Gorin: Go Camping America/Go RVing Revival

July 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Gorin: Go Camping America/Go RVing Revival 

David Gorin

David Gorin is the former president of ARVC and is currently the president of Best Parks in America and the principal of David Gorin Associates LLC. The following column appears in the July issue of Woodall’s Campground Management. He can be reached by e-mail at david@bestparksinamerica.

First, a little history.

In the beginning there was Go Camping America (GCA), a joint venture of the (then) National Campground Owners Association (NCOA), the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA). The name Go Camping America and the original GCA logo were developed by KOA and given to NCOA sometime in the mid-1980s.

The objective of GCA was to spread the word about camping and RVing to the general public and to provide information to the media about camping in the U.S. As opportunities for promotion developed, each organization provided a share of the resources necessary or contributed talent, information or other in-kind support.

In the early 1990s, the RVDA decided to withdraw from GCA, leaving the program to RVIA and NCOA/ARVC.

Spurred on during these early years by NCOA and ARVC leaders Erv Banes, Al Daniels, Bob London, Conrad Dumke and several others, there were some significant accomplishments.

• A partnership among GCA, Kmart and the Coleman Co. led to the distribution of tens of thousands of Go Camping America Vacation Planners in over 2,000 Kmart stores.

Go Camping America momentos

• The Go Camping America Festival was a year-long camping promotion encouraging parks across the country to reach out into their communities and market areas with special events at campgrounds. The Festival kicked off on the “Today Show” with RVIA President Dave Humphries, the director of the National Park Service, the NCOA President – me – and the “Today Show” hosts Bryant Gumbel and Debra Norville camping, canoeing and talking camping at a campground at the Delaware Water Gap on the NY/NJ border. 1-800-SUNNY, the toll free number for GCA received over a 1,000 calls requesting the Camping Vacation Planner in that one day.

• A National GCA Fishing Contest was sponsored by GCA and fishing tackle manufacturer Abu Garcia.

• The introduction of the Go Camping America Credit Card was promoted to park owners and campers as a vehicle to fund Go Camping America. At its peak, there were over 5,000 cards being used and GCA income was around $25,000 the first year of the card.

• The introduction of the Go Camping America ATT Telephone Calling Card – remember them? Parks sold thousands of cards generating additional funding for Go Camping America.

• And as the worldwide web and Internet began to gain acceptance, ARVC created the Go Camping America online directory that remains today as the primary GCA vehicle for marketing ARVC members.

Go RVing Debuts

And then there was Go RVing, an RVIA and RVDA effort to unite the manufacturers and the dealers in a national promotion program to educate, motivate, entice and sell RVers to a larger and larger share of American consumers.

If my memory serves me correctly, the campaign to unify the RV industry around a national RV promotion program was initially spearheaded by Coachmen Industries’ Tom Corson, industry executive Jim Sheldon (then with Holiday Rambler and subsequently with Monaco), Tom Faludy of Carefree, and RVIA President Dave Humphries. Together with Bob Strawn, president of the RVDA, dealers Tom Stinnett and Rick Horsey and others, this group fashioned the Go RVing Coalition and promotion campaign into a model of industry unity that has become both a powerhouse driver of RV sales growth and the envy of many other big-ticket recreation equipment manufacturers – especially the boating industry.

Since Go RVing’s inception in 1994, the number of RVs owned by 35-54 year olds has grown faster than all other age groups, consumer attitudes toward RVs have improved very significantly and recall of RV advertising has grown every year. The number of likely RV buyers grows annually, driven by the Go RVing advertising and promotion.

Funded by increasing the price of the RVIA standards certification seal that goes on every RVIA member-produced RV, the Go RVing campaign has had annual budgets as large as $18 million. The campaign generally runs in three-year segments and over the years, promotional themes have ranged from “Wherever You Go, You’re Always at Home,” “Pursue Your Passions,” “Go RVing: Life’s a Trip” and the current “Away” theme.

