Campground prices vs occupancy

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Tom

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Comments in another topic about campground owners needing to make a profit got me thinking about the place we're in for tonight. Chris, who rarely comments on CG prices, saw the receipt and said "they're expensive here". My neighbor told me he paid an additional $3.50/day for WiFi.

If I look out the window of my coach I can see quite a few RVs parked (apparently for the night) in a parking lot overlooking the CG - for free. Since this CG is only approx 25% occupied, wouldn't you think someone would get it? Lower the price and maybe more folks would stay in the CG instead of dry camping in the parking lot. That might lead to higher profits for the CG owner  ???

Edit: When I checked this morning I realized that the $3.50/day WiFi charge is for CoachConnect and not charged by the park.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Tom said:
Comments in another topic about campground owners needing to make a profit got me thinking about the place we're in for tonight. Chris, who rarely comments on CG prices, saw the receipt and said "they're expensive here". My neighbor told me he paid an additional $3.50/day for WiFi.

If I look out the window of my coach I can see quite a few RVs parked (apparently for the night) in a parking lot overlooking the CG - for free. Since this CG is only approx 25% occupied, wouldn't you think someone would get it? Lower the price and maybe more folks would stay in the CG instead of dry camping in the parking lot. That might lead to higher profits for the CG owner? ???

You would think so -- however, I'm sure they have thought their way through that. Maybe the owners are looking out the window tonight also and will lower their prices tomorrow -- and send you a rebate.? :) OTOH, those in the parking lot may also be looking out of "their" windows at the rigs in the park tonight with great envy -- and after the discomfort of tonight, will move to the park tomorrow.

Some thoughts come to mind from my experience in chatting with owners. One would be the type of clients that they would then be renting to. If the price was lowered, would my current clients be OK with two from the free parking lot sitting on either side of them. Or perhaps have a "Slabs" night once a week for free.? ;)

Most park owners look to monthlies to pay the bills. When buying a park or building a new one, a projection is made as to the number of monthlies (and the corresponding monthly rate) needed to pay the bills for that month -- or at least the mortgage. All other rentals begin the profit margin. Perhaps in that park, a 10% occupancy rate was all that was needed for that purpose which allows the owner to keep those free loaders from parking next to you. :)

The type of park may have a lot to do with it also. Is it a destination park or an overnighters park?? This is Monday night. Not as good a night for over nighters as later in the week. Also, maybe they do a lot of RV Clubs or groups on weekends. Some parks have 60% plus of their profit from groups.

Sometimes a park will convert their philosophy. If they see that they "are" doing an increased over nighters and weekly business, they will slack off of monthlies. If they can rent a high volume of over nighters every night, that represents a lot more income than a monthly rate. That's the main reason we see a number of Mobile Home parks slowly converting to RV sites.

Anyway, for that park I of course don't know the answer. On one hand, they may be over priced and will soon be out of business. On the other, they may have it well thought out and have their pricing structure exactly where it should be for that location.
 

Tom

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Interesting perspective Bob and one I'm sure you get far more exposure to than I.

The "monthlies pay the bills" model makes sense, except that this park has a large sign in the office limiting the length of stay. I can't recall how long it is, but I do recall being taken aback by it when I was checking in. I don't know enough to understand their business model and shouldn't guess.

As for being OK with "two from the free parking lot sitting on either side of them" (us), I don't know why we wouldn't. They may even be RV Forumites who would appreciate some company &/or we might appreciate their company. I fail to understand the logic in that one, but again I don't know enough about the RV park business.

I've stayed &/or attempted to stay at this park on a number of occasions. I don't make reservations and only once have I met with a "no room tonight" response. That was on a weekend when there was a huge local event that I'd forgotten about and all campgrounds in the area were full.
 

Karl

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The "monthlies pay the bills" model makes sense, except that this park has a large sign in the office limiting the length of stay.

