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Old 03-10-2014, 05:32 PM   #1
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does this mean camping industry is improving or dying?

We have a membership at an ROD resort. As part of that we are also AON/AOR members too.

Got the new campground directory and there's fewer CGs than ever before, including a nearby one that is no longer listed.

Anyone (long time campers perhaps? ) know if this is a sign that camping is having financial hard times (closing, etc), or is it a sign that things are booming (so CGs don't need to join referral networks)
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:36 PM   #2
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That or times are tough and money not spent for such things is money in the pocket.

Last year over Labor day weekend the CG we stayed in was near empty.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:51 PM   #3
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Looking at the website of the one we visited (not our home resort) they used to be like our home resort - you'd 'buy in' and then pay an annual mtce fee and camp all you want. As an AOR/ACN member you got 'access' to other private resorts.

It seems they are now public..they list a nightly fee and show no affiliations. Wonder what happened to the 'members' that paid in?

We camped there last fall and they were working on the place, improving the tennis/BBall and pools. Talked to some members there and didn't get the feeling they were selling or changing business models.

Our CG offers a liftetime membership...one you can sell or will to your kids. They tried to sell the place in 2012 but the deal didn't stick.

As we've only been camping 4 or 5 years I don't know the 'history' of the industry and how 'stable' it is.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:55 PM   #4
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I would guess it's about saving a buck more than anyother reason but also, us RV'ers campground expectations for certain amenities nowadays drive out the campgrounds that are stuck in the 70's-80's that will drive out the older establishments.



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Old 03-10-2014, 06:35 PM   #5
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They have sucked all the cash out of there members so they need to go back to making money, we have the same thing, the rod is useless the aor/ACN we still use but it is just like passport America 50 percent off the only difference is that there does not seem to be blackout periods. In reality how can they keep offering free camping, someone has to pay the bills.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:28 PM   #6
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I dont know what all your acronyms mean, but around here in central to ne Oklahoma, its hard to find an empty spot-even off season.
We have so much oil/gas and pipelines going in (keystone got finished a few months ago here) but we are so close to the Oil Crossroads of America, that there is always oil/gas construction going on.
One park that has seasonal available said they would make us a spot, they would rather have weekend campers than pipeliners around.
Had noticed it hard to find cg on the internet though. Maybe they just haven't realized how beneficial it is, or would rather have the locals/regulars or word of mouth campers? Don't know, but around here its booming!


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Old 03-11-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
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When I go camping...the last thing I want in the campground is a large group of contractors/work campers filling up the place...just doesn't feel like we're getting away camping.
I can understand some campgrounds that are not much of a destination park wanting/encouraging work campers as it's a steady stream of cash flow month to month...probably a good reason they don't spend any advertising dollars to draw in vacationers.



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Old 03-11-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
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I just got a new pop up and tried to find a campground for this weekend to try it out. All of them were full even Disney. So down here it doesn't look like there is a problem.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:32 AM   #9
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I just got a new pop up and tried to find a campground for this weekend to try it out. All of them were full even Disney. So down here it doesn't look like there is a problem.

It's spring break week here so a lot of Ontarians are down there right now.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:47 AM   #10
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They have sucked all the cash out of there members so they need to go back to making money, we have the same thing, the rod is useless the aor/ACN we still use but it is just like passport America 50 percent off the only difference is that there does not seem to be blackout periods. In reality how can they keep offering free camping, someone has to pay the bills.

Yeah, Passport America. We recently joined for a small fee but upon getting their directory learned that most campgrounds black out the benefits on weekends, make you pay cash, don't take reservations for the benefit days, only allow a couple of benefit days at a time, etc. Maybe we'll end up getting our money back in savings, but I doubt we'll do it again.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:56 AM   #11
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Yeah, Passport America. We recently joined for a small fee but upon getting their directory learned that most campgrounds black out the benefits on weekends, make you pay cash, don't take reservations for the benefit days, only allow a couple of benefit days at a time, etc. Maybe we'll end up getting our money back in savings, but I doubt we'll do it again.
Good to know, I was contemplating if they were worth picking up this year. We already have the Good Sam and KOA ones, since I saved the cost of the GS one in one purchase at Camping World and we stayed at enough KOAs to warrant theirs (6+ nights?). Passport America's 50% off was very tempting, but if we can't use it on weekends, I wouldn't get any use out of it.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:14 AM   #12
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Good to know, I was contemplating if they were worth picking up this year. We already have the Good Sam and KOA ones, since I saved the cost of the GS one in one purchase at Camping World and we stayed at enough KOAs to warrant theirs (6+ nights?). Passport America's 50% off was very tempting, but if we can't use it on weekends, I wouldn't get any use out of it.

