Brooke Burnham (in red) and Michael Wambolt, of Visit SLO Cal, the tourism marketing agency for San Luis Obispo County, brief CalARVC RV Park Day attendees on the agency’s marketing efforts.

Nearly 80 private park operators gathered in Paso Robles, Calif., this week as the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) celebrated its Fall RV Park Day education and networking event.

This week’s meetings were held Tuesday (Sept. 25) afternoon and evening, and all day Wednesday, at three different RV resorts, including The Vines RV Resort, Cava Robles RV Resort and Wine Country RV Resort, all three of which are owned and operated by Southfield, Mich.-based Sun Communities.

Paso Robles is located in a hilly area of central California known for its majestic oak trees and extensive vineyards. There are more than 200 wineries in the greater Paso Robles area, most of which are family owned and operated.

A small gathering of park operators assembled at The Vines RV Resort Tuesday afternoon to attend a pre-RV Park Day educational session with Patrick Hardy, CEO of hytropy.com, a disaster planning firm.

Hardy walked park operators through the process of how to develop their own disaster plan. He also focused on details such as gathering the preferred contact information for all park guests and developing a system for emergency communication with guests in the event of an evacuation order.

He noted, for example, that not all park guests have cell phones or ways of receiving text messages and that procedures need to be developed to communicate with these guests on an emergency basis and incorporated into the park’s disaster plan.

The disaster planning workshop concluded with a tour of Vines RV Resort.

CalARVC RV Park Day participants then headed over to Cava Robles RV Resort to participate in the grand opening ceremony for the park, the first RV resort that Sun Communities has built from the ground up. The CalARVC RV Park Day attendees then went to Wine Country RV Resort for dinner and socializing.

Wednesday’s RV Park Day event also took place at Wine Country RV Resort and attracted nearly 80 park operators. It started with breakfast and a presentation by Brooke Burnham and Michael Wambolt, of Visit SLO Cal, the tourism marketing agency for San Luis Obispo County.

Educational sessions took place throughout the morning and early afternoon and included:

  • “Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important,” by Lindsey Foos, of Fireside Accounting in Castle Rock, Colo. Foos talked park operators through several strategies on ways to improve their accounting to better track their property’s performance.
  • “The State of the Wi-Fi Industry,” by Kimberly Chung and Tami Tock, who presented the company’s 2018 State of the Industry Report. They talked about four important components of successful Wi-Fi service — the amount of bandwidth coming into the park, the quality and age of the equipment and the management of the Wi-Fi system. They also discussed the importance of open and honest communication with park guests and they noted that only a small fraction of park operators communicate the limitations of their Wi-Fi systems with guests before they check in, a situation that can lead to unhappy campers and negative park reviews. These problems can be avoided simply by telling guests up front what their true Wi-Fi capabilities are so that there are no misunderstandings.

Expert round table discussions were also held in mid-afternoon with CalARVC’s seminar presenters, as well as other vendors, including Cerrina Jensen of Sacramento, Calif.-based CoreMark Insurance; David Schenck and Damian Petty from Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance; and John Pentecost, an attorney from Santa Ana, Calif.-based Hart King. Becca Sipe also briefed park operators on CalARVC’s benefit programs.

The daylong event included a presentations of plaques honoring Schenck, who is retiring from Sturgis, S.D.-based Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance. Schenck received plaques from Leavitt Recreation, as well as CalARVC.

Randy Hendrickson also unveiled CalARVC’s newest award, the Susanne White Award, which will be presented annually to a CalARVC staff member in honor of White, who died earlier this year after a short battle with cancer. CalARVC presented the first Susanne White Award prior to this week’s meeting to White’s family.

The day’s activities concluded with a park tour, a reception, dinner and a campfire.