In addition to the income generated by the RVIA seals, industry suppliers support the program through an annual dues assessment and through a special assessment added to the cost of exhibit space at the annual National RV Show in Louisville. All segments of the RV industry contribute to this powerful program that has worked wonders in building interest, respectability, understanding, support and many other positive attributes for RVs, RVing and the outdoors.

I like to recall that in the mid-1980s when I first became associated with the campground and RV park industry, my somewhat over-educated and over-achieving friends wondered why anyone would want to own and travel in an RV. Over the years, these same people have expressed envy for my being associated with such a “cool” lifestyle and they’ve moved from “I would never buy one of those things” to “I’m thinking about when I can buy an RV.”

In the early years of Go RVing, the campground industry conducted a “fair share” program soliciting contributions to the Go RVing campaign by requesting a fair share contribution based on the number of sites in a park, the number of site nights or the park’s revenue. Participating parks were listed on the Go RVing website as a resource for people looking for places to go camping. For some years, ARVC’s annual support through the fair share and other fund raising techniques of Go RVing was in the $100,000 annual range. And then for some reason, the industry association dropped its support – neither soliciting support from the members nor providing direct support from the association’s budget.

The Bottom Line

So what, you might ask? What’s your point?

Several points.

1. Every RV that’s sold represents a potential of 365 site nights for the park industry. From research I’ve seen, the average RVers uses their RV for about 25 nights a year. For every 1,000 RVs sold, at about $40/night on average, that’s $1 million in potential park revenue. With 10,000 campgrounds, those 1,000 RVs could mean $100 in revenue for each park. If the RV industry can successfully grow from where it is today – approximately 300,000 unit sales to where it was in 2006 – about 390,000 units – that could be $90 million in park revenue. At just 50% of that, we’re looking at $45 million or maybe $4,500 for every excellent, good, fair and poor park in America. Maybe a park would consider a $50 to $100 contribution to Go RVing to earn maybe an additional $4,500 in revenue.

2. With the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) now back under the RVIA umbrella, it stands to reason that the RVIA and the RV dealers are likely to take an increased interest in the RV units represented by park model manufacturers. These units are rapidly expanding as rental units in parks and as seasonal camping units of choice. RVIA has already launched a public relations effort to spread the word about park model RVs and park rental units. Soon, I’d expect that these units will be promoted more aggressively by RVIA public relations activities and may be included in future Go RVing promotions and advertising.

3. Go Camping America needs to be re-established into a national promotion program to reach out and excite more and more people about camping. Go Camping America is a good online camping directory but it can and should be much, much more. Industry promotion is an important role for a national trade association and ARVC needs to step up and take on this role.

In my view, the two key roles for an association are government affairs activities that protect the industry from unnecessary and unfair legislative and regulatory actions, and to promote and build an ever-growing consumer base for the industry’s products and services.

4. There should be a way to integrate and coordinate Go RVing and Go Camping America. Selling more steel (RVs) and putting more steel onto more sites (building more camper nights) go together. The more people own RVs, the more RV owners get out and use their vehicles, the greater the number of camper nights and the greater likelihood that they will buy another and another and another RV – and the more often they turn over their rigs, the more they use them – and the more camper nights that are developed. I urge the park owners and the leaders of ARVC to become more aggressive in figuring out how to take advantage of the great successes of Go RVing and how to ride that wave with Go Camping America. Two promotion programs have got to have a greater impact than just one. I recently heard that the ARVC Board of Directors voted for the association not to provide any support for Go RVing. If that’s the case, what a shame!

5. ARVC member benefit programs to save parks money through group purchasing are valuable. But isn’t it time to now focus on how to get the parks to use their savings they’ve achieved through ARVC benefit programs to fund GCA promotion programs to expand the number of camper nights, grow the camping market and increase park revenues? How many park owners would balk at kicking in $50 to $100 for an ear-marked $200,000 to $400,000 GCA promotion fund – not to drive current campers to the GCA website, but to promote camping as an activity and to try to build new camper nights from the public? I’ve no doubt that integrating GCA with Go RVing and putting money up to make it happen would be a big win for the park industry. I can hear the cynics saying park owners won’t contribute but that’s a cop out. A professionally crafted and executed program to tell the promotion story to park owners will be well received and supported.