Perhaps that particular locale draws a large number of less-than-desireable tenants, and that is their only legal way to get them to move on. It's probably selectively enforced.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Good Morning, Tom:

>> Interesting perspective Bob and one I'm sure you get far more exposure to than I.
====
Yes, my business gets me into areas of park management that I otherwise would not have a clue about. As the SW developed, I have been asked, "Will the program handle this or that", in terms of how they manage their site reservations and stays. My puzzled response is sometimes prefaced with, "Why do you do that ?". ???

For example, at one time, my system did not give a discount (for Sam's, AARP, or whatever) on a weekly stay. Then the first of several park owners since then said that they needed that feature if they were to purchase the program. I asked why, explaining that a weekly is usually already discounted. Six times the daily rate is a common formula. Their response was either, "Oh, that's right -- I shouldn't be giving discounts on top of discounts", or, "I prefer to give the discount anyway . . .". So now under Preferences, they can tell the program to discount weeklies.

>> The "monthlies pay the bills" model makes sense, except that this park has a large sign in the office limiting the length of stay. I can't recall how long it is, but I do recall being taken aback by it when I was checking in. I don't know enough to understand their business model and shouldn't guess.
====
Eviction law may have something to do with that. If a park has monthlies, they are now getting into laws governing Mobile Home parks -- or other types of month to month rentals. Some parks prefer to stay away from that. For example, a park in Sacramento using my system had tenant that turned out to be doing prostitution and drugs to pay for a drug habit. It took over 7 months to have them evicted properly following applicable eviction law. During that time, the tenant never paid rent past the down payment, nor were they able to rent the site to anyone else of course. They also lost renters from sites close to the troubled site.? OTOH, if a stay is "less" than 30 days, they can have the Sheriff oust them within a week.

Another park in Sacto allows monthlies, but has them move to another site for a week every 6 mos (or whenever the cut off as far as the eviction laws are concerned -- I can't remember exactly). Then they can move back as their stay is then always short enough to have them evicted if necessary in a shorter period of time.

Another reason for no monthlies is that Dailies and weeklies yield a higher daily rate vs. a monthly -- if the park has enough of them. In the park you were in that didn't seem to be the case.

>> As for being OK with "two from the free parking lot sitting on either side of them" (us), I don't know why we wouldn't. They may even be RV Forumites who would appreciate some company &/or we might appreciate their company. I fail to understand the logic in that one, but again I don't know enough about the RV park business.
====
The lower the rate, the more undesirables. Plain and simple. It is a consideration and problem for the RV park owner setting competitive rates. I was amazed at how big a problem it can be. And extreme at times. Do you recall the Texas prisoners that escaped and bought an RV? There is a huge community of folk out there that live in RVs and are constantly looking for RV parks that they can afford -- and many of them that I have been parked next to I did "not" appreciate their company.? :mad:

>> I've stayed &/or attempted to stay at this park on a number of occasions. I don't make reservations and only once have I met with a "no room tonight" response. That was on a weekend when there was a huge local event that I'd forgotten about and all campgrounds in the area were full.
====
Well -- as mentioned, it's hard to say. After getting involved with a number of parks via my software, I come away thinking, "If this were my park, I would manage it in an entirely different way". Others, when I ask about stuff I find weird, they have very valid explanations.
 

Tom

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Thanks again for the insight Bob.

Bob Buchanan said:
The lower the rate, the more undesirables. Plain and simple.

I know a number of folks in this forum who wouldn't pay what this park charges, yet I wouldn't consider any of them undesirable (and I know you wouldn't either). When Chris commented last evening about their prices, I reminded her that I'd suggested staying at another (lower priced) park, but she wanted to stay here because of the convenience.

I don't really understand their discount policy though. When I checked in, they told me the price and I asked if they offered any discounts for AAA or FMCA. The response was "that's the discounted price".

... I come away thinking, "If this were my park, I would manage it in an entirely different way".

