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 3218 - April 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management Top-Notch Campground Furniture can be Crucial to Guest Satisfaction and Retention No two RV parks and campgrounds are identical, but they’re nearly universally serv- ing a customer base that’s starting to expect more from their vacations, even camping. That’s why the campground market is not only attracting furniture suppliers from other niches, it’s also seeing long-time providers add new products and options to meet guests’ needs. One of the recent entrants to the market is Rocky Top Furniture of Lancaster, Ky., which offers a full line of indoor and outdoor furnishings “What got us focused on camp- grounds was we saw a move within a lot of hospitalityofaddingmorecabins,”saidBrad Lewallen, vice president of sales. “Internet reviews drive business now. It’s really put a lot of pressure on the owners and operators of these campgrounds. Everybody’s sharing everything about that experience. It’s forced owner/operators to up their game because everybody does their research.” From the guest’s point of view, he said, “It’s going to make a difference to you if you’re going to pay $129 a night or $159 a night. If you’re paying more, you want to know the furnishings are nice, the accom- modations are nice. Experience is becoming so much more important to people. People take their experiences very seriously.” And, said Angel Best, Rocky Top’s corpo- rate sales director, nicer furnishings at sites and in rentals allow park operators to set higher rates. “If you’ve got nicer accommo- dations, you can charge more because peo- ple want that,” she said. Of course, the demand for more — and nicer — rental accommodations isn’t the only trend in park furnishings. Today’s growth toward more active campers means that parks should consider bike racks, suggested Shannon Brower with Commercial Recreation Specialists of Verona, Wis. “With families being more activeatcampgrounds,it’simportanttohave those. Maybe instead of walking, they’re riding bikes all together. They provide that nice space to keep grounds a little more CRS reports more and more parks want shades by their pools. ‘Internet reviews drive business now. It’s really put a lot of pressure on the owners and operators of these campgrounds. Everybody’s sharing everything about that experience. It’s forced owner/operators to up their game because everybody does their research,’ said Brad Lewallen of RockyTop Furniture. Rocky Top has been furnishing log cabins for decades, and their look works well for rustic park models and cabins in campgrounds. orderly and provide a sense of security if they want to bring a bike lock.” In addition to that, Brower said, “we’ve been seeing more shade over playground structures, over pool areas, over splash pad areas; with the growing concern over skin cancer and skin damage, parents are being more cautious. You’re seeing more long- sleeveswimmingsuitsonkids.Itgivesspace where they can still be covered.” Another trend is the growth of the use of recycledplasticinsteadofwoodlumber.Tom Reed,ownerofMadison,Wis.-basedGerber Park Products, said his company added a new line of recycled plastic furniture becausecustomersappreciatetheirdurabil- ity as much as their comfort and aesthetics. Some campground owners are buying them for their common areas — and even their personal decks. “We’re always looking for something that the campground owners and their campers would like, so we came across this and it seemstobedoingwell,”Reedsaid.“They’re made out of recycled plastic milk jugs so they’re maintenance-free. You wipe them down in the spring and that’s about all you have to do. They’ll last forever. People really like them.” And other providers have seen the same demand. One thing many of the campground fur- nishingsproviderswhospokewithWoodall’s Campground Management warned park op- eratorswhoarecontemplatingnewfurniture is to avoid buying cheap furniture from a nearbyretailerbecauseofthelong-runcosts of replacement and the impression deterio- rating furniture makes on guests. “You can do some cost savings by purchasing more of a residential product, but if you look toward commercial-grade products,theinitialcostmaybehigherbutin the long run they’re going to last because they’re made to last outside,” said Brower. Here’s a look at some of the key providers of campground furnishings in North America. Commercial Recreation Specialists 877-896-8442 Commercial Recreation Specialists of Verona, Wis., features a large line of outdoor furnishings for RV parks and campgrounds, and the company has seen a growing demand for shades and seating along beaches, according to Shannon Brower, who handles marketing for the company. “With the growing concerns about skin cancer and damage from the sun and to the skin, shade has been a really growing and poplar trend to incorporate. It helps make outdoorrecreationareasalotmorecomfort- able. They can get out of the sun and be comfortable and it allows them to stay and enjoy the area longer. Whether it be a pool deck or around a pond or beach area, the whole recreation scene has been incorpo- rating the comfort level,” Brower said. CRS offersawidevarietyofshades,fromportable to permanent. And, of course, the company offers furniture to go beneath the shades. “Weofferpicnicbenches,trashcans,the grills, bleachers if needed, and bike racks. You can really never have enough beach chairs and places to sit at the beach. With the growing trend of getting back to nature, more places are seeing activity at their beachfronts. It’s nice to have a place to sit above the sand and be comfortable.” And many selling points of beach furniture apply to poolside furnishings, as well, she noted. Pilot Rock 800-762-5002 Pilot Rock, the campground furnishing line of RJ Thomas Mfg. Co. of Cherokee, Iowa, offers a wide variety of outdoor furniture and trash containers. “Our catalog seems to be extensive to start with and it never seems to shrink,” noted Bob Simonsen, head of marketing. Gerber’snewrecycledplastic tables are a popular choice. Shades over outdoor eating areas are an- other popular choice for CRS customers. Pilot Rock trash receptacle.