See ya in August.



GoCampingAmerica Website is Upgraded

September 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on GoCampingAmerica Website is Upgraded 

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) has just completed a major overhaul of, one of the largest privately owned campground search websites online, to help consumers easily find campgrounds and RV parks around their destinations.With its newly enhanced search function, consumers can now search from over 90 campground features, along with location-based search, to find campgrounds that are close enough for weekend getaways as well as near popular state and national parks and other scenic destinations, according to a news release. also features photos, videos and online campground reviews by other consumers, allowing travelers to get a feel for campgrounds of interest before they make their reservations.

“Privately owned and operated campgrounds are more likely to offer park model cabins, yurts and other rental units to accommodate people who don’t have an RV and don’t want to sleep in a tent,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC. “We want people to know that there are other options out there and we’re making it easier to find them.”

Bambei added that while state and national parks are popular locations for camping, privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts usually offer more amenities and services, such as Wi-Fi and cable television service, as well as bigger campsites, swimming pools, game rooms and other recreation facilities. Many privately owned campgrounds also offer organized family activities and special events.

ARVC recently launched an Internet marketing campaign to promote through the Frommer’s travel website as well as Travora, which operates travel information websites across the U.S. and overseas.

“We’re trying to raise the profile of and let people know that there are literally thousands of campgrounds across the country that are eager for their business,” Bambei said.

In addition to hosting, Denver-based  ARVC provides private park operators with marketing support services, public affairs advocacy, educational enrichment and networking opportunities as well as major discounts on products and services needed by campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the United States.

For more information call (800) 395-2267.

ARVC Upgrades GoCampingAmerica Website

August 13, 2012 by · Comments Off on ARVC Upgrades GoCampingAmerica Website 

Members of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) now have the ability to make real-time changes to their park’s profiles on

“Each park now has its own page and its own URL destination on, which they can populate with photos, links to YouTube videos and other social media applications,” Jennifer Schwartz, ARVC’s senior director of marketing, stated in a news release.

The new interface, which can be accessed through the park operator login on, also gives ARVC members the ability to quickly and easily enter new search criteria for amenities, recreation, site preferences and services on a 24/7 basis. ARVC members can also highlight their park’s lifestyle options and affiliations.

“We need every ARVC member to check their park’s profile not only to make sure that it’s accurate and up to date, but to ensure that they’re taking advantage of the growing marketing power of the GoCampingAmerica website,” Schwartz said.

“The whole point of this effort is to make it easier for consumers to find your parks and the specific amenities and services they’re looking for,” she said.

And growing numbers of consumers are doing just that.

GoCampingAmerica is generating more than 90,000 unique visits per month and the numbers are increasing as a result of new ARVC advertising and media outreach efforts to promote the GoCampingAmerica site.

“This is why it’s critical that ARVC members update their park’s profile pages,” Schwartz said. “Is your GPS location correct? Are your amenities listed correctly? What kind of recreational activities do you provide? How long has it been since you’ve updated your photos? These are the kinds of the things park operators need to check to make their best pitch to consumers and get the most out of”

ARVC now offers several tiers of website exposure for its members. While all ARVC members receive free website pages on that include amenity and recreation listings as well as the ability to post three photos, park operators can purchase a website marketing package for $95 a year that includes the ability to post up to nine photos. For $195 a year, park operators can post up to 21 photos as well as links to YouTube videos about their park.

Park operators seeking maximum exposure can purchase a $995 ARVC park showcase package that includes photo and video galleries as well as prominent displays of their park on the GoCampingAmerica homepage on a rotating basis, plus priority rankings on their state’s homepage and priority rankings each time their park appears in search results.

“GoCampingAmerica has come into the 21st century,” said Deb Carter, who operates Buttonwood Beach RV Resort in Earlesville, Md.