FWIW Chris has never read a single forum message in all the years I've been associated with the forum and she has no idea this discussion is going on right now. But, as I got into bed last night, out of the blue she said "I don't know how this park survives with so few occupants". She knows even less about CG management than me  ;D

BTW I haven't mentioned this or the prior park by name for a reason. But I think you know the two parks and I believe you told me they use your SW. So you'd have far more insight into their practices than us or anyone else readng along  ;)
 

John From Detroit

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I agree Tom, some parks, it woudl be cheaper to stay in a nearby decent hotel.  Sometimes you pay to be where you want, sometimes you choose a less expensive parking spot.
 

Bob Buchanan

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>> Thanks again for the insight Bob.
====
You're welcome, Tom.

>> I know a number of folks in this forum who wouldn't pay what this park charges, yet I wouldn't consider any of them undesirable (and I know you wouldn't either).
====
Of course. However, the lower a park owner makes their pricing, the wider the arena of renters becomes. And that in turn increases the likelihood of undesirables. That's not only what owners tell me, that's a basic principle of any kind of real estate and has nothing to do with what a member of this forum would pay or their desirability because of what they will pay to stay in a park.

After installing my software in a certain park, I came back and stayed a few times. One reason being I really liked some of my new neighbors there plus the pricing was better than I could find anywhere else in the area. However, after a police helicopter hovered over my rig one night telling to stay in my rig until a drug bust was completed on a neighboring site -- I decided to move on. :eek:  Many good folk in that park, most very desirable, but because of the pricing structure, tenants that I would not want as a neighbor were continually slipping in.

My program has a "Memo" feature. Late last fall I was sitting in on the registration in a CA park to observe how a new operator was handling the system. A couple entered the office with several other family members waiting in their "toad" outside. The operator took a deposit for a monthly stay and assigned them a very nice site. However, another operator entered the office and noted that those folk had been there before -- under a different name. Looking up the other name, she found the memo field contained a whole list of stuff including trashing their site and skipping out without paying rent or electric. Their pricing structure was low enough that this type of thing was a continual problem that they had to contend with. If they raised prices, they could not compete with other parks in the area.

>> BTW I haven't mentioned this or the prior park by name for a reason. But I think you know the two parks and I believe you told me they use your SW. So you'd have far more insight into their practices than us or anyone else readng along? ;)
====
Ohmygosh -- are you wending your way from Wendover? Thanks for letting me know that . . .  :)
 

BruceinFL

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Tom said:
If I look out the window of my coach I can see quite a few RVs parked (apparently for the night) in a parking lot overlooking the CG - for free. Since this CG is only approx 25% occupied, wouldn't you think someone would get it? Lower the price and maybe more folks would stay in the CG instead of dry camping in the parking lot. That might lead to higher profits for the CG owner  ???

Nope! Why should they? They're probably working on a local ordnance to prohibit dry camping in parking lots.  ;)
 

Wendy

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Bob Buchanan said:
The lower the rate, the more undesirables. Plain and simple.

I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but I find this comment highly insulting. Mike and I don't have a lot of money. We RV as best we can which oftentimes means staying at reasonably priced (ok, cheap) campgrounds. If a place looks dumpy, we probably don't stay there. But just because a campground charges a REASONABLE price, doesn't mean the people there are "undesirable." I've noticed that the "monthlies" who are "payng the bills" are often the less affluent looking in the park. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are "undesirable," just not well-to-do. Don't class us as "undesirable" just because we can't afford a $50+ per night campground.

 

Tom

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Bob Buchanan said:
Ohmygosh -- are you wending your way from Wendover?

