A former campground owner's perspective

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Gary RV_Wizard

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At our Silver Springs FL home
Prime beach real estate is limited and very expensive, yet highly popular with both RVers and the resort hotel crowd. Hardly surprising that beach-area campgrounds pack sites closely, charge high rents, and attract all sorts of people. There are now 331 million of us in the USA, so the days of empty beaches and sleepy waterfront villages are forever gone.
 

garyb1st

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Dec 31, 2010
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3,921
Location
Southern California
The last park we were at had long pull through sites two years ago. Today each long site houses two RV's. A travel trailer in the front and a motorhome in the back. That's so the trailer can just hook up and go. The motorhome can back out. Everyone is happy. lol.

We talked to another RVer who was at the campground a year ago when all of the 80' long sites were pull throughs. The rate was the same. So over the course of a year the campground doubled its income per pull through site. The math is pretty obvious.

The other interesting thing about this campground is the number of Glamping sites they have. Don't recall exactly but believe the lady at the office told me about 45 to 50. They all look almost new and their layout was pretty tight. Probably 2 Glamping sites per pull through. Only difference was rate. We paid about $60 a night for 30 amp service. The Glamping sites were about $150 a night. Again the economics are pretty easy to see from the campground owners perspective. The sites, mostly entry level trailers probably didn't cost much more than $35 - 45,000.
I suspect many investors will look at this as a great business opportunity if they can find the right campground. This particular campground was close to the Grand Canyon where demand is pretty high.

But just like with Real Estate, where investors buy up rental properties, bump up the rates, which creates significant leverage to finance the properties and still make some money.

Interestingly, ownership of this park has not changed in 30 years. It says something about the ability of a park to survive during challenging times and avoid the need to sell to a large corporation.

I suspect this is something that may catch on in areas close to National Parks etc. provided the basic park has some potential.
 

CharlesinGA

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Oct 6, 2017
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336
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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
"camping" is for many, as the article describes, a fake fireplace and logs, huge kitchen and fancy interior. I travel to get away from most of that and just enjoy the sights, scenery and visit things of interest be they remote waterfalls, museums in small towns, or a roadside overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Going to a RV park and planting your butt to surf the net is for rainy days. On good days, get outside and cook on the pick nick table and over the fire (or in it with a dutch oven).

All too many expect the camping experience to be the same as what they left at home.

Charles
 

LarsMac

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Nov 15, 2015
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Colorado Plains
"Camping" isn't the only way to utilize an RV. Many folks just want to travel while maintaining their personal comforts (whatever is important to them) and/or avoiding use of public hotels and restaurants. RV parks and campgrounds cater to what their prospective customers want and are willing to pay for.
When I was working, I spent WAY to many nights in hotels and way too many meals in restaurants.
We like to be able to make our coffee, and eat our Raisin Bran on our own schedule, and sleep in our own bed. That is the whole point of it for us.
 

NY_Dutch

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Nov 22, 2010
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Where our wheels take us!
"Camping" isn't the only way to utilize an RV. Many folks just want to travel while maintaining their personal comforts (whatever is important to them) and/or avoiding use of public hotels and restaurants. RV parks and campgrounds cater to what their prospective customers want and are willing to pay for.
And there are those of us that call our RV's home, and appreciate having the same amenities that most people have in their homes.
 

Gizmo

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Apr 22, 2012
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Wherever we park it
Same happened in Birch Bay WA. Sun RV Resorts bought Beachwood Resort, a membership park, and immediately imposed a $150 reservation fee. Members pay an annual fee, not per night. No word yet if the reservation fee is refunded.
We just stopped by since we are in the area. There is no membership or reservation fee, it operates as a regular rv park where you pay a daily charge. They also have more permanent sites, some with mobil homes and some site only privately owned and sold. The section with mobil homes and vacant sites is a mixed bag, some nice units and well kept and some in terrible shape. The campground is ok, it the spaces are reasonably spaced, many are shaded but nothing to write home about. If this is representative of Sun RV Resorts, I am not impressed and another example of using the term "resort" loosely.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Sun Resorts is part of the Sun Communities empire, well over 500 marinas, RV parks, mobile home communities & plain old campgrounds. Some quite elegant and others not so much. Sun Resorts has everything from tent sites to vacation homes (park models) you can rent of buy, and even a few parks with motels.
 

Laura & Charles

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Jun 10, 2016
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424
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Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio (Go Bucks!
As Gary, LarsMac, and Dutch address; we don’t consider what we do as ‘camping’ or even ‘glamping’. We simply live in a home on wheels, often surrounded by folks who ARE camping. We stay at all kinds/levels of places. We’re currently in an Ohio state park with a lake and beach. A few weeks from now, we’ll be at a place with two swimming pools, one adult only with a swim up bar.

Years ago, our first two experiences with Sun properties were not good and we intentionally avoided them until, in a situation where circumstances were such, we had no other reasonable option... it was a lovely experience. We skeptically tried another and found another gem. We’ve since have stayed at many and now, when researching places to stay, when we see property is a Sun, it gets a check mark in the ‘pros’ column.
 

