RV Campgrounds Are Being Sold

We need to set up this story with some background information. There are some things you need to understand before we get into the “why” of the title of this post. To truly understand why RV Campground owners are deciding to sell, we need to understand something. Something that I am calling “Lost Mind” syndrome. This “lost mind” syndrome is an interesting phenomenon happening in our world right now. And the RV World isn’t exempt.

I recently read about a campground owner who sold their campground and “has no regrets about selling”. Why this particular campground owner decided to sell was fairly interesting. And I started doing some digging for recent stats regarding what I am calling “Lost Mind” syndrome.

Some Quick Facts

People Are Losing Their Minds

Now, why are these important things to know, and what do they have to do with RVing? Here is the point – people are losing their EVER LOVING MINDS! And campground owners are facing these SAME types of people who are rude in other business settings

Here is a direct quote from Andy Zipser who recently sold his campground: 

“Most RVers have already experienced the reservation crunch. As widely noted, the days of being able to start looking mid-afternoon for a campground site that evening are, with rare exceptions, long behind us. And that’s stressful for campers, of course, But it’s also stressful for campground owners, who get confronted by the full spectrum of negative human emotions from RVers desperate for a spot to land that night or next weekend.” 

RV Campground

*Side Note -we’ve been talking about this trend of campgrounds filling up for a while now. And we’ve felt the crunch ourselves!

Andy goes on to say: “There’s a lot of pleading and guilt-tripping, with fanciful stories (some of which may even be true) of medical emergencies or deaths in the family; there’s a lot of brow-beating and threatening. And there’s wheedling and conniving, with site requirements such as length of unit or power needs magically changing. All in search of a workable combination. Ironically, one of the industry’s biggest vulnerabilities in this regard has been its growing reliance on online reservations. Which requires campers to enter information. Such as whether they have a fifth wheel or a motorcoach before showing what sites are available. None available? No problem — the camper simply fudges the variables until something works. Reasoning that if there are no sites for a 35-foot unit, surely they’ll be able to squeeze into one that’s only 30 feet. Guess whose fault it is when they arrive and don’t fit?”

Don’t Be That Guy

Now, here are some thoughts about what Mr. Zipser is reporting led to his decision to sell his campground. He’s tired of people who have LOST THEIR EVER LOVING MINDS!

Many private RV campgrounds are individually owned and operated. At least for now….(more on this later so keep reading).

RV Campground Managers & Hosts Are Your Friends

Many RV campgrounds run by governmental organizations such as state parks or national forest campgrounds have camp hosts that help to keep things in order. There are also a lot of people who “work camp.” Work Campers get their campsite for free. All in exchange for doing some light work around the campground. That person answering the phone at the RV campground you are calling just may be a fellow RV’er who is working camping. 

Kindness goes a long way! There is something that (if you are a little older than I am) you will remember was the “gold standard” in interacting with others. And it is something known as the “golden rule.” This “rule” states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Meaning, treat others the way you want to be treated.

RV Campground Hosts

It’s Always The “Other Guy”

I want to JUST propose an idea here for a second. I want you to think about those times you have overheard people’s conversations. Maybe you have been at the grocery store shopping and someone was talking loudly on their cell phone. Or maybe you’ve taken your children or grandchildren to the park or the pool. And have overheard two people talking to one another. Or my personal favorite, a “food court” type area seating where people are talking to each other.

Have you ever noticed that when conversations are about another person (who isn’t present of course) it’s always the other guy who is a jerk, inconsiderate, rude, etc? 

When was the last time you overheard a conversation that went like this? Where someone said “You know, I was just so rude and inconsiderate. And I am really feeling bad that I acted that way.” I’ll bet you haven’t heard that conversation lately. And if you have you’ll have to let me know in the comments below. But I’m willing to bet most of the conversations you’ve overheard paint the “other guy” as the idiot. 

More Flies With Honey

I would just like to present some food for thought. Maybe, JUST MAYBE we could all benefit from learning a little more about this colloquialism. “Catching more flies with honey than vinegar.”

All of this being said, I cannot blame the campground owners who have called it quits. 

Been There And Done That

In my “former life,” I worked a customer service and management role in the automotive industry.  I was in this role for over a decade. 

It was a great job, I loved working with and developing my team. I didn’t even mind the company ownership (most of the time). There was one thing that made me never want to do that type of job again. The people – and as a result, I left the industry. This was over 10 years ago. I cannot even IMAGINE being in this industry today. PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR EVER-LOVING MINDS!

And I am sure campground owners will testify! If you are a campground owner, you’ll have to let us know in the comments if any of this resonates with you. 

Family at RV Campground

What It Means For RVers

So what does this ULTIMATELY mean for RV’ers and campers?

Consider this. On one hand, you have RV campground owners who are feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated by the hundreds of campers now visiting. (Many due to the pandemic). 

And then, on the other hand, you have the people with the really big bucks. People and groups like investment firms looking to capitalize on the new trend of hundreds of new RVers and van lifers. For them, they smell an opportunity to start buying up these RV campgrounds. Just take a look at the website for Spacious Skies Campgrounds. They even have a section for “coming soon” campgrounds. As well as a place on their website for those looking to sell their campground.

RV Campground Rates Could Be Rising

Will it be a good thing or a bad thing for RV campgrounds? Traditionally, less competition means higher prices. As more and more campgrounds are being owned by “parent” companies – it’s our opinion that rates are going to be rising. Most of these increases in rates will be under the guise of “new and improved” facilities. 

RV Campground Amenities. Are They Really Needed?

For most of us living RV Life, all we really need are full hookups. With a place to park and maybe a laundry facility. And the icing on the cake for us is a playground for the kids. 

For our family anyway, we RARELY “hang out” at the RV campground. But rather we use RV Campgrounds as a “home base.” We then go out to explore the surrounding areas. You’ll have to let us know in the comments. Do you prefer to stay at the campground during the daytime – or do you go out and explore? 

Walk A Mile In An RV Campground Owner’s Shoes

If you’d like to read and hear more about what it’s like to own and operate a campground, there is a book that just came out by Andy Zipser who is the campground owner “with no regrets” about selling. You can find it on Amazon. The book is titled “Renting Dirt.”

Renting Dirt: An Unfertilized (no BS) Look at What it Takes to Run a Campground and RV Park
  • Zipser, Andy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 130 Pages - 10/11/2021 (Publication Date) - Andrew Zipser DBA Mint Spring Publishing (Publisher)

And maybe reading this book would be a good idea. It just might help all of us RVers to have a better understanding of what campground owners and managers are facing. There are a variety of challenges as we move forward in this post-pandemic world of RV Travel and living. 

And since I’ve thrown in several colloquialisms already, maybe it’s good to add in one more. One is about “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”. This one is a great one to remember and consider as you interact with campground owners and campground management.

And speaking of RV campgrounds, you will have to check out Campground Views where you can take a “virtual” tour of campgrounds before you book your site.

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