Talk & Updates.

Kids tossed balloons, families challenged each other to ladder ball games, and friends raced to fill gallon jugs with water…..all games to be played while camping. In the meantime, fairgoers swarmed through the Slingshot RV donated by CrossRoads RV & Happy Daze RV Sales.

Visitors to the display shared their most memorable camping experiences or talked about their upcoming trips. Many people asked for resources on camping information. Passersby snapped their heads as they caught a view of the racks of camping guides and turned around to pick one up.

Long time member, Marble Quarry RV Park, gave away discount coupons.

California State Fair attendees register in the CalARVC booth to win a Slingshot RV from CrossRoads RV.

Park owners, Bill and Karann Milligan of Rancho Los Coches RV Park, Dana and Brian Busch of Canyon RV Park, Aaron Funk of Klamath RV Park and Esther and Janine Osborne of Marble Quarry RV Park worked tirelessly throughout the day sharing their passion about camping. Others came for a day: James Urquhart, Larayne Jeffries from Angles Camp RV & Camping Resort, Meaghan & Rebecca Bertram of The Vineyard RV Park, Liz Johnson & her managers from Kit Fox RV Park. Colleagues shared stories about their parks and operations with each other and created lasting friendships.

Diana Legro learns she and her family won a one-week El Monte Rental vacation.

Camper Rick was in his element running the games, giving away free camping certificates (the most popular prizes) sharing the value of camping and making family memories.

Diana Legro and her family were thrilled to win a one week El Monte Rental Vacation.

Did we encourage Californians to camp? Did we get kids excited and asking their parents to take them camping? Did we remind families about the benefits of a camping vacation? You bet we did….in spades!

ARVC Business Forum Reports on the Industry

June 11, 2010 by · Comments Off on ARVC Business Forum Reports on the Industry 

ARVC Business Forum members gather at the conclusion of a tour of the Keystone RV Co. plant in Goshen, Ind., where Springdale travel trailers and fifth-wheels are manufactured. Springdale Product Manager Nick Eppert (left) led the tour. Tour members (from left) are Ann Emerson, Linda Profaizer, David Gorin, Cindy Halley, Vic Nulting, David L. Berg, Al Johnson (in rear), Ian Steyn, Rob Schutter Jr., Mark Anderson, Eric Stumberg, Bruce Hoster, Pat Hittmeier and Chris Cutler. Shane Ott and Larry Weaver also participated in the forum but were not present for the photo.

This week’s ARVC Business Forum, held on the campus of Keystone RV Co. in Goshen, Ind., featured a typically lively give-and-take among the leadership of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and some of the nation’s key campground vendors.

Forum members met in conjunction with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Committee Week and Annual Meeting functions held not far away in downtown South Bend. The week’s agenda also included an industry party in recognition of what RVIA has designated in 2010 as the RV industry’s centennial.

The ARVC Business Forum brings together members of the ARVC Executive Committee and key players in the RV parks and campground business to discuss topical issues.

Shane Ott, director of campground relations for Thor Industries Inc., Keystone’s parent company, who helped orchestrate the meeting at Keystone, said the forum meeting at an RV company, a first for the forum, will help narrow “the huge gap” between the campground and RV industries. “There is no reason we shouldn’t do this more often,” he said.

A few forum highlights:

Mark Anderson, former ARVC chairman and owner of Camp Chautauqua Camping Resort, Chautauqua, N.Y., reported that his park and many others in the East “had almost a perfect Memorial Day weekend,” providing “a great start” to the season. The summer’s outlook for the Northeast is good as travel is up, he added. He noted that while the state of New York is “broke,” the governor found funds to reopen the state parks, which Anderson considers “an important baseline to private campgrounds.”

Vic Nolting, vice chairman of Leisure Systems Inc., franchisor of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, Milford, Ohio, began by summarizing, “In general, things look oh so much better than last year.” He then deferred to LSI’s COO, Rob Schutter Jr., who went into greater detail. Schutter echoed Anderson’s holiday observation. He said business in the Northeast is “leveling out” after “a disaster last year,” due to weather.

Schutter, noting that Yogi operators are seeing an upturn in campers’ ancillary spending after a 2%-3% downturn in such spending last year, reported that the rental market at Jellystone Parks is “through the roof,” thanks in part to its non-dependence on good weather and the growing number of visits of campers new to the Jellystone system.

LSI’s rental business was up 8% in 2009 and he expects another rise this year. The rental business, which puts campers into lodges and cabins, is bringing a lot of non-traditional or first-time campers, added Nolting. They explained that many Jellystone Parks maintain good working relationships with area chambers of commerce and hotels, which also spurs business. Cabin rental rates were $145 a night in 2009 and have been raised by $10 a night for the 2010 season, said Schutter, adding that LSI opened its first company-owned park this year in Bloomington, Ind.

