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 April 2017 - 17 Millennials are having families, they’re starting to mirror the habits of Genera- tionXinalotofways,O’Rourkepointed out.“They camp in groups.We see large group sizes coming out of both Millen- nials and GenX. They’re camping the same amount of time per year. They’re trying cabins. We’re seeing RV trials comingoutofbothgroups.Alotofwhat drivesthatisthesegroupshavefamilies. “I continue to be excited about the growth of families in camping because I think the more that we have children exposed to this activity the more that that sets up for even more future longevity,” she continued. “This was the first time that we did that teenage survey and I was really floored by the positive sentiment about camping out of that group. They plan to camp as adults. Parents have exposed these kids to camping and now this is going to be part of their culture that they’re going to impart on their family.” As the report puts it, “the benefits of camping are becoming much more strongly embedded in the camper mindset.Campershavestrongopinions aboutcamping,primarilytherelaxation and stress relief they associate with being outdoors.” Relaxation and escape from stress are the top two reasons for camping, according to the report, fol- lowed by its affordability and the ability for people to camp with friends and/or family. “It blows my mind when I step back and look at the health of this business and so many people are drawn to the outdoors,” O’Rourke said. “We see that played back by the people that went to theU.S.nationalparkslastyear,bytheir optimism to keep camping. I just think that this is such a healthy market because it’s important to people. It’s important to their family relationships. It’s important to how they spend time together. “They get a lot of benefits out of it. They’re finding things like stress reduc- tion and overall health and wellbeing and those are important things,” she continued, “and in our fast-paced culture we provide some sort of relief.” New Campers AreTrying New Accommodations Across the North American camping market, tenting still reigns supreme, with roughly 60% of all campers using tentstoenjoythegreatoutdoors—with Millennials being the age group most likely to camp in a tent. And yet, as the camping market grows younger and more racially and ethnically diverse, so too grows the popularity of other accommodations, according to the report. “While Millennials and GenXers are most likely to camp in tents, they are experimenting with different types of accommodations and say they want to from friends and family remain the largest drivers of camping, she pointed out. “They like to camp because they can spend time with friends and family, and they find campgrounds on the recommendation of friends and family. At the campground, access to tech- nology helps drive longer stays, at least for Generation X and Millennials. “A high percentage of campers, 60%, said that was an important considera- tion when selecting a campground, be- cause they felt the use of technology allowed them to camp longer,” O’Rourke said.“That’s mainly driven by Millennials and GenX. The Baby Boomer and older generations say they don’t think technology keeps them camping longer. That makes sense; you’ve got a lot of younger working people out camping, and it allows them to stay longer if they can keep an eye on their email.” North of the border, though, Canadi- ans in general are far less reliant on technology when camping. In fact, more than a quarter of Cana- dians don’t go online while camping, compared to only 18% in the U.S., according to the report. Canadians are also significantly less likely to expect free Wi-Fi at a campground or to be influencedbythepresenceofWi-Fi,and are much more likely to say technology detracts from camping, with 50% of Canadians displeased with tech’s effect on their camping trips. “They have a more unplugged men- tality, they have a much more outdoors mentality,” she noted. Why Are People Camping? Camping is largely a social activity, and new campers view it exactly that way, the report showed. And as more try something new. In 2017,” the report continues. “Millennials and GenXers each express a desire to try out at least twodifferenttypesofaccommodations, which are likely to include a full-service cabinwithabathroom,orasmallerRV.” In fact, while 60% of all campers use tents and 22% use RVs, the numbers are very different for last year’s new campers. Only 43% of new campers in 2016triedtents,with26%startingoutin RVs and 27% starting out in a cabin- type rental, including park model RVs, the report found. Two thirds of nonwhite campers tried new accommodations last year, comparedtoonlyhalfofwhitecampers. Of those nonwhite campers, 38% tried tents, while 26% tried RVing and 20% tried staying in a cabin for the first time. Looking at this year, nearly half of all nonwhite campers said they want to try an RV in 2017, including 51% of African American campers. “To look at just the new people who started camping last year, a quarter of them camped in an RV, and with that their first exposure into this activity, it’s likely they’ll keep RVing,” O’Rourke said. “Their likelihood to purchase RVs becomes higher. I think there’s strong healthygrowththerenotonlyforcamp- grounds,butfortheRVindustry.Wesaw growth in diversity coming to RVs in African Americans and Asian Ameri- cans in particular. “If we just look at the RV base, a lot of Millennials are RVing now — 33% of RVers were Millennials,” she continued. “Traditionally we’ve looked at that RV market as more of an older, white habit. Nowwe’reseeingyounger,morediverse people giving it a try.” The other interesting RV-specific trend O’Rourke pointed out was that about one in four RVers rented their RV last year. That’s a mix of RVs owned by campground operators, rental units from places like Cruise America or CanaDream, and even Airbnb-type sharing services like Outdoorsy. “That’s really healthy for the rental market of our industry, because that’s the trial. Renting is important to get people to try an RV and then try camp- ing. If they enjoy the activity and want todomore,theymayinvest,”shenoted. Infact,lookingahead,78%ofMillen- nials and 77% of Generation X campers said they would be willing to rent an RV. That Outdoorsy type of model is one to watch, Gast noted. “They’re becom- ing the ‘middle man’ between the RV ownerwhomayfeelliketheyhaveopen days or weekends that they can put into a pool for renters. It’s a small thing at thispoint,butwhenyou’vegotthatkind of robust growth and interest in the lifestyle, we’re probably going to see some more of those popping up along the way.” In all, O’Rourke said, “I think this report reflects a lot of long-term foun- dations for growth in our business with peoplecomingtocampingandkeeping camping. Something like 49% of people plan to camp more nights this year. “Campgroundsingeneral,fromwhat we see in this report, over the long term I don’t think this is going to slow down. There are people coming in and resonating with it. They’re camping more. They’re getting their kids in- volved.There’salotofpositiveoutlook.” The report is available at 2017-north-american-camping- report/. — Justin Leighty WCM.