It’s no surprise that higher fuel prices are changing the pattern of RV owners. Many are using their RV less and, when they do go out on the road, they tend to stay closer to home and not move between RV parks as much. However, there is one RV park user who is not affected by gas prices and is a growing segment of the traveling population. And that’s the customer seeking camping sites.
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Camp site customers come from all socio-economic levels. They drive Mercedes and Buicks and Chevrolets – both cars and SUVs. What they all have in common is a love of camping and, when on the road, they want to camp rather than stay in a hotel. Since they are driving regular cars with 25 miles per gallon range, and not RVs with 5, they are not as concerned on gas prices. And camping, of course, is very inexpensive, so they can stay many nights on virtually no investment.
Most RV parks should have a camping section, since it naturally fits in with RV travelers. And they require very little in the way of land and finish-out. Here’s how to build a winning primitive camp site section in your RV park:
Choose a quiet, shaded area.
Campers don’t have much to block out noise or heat, other than a piece of nylon cloth in the form of a tent. They can’t be in the direct sun with much success, as they have no air-conditioning. And, of course, the sound deadening properties of a tent are zero. Pick a section of land that is at the end of a dead-end street, or some out of the way spot. And make sure there are ample trees.
Provide water and electricity.
Campers only need access to potable water and enough electricity to plug in a radio. They do not need sewer connection. They will also need a gravel or concrete area to stand and move around on, that won’t create mud that will track into their tent. The tent, itself, should be on grass next to this “pad”.
Clearly mark the site and all utilities.
To make sure that the camper does not go on the wrong space, be sure and clearly mark the space number, and then repeat the space number on the utilities. Make sure that the signage you use is professional grade – spray painting a number on a sheet of plywood, or directly on the power riser, is not a good idea.
Offer a picnic table and fire pit.
I know you’ve been camping at least once. What did you do to spend your time? Well, I remember that the best parts were sitting around and talking, and cooking on an open fire and then eating it. So give your customers the tools for these activities. A simple picnic table is functional, lasts almost forever, and is cheap. And a metal fire pit contains the fire, which improves safety, and it also tells customers where to build the fire. In addition you might also want to put a grill on the top for hot dogs, etc. Remember Smores? That’s why people camp.
Use something attractive to mark the camp site boundaries.
An attractive, decorative fence is the hallmark of a good camp site. It not only shows the camper the boundaries of their site, but looks good, too. These split rail fences are normally about 10’ in length and can be made of white PVC vinyl, or real, rustic wood. To create the impression you want, be sure to do a good job of installation and maintenance. While the fences improve the look of the area, they will equally hurt it if allowed to fall into poor repair.
Unless you sell it, put some firewood out there.
Unless your RV park has a store that sells firewood, be sure to leave enough out there at each camp site that they have plenty to make a campfire. If you have any dead trees on the site, here’s your chance for real conservation. It does not have to be fancy wood – just something that will burn. Having wood at each site is a real turn-on for campers, and they will appreciate your courtesy. And a happy camper will return and tell their friends.
Unless every square foot of your RV park is being utilized, you have room for primitive camp sites. They are a great source of income, and require little capital investment to build or maintain. So look around your RV park and see where you can set up a camp site section. It will be, dollar for dollar, one of the best ideas you’ve had in a long time.