Cindy Halley, publisher of the Trailer Life RV Parks and Campgrounds Directory and vice president of Good Sam Club marketing, Ventura, Calif., reported that TL’s rep teams are well underway in their collection of data and advertising sales for the 2011 directory. Team members “are very upbeat and expect a better year overall,” she said. On the club side, membership growth is exceeding forecasts and currently totals about 950,000. Good Sam Club members average 62 years of age and are typically retired, empty nesters. However, she added, the club is always trying to recruit younger members.

Eric Stumberg, president and co-founder of Wi-Fi provider TengoInternet, Austin, Texas, reported that TengoInternet’s acquisition of Nomad ISP is complete with Nomad’s clients integrated into Tengo’s in May, bringing its market penetration to some 800 parks and between 67,000 and 100,000 guests a month, depending upon the season.

Wi-Fi remains a key criteria in RVers’ decision on where to camp, he noted. He sees mobile point of sale terminals, such as an ice cream cart that accepts credit card swipes, becoming the next popular phase in parks and campgrounds. He is targeting 25% growth for 2010.

David L. Berg, ARVC chairman and owner of the Red Apple Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, said business appears to be “back to where we used to be.” He had sold out his 140 sites for the July 4 holiday by Memorial Day and his tent and popup trailer sites sold out first for the first time ever.

Berg, at the same time, said he remains “boggled” by the growth and popularity of the cabin business. He charges $120 a night for a cabin, even though “the motel down the street charges $29.” He can explain the willingness to pay more because customers “want it all today, the safety, the experience…” He also is getting into the RV rental market, charging about $1,000 a week to rent a unit on-site.

Al Johnson, president of Recreational Adventures Co., an 11-park chain based in Hill City, S.D., reported “an exceptional Memorial Day” and stated that nine of his 11 KOA-affilitated properties are ahead of plan so far this year. He has begun to replace aged cabins with new park models. He is putting on hold an overhaul of RV sites until he can better determine size requirements for the next RV generation. He, too, saw more guests with tents and folding camping trailers last year, but said it’s too early to tell whether that trend will continue this year.

David Gorin, who wore multiple hats to the forum as a campground consultant, ARVC lobbyist, park owner and state association director, reported that his Holiday Cove RV Resort in Bradenton, Fla., experienced a 25% increase in business last year, with his rental business up 20%-25% annually.

Gorin says he sold approximately half of the lots for sale in his park in the last 19 months. As director of the Virginia Campground Association, he said that state’s parks are looking for a good year, but that they’re concerned about whether the Gulf oil spill will make its way eventually up the East Coast. Meanwhile, Gorin says his Best Parks in America network has grown from 22 to 63 parks in the past year, has recently finished a long-term strategy session and will be publishing its first print directory. Finally, Gorin announced that he will be building a new 250-site RV park in Palmetto, Fla.

Ann Emerson, ARVC Business Forum chairwoman and vice president of Woodall Publications, publisher of the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory, Ventura, Calif., said sales consultants are reporting overall that most parks are doing well. In general, parks near metro areas are still faring better than those in remote areas. And there’s a serious concern among tourism-related business operators — parks among them — in many Southern and Southeastern locales regarding the long-term impact of the Gulf oil spill, prompting some owners to defer decisions on marketing expenses.

Emerson began a discussion on the explosion of social media in the campground business. At her parent company, Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of RV Business and Woodall’s Campground Management, almost all the websites have a Facebook page and each publication has at least one staff member assigned to increase its social media presence and AGI is developing a SmartPhone “app” for both of its campground directories. This discussion elicited comments on mobile marketing, which fueled a wider discussion on the explosion of mobile phone use in society. Some 90% of all U.S. homes have cell phones, and a significant percentage of Woodall customers have SmartPhones, she said. Stumberg noted that one study showed that almost as many people today access the Internet via their SmartPhones as from personal computers.

Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts, the membership camping wing of AGI, said, “We think membership camping is due for a renaissance.” He cited a number of ways Coast to Coast is attracting new parks and members to the concept. As an aside, he observed that membership campgrounds are finding new revenue streams by developing storage facilities for their members’ RVs while they are not camping. For example, one membership park developed a 7-acre storage facility and realizes an estimated $1 million in revenue in annual storage fees. He reported that Camp Club USA, AGI’s discount camping club, “has come back strong after seeing a slight dip during the recession” with high renewal rates and is up to nearly 50,000 members. Coast to Coast, which has taken membership camping under its wing, sponsored a membership camping conference in February in Las Vegas and will sponsor another in February in New Orleans. He is working to make inroads with developers of hotel and condo complexes to consider integrating campgrounds into their projects, he said.

