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 3226 - April 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management The idea was to initially have one of these education conferences in Texas in July but we started rethinking that, realizing that they’re still in season down there and it’s hot as blazes. And it’s still very close to the TACO show (Texas Association of Campground Owners). We didn’t want to interfere with that, so we are probably going to change the venue for a different time andmaybeadifferentplacethanTexas. It’s all to be determined and we’ll announce it as soon as we’re able. WCM: So what about this other event you’re having in North Conroe, near Houston, that will have already taken place by the time people are reading this? Bambei: That’s going back to what I said earlier about our marketing efforts needing to focus on interpersonal relationships and multi-touch oppor- tunities to tell our story. What we’re doing inTexas is our first foray into holding one of these social gatherings in the Houston area. We’ve invited ARVC members and nonmem- bers in Texas, as well as some of the surrounding states. It’s a social gather- ing. It’s nothing more or less than that. It won’t have any PowerPoint presenta- tions. It’s meant to be relaxed, to famil- iarize people who don’t know about education or our portfolio of benefits, as to what they could be taking advantage of if they were a member. WCM: And you’ll be hosting these at multiple locations over the next year or so? Bambei: We’ve set up this test where we’re going to conduct three of them in Texas this year, and the hope is that if it is successful in converting nonmem- bers to ARVC members then we can takethismodelandplugitinanywhere in the country. It will be very labor intensive and there’s a lot of cost involved just to get our staff and some of our area board members out to it. But I have confi- dence it’s going to work. If nothing else, we’re not relying on anybody else to tell our story, we’re telling it ourselves. And we know for a fact there’s something around1,200campgroundsinthestate of Texas, using that as an example. We have a very small percentage of those today. So the opportunity is great down there, and if we can convert even a sin- gle-digit percentage, that’s significant. I would call that a success. WCM:Youalsohaveasurveyofboth ARVC members and nonmembers in the works.Tell us about that. Bambei: As the national association, we felt strongly that we needed to be a leader in data mining and understand- ing the trends of our industry. We put research in the field this spring and it’ll conclude by early summer. Our preliminary report is scheduled for end of summer, and we’ll probably tweak that a bit and deliver it at our 2017 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo, which is Nov. 7-9 in Raleigh, N.C. The idea is when it comes to the op- erating metrics of our member parks, we wanted to get a good, reliable, 95% validanswertoallkindsofthings:What is the vacancy rate Monday-Thursday vs. weekends? What is the rate struc- ture that is typically being offered? What are the successes versus the non- successes that can be concluded from what parks are charging? There are all kindsofP&Lmetricsthatwe’reseeking, so I don’t want to talk too much about it at this point. We’re paying a pretty penny for this. We haven’t done an operations study quite like this since 2012 and it’s high time. Our goal is to do it every year, or every other year, after this one, just to keep refreshing the data. A leader needs to be on top of the data, because that’s how good management decisions are made.We hope to have a published report later this year. WCM: Let’s shift gears once again and talk about advocacy, another focus for you and one that ARVC has become an aggressive force in representing the campground owner. Bambei: So we talked about educa- tion being a primary benefit of our association. Right alongside of it is public affairs advocacy. And the two very unique things about what we do is, first, we always keep our lobbyists in Washington D.C. on guard for anything of a federal nature that we need to understand and protect our members from. But, more importantly, we dive deep into the grassroots level through a con- tinuous monitoring of all local legisla- tive and regulatory issues — and that’s easily a full-time job. We have a dedi- cated staff person, Jeff Sims, who does the monitoring, and oftentimes he’s up at 4 and 5 in the morning beginning that process that will take many hours throughout the day to do right. Anything having to do with our industry, we earmark the keywords through a third-party source that helps us identify what’s bubbling up. And when we identify it, we pounce on it. And if we don’t fight it ourselves, we often send it out to our partnering states to fight locally. WCM: Increasingly over the past year, ARVC is working more in conjunctionwiththeothertradeasso- ciations,specifically RVIA. Bambei:That’sverytrueandthereare many other things that aren’t necessar- ily hair-on-fire issues. I’ll use the HUD example of a couple yearsagowhenthe400-footporchissue came at us. What we realized, working with RVIA, is that we have an army of nearly 3,000 members scattered all across the country who can be activists in letting their politicians at the local level know what our issue is. Through that process, we fight it. RVIA gave us the template to make an easy online letter-writing campaign that worked. The opportunity of the moment is with the new Trump administration being very pro-small businessperson. There are going to be a lot of legislative and regulatory opportunities to advanceouragendarapidlyand,again, working with RVIA and RVDA (Recre- ation Vehicle Dealers Association) to get the job done is what we’re all about. So the collaboration is there and will continue to be there. WCM ARVC members gathered in Fort Worth in November to catch up on what’s happening with the as- sociation, and they’ll learn more from Paul Bambei and the ARVC board this year in Raleigh, N.C. Manufacturers of Quality Recreation FUNniture 1-800-376-7897 2061 Sulphur Springs Rd Morristown, TN 37813