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 3216 - April 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management The 2017 North American Camping Report has a lot of good news for the camping and RVing sector, both in the short term and over the long haul. Thereport,releasedinmid-March,is the third edition of the North American Camping Report, and while each has been commissioned by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), the report goes far beyond KOA guests to survey Amer- icans and Canadians about their thoughts on camping and to quiz campers about their desires and habits. “There’s a good growth story here,” KOAChiefFranchiseOperationsOfficer Toby O’Rourke told Woodall’s Camp- ground Management before embarking on a media tour ahead of its release. “We’veseenaboutamillionnewhouse- holds come into camping each year since we started measuring data. That gives us 3.4 million new camping households since 2014,” she said. O’Rourke said KOA asked Scott Bahr of Cairn Consulting Group — Bahr put together all three reports — to look more closely at the growth. “That’s a sizeable number and in the last year we’ve spent a lot of time looking at the million who came in last year. The themes with that group are definitely younger;it’slargelybeingdrivenbyMil- lennials. There is also a lot of GenXers coming into camping as well,” O’Rourke told WCM. “We’ve seen a 36% increase in the number of people taking three-plus stays a year. That’s my favorite thing to come out of the research — that enough that I’m worried about it.There are so many Baby Boomers entering the market each year, and they’re still camping a lot. Those are still really healthy numbers.” Technology’s Role Grows Campers in North America are, unsurprisingly, placing more and more importanceontechnology,thoughthey also have a bit of a love-hate relation- shipwiththeeffectbeingconnectedhas on camping trips. But from a business standpoint, the overriding factor regarding technology is that, for U.S. campers, access to technology is allow- ing a substantial bloc of campers to spend more time outside. “Among all U.S. campers, 37% — including at least 43% of Millennials — say their access to technology allows themtospendmoretimecamping,”the report notes. “Specifically, access to technology is freeing up more time among younger campers who, in all likelihood, are able to check work emails and check in with work when needed. “What’s more,” it continues, “campers who say that technology allows them to spend more time camp- ing take an average of almost two additional vacation days for camping.” Whilemostteensbringsmartphones with them when camping — like their adult counterparts — an overwhelming majority, 71%, say they would still want to camp without the ability to stay in touch with others by using their phones or computers. Still, 20% of all campers list freeWi-Fi as one of the top offerings they value in a campground. Nearly all campers, 95%, bring tech- nology with them when camping, though only 36% of Millennials say it enhancestheexperience,while38%say itdetractsfromcamping.Still,Millenni- als and Generation X campers are as likely as teens to go online while camping. Millennial campers, especially, have grown up with technol- ogy, and they’re using it to share their camping experiences via social media. They’re also using technology to find campgrounds — but fewer are actually using Google, the study found. “People are using a lot of other online sources,” O’Rourke noted. “They’re going to places like KOA.com, they’re finding places using social media and online recommendations. They’re looking at websites for a certain geographic area and then finding campgrounds. Google was still the highest in terms of how people access information, but we did see a decrease there.” Word-of-mouth recommendations ‘There’s a good growth story here. We’ve seen about a million new households come into camp- ing each year since we started measuring data.That gives us 3.4 million new camping households since 2014,’ saidToby O’Rourke of study sponsor KOA. segment is being driven by GenX. That is a really promising statistic for our industry: More people are camping more frequently,” she said. As the camping base grows younger, it also grows more diverse, O’Rourke pointed out. “We’re seeing sizeable numbersofAfricanAmericans,Hispan- ics and Asians,” she said, and the camp- ing base is starting to mirror the general population more closely. “Therearealsomorefamilies.There’s a huge increase in the numbers of peo- plecampingwithchildren,whichisalso extremely promising for future growth of our business,” she pointed out. Mike Gast, KOA vice president of communications, said, “We took a spe- ciallookatteenagersandgotsomereally interesting stuff about how they view campingandthevaluetheyputonit.Are theybeingdraggedalong,oraretheythe instigators of additional camping? There’s some really interesting data.” In fact, the report found that 81% of teenssaidoutdoorrecreationisveryim- portant to them, and another 16% said it’s somewhat important. Even more on point, 93% of teens said they’re at least somewhat enthusiastic about camping, and 58% of teens were very enthusiastic about it. That’s more enthusiasm than Millennials — 82% were somewhat or very enthusiastic — and the general camping population — 81%. “This year’s survey of Generation Z teen campers demonstrates that teens are highly enthusiastic about camping. Not only are they happy to go camping and place a great deal of importance on getting outside and being active,” the report said, “GenZers are seeking more camping experiences and enjoy partic- ipating in the trip-planning process.” Overall, O’Rourke said, that teen enthusiasm lays a long-term founda- tion that supplements the short-term fundamentals that are positive for the camping market. “We see a lot of optimism to camp more coming from Millennials and GenX, which points to more camping,” she pointed out. “If we’re going to see any decrease, it’s those in the older age groups who are going to camp the same amount or possibly less, because they’re aging out. It’s not substantial The 2017 North American Camping Report Shows Fundamentals are Good For the Campground Market KOA’sTobyO’RourketalksaboutthereportontheWallStreetJournalNetwork’s“LunchBreak”show. Campersarebringingmoreand more tech to the campsite.