Pat Hittmeier, president of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), Billings, Mont., said camping was “soft” over the winter, hindered by cold weather in its Southern campgrounds. But it’s taken off since May and was up 7% through Memorial Day. KOA is projecting an 8% increase through Labor Day, said Hittmeier, adding that use of the Internet to make reservations is up 12% over last year, a reflection of more business in general and the migration of campers to the Internet.

KOA has 4,000 units in its lodging pool and that business is strong, he said. Lodges make up 13% of the total KOA sites, but the company is aiming to raise that figure to 20% at 50% of its campgrounds. KOA also is looking to increase its first-time visits, which now make up 15% to 19% of its total guests.

ARVC loyalist Ian Steyn, owner of Jellystone Castle Rock Campground, Castle Rock, Colo., noted that his business is up 38% year-over-year, and 2009 was a good year for his business. He discussed an integrated approach to promoting the outdoors with other hospitality businesses in his community seeking to make it the epicenter for outdoor recreation in his state.

Larry Weaver, park model sales manager for CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Ind., briefly outlined the preferred park model program his parent company, Thor Industries Inc., has established with ARVC. Weaver stressed that campground owners should make sure they buy “ruggedized” park models for their rental units and refrain from features such as carpeting that will not hold up well under the rigors of long-term use.

Midwest Leasing Releases Financing Details

May 19, 2010 by · Comments Off on Midwest Leasing Releases Financing Details 

Fran Wickenhauser

Midwest Leasing Inc. has joined forces with Thor Industries Inc. on an exclusive basis to provide the RV park and campground industry with financing solutions.

Bryan Wickenhauser

Midwest Leasing Inc. will finance park model rental units for Airstream Inc., Breckenridge, CrossRoads RV and Keystone RV Co., according to a news release from Fran Wickenhauser, president of Midwest Leasing Inc.

Midwest Leasing Inc. originated in Milwaukee in 1985, but is now headquartered in Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colo. Midwest Leasing will provide conventional financing, as well as structured financing to coincide with a campground owner’s seasonal cash flow on terms up to 60 months.  “At the end of the financing term your campground owns the park models/rental units. We will finance park model/rental units, including freight, as well as other capital equipment related to your campground, throughout the United States and Canada,” he said.

Advantages of Financing With Midwest Leasing Inc:

  • Will finance 100% of total purchase.
  • Allows you to finance other equipment for your campground.
  • Conserves cash resources for other priorities.
  • Allows for structuring of your payments to coincide with seasonal cash flow.
  • Allows you to pay for units as you are receiving revenue from their use.
  • Allows for the same tax benefits as if you had purchased the units.
  • Does not affect your bank line borrowing ability.

“We have been financing capital equipment for 25 years,” Wickenhauser said. “We have looked long and hard at the park model/rental unit marketplace and feel comfortable with the products from Thor Industries Inc. We are excited and optimistic about our ability to help campground owners in the U.S. and Canada who want to acquire park model/rental units, as well as other related equipment, for their campgrounds. Campground owners are finding that park model/rental units are providing two to five times as much income as a traditional RV site, so we think the time is right for us to enter the financing arena to help campground owners acquire these units.”

To learn more specifically about how Midwest Leasing can help your campground call or email: Fran Wickenhauser at (800) 203-8920; Bryan Wickenhauser, vice president, at ( 800) 398-2604; fwick@financing-equipment.com; and bwick@financing-equipment.com.

ARVC Chairman Berg Addresses TACO Confab

May 18, 2010 by · Comments Off on ARVC Chairman Berg Addresses TACO Confab 

ARVC Chairman David L. Berg

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is considering changing some of the duties of association and CEO after the current president and CEO, Linda Profaizer, retires at the end of this year.

“Our current president and CEO has vast responsibilities and we may consider some realignment of duties going forward,” said ARVC Chairman David L. Berg. “We are looking at all staff positions and responsibilities within the organization and may restructure some positions.”

Berg talked about staffing and other initiatives underway at ARVC in an address to members of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), who had gathered at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville for TACO’s annual spring meeting and convention. The convention started Sunday and ends today (May 18).

In a subsequent interview, Berg cautioned that no final decisions have been made about the approach ARVC will take to replace Profaizer, who retires Dec. 31. “We want to make sure that our selection process enables us to recruit the best possible candidate for this position,” he said.

In his address to TACO members, Berg also said that ARVC is heavily promoting the GoCampingAmerica website with both print and online advertising initiatives.

He also said ARVC is continuing to take steps to improve communication with its state affiliates and that the national association hasn’t given up on the idea of having TACO become an affiliate of ARVC once again. “We’d like to have you back in the family,” he said, adding, “We (ARVC) need to improve our communication and treat the states as equal partners.”

