RV owners expect to hit the road in big numbers this spring and summer and plan to adjust to higher fuel prices by enjoying frequent weekend getaways and staying closer to home, according to a new survey.
Despite rising fuel prices, the latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners, conducted by RVIA, reveals that 64% of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer than they did last year, and 24% say they’ll use theirs the same amount. Seven percent indicated they’ll use their RV less.
The survey of 424 RV owners was conducted by RVIA and Cvent from March 14 through March 27 and has a margin of error of 4.5%.
The top reasons for using their RVs more include enjoying outdoor activity, taking mini-vacations, spending quality time with family, and escaping from the stress and pressure of everyday life.
More than half (58%) said that fuel prices will affect their RV travel plans. Respondents indicated they will still travel by RV, but will adjust their plans by traveling to destinations closer to home (74%) and driving fewer miles in their RVs (68%).
One reason so many RVers will be on the road is the built-in cost savings of RV travel. A 2011 study by travel industry experts PKF Consulting found that a family of four can save 23-to-59% when they travel in their RV, even when factoring in purchase price, maintenance costs, and rising gas prices. RV owners agree — 74% of Campfire Canvass respondents said RV vacations cost less than other forms of travel even when fuel prices rise.
“Almost nine million Americans own RVs because of the unmatched freedom and flexibility they provide when traveling,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “When fuel prices rise they can adjust their plans to reduce driving but still spend quality time outdoors with loved ones.”
Emerging Trends in RV Usage
Approximately 18% of RV owners are engaging in “seasonal” or “destination” camping, according to the survey. Destination campers leave their RV parked at one location for the entire spring/summer (or longer) and travel back and forth to it using a family car.
Many families are taking shorter, more frequent getaways in their RVs to accommodate busy schedules. According to the survey, 70% of RVers plan to take more 1-4 day mini-vacations this spring/summer.
RV owners appreciate the control RVs offer in today’s travel climate. Unlike air travelers, RVers can bring anything they want on vacation — including pets. According to the survey, 54% of RV owners bring pets along on trips. Most RVers traveling with pets bring dogs (92%) and cats (14%). Others bring along other pets such as birds, ferrets, snakes and horses.
RVing is a great way to stay active while on vacation, according to RV owners. More than 71% said they’re more physically active on an RV trip — 76% said their children are more active. RVers cite the flexibility to enjoy outdoor activities (79%), and escape everyday stress and pressure (70%) as primary benefits of RV travel versus other types of vacations.
RVers Plan to Visit State and National Parks
America’s state and national park systems are popular destinations for RV trips this spring/summer, according to the survey. Seventy two percent of RVers plan to visit a national park this year; 74% say they’ll visit a state park. Two-thirds plan to visit historic site this spring/summer.
RVers enjoy an array of activities while traveling in their RVs. Favorites include:
• Sightseeing — 77%
• Cooking out — 75%
• Visiting friends and family — 58%
• Hiking — 57%
• Fishing — 50%
• Visiting festivals or fairs — 49%
Other popular activities include antiquing, biking, visiting museums, and attending family reunions and events.
Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) is offering a free one-day session of its popular KOA Work Kamper Boot Kamp training April 21 at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA Campground.
“Our KOA Work Kamper Program provides our KOA owners with a well-trained, experienced work force, so keeping our Work Kampers up to date is a top priority,” Mike Booth, assistant vice president of franchisee services for KOA, stated in a news release.
The KOA Work Kamper Program currently has approximately 1,500 active Work Kamper teams who are matched with KOA owners offering jobs in their parks. KOA Work Kampers who complete a full camping season are eligible to become KOA All Star Work Kampers with increased benefits, including travel vouchers at KOAs when traveling to a campground for work.
“We train KOA Work Kampers to be fully versed in top-level customer service practices and we make them familiar with our quality and facility standards,” said Booth. “Once they become familiar with KOA’s service culture, it’s very easy for Work Kampers to move from one KOA to the next.”
A portion of the April 21 training session will include a “Virtual Job Fair,” where KOA Work Kampers will be able to meet via the Internet with KOA owners throughout North America.
