We hope you’re staying safe and healthy during this time of uncertainly across the country and world.
In case you missed it, last week, on May 11th & 12th we had a great Back to Camping Summit and trade show, brought to life by Campground Views in association with RoverPass. The summit was created with the hope of helping RV parks and campgrounds take back control of their businesses and destinies!
Nearly 500 members came together (virtually, of course. Social distancing is still a thing.) to listen to 19 talks and panels from some of the outdoor hospitality industry’s brightest minds and peruse through vendor’s virtual booths. Speakers represented various companies in our industry ranging from RV rentals, campground consulting, and reservation management software; answering burning questions such as:
- What will bookings look like after the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do I keep myself, my family, staff, and campers safe?
- How can I find financial aid during this time?
- How can I earn back loyal customers, increase my park’s occupancy rate, and get my business back up to “new normal” standards?
The keynote talk, The Camping Comeback, was given by KOA CEO Toby O’Rourke, where she discussed the rapid comeback that the camping industry is expected to make. O’Rourke shared insights from KOA’s booking data showing that even though during March and April cancellations were up by a whopping 185%, the story for May, June, and July is a positive one!
Campground Views Mark Koep was joined by RVshare CEO Jon Gray and RV Life CEO Andy Robinowitz in a panel discussion entitled What Is Data Showing Now About Your Camping Audience. We learned that RV Life’s traffic dropped by 42% in March, the biggest drop they’ve ever experienced. Thankfully, by April 15th, they saw traffic not just go back to normal, but increase year over year.
RVshare saw similar dips in traffic in mid-March, which continued through mid-April. However, since April 17th they saw an almost immediate return to bookings. Great news for the RV/camping industry as the rest of the travel industry remains at almost a standstill.
RoverPass’s very own CEO, Ravi Parikh, gave an encouraging talk entitled Back in Business: Making Our Way Out of the Coronavirus Pandemic, where he covered tips and tricks for earning loyal customers for your campground again, how to market your campground to acquire guests who normally stay at luxury hotels, and even announced an industry-leading Campground Stimulus Program created by RoverPass to help struggling campgrounds.
“We view ourselves as ambassadors of the camping and outdoor hospitality industry,” said RoverPass CEO, Ravi Parikh. “When we saw how big of a hit our industry took because of the health crisis, we sat down with our board of directors to think about how we can play our part in helping our industry thrive again. It didn’t take long to come up with this solution, and we’re so happy to give back to the true all-American, small-business community,” said Parikh.
The stimulus was created to provide needed funding to stabilize business operations in the midst of the COVID crisis for RV park and campground owners. Out of an available $5 million total fund, accepted campgrounds can expect to receive checks ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 based on eligibility.
Find more information on the stimulus, along with how to apply, here.
Other topics of note include:
The Disaster Is Ending: How Do You Recover and Prepare for the Next One by Michael Elliott
How the Past Can Guide Us Through This Crisis, by Chris Hipple
The panel What are Campers Saying About Their Plans for Camping featuring Kyle Brady from Drivin’ & Vibin, Marc and Julie Bennet from RVLove, and Mike and Jen Wendland from RVLifestyle.com
All in all, it was an exciting and informative two days of talks, tips, techniques, and mindsets to help our industry thrive again. If you haven’t had the chance to explore the vendor booths, you can still check them out until the end of the month. Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels as we’ll be sharing the top talks of the sessions as they are released.
Did you attend the summit? Let us know your favorite talk in the comments below!