95f5334j

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Sep 28, 2013
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Somewhere on the road ......
We just stopped by since we are in the area. There is no membership or reservation fee, it operates as a regular rv park where you pay a daily charge. They also have more permanent sites, some with mobil homes and some site only privately owned and sold. The section with mobil homes and vacant sites is a mixed bag, some nice units and well kept and some in terrible shape. The campground is ok, it the spaces are reasonably spaced, many are shaded but nothing to write home about. If this is representative of Sun RV Resorts, I am not impressed and another example of using the term "resort" loosely.
So, a $150 booking fee is not a reservation fee? Read the email below from Sun resorts. It is indeed a membership park and has been so for more that 30 years under the KM Resorts banner and more recently as a Sound Pacific Resort before being sold to Sun RV Resorts earlier this year.

Please ensure the accuracy of the information you post, otherwise, all you do is perpetuate misinformation and confusion.

Dear Valued Beachwood Resort Members,

We look forward to welcoming you back for our 2021 Season at Beachwood Resort. We are excited to show you some of the immediate improvements we have made and discussing our future plans for this amazing Resort. To ensure that all members have the most enjoyable experience while at the resort we want to take this opportunity to review the Member and Guest guidelines.

As always Members must be current to reserve your stay with us. Please call our office at 360-371-2700 ext. 303 to speak with one of our Guest Service Representatives to book your reservations and make payments. Reservations are required and should be booked by Members prior to arriving at the resort.

Please have the following information available when booking your reservation:
  • Member name
  • Phone number
  • Your Beachwood membership number
  • The dates you wish to stay with us
  • The number of people in your party
  • $150 booking fee is to be paid via credit card at time of reservation. The booking fee is required to make a reservation and is subject to forfeiture if reservation is cancelled within 7 days of arrival.
Check in time for RV and tent sites is 2PM with an 11AM check out time. Check in time for vacation rentals is 3PM with an 11AM check out time. All reservations have a 7-day prior cancellation policy. Modifying or cancelling of reservations within 7 days will result in forfeiture of the $150 booking fee. This fee is refundable for all members and guests that cancel 7 days or more in advance. Members are offered one buy out week per member stay. Buyout weeks and nights are subject to availability and booked at our nightly rates. We require guests to relocate sites every 28 days to give other Members or Guests options to occupy the most desirable sites at our resort. We will maintain “Quiet Hours” from 11:00 pm - 8:00 am daily. Propane and above ground wood firepits that meet fire regulations and include a screen cover are welcomed, please bring your own firepits as they are not provided at sites at this time.

As a Sun RV Resort, we will be welcoming non-membership guests to stay at the resort by booking on our website no more that 60 days in advance. Please review your membership details and call the office to book as soon as your vacation plans are set to secure your site.

We are excited to welcome Members and Guests back to Beachwood Resort!
Thank you for making Beachwood Resort your vacation destination this year and in the years to come.

John Hanna - RV Resort Manager
 
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Gizmo

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Wherever we park it
So, a $150 booking fee is not a reservation fee? Read the email below from Sun resorts. It is indeed a membership park and has been so for more that 30 years under the KM Resorts banner and more recently as a Sound Pacific Resort before being sold to Sun RV Resorts earlier this year.

Please ensure the accuracy of the information you post, otherwise, all you do is perpetuate misinformation and confusion.

Dear Valued Beachwood Resort Members,

We look forward to welcoming you back for our 2021 Season at Beachwood Resort. We are excited to show you some of the immediate improvements we have made and discussing our future plans for this amazing Resort. To ensure that all members have the most enjoyable experience while at the resort we want to take this opportunity to review the Member and Guest guidelines.

As always Members must be current to reserve your stay with us. Please call our office at 360-371-2700 ext. 303 to speak with one of our Guest Service Representatives to book your reservations and make payments. Reservations are required and should be booked by Members prior to arriving at the resort.

Please have the following information available when booking your reservation:
  • Member name
  • Phone number
  • Your Beachwood membership number
  • The dates you wish to stay with us
  • The number of people in your party
  • $150 booking fee is to be paid via credit card at time of reservation. The booking fee is required to make a reservation and is subject to forfeiture if reservation is cancelled within 7 days of arrival.
Check in time for RV and tent sites is 2PM with an 11AM check out time. Check in time for vacation rentals is 3PM with an 11AM check out time. All reservations have a 7-day prior cancellation policy. Modifying or cancelling of reservations within 7 days will result in forfeiture of the $150 booking fee. This fee is refundable for all members and guests that cancel 7 days or more in advance. Members are offered one buy out week per member stay. Buyout weeks and nights are subject to availability and booked at our nightly rates. We require guests to relocate sites every 28 days to give other Members or Guests options to occupy the most desirable sites at our resort. We will maintain “Quiet Hours” from 11:00 pm - 8:00 am daily. Propane and above ground wood firepits that meet fire regulations and include a screen cover are welcomed, please bring your own firepits as they are not provided at sites at this time.

As a Sun RV Resort, we will be welcoming non-membership guests to stay at the resort by booking on our website no more that 60 days in advance. Please review your membership details and call the office to book as soon as your vacation plans are set to secure your site.

We are excited to welcome Members and Guests back to Beachwood Resort!
Thank you for making Beachwood Resort your vacation destination this year and in the years to come.

John Hanna - RV Resort Manager
I am only reporting what the staff person I spoke with when I visited.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
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Posts
73,944
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Note that Gizmo has reported its operation "as a regular rv park where you pay a daily charge", while 95f showed a letter to resort Members. Maybe two different types of reservation? I'm guessing Gizmo is NOT a member of that resort?
 
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