The KOA Work Kamper Boot Kamp session at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA is free for subscribed KOA Work Kampers, and will include a free breakfast and lunch. To register for the April 21 training or to learn more about the KOA Work Kamper program, go to www.workatkoa.com.
Campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across Texas are having a busy spring break this year, with occupancies at several parks exceeding last year’s figures, according to a news release.
“Many of our parks are reporting strong reservations and a good mix of visitors, ranging from Winter Texans and families to college kids,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which represents nearly 400 private parks across the Lone Star State.
“If the weather can hold, we are looking for a banner year as we are basically sold out through March 24,” said Don Temple, managing partner of Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine is also anticipating a busy Spring Break period.
“We never have to worry about low occupancy,” said Adrienne Nicodemus, activities director for the park, which has increased its spring break activities offering to include kayak lessons, bird focused crafts and hikes, an environmental stewardship seminar as well as yoga classes for both adults and children. The park is also planning a St. Patrick’s Day bike parade and an outdoor movie night.
Meanwhile, Horizon RV Resorts anticipates strong business levels at several of the parks it manages in Texas, including Hatch RV Park in Corpus Christi.
“Reservations are showing an uptick in the number of guests staying with us during this year’s Spring Break compared to last year,” said Scott Foos, Horizon’s vice president of business development, adding, “We’re fortunate to have a great group of returning guests who often return with several new friends or family members every year.”
And while Horizon RV Resorts does see college kids at some of its locations, the company’s Leisure Resort property in Fentress caters to families. “Our specialty is providing a fun family atmosphere that almost every type of guest can appreciate,” Foos said. “Additionally, the San Marcos River flows along the banks of the resort. It’s spring-fed just 20 miles away, and maintains a comfortable cruising speed and consistently warm temperatures.”
Foos said he also anticipates a bump in occupancy’s at Almost Heaven RV Resort in Manvel during the Spring Break period.
Multi-faced partnerships play a big role in the Go RVing 2012 media plan, including two national sweepstakes, a first for Go RVing. Teaming up with Great American Country Network and Outdoor Channel, each sweepstakes will include a grand prize of an RV giveaway courtesy of Lance Camper Mftg. Corp. and Columbia Northwest, respectively.
In a January lottery of RVIA members who offered a unit, Lance Camper was selected to provide a 2012 Lance Ultralight 1685 travel trailer as part of “The Ultimate Country Music RV Giveaway” grand prize, which also includes two VIP tickets and backstage access to the CMA Festival in Nashville in June. Additionally, Lance Camper will deliver a similar unit to Nashville for the filming of two 60-second RV camping vignettes featuring CMA recording artist Chuck Wicks, who performed at Outlook 2012 during the National RV Trade Show last December. The custom spots will be filmed on February 1 and air March 1-April 15 while the sweepstakes is open for entries.
As part of the partnership, Go RVing will also have a branded On-The-Road-Guide to Summer Hot Spots special section in the June People Country magazine. With a country music theme, the six-page custom section will promote RV travel and the sweepstakes. Visitors to GACTV.com will also see Go RVing interactive banner ads, information on RVing and details about the sweepstakes.
A second sweepstakes prize lottery was also held in mid-January, and Columbia Northwest was chosen to provide a 2012 Somerset OR12SD off-road folding camping trailer as the grand prize in the “Spring Fever” sweepstakes with the Outdoor Channel. Four custom vignettes featuring network talent Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones, hosts of the hunting show Driven, and angler, Mark Davis, host of Big Water Adventures, will begin airing February 27 through the sweepstakes drawing on April 30. Outdoor Channel will also promote the advantages of RV travel to their audience through outdoorchannel.com, targeted emails and their social media outlets.
Go RVing sweepstakes entrants will be encouraged to opt in for information from participating Go RVing dealers, manufacturers and campgrounds offer another source of 2012 local consumer leads.
“Respected media partners that offer a full integration of our message across all platforms of communication – TV, print and online – offer us a great value for our advertising dollar,” said RVIA’s vice president of public relations and advertising, James Ashurst, “because they present the Go RVing message in conjunction with talent that the audience already trusts and relates to.”
