Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 8018 - January 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management FallTrade Shows Offer One-on-One Expertise FromTop RV Park and CampgroundVendors Visitors cruising through the vendor exhibits at major fall camping shows from Kampgrounds of America Inc.’s KOA Convention in Chatanooga, Tenn., to Leisure Systems Inc.’s Symposium in Covington, Ky., to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds’(ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (OHCE) in the Fort Worth, Texas, are easily reminded of how there’s not only a wide array of products and services available to parks operators, but also a wealth of expertise available from the people manning those booths. There’s no substitute for actually being there, of course, but Woodall’s Campground Management touched base with an array of vendors at the recent fall shows — including experts in Wi-Fi and site utilities as well as to relatively new providers of food services and furniture. We also spoke with people who are finding innovative new ways of promoting campgrounds in an ever-evolving online marketing climate. Here’s a sampling of what we were hearing and some of the product offer- ings available to help park operators serve their guests. TengoInternet Harold “Deck” Decker, general manager of FrontierTown,aSunCom- munities Inc. park in Berlin, Md., stopped by theTengo Internet booth at the ARVC expo in order to sing the Austin, Texas, company’s praises. Sun decided to invest the money to install a top-notch, at-home online experience for its Frontier Town guests, putting in fiber optic service to the campground and a Tengo ruckus system on the grounds.“It’s turned out pretty damned good,” Deck said. At its peak this summer, the park had 6,000 people on its network — includ- ing more than 20 point-of-sale termi- nals at its campstore, waterpark, arcades and restaurant — and Deck re- ported that things worked to perfec- tion. “I didn’t hear a single complaint,” he said. “In the end it took all that crap away from me so I don’t have to listen to the complaints and deal with the problems — and our guests are happy.” That puts Frontier Town on a short list of parks that provide a “10” level of service in TengoInternet’s ground- breaking new “2016 State of the Indus- try Report.” Along with the company’s acquisition of friendly competitor Airwave Adventurers, the report was the big news out of the Austin, Texas company in the late fall. “Every year people are talking about Wi-Fi, and we really hadn’t seen any statistical study about where the indus- try is against consumer expectations, so because of the number of customers we have and the relationships we have with franchise organizations and state associations, we did a survey to trans- late what consumers want into actually a service,” said TengoInternet owner and President Eric Stumberg. “Either you’re meeting what consumers want or not. The purpose was not to tell you that you have to buy something, but to tell you that initially you need to communicate more effectively with your consumer so that they have the right expectation when they come to your property,” he contin- ued. “The industry right now doesn’t have a consistent way to communicate aboutWi-Fi.” Roughly 85% of parks advertise that they have Wi-Fi, though the service they provide probably won’t match up with what consumers are looking for in 2017, said Stumberg. And Millennials and teens aren’t the only ones driving those expectations, he noted. “The Boomer is having the same type of expectation. They carry a bunch of devices, they’re streaming, so all the demographic groups are starting to look like each other in terms of what they want to do.” Stumberg advocates clear commu- nication with guests, especially given the technical limitations at many rural campgrounds. “The angry customers are the ones that thought they were deceived, the broken promise or expec- tation. I think if we can eliminate that, we can reduce a lot of complaints.” 512-469-7660 UtilitySupplyGroup You’re just as likely to find Wade El- liott, Utility Supply Group president and founder, working on campground- related issues at ARVC and KOA before the expos start as you are to find him on the expo floors at the top conferences because, quite frankly, Elliott is just that busy working to represent ARVC on electrical and fire-protection code boards and as board chairman for the Care Camps charity started by the KOA Owners Association. But Elliott — who again in Novem- ber received ARVC’s “Supplier of the Year” honor on behalf of Utility Supply Group, which is based in Kingston, Wash. — doesn’t let that get in the way of his drive to provide service and products to his campground clients. To that end, this year, the new addi- tion to the catalog is the PowerSlide Pedestal line from Eaton Products.“It’s made of marine-grade plastic and can be mounted on a concrete pad, in the ground on a normal mount or can slide over a mounting pole, and the pedestals can offer water and cable service. Eaton consulted with Utility Supply Group on the design of the new pedestal, which Eaton calls its “best solution for the commercial camp- ground or RV park.” The unit combines all utilities into a single lit pedestal — telephone, cable, high-speed internet, water and a digital electronic meter. Of course, it’s just one of the variety of electric, water and gas meter products Utility Supply Group offers, and business has been good this year. “Everybody’s been having a good year, and a lot of parks saw people show up after the peak season, July, August, September,” he said, assessing his customers’ market. “We’ve seen that, too. For two years in a row the third quarter’s been the strongest. We had a record year in 2015 and we hope to fin- ish 2016 ahead of that,” Elliott said on the floor of the November ARVC show. 800-800-2811 CampgroundViews Mark Koep has been working for a few years now to position Camp- groundViews as the top provider of video tours of campgrounds across the U.S., but he’s really taken it up a notch. At the fall shows, Koep showed off an eye-catching new feature: full virtual- reality video using YouTube and the VR goggle attachments that are becom- ing more and more common with smartphones. In fact, Koep generated buzz from other vendors on the tradeshow floors, people were so impressed.“You put the goggles on and look around. What you’re looking at is a YouTube video. What I have here is a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone and a $15 headset you can buy at Walmart,” Koep explained during a demonstration of the new virtual tours. “The secret is we’ve created proprietary editing. “On the park’s website,” Koep continued, “the user can look around with the mouse or their finger. We do a full video of the facility, the pools, the dog parks. People can see everything.” The entire goal of his company, Koep told WCM, is to provide excellent con- tent for potential campers to see what to expect.“We want to make it engaging and easy for people to go camping.The Vendor expos provide face time between park operators and experts on products and operations. Eric Stumberg of TengoInternet met with campground owners and operators dur- ing November’s ARVC show. Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group kept busy with fall trade shows.