I'm sure there are some campgrounds that honor it on weekends, but the blackouts I described seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. No way to know until you join and receive (for an extra fee and shipping costs) the directory. You can get a list of participating campgrounds on the website, but not the individual details.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:42 AM   #13
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I'm of the opinion that it would be a sign of weeding the lessor campgrounds out. I think the reasonably priced CG's that offer full amenities are doing quite well. Others, not so well. However, in my opinion, two things are the main reasons I give a CG a pass or fail rating... Overall cleanliness and staff friendliness. If they have those two, I can overlook a lot.

I also think campgrounds with no web presence are really behind the times. Not saying it is a make-or-break (although it could be for some), but... Just 1-3 additional reservations per night is thousands of dollars per year. I almost always check the web first when I'm planning a trip. I think the PA State Parks system has, arguably, the best reservation system out there. Plug in your dates and they tell you what's available, along with levelness, shade/sun, distance to bathrooms/bath house/park, and some even have a picture of each site!... Very well done.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:12 AM   #14
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ROD - resorts of distinction
ACN - adventure camping network
AOR - adventure outdoor resorts

AOR/ACN for us has two levels - $129 and $159 if I recall. $129 is annual membership and gets you access to both at $10/night. $159 gets you free nights (all of them) at AOR resorts. Other ROD resorts are free regardless.

Pymatuning Valley Resort (may be Adventure in there...) was AOR. it's now $45/night.

We've stayed at 4 'resorts' and they're way better than most public CGs - better 'crowd', most all activities are free (Pymatuning has a water park attached - as a camper it was like $2 to go vs $10)

The few 'normal' CGs we've stayed at have very different atmospheres - a lot of seasonal campers and more golf cart traffic than I see at christmas at the mall. Before joining our resort we did stay at a nice CG near there - $90/night on weekends though. All the roads are paved and they generally keep the seasonal folks in one area. But everything costs money and if you have kids as we do you can go broke in a hurry.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:18 AM   #15
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I also think campgrounds with no web presence are really behind the times. Not saying it is a make-or-break (although it could be for some)
IMO, if you don't have a web site, you likely don't exist to me unless I've heard about you from other resources (aka people on this forum!). If your website isn't usable or helpful and I'm researching far away places, I very likely aren't calling you (99% of my trip planning happens after 10pm!).
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:46 AM   #16
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I'm sure there are some campgrounds that honor it on weekends, but the blackouts I described seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. No way to know until you join and receive (for an extra fee and shipping costs) the directory. You can get a list of participating campgrounds on the website, but not the individual details.
I'm able to bring up passport america's web site and go to campgrounds from there, you can then go through all the ones you want by state there is also the individual CG web site if they have one. Of the ones we joined we have gotten more out of P/A than any of the other ones but like I said there are individuals with blackouts.

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Old 03-11-2014, 11:44 AM   #17
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ROD - resorts of distinction
ACN - adventure camping network
AOR - adventure outdoor resorts
i think that it's more that the perception out there is that there's a lot of chaos with these types of campground membership programs.
people may perceive that the apparent instability may not be worth sinking any money into such a program.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:16 PM   #18
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I would venture a guess that with widespread internet searching and usage, there is very little need for a cg to be part of one of these programs.
You can readily find, and reserve sites on line and no discount would have to be given-looking at it from thier (the cg) side.
And honestly, probably fewer people see a need to join one of these programs . Besides the spam and junk mail from anything you sign up for these days. The cost may outway the benefits.
We, personally wouldn't join one of these programs, and honestly after 1 year of Goodsams, im not renewing with them either. It cost me around $20, and it saved me $9 and we never received anything but a sticker. No magazines, just alot of junk mail.

Now I know it may benefit others, but our most of our local lakes won't accept them, and the places we frequent.
- I wonder if others are possibly in the same boat? That maybe why the OP is seeing what they are.

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Old 03-11-2014, 06:30 PM   #19
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We, personally wouldn't join one of these programs, and honestly after 1 year of Goodsams, im not renewing with them either. It cost me around $20, and it saved me $9 and we never received anything but a sticker. No magazines, just alot of junk mail.

Now I know it may benefit others, but our most of our local lakes won't accept them, and the places we frequent.
- I wonder if others are possibly in the same boat? That maybe why the OP is seeing what they are.

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I only joined Good Sams because I could buy a membership and save 157 on all the stuff DW was buying at Camping World. So I got the three year one for 72 and figure everything I save over the next three years is bonus. We'll see if we bothering 2.5 years when it runs out.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:40 PM   #20
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I only joined Good Sams because I could buy a membership and save 157 on all the stuff DW was buying at Camping World. So I got the three year one for 72 and figure everything I save over the next three years is bonus. We'll see if we bothering 2.5 years when it runs out.
I forgot about them. I guess I'll see if I can buy some stuff online before my Goodsams expires- that is unless ebay is cheaper!

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