Developers and Consultants Busy, Growth Continues (3/1/2019)

Story by Jeff Crider

New developments are springing up around the country as the campground sector continues to grow.New developments are springing up around the country as the campground sector continues to grow.

 

Eight years of record and near record RV sales are creating more demand for campground sites and prompting a growing number of developers and investors to either rebuild existing parks to appeal to 21st century RVers or build new parks from the ground up.

WOODALLSCM.com (WCM) recently spoke with developers, investors and existing park owners who are building more than 20 new RV parks and resorts in seven states.

Longtime campground industry consultants who prepare feasibility studies for RV park developers and lenders also tell WCM they are experiencing unprecedented demand for their services.

“I’m as busy as I’ve ever been,” said David Gorin, who along with being the former president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), is also an RV park developer and consultant who joined with Jayne Cohen to form the Gorin + Cohen Consulting Group. “We’re probably doing three to four feasibility studies a month.”

Joe Moore, a Mineola, Texas-based consultant who founded his consulting business four-and-a-half years ago after 12 years expanding and improving The Vineyards Campground in Grapevine, is also the busiest he’s ever been.

“I have been inundated with clients. I’ve never been this busy with brand new startups,” he said, saying he’s aware of 16 new parks in various stages of development in Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming and Colorado, among other locations.

Moore added that while the glamping industry has taken off, so too has demand for long-term RV sites as a result of the growing numbers of retiring Baby Boomers.

“The Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 a day,” he said, adding, “Fifteen percent of those 10,000 want to hit the road or do some form of camping. If you think of that number of people coming into the market, month after month, you’ve got a lot of new people.

“Then you have more and more people who are going long-term and they’re taking up spaces, basically taking spaces out of inventory,” he continued. “In the past five years, there have been close to two million RVs sold. That’s a lot of RVs on the road chasing a fairly static amount of inventory.”

And as more and more RV sites are taken out of inventory by retiring Baby Boomers, market demand increases for new RV sites, but that’s not the only factor driving demand for new RV parks, according to consultants.

They have note that many people who buy RVs are people who work in the construction industry, nursing or other specialized fields that require them to live and work in different parts of the country for weeks, months or, perhaps, for two or three years before moving on to their next work assignment. Some communities also have a shortage of available rental housing, which prompts these transient workers to find rental space in existing RV parks and resorts.

But in several areas of the country, the number of transient workers exceeds the number of locally available RV sites, explained the consultants WCM spoke with.

Prompting developers and landowners to increasingly look at building RV parks in these areas to satisfy the demand coming from these transient workers.

“Probably a quarter of my business is people wanting to build because of businesses and construction workers coming in (and needing a place to stay),” Moore said. “It’s carpenters, electricians, pipe fitters and concrete people. Some are traveling with their wives, but a lot of them are finding jobs (in outlying areas) and their wife stays back home.”

Gorin added that it’s not just the construction industry that’s creating the demand.

“There is a big market for hospital workers and other traveling workers,” he explained. “There is a huge market near Amazon warehouses, fulfillment centers and amusement parks.”

“In most areas, there are not enough places (for temporary workers) to rent,” noted Homer Staves, a Billings, Mont.-based campground industry consultant, adding that construction projects involving wind and solar energy farms are also creating demand for RV parks in remote areas of the country.

Look for the rest of this story in March's issue of Woodall's Campground Management. 

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