As much of the country falls into a deep freeze, here in Austin we're basking in 70-degree weather and preparing for the Spring. There's no more evidence of that than the Austin Boat Sport and Outdoor Show that starts today at the Austin Convention Center.
Vendors in the boating and marine industry will show their wares throughout the weekend. In addition, other vendors including Princess Craft will have a variety of products for attendees to view during the three-day event.
If you're in or around Austin this weekend, we definitely recommend you check it out.
According to a new study recently released by The Outdoor Foundation, Coleman, and Kampgrounds of America (KOA), almost 40 million Americans participated in camping last year. When you break down the numbers, that's equal to more than 14 percent of Americans over age six. That's pretty impressive. The findings are part of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, a leading report tracking American participation in camping.
This extended 54-page Special Report on Camping provides data and analysis on camping participation in the United States, including psychographic profiles, camping preferences and buying behavior. The Report also explores opportunities in the camping industry and the overall future of camping. The findings are based on an online survey of more than 40,000 Americans ages six and older and a supplemental survey of camping participants 18 and older.
“The Special Report on Camping shows that camping endures as part of the American outdoor tradition – accommodating any lifestyle and giving access to any outdoor experience,” said Chris Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “Thanks to support and commitment of Coleman and KOA, the Report provides first-of-its-kind information on camping trends, which should be of great interest to everyone in the outdoor community – especially those of us focused on inspiring future generations of enthusiasts."
The study found that introducing children to camping at a young age is vital to their participation as adults. Half of all current campers ages 18 and over experienced their first camping trip before they reached the age of seven. Only nine percent of all adult camping participants tried camping for the first time after age 19.
“KOA has been serving the camping public for 50 years and believes that it is essential to evaluate key outdoor sector and camper trends to continually respond to the diverse outdoor hospitality needs of Americans and international visitors”, said Jim Rogers, Chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America. “KOA was pleased to have participated in this special report and looks forward to working with its outdoor partners to use this information to better serve and grow the outdoor marketplace.”
The insights detailed in the 2011 Special Report on Camping are critical to understanding both campers and non-campers and building participation in the activity. Additional findings include:
Overview of Camping Participation
- Almost 40 million Americans went camping in 2010 for a total of 514.8 million outings.
- On average, each camping participant spent almost 13 days camping.
- More than three-quarters of participants are planning 3+ camping trips in the next year.
- Over three-quarters of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.
Profile of a Camper
- Family is the most popular camping companion for 35 to 54 year olds.
- More than 90 percent of campers hiked during their last in-season trip.
- In the last 12 months, 86 percent of campers went on a camping trip during the summer.
- Over 50 percent of campers are motivated to go camping simply because they enjoy the act of camping
- Younger campers are most likely to buy backpacks, while older campers are most likely to buy propane lighting.
- Sixty-one percent of campers say they spend about the same amount on recreation in 2010 as they did in 2009.
- Most new and replacement camping purchases are planned at home before taking the camping trip.
Future of Camping
- Nearly a quarter of frequent campers say their camping trips over the last three years have become longer and more frequent.
- The most cited reasons for reducing the number of trips are a lack of time due to work and family commitments.
- Almost half of all respondents say their fathers took them camping for the first time.
To download a complete copy of the 2011 Special Report on Camping, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at www.outdoorfoundation.org.
Behind the piles of smiley-faced Amazon.com Inc. boxes arriving on doorsteps this holiday season are workers like Ray and Sarann Williams according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The retired couple are part of the swarm of seasonal employees taking up temporary residence in this small desert city—home to one of Amazon's warehouses—to help the online-retail giant fulfill its influx of holiday orders.
Each holiday season, Fernley, Nev., transforms with the arrival of hundreds of temporary employees to work around the clock at Amazon's warehouse, and help the online retailer meet its spike in orders.
Ray and Sarann Williams drove from their home in Hurricane, Utah, to work at the Fernley warehouse.