“ARVC really has tried to make it as easy as they possibly can for parks to market themselves through”

Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said she, too, is pleased with the new park operator interface and growing marketing capabilities through

“I think, overall, these enhancements are another sign of how plugged in ARVC staff is in trying to give us the kinds of tools we need to market our parks as best we can,” Krumm said.

For more information on and the new website marketing options for park operators, please contact Rochelle Paulet at (303) 681-0401, Ext. 111 or email her at

Based in Denver, Colo., ARVC provides private park operators with marketing support services; public affairs advocacy; educational enrichment and networking opportunities as well as major discounts on products and services needed by campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the United States. Visit for more information.


ARVC Retains Denver Agency to Promote GCA Site

July 16, 2012 by · Comments Off on ARVC Retains Denver Agency to Promote GCA Site, the premier destination for information on private recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds nationwide, is leveraging a Denver interactive marketing agency’s travel industry and analytics expertise to strategize and execute an online media program.

The campaign, which targets RV travelers and campers, will promote the brand, drive increased traffic to its website and generate online leads, according to a news release from the agency, 90octane.

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) operates the website.

90octane is a conversion-driven marketing agency. A pioneer in response-based online tactics such as search engine marketing, online advertising and microsite design, the firm integrates these with more traditional channels to deliver custom, optimized programs. 90octane helps business-to-business companies generate and nurture high-quality sales leads, international nonprofits attract new donors, and top consumer brands enter new markets and increase sales. For more information, visit or follow @90octane on Twitter.


ARVC Unveils New Website

July 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on ARVC Unveils New Website 

Editor’s Note: The following report comes from Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Associationof RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), and appears in the current issue of the arvc Voice.

Paul Bambei

One of the key benefits of arvc membership is the exclusive online marketing exposure your park receives through, the association’s consumer website that receives over 1 million visitors (i.e. your potential customers) per year. As an arvc member, you receive a complimentary park listing that includes full park contact information, guest reviews, and your available amenities and services, all of which bring customers to your doorstep through the magic of the Internet.

This month, we are unveiling a new, with more efficient and simplified navigation that makes it even easier for consumers to find parks with the amenities, services and recreational options that matter most to them. Generally, consumers want to know details about the parks they are considering on their route, so it’s important that every arvc member ensures that their park profile is the most accurate and current it can possibly be. To make certain consumers can find you, we’ve incorporated a better integration with Google Maps to help users find directions to your park more easily. will now be a marketing workhorse for you, but only if you do your part to keep consumers well informed about all your park offers. The best news of all is that the new lets each member dynamically update their park information on their own, in real time, via an easier login and intuitive interface we’ve provided.

We can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your park data updated, because as the old saying goes, ‘garbage in, garbage out.’ I’m certain the award-winning parks that are featured in this issue of the Voice understand the importance of making their park profile the best it can be… you should too!

As an arvc member, your complimentary listing now includes three photo uploads.

You can make your listing stand out even more by upgrading your photo display or adding video to highlight your park’s features. The new has a totally refreshed look and feel and, of course, we’ll be sending instructions to all members to ensure you understand the new login and update procedures and so you will be comfortable using this great new promotional tool.

Lastly, we have also made some recent enhancements to the website, helping to make your experience there a richer one through easier, more efficient navigation. This work will continue throughout the year.

These two websites, and, are the best communication tools at your disposal for reaching consumers and keeping yourself informed on all your association has to offer, which is why we’ve poured an enormous amount of energy into their improvement.

Use them both to improve your business, compliments of arvc.

ARVC Promotes Great Outdoors Month Camping

April 27, 2011 by · Comments Off on ARVC Promotes Great Outdoors Month Camping 

June is National Great Outdoors Month, which is a wonderful time to enjoy fun outdoor activities with family and friends.

And this year, private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are affiliated with will celebrate the occasion by offering a 20% discount on camping during the first three weeks of June, according to a news release.