Berg also lauded former ARVC Chairman Jeff Sims, also in attendance at the meeting, for his volunteer work reaching out to non-ARVC member parks to educate them about the merits of ARVC membership. As of mid-May, Sims had personally visited more than 400 parks at his own expense.

Monday’s TACO meeting also included a presentation by Bob MacKinnon of Murrieta, Calif.-based GuestReviews. “Texas has strong participation in the (GuestReviews) program,” he said, adding that Texas parks had an average score of A-minus in overall guest satisfaction.

Monday’s activities included a tradeshow with roughly 40 vendors, including Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV, Phoenix, Ariz.-based Cavco Industries Inc. and Athens Park Homes of Athens, Texas, each of which had park models on display.

The day’s activities also included a seminar on Wi-Fi marketing by Frank Drew of Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet and a seminar on “Expanding Your Park” by Kathy and Tony Palmeri of Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Estes Park, Colo,. and Leisure Systems Inc.

Ott Touts Rental Units at Reno Convention

May 6, 2010 by · Comments Off on Ott Touts Rental Units at Reno Convention 

Shane Ott, Thor Industries Inc.

Before joining Thor Industries Inc. as its director of campground relations last year, Shane Ott spent 23 years with Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), working his way up to president and COO of the company.

But during an address to private park operators attending the ReV up in Reno convention and tradeshow in Sparks, Nev. last month, Ott said the multi-week, long-haul family vacations that many of us grew up with are a thing of the past.

And while recent increases in fuel costs certainly encourage families to camp closer to home, that’s not the only factor.

Most families, he said, no longer can afford time off work to take extended vacations of two weeks or more, as they had in years past. In most cases, both parents are working, and many find it difficult to leave work for more than a few days at a time. Their kids may also have sports practices and other extracurricular activities, which further complicate efforts to escape for a lengthy trip.

As a result, he said, people are taking shorter trips, and they’re camping closer to home. And while there will certainly always be some people who have the ability to take long-haul, multi-week RV and camping trips, Ott said the phenomenon of families taking shorter trips closer to home is “a macro trend that is here to stay.”

But while this may seem like an ominous development for private park operators, campground operators have found that they can broaden their guest base by investing in park model rental accommodations, which are perfect not only for people who don’t have a tent or RV, but for time-deprived families who want to have a quick and easy weekend getaway without having to worry about packing tents and sleeping bags, let alone setting up and taking down camp.

Rental accommodations are lucrative, often generating three times as much as a typical RV site. Park models are more lucrative than RV sites not only because they generate more income per night, but because they tend to be booked more often and have higher average occupancy rates than RV sites.

“To some extent,” Ott said, “campgrounds have insulated themselves from dependence on RVs by investing in park models.”

This is one reason why several Thor subsidiaries have partnered with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) to provide campground operators with special pricing on rental accommodations, including park models manufactured by Breckenridge Division of Damon Corp. and CrossRoads RV as well as travel trailers manufactured by Airstream Inc. and Keystone RV Co.

During an interview with Woodall’s Campground Management, Ott said the park operators were directly involved in helping the Thor companies develop their respective rental products. CrossRoads RV, the latest to join the ARVC-Thor promotion, has several features, including:

  • 5/8-inch pine plank tongue and groove interior paneling instead of ¼ inch paneling or gypsum board.
  • No carpeting. Instead, the floors are covered with Beau Floor linoleum, which is easy to clean and more resistant to furniture scratching and cracking due to cold weather than other floor coverings.
  • No curtains because the materials used in draperies can tear and hold odors. Instead, CrossRoads uses miniblinds, which can be easily cleaned and replaced as needed.
  • Residential-style refrigerators. Guests prefer them over compact RV refrigerators because they hold more and work better. They can also be easily replaced as needed.
  • Custom designed deck plans. CrossRoads has provided Lowe’s with architectural drawings for patio decks that it designed specifically for its rental units. So whenever park operators want to install a patio, they can simply contact Lowe’s, which will provide them with the deck plans as well as the lumber and other supplies they need.

Esther Osborne of Marble Quarry RV Park in Columbia, Calif., in California’s famed gold rush country, told WCM she has seen evidence of the trends Ott described at her park, which her father has owned and operated for 32 years. She said the park has invested in cabins in recent years to broaden its market base and the results have been significant. “It used to be more clubs and older people that came in here,” she said. “But now (with the rental accommodations), we’re getting a huge mix with a lot of families with children.”

In fact, Osborne was so impressed with the CrossRoads RV unit on display at the Cal-ARVC convention that she bought the unit, and hoped to have it ready for occupancy before Memorial Day weekend.

The convention was sponsored by the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) and the associations of several neighboring states.

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