The Williamses migrated from their home in Hurricane, Utah, to take the two-month warehouse gig. "The money always helps" and the physical labor "always makes me feel better," Mr. Williams said as he walked his miniature schnauzer, Maya, around the Desert Rose RV park, where the couple is currently residing. The 75-year-old said this was his second stint as a seasonal Amazon worker, after spending last autumn at Amazon's Campbellsville, Ky., location.
Amazon, the world's biggest e-commerce purveyor, sees a sales spike every fourth quarter, when it makes nearly 40% of its more than $34 billion in annual revenue. To meet that surge, the Seattle-based company hires hundreds of temporary workers at each of its 34 U.S. warehouses.
A spokeswoman for Amazon, which has 51,000 staffers excluding seasonal workers world-wide, said it hires "thousands" of temporary workers for the holidays, but declined to disclose specific numbers. It said it quadrupled its staff at its warehouse in Phoenix to 1,200 to handle the end-of-year rush.
Many of these employees belong to the community of "workampers," a sort of modern-day migrant worker. Many of them are retirees who spend all or part of the year living in RVs and taking odd seasonal jobs around the country. While some workers really need the money, others said they take the gigs to help fund their adventures or just for fun.
Many current and former seasonal workers said Amazon pays decent wages—about $12 an hour plus overtime in Fernley, which is about 50% better than minimum wage here. But that is in exchange for long hours and tedious labor.
"It's like the best place to work and the worst place to work," said Kelly Andrus, a 50-year-old Fernley resident who served as an Amazon holiday employee seven years ago. "It's good pay, and they're safety oriented," but she said the managers were strict and the labor was physically demanding.
Workers can be on their feet for hours fetching items from shelves, packing boxes and preparing incoming items for storage. Many said they lose five pounds or more in a few weeks. Earlier this year, Amazon was on the defensive after an Allentown, Pa., newspaper reported that more than a dozen workers collapsed inside the local warehouse there because of the summer heat. The company said employee safety was its top concern and that it had urgently installed air conditioning.
Holiday hiring surges are common in online retailing. At online electronics retailer Newegg Inc., a spokeswoman said the company boosts warehouse and customer-service headcount by about 130, or roughly 20%, during the holidays.
Amazon finds its workers via recruiting events, such as the one it held at an RV show in Quartzsite, Ariz., earlier this year. Many also come by word of mouth.
Clare Moxley, who came to Fernley from Kimberley, British Columbia, said she heard about the Amazon gig from a workamper website. The 54-year-old went into early retirement five years ago, after working as a bank information-technology manager, and said she recently took up the RV lifestyle to battle complacency.
Though she sometimes gets together with several coworkers at a local Mexican restaurant on Saturdays, Ms. Moxley said most nights she is too tired to do anything but stay in her 16-foot trailer, which has room only for a small desk and a twin-sized bed. Off days are used to catch up on sleep and to do laundry.
Still, she said she was glad to make new friends in Fernley and to prove that she could still handle tough labor.
"I definitely would do it again," Ms. Moxley said.
Amazon said it hires RV residents for the autumn in three locations, Fernley, Campbellsville and Coffeyville, Kan., as part of a program called CamperForce, which started last year.
Current and former seasonal workers said Amazon lets them choose from several RV camps where the retailer will pay the parking fee for the seasonal workers.
Each location is distinct. The Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley sits off a highway in the arid desert. Occupants of the 90 campers hang out in the communal laundry and recreation room, where they threw a small, informal holiday party Wednesday. Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy said they stayed at scenic Elk City State Park when they worked at the Coffeyville location in 2009.
The influx of Amazon's holiday help can perk up places such as Fernley, a city of 19,000 about 45 miles east of the California border, where the online retailer opened its warehouse in 1999. Restaurants and casinos get crowded. There are traffic jams.
"There's probably more people working in Fernley at this time of year than any other," said Eric Stanger, president of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Amazon's Fernley warehouse, which is about the size of 13 football fields, sits between the stores of two competitors, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Lowe's Cos. Employees say they often park in the lots of those big-box retailers when the Amazon lot fills up. The area gets congested around 6 p.m., when the shifts change.
