The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) released findings from this year’s Industry Trends and Insights Report, including data that shows how Covid affected campgrounds.
The report collected insight from 516 U.S. outdoor hospitality owners and operators on expansion plans and trends, campground profiles, Covid pandemic effects and guest demographics, along with amenities, sites, accommodations and rates.
Impacted shoulder seasons and a wide swing in occupancy rates and profits were two findings shared in an ARVC press release Dec. 8.
Although challenges were presented throughout this year, ARVC cited a resiliency in the industry with continued growth expected in 2021.
“Despite a year in which our industry dealt directly with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic – a roller coaster economy, travel changes, delayed openings and restrictions to amenities – the privately owned RV park and campground industry remains strong and the future bright,” ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei stated.
Covid effects ranged widely, the association stated, with 40 percent of respondents reporting increased main season occupancy compared with last year, down from the 49 percent who reported occupancy growth in 2019. Twenty-nine percent indicated lower park occupancy levels in 2020, a jump from last year’s 8 percent who reported decreased occupancy.
Among those whose occupancy increased during the 2020 main season, 70 percent credit the change to Covid pandemic impacts. Ninety-nine percent of those who reported decreased levels attribute it to the pandemic.
“Our industry showed tremendous resiliency dealing with this pandemic, but it wasn’t the same across the board,” Bambei stated. “Still, even for parks that suffered in 2020, there is plenty of hope for a huge bounce back year in 2021, proven by 38 percent of parks that anticipate increased profits in 2020 despite the challenges encountered this year.”
Survey results provide further numerical data to support the campground industry’s anecdotal evidence for expected growth in 2021, including 43 percent of respondents indicating the park owner’s plans to expand or open a new park in the coming year.
The study anticipates more than 53,000 new sites to be construction in the next 12 months, ARVC stated.
In addition to the expansion data, the report highlights details about rates, amenities and popular sites, with results organized by park size, region, ownership statistics and more.
ARVC stated the findings are important when compared with other industry surveys, including this year’s North American Camping Report published by Kampgrounds of America (KOA), which shares further information on growth and changes in camper demographics.
“For example, if an owner is looking to target the emerging market of millennial campers, they can cross reference this data and KOA’s data showing that millennial campers prefer park models over standard spaces,” Bambei stated. “It removes some of the guess work and helps an owner make a sound business decision based on hard numbers.”