We were, kinda. Let's just say Elko and Boomtown and you'll know which two parks we stayed at  ;)
 

Bob Buchanan

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Hello Wendy:

>> I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but I find this comment highly insulting.
====
Actually, I meant every word I posted. I would never post something I did not mean. And no, I did not mean it the way you seem to have interpreted it. From the nature of your post, it appears you were not sure at all I didn't mean it the way you interpreted it. Am saddened that you did not consider a few follow up questions to make sure before publically attacking my comment.? :(

>> Mike and I don't have a lot of money.? We RV as best we can which oftentimes means staying at reasonably priced (ok, cheap) campgrounds. If a place looks dumpy, we probably don't stay there.
====
That's actually none of my business -- but regardless, my posts here had nothing whatsoever to do with you and Mike, your financial status, or where you decide to park. From what you do post tho, I can see you are much better off than I am.? :)? For the past 10 years of full timing, my average daily overnight rate has been around $11.00. So that's a lot of lots, cheap parks, and so forth -- and I unfortunately could not afford Moab. My only $50. night in over 10 years of full timing was because I had no other choice when meeting a good friend in San Francisco 2 years ago.

>>? But just because a campground charges a REASONABLE price, doesn't mean the people there are "undesirable."
====
Where did I post that it did?

>> I've noticed that the "monthlies" who are "payng the bills" are often the less affluent looking in the park. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are "undesirable," just not well-to-do.
====
Again, where did I post that that all monthly tenants were undesirable? Please point that out.? Monthlies in a park are usually very nice folk as you describe, regardless of their financial status. They become the personality of that park. Many of my friends are from just such parks.? However, occasionally, some are not that way -- and am sure you would not want them as your neighbor. I posted info about a few actual situations I have found myself in. It's then that the park owner has to begin the very costly eviction procedure.

>> Don't class us as "undesirable" just because we can't afford a $50+ per night campground.
====
Where did the $50. amount come from -- and where did I post that anyone that couldn't afford that amount (or any amount) was undesirable? And more importantly, where did I post "anything" about you and Mike?

Wendy, did you note this segment from my last post to Tom?

Quote: However, the lower a park owner makes their pricing, the wider the arena of renters becomes. And that in turn increases the likelihood of undesirables. That's not only what owners tell me, that's a basic principle of any kind of real estate and has nothing to do with what a member of this forum would pay or their desirability because of what they will pay to stay in a park. UNQuote.

The point is, I "never" posted that "all" who pay a lower price are undesirables, which is the way you seem to have interpreted my 7 word sentence. I simply made the valid statement that the lower the price, the higher the "probability" that that might happen. This of great concern to owners of RV parks and campgrounds because it causes them grief -- both from a financial standpoint and from a mental standpoint. And BTW, you have attacked the messenger here -- as I was just reporting what I find and am told in the parks I visit in response to a posted question.
 

Jeff

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I'll jump in here with tongue in cheek.  We are in Illinois visiting our daughter and family getting our grandkid fix. They live in the west suburbs of Chicago and campgrounds are few and far between. We found what could be a lovely campground about 14 miles west of the kids and paid for a month's rent when we got here.

The campground is quite large with two sides along the DuPage river and includes a couple of small lakes with campsites around them. Probably 60% of the sites are seasonal and quite a few of those units are trashed.  Beside them will be a trailer that has had extensive landscaping done including docks that is obviously someones summer get-a-way.

I am describing all this because the rent is 410.00 a month or 1200.00 a year and Sue will not walk some of the nicer trails alone because they are isolated and some of the residents here she does not want to meet while walking alone.

Our site is near the entrance and we are surrounded by newer m'h's and 5ers using 50 amp service that is available only in this area. We have a lovely site under the edge of the trees that still gives me good sat access with a large lawn and lake to look at and enjoy.

I guess where I am going here is to agree with Bob that the rate does influence the type of resident and in this case seriously degrades the attractiveness of what might otherwise be a very nice park. I must say the enforcement of the rules would probably also help. We have decided its location and the site we have make staying here worthwhile for the time being.
 

Tom

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Hi Jeff,

Too bad that folks trash the place like that. You have to wonder why the CG owners allow them to get away with it. With few other parks around, I guess it's tough to compare rates and residents (?)
 

Kenneth

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Tom said:
Hi Jeff,

Too bad that folks trash the place like that. You have to wonder why the CG owners allow them to get away with it. With few other parks around, I guess it's tough to compare rates and residents (?)