“We think National Great Outdoors Month is a perfect opportunity for America’s campground industry to encourage everyone to get outdoors, explore nature and have fun with their friends and families,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

The Denver, Colo.-based association represents more than 3,300 private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, which it promotes through the website.

In addition to providing discounts on camping, will also provide e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World stores and RV rentals booked through El Monte RV, which has agreed to provide 500 free miles plus 50 free miles a day to GoCampingAmerica visitors who rent an RV for at least one week during the June 1-25 period. will feature e-coupons for use at campgrounds, Camping World stores and El Monte RV beginning May 15. However, the discounts will be available June 1-25. Campground discounts will be available only at participating parks and on a space-available basis.

“We encourage campers to use to locate the campgrounds, RV parks and resorts that are of interest to them and to call at least 24 hours ahead to book their reservations,” Bambei said. is the largest searchable database of privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in the country, which offer fun family activities as well as rental accommodations ranging from safari tents and teepees to cabins, luxury park model cottages, yurts and RVs.

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds is the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry. For additional information, visit

ARVC Aims National Campaign at Young Families

April 7, 2011 by · Comments Off on ARVC Aims National Campaign at Young Families 

Paul Bambei

Editor’s Note: The following column by Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), appears in the April issue of the ARVC Report. It concerns ARVC’s more than 3,000 members but has the potential to have a far-reaching impact on all campgrounds, both public and private, across North America.

Members will soon be seeing ARVC’s first national campaign aimed at young American families come to life as several promotional components are beginning to fall into place.

Kera Tomlin, ARVC director of marketing, has done a terrific job writing the campaign’s marketing plan – which we are sharing in presentations at the spring state association meetings and conferences where ARVC staff has been invited to speak.

Our general strategy is to use two forms of video media to reach a vast audience:

  • The Outdoor Channel, which has a potential U.S. audience-reach of 35 million outdoor enthusiasts (referred to as “narrowcast audience.”
  • YouTube, the video medium of choice by the younger generation.

The message being delivered to the mass audience by these two media outlets will be consistent – “family camping is easy” (and a cost-effective way to vacation). Industry research has shown that less than 11% of the significant, under-40 age segment of the population owns their own RV and of these, only 1% of those under age 26 are RV owners.

Hence, the creative television and internet video marketing we’ll be deploying will invite viewers to try the convenience of rental RVs, hassle-free cabins or other types of park rental lodging or just pure and simple tent camping. Most importantly, we want families to get outdoors and experience one of the many alternate forms of camping available at our member parks.

The viewing audience will be directed to This consumer site is currently undergoing some major renovations, making it more consumerinteractive and also improving the search methodology to direct visitors to your park. To ensure your listing is as updated and current as possible, over the next two months we are proactively calling every ARVC member in our database as part of this website enhancement. Please allow us the required 15-20 minutes of your time when your call comes.

Once on the GCA website, visitors will be directed to a new GoCampingAmerica “promotion area” which will incent them to take advantage of special pricing, again, designed to make the camping experience easy and cost-effective. We have specifically chosen the campaign period of June 1-25 – typically considered a slower, just-getting-warmed-up, early summer shoulder season for most campgrounds – when site nights need to be filled.

The campaign avoids the last week of June leading up to the busy July 4th weekend.

The online campaign e-coupon available during the promotion offers our target market a 20% multiple stay discount for up to seven nights during the campaign. We particularly hope to drive business during the often-difficult to fill Monday-Thursday period via this offer. To make the deal even more compelling, we are partnering with several nationally recognized RV rental companies to offer fantastic rental discount coupons on our website promotion page.

While this campaign includes many variables that apply to the majority of campgrounds, we realize some park owners may not want or need the business during early June and for this reason, you can simply opt-out of the consumer offer being made from the website.

