Written by Cheryl Johnston
Editor’s note: The following article is reprinted with permission from the Northwest RVing Blog hosted by MHRV (Manufactured Housing and Recreational Vehicle) Show Association.
Many recent surveys indicate significant increased RVing activity this year as it is considered to be a much safer way to travel during the pandemic.
While opening up the RV lifestyle to many more people, it has put increased pressure on campgrounds and the ability to find a place to camp. Of the many options for camping including state parks, public RV parks, boondocking, etc., one that can also be considered is joining a private RV Resort group.
We contacted Kelli Abercrombie, Marketing Director at KM Resorts in Washington State with eight private RV resort locations to get more insight on the benefits of this option and how COVID has impacted them.
Northwest RVing: What would you say are the benefits of private RV campsites versus public or state campgrounds?
“I would say the ease of making reservations and the availability. Once somebody joins in, they become a member, then they’re always guaranteed a spot. So even if they decide on a Friday, they want to go camping that weekend, they can give us a call on their way to the park or just head on down to the park. And we’ll always guarantee them at least a place to park.”
Northwest RVing: So who are your campsites best suited for?
“We have all ages. We have young families and some of our parks, like Ocean Breeze are woodsy. We have different ball fields. There are pools at some of the parks. So great for families and then all the way up to seniors. We have members that are original members with us that are in their 80’s and are still traveling. So we just have a wide variety of the young families all the way up to seniors and beyond.
People that really want to have hookups, it’s best suited for them versus say people that like to do boondocking or off-site camping. Our parks all have hookups, although Ocean Breeze does not have full hookups. But the people that like to be secluded in boondocking, maybe not so much, because you will have neighbors in the parks. There are people around and kids riding their bikes so for the people that like more secluded camping, it may not be a good fit for them.”
Northwest RVing: What about campgrounds outside of Washington State? Do your members have any access or advantages?
“Yes, we’re affiliated with Coast to Coast and Resort Parks International. And those are all private resorts across the nation. Our members from here can use the parks all across the United States for $10 a night and they’re private just like ours. So if there’s a member in California or another state, then they can reciprocate and stay at KM Resorts when they’re in Washington.”
Northwest RVing: The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted people’s travel plans this year. Many are becoming first time RV buyers with this pent-up demand for camping sites. Are you experiencing membership growth?
“Yes we are. And not only membership growth but with our members because people aren’t traveling by air right now. So our parks are pretty full. New memberships have gone up probably about 20%.”
Northwest RVing: And you’re still able to guarantee them a spot?
“We do guarantee a spot for our members. They may not get a full hookup or partial hookup, but we do guarantee them a spot. And with the eight resorts that we have, we have options so if one place is full then we can offer them a different location. We have reservations and have been extremely busy this summer with our members. And since we’re a membership, we accommodate our members first, because we have had a lot of non-member guests wanting to come in and stay with us this summer. But, we guarantee our members have a place to camp so we take care of them first and try to accommodate their family and guests.”
Northwest RVing: Did you do anything during the “stay home, stay safe” timeframe when people were unable to go out and do any camping?
“Our parks remained open and we kept all of our resorts working. We had to stay open for full-time displaced campers that live in their RV. So we were open for monthly just not for the weekend or the couple-day campers. But we did keep all of our parks open and all of our staff working at the parks.”
Northwest RVing: What measures have you taken to help ensure safety from the virus spread.
“So still, at some of our locations the pools may be closed depending on the county that the park is located in. We have to follow the protocol. So most of them are open but some are still closed and club houses are closed. Our parks that have outdoor ball fields are open of course because they’re outside but we limit the number of people that come in the clubhouse. We try to make it as easy as possible when they make the reservation so that there is less contact with our staff. And staff are wearing masks with multiple hand-sanitizer stations.”
Northwest RVing: That kind of leads to the next question. What about the park activities? Are they any different during the COVID-19 versus what you normally have?
“So we do not have any activities right now. And we have not been able to do barbecues, our potlucks and our famous cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings. We have had to stop that for right now.”
Northwest RVing: Oh no, not the cinnamon rolls!
“I know, everybody’s favorite cinnamon rolls. They’re my favorite part of the perks and they will be added back as soon as each park goes into the next stages of the COVID phased approach.”
Northwest RVing: Recent surveys indicate that most people are looking for two- to three-day local camping opportunities. What would you say is the average amount of time people are requesting to reserve a campsite with you right now and have you had to turn anyone away?
“I would say about three nights is our average, kind of an extended weekend for a lot of people. We have had to turn away people that are not members but we have had a lot of requests from the public to come and camp. If we have availability for the public it is $75 a night.”
Northwest RVing: And what are the main reasons people are wanting to camp this year? What are you hearing from the people that come?
“They’re wanting to camp in their own safe RV with all of their own stuff, you know, be outdoors and go hiking and spend family time, but also stay safe in their own RV at night. It’s been a busy summer for sure. And I see it continuing into the fall and winter now that school will be from home. People will still want to camp.”
Northwest RVing: How can people find out more about KM Resorts membership?
“I get three to five requests almost every day asking about membership information. We have many options so it’s best to go to our website where there’s a form to email us.”
Our thanks to KM Resorts. Do you think joining a membership RV park might be a good choice for you? Wishing you more RVing adventures and safe travels.
Author: Cheryl Johnston Email: [email protected]
Cheryl Johnston is the Marketing Director for MHRV. She writes about anything that helps promote RVing and educate the public about the RV Lifestyle.