Typically, this column deals with government actions and activities that might impact on the RV park, campground, recreation, travel and tourism. As we kick off 2012 and head into a presidential election year, there will be plenty of time to write about these issues, and I thought I’d start off the new year with some other thoughts and information that I thought you’d find interesting.
New Industry Research Now Available
You may have missed the news releases in the on-line industry daily news reports, but thanks to the folks at the Outdoor Industry Association’s Outdoor Foundation, the Coleman Company and KOA the new Special Report on Camping 2011 is now available. The report contains some excellent insights and information about camping – tent, backpacking, car and RV camping. I’d consider this report a “must read” for those who operate open to the public family camping facilities around the country.
- Including tenting, backpacking, car, RV and cabin camping, almost 40 million Americans went camping in 2010 for a total of 514.8 million outings. This is down slightly from 2009’s 44 million campers and 580.7 million outings.
- During the winter, spring and fall, about 71% of campers select a public campground; during the summer, 68% go public. Based on the number of total campers, about 12 million campers visited private campgrounds during 2011.
- During the summer season, 50% of camping trips are 1 – 2 nights. At other times of the year, more than 60% of camping trips are 1 – 2 nights. During the summer season, 50% of camping trips are 3 or more days with 31% of trips being 3 – 4 nights, 11% are 5 – 6 nights and 7% are trips 7 or more nights.
What campers do while camping…
- 92% go hiking
- 43% go fishing
- Approximately 33% go either road or mountain biking
- 23% go boating
- 34% go canoeing
- 55% jog or run
The report is packed with statistics about camping and breaks down the camping population into several groups – parents, partiers, soft, rugged and extreme. Very useful information. The report is available at www.outdoorindustry.org.
Does your park have a water bottle policy?
In an effort to reduce plastic bottle trash and recycling in the national parks, the National Park Service had established a ban on plastic bottles in the National Parks and recently reversed that decision.
Under attack from environmentalists, for reversing a ban on water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park, the Park Service December 14 issued a new policy that applies to all national parks and it allows superintendents to ban water bottles if they first obtain approval of the applicable regional director.
NPS Director Jon Jarvis: “In light of recent interest in one element of the (Green Parks Plan), we are issuing the attached specific policy on the reduction/recycling of disposable plastic water bottles.” The environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has been keeping the pressure on the park Service. It recently released internal Park Service communications and alleged a Grand Canyon decision to ban plastic water bottles was reversed at the bidding of the Coca-Cola Company. The memos detail meetings among Jarvis, NPS field officials, the Coca-Cola Company and the National Park Foundation. PEER says those memos confirm that Jarvis made the call to ban water bottles at Grand Canyon at the behest of the bottlers.
Is your park selling water and other drinks in online pokies real money plastic bottles? Are you insisting and making it easy for your guests to recycle the bottles?
Resolutions for 2012
It’s fashionable to start off the new year with our New Year’s Resolutions that are intended to improve our lives, put us on a path to better health and happiness, and perhaps avoid some self-defeating behaviors that may be counter to our best interests.
In thinking about my business interests (consulting, Best Parks in America, RV park ownership and investing), I’ve written down a few resolutions that I hope will improve my business life, and as a result put me on a path to better health and happiness.
Here are my few New Year’s resolutions…
- Never forget who butters my bread – my customer, my clients, my guests, my members. Always remaining customer focused is the only true way to build a successful business.
- Our people are our most important asset. This is something that many business owners pay lip service. Mostly, their actions say otherwise. I resolve to do everything in my power to assure that the people who work with me are empowered, are considered in every business decision, and are truly made to feel how important they are. (During the recent recession, as hotel business turned down, the Marriott hotel chain was faced with declining revenue and occupancy and the possibility of laying off workers – usually those who could least afford to be unemployed. Instead of lay offs, Marriott resolved to replace all retiring or others voluntarily leaving Marriott, by re-training and cross training its work force to enable them to perform many new tasks that were performed by the workers who were leaving. So you had maids being trained to serve banquets, servers trained to work in the kitchen and so on. There were almost no layoffs at Marriott as they adjusted their business to assure that they retained their most important assets so that as business improved, they were ready with a loyal and trusted work force).
- Appearance and perception count. How our customers, guests, clients or whatever see us is critical. Everything from the aesthetics of the RV park to the way the store, restrooms, clubhouse, laundry, reports, newsletters, and personnel contribute to the appearance and perceptions of appearance taken away by our customers. Keeping up appearance can never be underestimated.
- Like it or not, technology ain’t going away. Make it your friend and it can save you large amounts of money and time and it can also help you increase your revenues. Embrace technology, take courses if necessary to learn and keep up, hire expertise if necessary but never say no to a technical solution to your everyday life.
- I need to be sure to recognize and/or acknowledge what I don’t know and count on experts to work with me to deal with what I don’t know – and to help me understand what I don’t know.
- Finally, try to never forget the world is run by the people who show up. Sitting in the shadows and hoping someone else will watch out for you is short-sighted and flat out wrong. If you don’t watch out for your interests, why would anyone else.
Thanks for listening. I’ll let you know next January how this all worked out in my world. In the meantime, best wishes to all for a great 2012, one filled with happiness, health, peace and prosperity.