Finally, there is a huge public relations component to this campaign that will drive awareness and create some great local publicity for ARVC members. Under the guidance of CAMP state executives Rick Abare, CPO (Maine) and Don Bennett, CPO (New York), and working closely with sister associations like Derrick Crandall’s American Recreation Coalition (ARC) as well as ARVC’s own PR consultant, Jeff Crider, there are now 22 states/state executives that are committed to participating in the Great Outdoors publicity initiative.

Coinciding with the June 1-25 promotion and especially during the Obama Administration’s proclaimed “Great Outdoors Day” June 11-12 weekend, participating states will be involved in their own flavor of publicity-attracting events, including several who plan to demonstrate the wonderful world of camping on the grounds of their state capitals.

So now for the big question…will it all work? To me, that depends on several things. For instance, if a majority of ARVC member parks/associations get behind this project, that’s success in itself. There’s always a feeling of accomplishment whenever our associations and mutual members work together for the common good. Getting families outdoors, experiencing all our special brand of outdoor hospitality has to offer is certainly a win as well.

What about the good that could come in the form of new business? I look at site rentals as “perishable” commodities. If folks aren’t renting sites in your park, those rental opportunities are lost and can never be recouped. As a result, one of our main goals at ARVC is to help you seize this business opportunity by bringing customers to your doorstep that might normally never experience your business. In other words, we want to help you reach 100% capacity as often as possible, with you standing at the cash register adjusting for when and when not to take advantage.

The beauty of promotional marketing is that it builds on itself. The more our message is pushed into the marketplace, the more it gets seen and heard, and eventually, the more often it gets acted upon. Our marketing strategy is to develop four of these campaigns throughout the year, all with the goal of shoring up soft, shoulder periods when most parks need help.

Clearly, marketing isn’t the only value behind ARVC membership. There are many others in the form of government advocacy and industry education, however, in the months and years ahead, our promise is to make ARVC marketing value so obvious, you’ll see ARVC membership as the best investment you can make in your business. Gets A New Look

September 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on Gets A New Look 

Editor’s Note: The following story about the new look to the website was provided by Grant Barnette, marketing and communications specialist with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and appeared in this month’s issue of the ARVC Report.

It has taken close to two years but is finally getting a new look. We are utilizing the latest in web technology to bring more campers to your park by making their web experience as informative and accurate as possible. Guests will not only have access to your website and e-mail address but can now be linked to your online reservation system no matter which company you use. Finding your park will be a cinch as well. Campers will see your exact location instantly through the use of your geo-coordinates and the latest in online mapping technology. You will no longer have to worry about your park being correctly located in an arbitrary regional map.

Our new site is going live at the same time as the new and will allow you to make changes instantly to your listing page on the new GCA site. No more waiting for your changes to be uploaded overnight. Does your park have a feature you want campers to know about but is not a choice on our list? No problem, we can add custom amenities to your listing instantly. Just give us a call (800) 395-2267 ext.13 and ask to speak to Grant Barnette to have your new feature added instantly on your listing.

Does your park have special events during your season? Advertise them on the home page free of charge. All you need to do is send along the details of your event to us and we will add it to the Featured Park Events calendar on the homepage.

Don’t worry about the features you already enjoy disappearing.

GuestRated will still be a part of each listing with the basic functionality still available to members free of charge. Members that participate in the Plan-It Green and geocaching programs will still have these logos added to their listing but with our new site campers looking for green parks or geocaching will see your park first in their search results.

Additionally, two new listing options, a silver listing and a gold listing, are available to you for a nominal annual fee. With a silver listing you can now have an interactive photo gallery with up to 10 pictures. A gold listing includes the photo gallery as well as an embedded video of your choice that will be available on your listing page as well.

But if you really want your park to stand out from the crowd, then our new Park Showcase is for you. With your purchase of a Park Showcase listing, your park is advertised on the homepage. Your listing will be the first that a camper sees when they start looking for a campground.

With all these new features it is easy to see why we are excited about the new If you think there is something we’ve missed or would like to know more about the new website please let us know. You can contact me via telephone at (800) 395-2267 ext.13 or e-mail at We look forward to hearing from you and rolling out the new site soon.