They should run the places like they do in my subdivision ! Got a letter the other day from the home owners association to kill the grass growing in the expansion joints of my driveway ? Which I might say was not there the week before when I cut the yard ! ???  I'm afraid the next letter I will get will be concerning the POOL in my back yard, :eek: it needs to be shocked so the green tint will go away  ;D ;D
 

Bob Buchanan

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Tom said:
Hi Jeff,

Too bad that folks trash the place like that. You have to wonder why the CG owners allow them to get away with it. With few other parks around, I guess it's tough to compare rates and residents (?)

You make a good point, Tom. It's possible, e.g., that another park nearby charges the same prices and has fewer problem renters and keeps the park in better shape. And that is a function of the Manager and/or the Owner. Some owners are on site. Some run very tight ships, whereas others don't seem to have a clue as to how to run a park.? Some owners make sure the park is in good shape, and, monitor the potential bad renters and for the most part are able to keep them out. Another park in the area may charge the same rates, but will let things go and allow more bad tenants in. A lot has to do with whether or not the owner is on site -- or close by.

Some parks have owners on site, others are owned by corporations in other cities and states, others are managed by property management companies. In the later case, the owners just leave "everything" up to a management company. Some owners are elderly and could care less. Others are not elderly and could care less.? Over time many new managers will take over -- and usually don't last that long. Some are good some not. Also, there is a turn over in the managers from the management company that manage the managers.? :eek:? According to who is wearing what hat at different times, the park and it's tenants will vary.

However, for the purposes of this part of our discussion, the lower prices cause more potentially bad renters to "attempt" to get into these parks. They succeed in some cases and not in others -- according to how well the parks are managed. Earlier in this thread I sited such an example. That person had already been thrown out of a competing park, then tried to get into the one I was in -- and almost made it under a different name -- having previously been thrown out of the later park as well.
 

Betty Brewer

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Bob Buchanan said:
Yes, my business gets me into areas of park management that I otherwise would not have a clue about. As the SW developed, I have been asked, "Will the program handle this or that", in terms of how they manage their site reservations and stays. My puzzled response is sometimes prefaced with, "Why do you do that ?". ???

Bob,
I sure appreciate your insight into the RV Park owners perspective. ?Being the customer I often note how well run, kept or priced a park may be ( in my opinion) but rarely give it any thought as to the why. ?Convenience is often my most important ?criteria. Now that "convenience" could vary from: ?access to the Interstate, clear view of the Southern sky, speed of check in time, availability of laundry facilities, to pricing, or grocery availability. It changes with day to day needs. We always like a deal. ?If we find ?something convenient and we have neighbors who bug us we'll just move on if we can. Or hope management could police this by enforcing "the rules". Management often has a tough job in ?trying to keep everyone happy.

The things that bug me about neighbors or a campground ?have little to do with money or daily rates. I hate inconsiderate people with pets (Those who don't pick up) , noisy after hours folks ?(parties till 2 am) and unkempt sites (trash which blows over to my site).


At any rate thanks for some food for thought on the RV ?Park Owner's side.

Betty Brewer
Glad NOT to be an RV Park Owner
Glad to be a Happy Camper
 

Wendy

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Bob,

I apologize for misunderstanding your comment about campgrounds and "undesirables." I guess it was that word that bothered me when used in a discussion of low prices. It seems to me that the problem isn't with the daily rate but with low extended stay rates and with the failure of campground owners to enforce their rules and keep their parks looking nice. On the south side of Cortez, there's a campground that used to be very nice and a good place to stop overnight. A couple of years ago, it was sold and whether because of rates or lax rules (or maybe the personal preferences of the owners), it has become a real eyesore, sporting long-term residents with their 'stuff' piled up all around their campsites. I would bypass this park no matter what the rate was.

Jeff, $1200 a year? Wow, I have no experience with annual rates, but that sure seems low. Glad there's a nicer area near the front for you overnighters.
 

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