The RV parks are perhaps Amazon's biggest beneficiaries this time of year. Debbie Skinner, the owner of Desert Rose RV Park, said about a fifth of her annual revenue—she wouldn't give underlying numbers—comes from Amazon. The monthly parking rate at Desert Rose is $375, though Ms. Skinner would not disclose Amazon's special rate.
The effects of temporary help also trickle down to local businesses and the city government. Troy Sibson, manager of Pioneer Crossing Casino, said his establishment gets noticeably busier during these months.
Mr. Sibson couldn't provide specific figures on the boost from seasonal workers. But he noted one change: "They befriend the bartenders."
For the full story and photo album, click here.
The new 1575 travel trailer from Lance Camper has proven to be a popular favorite for both dealers and consumers, according to a report on RV Business's website.
The 1575 is one of the newest in the Lance travel trailer lineup. With a length of just over 15 feet, it features a residential queen size bed, Lance’s “Super-Slideout” dinette and a dry bath. According to Lance, the interior is open and “feels even more spacious with several large windows.”
“This model offers a lot of value in an RV,” says Gary Conley, national sales manager for Lancaster, Calif.-based Lance. “Add to that the small size, and it’s no surprise it’s become an overnight success.”
The 1575 sleeps four and has a dry weight of just 2,480 pounds making it an easy tow for many of today’s smaller SUVs and light-duty pickups.
Princess Craft has a Lance 1575 Travel Trailer available on our lot. Check out the details and pictures of this great new spacious travel trailer from Lance.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) latest RV Consumer Demographic Profile, scheduled to be released to the industry this fall, shows RV ownership has reached a new peak while also offering promising news on future RV purchase intentions.
The research, conducted by Richard Curtin, RV industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, reveals the number of RV-owning households has grown to a new peak of 8.9 million households, up from 7.9 million in 2005. Nearly one-in-nine (8.5%) U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0% in 2005, according to an RVIA news release.
“Today’s record RV ownership levels reflect the enduring appeal of the RV lifestyle despite recent economic challenges,” said RVIA President Richard Coon.
In addition to showing that RV ownership rates have climbed steadily, the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile also offers promising news on future RV purchase intentions.
When RV purchase intentions are combined across current owners, former owners and new market entrants, a total of 21% of all U.S. households stated intentions to purchase an RV in the 2011 survey. This is on par with the 23% rate in 2005 and ahead of the 16% rate in 2001.
“These purchase intentions expressed in the new RV Consumer Demographic Profile are very encouraging for the industry,” added Coon. “The survey results gathered this year in a challenging financial environment track closely with the 2005 data when the economy and consumer outlook was much brighter. Overall, the results clearly indicate continued strong demand for RVs in the years ahead.”
Seventy percent of current RV owners plan to purchase another RV to replace their current unit. When compared to the purchase intentions of current owners in prior surveys, the 2011 data indicates a strong increase in new vehicle purchase intentions.
Among new market entrants, defined as households that have never owned an RV in the past, 14% planned on purchasing an RV in the future with more than a third of them intending to purchase a new RV.
Of all former owners, 27% plan to purchase another RV in the future. Here age was a determining factor with younger former owners (age 18-34) more likely than older former owners to purchase another RV. This underscores the need for the RV industry to stay in touch with recent former owners and to continue to present them ownership options.
Malia Lane, who calls Austin home, decided in 2001 that two weeks of vacation a year was just not working for her.
So she quit her full-time job, bought a recreational vehicle, and since, has explored states ranging from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas to Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and now Michigan -- all on her own.
"As soon as I crossed into Alaska, I pulled over to the side of the road and just sobbed," she said, describing her feeling of accomplishment.
Lane, 60, originally of New Orleans said Alaska was stunning, but Michigan was something else entirely -- something she wasn't entirely prepared for.
She started her RV tour of Michigan's coast on the east side of the state. Lake Huron made a distinct impression.
"I thought, oh, my God, the dunes! Oh, my God, the lake! Why would y'all lie to me!" said Lane about Hoeft State Park near Rogers City, where campers can see the sun rise and set from one vantage point on the park's dunes. "I've lived in Maui, but I've never seen anything like this."
Lane has made her living since 2001 as both a temporary legal assistant and a virtual assistant for lawyers around the country.
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