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Old 06-06-2021, 01:06 PM   #1
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Interesting article written by (former) RV park owner

I've noticed many of these changes myself. Most are not good.

https://www.rvtravel.com/andy1003/

I avoid corporate "campgrounds" whenever possible, but I'm afraid that will get harder as time goes on.
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:29 PM   #2
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8 yrs.......sold it for 3.1 million
Sounds like they did OK
enough to see us through a modest retirement.
Not bad for 8 yrs

I had to work 25+ yrs rotating shifts for 'modest retirement'


Employes pay delayed

Every job I ever had 1st pay check wasn't until end of 2nd week worked



Owning/Operating a business has always been 24/7 involvement IF one wished to succeed
CGs ownership no different.

Dealing with public has always been a challenge...not sure that has changed.
Some folks are PITA regardless but that comes with the territory
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Old 06-06-2021, 02:49 PM   #3
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Me too. I personnaly don't like the 'RV Resort' experiance (pools, playgrounds, washeterias, club houses, etc). If I wanted that I would get a hotel room.
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Old 06-06-2021, 06:22 PM   #4
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Owning an RV park wouldn't be hugely different from owning a motel. Continuous changeover of guests, constant maintenance, having to clean up after people who are pigs and disrespectful of the property. Good ownership would have key employees to share the workload. I owned a business for many years and saw other owners lack the ability to trust their employees. They worked themselves to the point of exhaustion. I trusted my staff and took many vacations, most without ever checking in to see how things were going as that would take away from the purpose of getting away.

Some RV parks are in serious need of upgrades. IMO there is no excuse for sites not being level in private parks. Electric, water & sewer should all work properly as well. Common area facilities should be clean. It should be easy to book reservations and check availability online. If independent owners can't provide these things and corporate owners can, the poorly run facilities will go under.

Of course if corporate owners raise rates too much it won't help them fill their parks as people seek out less costly options. Even state parks have become expensive. People will go where they can pay less, but only if the parks are decent.

What we don't need is parks where it's all about money and no thought is given to the guests. There is a new park being built in my area and they've made the sites so close together it looks like it may be too tight to even put out slides. They didn't even allow space for a table between sites. It seems like their only thought was to see how many sites they could cram into the space. We don't need this kind of place.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donskiman View Post
...
What we don't need is parks where it's all about money and no thought is given to the guests. There is a new park being built in my area and they've made the sites so close together it looks like it may be too tight to even put out slides. They didn't even allow space for a table between sites. It seems like their only thought was to see how many sites they could cram into the space. We don't need this kind of place.
I have been seeing this more and more, even supposed RV resorts. I call them overpriced RV parking lots with utilities.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:42 PM   #6
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I don't see anything new in the story. It was not a good read as the writer spent most of the article demonstrating his verbose vocabulary.

We came close to buying a campground in Northern California back in the 80's. The problem was that it was a great campground and was booked solid during the summer season on the years the adjacent lake was full. During the California drought years, there was no business and you needed to be debt free to stay alive. It just wasn't a good buy.

I see the above as the problem now with campgrounds. Recessions and high gas prices make for dead camping seasons. Things are booming and I'm sure corporations, like Sun West Resorts, see them as money makers. Unfortunately, if fuel goes up, which it's already doing under this Administration and an impending recession, these campgrounds will be hit hard, again. They make eek out an existence by catering to permanent residents, something that was created by the last recession, but really ruined many parks.

