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GaryKD 02-26-2009 04:42 PM

I just finished making a few reservations for this summer's trip with the Gkids. It is obvious to me the CG owners haven't heard there is a recession in this country. The prices are more than 2008 and the add on charges are becoming more prevelent and higher in cost (like $4/night per kid!).

Anybody else finding the same thing? Passport America CGs, here I come.

Gary RVRoamer 02-26-2009 05:05 PM

It's a dilemma for a small business with high fixed expenses (a big percentage of campground operating expenses are fixed rather than variable). If the occupancy goes down, the rates have to go up to pay the bills. If you cut the price enough you MAY fill more sites, but you have to fill a lot more to make up for lost per site revenue.

If RVers aren't traveling, cutting the rate in half won't gain you many more occupied sites than you already have but you lose a lot of revenue on the ones that are already there. If you raise the rates a dollar or two, how many people stay home?

GaryKD 02-26-2009 05:22 PM

Hi Gary,
Your post applies to all sizes of business. While some expenses can be related to the zip code and how the CG owner operates his business, many of the vendors I purchase goods from are honest to goodness rolling back/down their prices. These are not large companies but small businesses, just like a CG. The lowering of prices comes from ensuring their suppliers know if they want more business, they need to get their supply chain to get their prices down. When making the reservations, I talked with the person, about my disappointment with their 2009 pricing given the year might be kind of bleak for families traveling with their RV. The indications I got were ambivalance to the recession. They raise their prices X% every year and they will do so in 2009. The person I talked to was either the owner (most of these CGs are closed for the winter) or operating manager.

I guess my post was expressing a bit of frustration about the tone I received from these CGs. It's like everything is smooth saliing and they expect a successful season. It will be interesting to see if the CGs are well stocked with campers, this summer. I'll take notes and report back in iRV2.

Dadeaux 02-26-2009 05:37 PM

Having been a CG owner/operator I can tell you that the power company, water and sewer providers, cable TV and others will think nothing of raising their rates on the CG during a recession. I saw many power bills alone that exceeded $10,000 in a single month and although they are less when travel is down the base rate for each meter is the same.

Also let's not forget the bank still expects the note to be paid on time recession or not.

With all that said I have to agree that raising rates during a recession is not a good way to intice business.

Ronnie Bledsoe 2006 Dutchstar 43' 02-26-2009 05:41 PM

Gary, as we toured Florida for the past 2 months the RV parks are not full, which I expected, the prices are more than last years rates as listed in my trailer life book. I like you would expect specials during the week or at least holding the line on rates.
The good news is lower fuel costs...I bought diesel today for $1.98/gal.


Brigadoon 02-26-2009 06:28 PM


I've noticed the higher rates also. But I do have to say that this has been going on for the last 2 or 3 years. I used to keep track of all my campground costs from year to year and noticed about 3 years ago that many campgrounds had started raising their rates more than the annual cost of living. In a few cases much more than than the increase in the cost of living.

However, at the same time, rv manufacturers were raising the retail price of their rv's (mainly motorhomes) substaintually more than the increase in the cost of living. I guess they think all motorhome owners are multi-millionaires and will pay any price.

So we have changed our plans and either stay longer at a campground for a better rate or we go somewhere else if they don't want to get on board with a better price.

By planning better and working out better pricing (or not and going elsewhere), I anticipate we will spend somewhat less this year for campgrounds than we did last year for the same 5 1/2 month time span.

That includes a month and a half in New England which seems to be more expnsive than many other areas.

NLOVNIT 02-26-2009 08:12 PM

I've seen campsite prices increase steadily each & every year for both private & public campgrounds & this year is no different.

However, I did receive an email from a campground offering pay for 2 consecutive weekends & stay the week inbetween for free. Many campgrounds have stay a certain number of nights & get 1 night free. One of my favorite local campgrounds, as well as KOA's, have half price weekends early in the season. But this one's stay 9 nights for the price of 4 is a great deal. Granted, weekend prices are higher than weekday prices in most campgrounds, but it's still a bargain in my book. I'd like to see other similar offers start popping up as it thaws out up north here & the season gets underway.


Ray,IN 02-26-2009 08:43 PM

I must agree with Dadeaux' reply. Here in Indiana, at least one electric utility is raising rates, recession be bammed. Sure, CG's that consume less electricity,water,etc, because they have few customers have lower bills, but___, taxes, mortgage, insurance remain the same. Now where's that spoonfull of sugar?

Georgia Flash 02-27-2009 05:41 AM

You know, prices reflect how this country is doing economicaly. The campground is still a good deal for a nights/weeks stay if that is what you want to do. Motels and hotels are not dropping their prices! Transportation is not getting less expensive! I think I will continue to use my coach for what I bought it for and I think it is still a good value. Besides it is fun.

GaryKD 02-27-2009 08:20 AM

Hi Bill,
I'm not sure how you determined hotels/motels are not lowering their rates. I find just the opposite. CGs seem to be one component of the hospitality industry that is not lowering their rates. Countless deals abound in the rest of the industry. I just stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, in Atlanta for $27.00 + tax a night. I had to "negotiate" for the rate via one of the online services, but got what I needed. The industry is responding very quickly to a declining economy. Other industries are doing the same. CGs need to get on board the train. While the lack of revenue hurts, no revenue will drive a business out of business.

chasfm11 02-27-2009 10:31 AM


It's a dilemma for a small business with high fixed expenses (a big percentage of campground operating expenses are fixed rather than variable). If the occupancy goes down, the rates have to go up to pay the bills
So the last camper is in for a whopping bill, right?

I suspect that many things are going to continue to escalate. At the rate that we have been and will continue to "print money", inflation is going to drive the costs of many things higher. I suspect that many CGs were already on the verge of being unprofitable and this shake out will likely drive them to quit business. As bad as having higher rates is, the further limiting of our camping choices is not going to help. The airlines have been trying to shrink seat availability to try to drive higher prices - the opposite scenario.

Tom N 02-27-2009 10:58 AM

Maggie Valley RV Park at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA. The resort is owned by Joe Hardy. Joe Hardy owns 84 Lumber Co.

Last year the rate was $150.00 per night!


bsavage 02-27-2009 11:22 AM

As owners of a small RV park here in Dolores, Colorado, we just had this conversation, and we are reducing our monthly rates by $25/month, and our nightly rates by $3/night. Our competition have raised their rates. And yes, our water, electric, sewer, etc. all keep going up, but sometimes some is better than none!

Brenda, of...

GaryKD 02-27-2009 12:48 PM

Hi Brenda,
Now that your the best value around, make sure you get the word out through the variety of methods available to you. May your CG be full, this coming season.

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