When it comes to corporate management, there is good and bad. Their reservation and booking systems are more refined, but sometimes the employees have no vested interest in the campground and just don't care. You do get some, that retain the old employees and they do a good job. I haven't had any complaints with staying in corporate parks.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:44 PM   #7
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This is a quote from an '06 article about when Joe McAdams, President and CEO of Privileged Access, bought a portion of Thousand Trails from Equity Lifestyle Properties - the membership portion:
Quote:
While ELS retains ownership of Thousand Trails’ campgrounds, McAdams now owns the Thousand Trails membership business, which had been owned and operated by Kohlberg & Co., a New York-based private equity firm, for the past three years.
McAdams, ex-CEO of Ventura, Calif.-based Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), said he plans to grow Thousand Trails by nearly doubling the number of parks in the Thousand Trails network and by making the membership program much more flexible than it had been in the past.
“We’re eventually going to offer all types of accommodations, from bare camping sites all the way to supersites and cabins,” McAdams said. “There will be a variety of products and they’ll be based on customer needs rather than one-size-fits-all, which frankly had been the Thousand Trails modus operandi.”
While this is old news, it is still current as McAdams is still CEO of Privileged Access. There is a conflict between the bolded above and what we find when we camp in one. While I don't see my pkg's available TT CGs growing, I do see the push to sell sites to Annual customers, which leave less sites available to the traveling members. The conflict in having two corps owning TT is how are the property owners (ELS) incentivized to expand and upgrade or even maintain existing CGs? Their only path is the Annual Site Sales (Membership annual fee + $500/month). They see the $500/month and maybe only a little of the membership fees since members are staying for "free".
I am not happy about this take-over of Annual sites - I called a TT CG that I wanted to reserve a day or two in and asked them what percentage of sites are "Annual" and she said "a bunch" - I queried some more and they have 132 (or so) sites and 103 were Annuals (all the better/best sites). So that means no one wanted to buy any of the 29 that are left or they would already be Annuals and that also means that you have a slim chance of getting a site for your site or at least one that you'll want to come back to.
As mentioned in the article - it's unfortunately "Big Business" for the deep pocket corporations at the sacrifice of the members or at a non-TT CG, visitors..
Here is a link to the article: https://rvbusiness.com/mcadams-new-f...ousand-trails/
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Old 06-08-2021, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donskiman View Post
What we don't need is parks where it's all about money and no thought is given to the guests. There is a new park being built in my area and they've made the sites so close together it looks like it may be too tight to even put out slides. They didn't even allow space for a table between sites. It seems like their only thought was to see how many sites they could cram into the space. We don't need this kind of place.
Most businesses are for profit. Meaning they are all about money. Very few business owners are in it to simply provide a service/benefit. They all want to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that and not likely to change anytime soon.

If folks will pay for crammed together sites then a good business will provide crammed together sites and get as many per acre as they can. Because it's all about money/profit. Just the name of the game.

There may be a few who do it for fun and adventure but they are few and far between.
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Old 06-10-2021, 05:27 AM   #9
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Thanks for the share!
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:08 AM   #10
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No new insights there, but it's all true enough. The campground business is booming and investors are anxious to exploit it. Most campgrounds have become RV parks/resorts, cause that's what many RV owners want. Yes they are ever more crowded, and yes site rental prices are climbing rapidly. Increased services and high demand usually does that unless there is rapidly expending competition (there isn't).
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:39 AM   #11
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No new insights there, but it's all true enough. The campground business is booming and investors are anxious to exploit it. Most campgrounds have become RV parks/resorts, cause that's what many RV owners want. Yes they are ever more crowded, and yes site rental prices are climbing rapidly. Increased services and high demand usually does that unless there is rapidly expending competition (there isn't).

ONE corporation has locked up growth in our small town
Built a 400+ RV Park, built a HUGE RV Storage place (80+ acres), building a RV/Vehicle Car Wash ----across from their 'Resort' and are continuing the expansion of a 400+ MFG. Home Community
Gonna have to change our name from Camp Verde to 'Contemporary' (name of the corporation)
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Old 06-10-2021, 11:17 AM   #12
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Most businesses are for profit. Meaning they are all about money. Very few business owners are in it to simply provide a service/benefit. They all want to make a buck. Nothing wrong with that and not likely to change anytime soon.

If folks will pay for crammed together sites then a good business will provide crammed together sites and get as many per acre as they can. Because it's all about money/profit. Just the name of the game.

There may be a few who do it for fun and adventure but they are few and far between.
Have to see how well they do when they open. It's not in an area of the city frequented by RVers. Next to a busy road and an airport used by both commercial jets and Air Force jets. Plus that area is somewhat high crime. There was a mass shooting a quarter mile away that killed 6 people about a month ago.
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Old 06-13-2021, 11:59 AM   #13
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Here's an alternate view from a KOA execuative


https://www.rvtravel.com/death-mom-p...ad-thing-1004/
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