b'BY BEN QUIGGLEKOAs Fall Report UpdateShows 25% of Campers in2020 Were New Campers Many RV park and campground owners restrictions were lifted. One-fourth of Northhave been highlighting their busy seasons American campers indicated that their firstamid the COVID crisis and the surge in inter- camping experience occurred since the startest in outdoor recreation.of the pandemic, and 42% say that they willThe recent release of the updated North still take planned camping trips during the re-American Camping Reportserves as another mainder of this year.marker that indeed the RV park and camp- The fact that a quarter of all people thatground sectors saw significant growth in 2020.camped this summer were first-time campersAdministered by Scott Bahr, of Cairn Con- blew me away, explained ORourke. Thatssulting Group, and put together for Kamp- phenomenal. Early, when we first did the re-grounds of America Inc. (KOA), the Billings, search, it showed that a third of non-campersMont. franchisor of more than 500 KOA loca- were interested in camping, but then to seetions throughout North America, the first edi- that actually turn into results that a quarter oftion of the 2020 North American Camping all people who camped were brand new toReportwas released this past May.this, it was just phenomenal. Its so excitingRefocused due to the COVID crisis, the for our business. And just to see people rec-first report, Special Report: North American ognizing the benefits in general of getting out-Camping and the Effects of COVID-19, took a side and camping.look at camper attitudes during the spring Notonlyhascampingincreased,butmonths when COVID related shutdowns had camping is also still ranked as one of theforced many parks to open later than usual.safest types of travel, with more than half ofThekeyhighlightsofthefirstreport leisure travelers (56%) considering it a safeshowed that many campers and even other formoftravel.A10-percentagepointin-leisure travelers were looking forward to tak- crease from the reports May results.ing camping trips, with 41% saying they still I thought it was great to see that evenintended to take their planned camping trips more people thought that this fall than theyand 29% saying that it was going to be their did in the summer and in the spring, saidfirst trip after restrictions were lifted. Seven- ORourke. Also, to see it ranked as the high-teen percent of leisure travelers were plan- est-rated activity among non-campers wasning to do the same thing.exciting. I think it reaffirms that camping is a some of those lesser known national parks or ing at home and a lot of people are home-Moving into the Fall months, KOA wanted safe activity and campground owners are lesser known places to camp to get a little schooling or doing distance learning, it pro-to take a fresh look at the numbers and see working really hard to make it as safe as pos- more traffic, because not everybody wants to videsalotmoreflexibility,explainedhow COVID had actually impacted camping sible. be around the crowds and theyre looking for ORourke. We hear that played back to us asthroughout the summer. Hence the recently Millennial travelers had the highest inter- areas that might be a little less crowded. well. Theyre jumping in RVs or theyre takingreleased Growth of Camping Amid COVID-19: est in camping since the start of the pan- AmongprospectiveRVcampers,34% road trips and traveling while theyre workingA Fall 2020 Update. demic;19%ofMillennialtravelerswent would buy an RV to go on a camping trip or traveling while theyre schooling. I thinkBased on surveys sent to general leisure camping for the first time since the start of while 32% would plan to rent one. Of these that will extend through the fall and possiblytravelers from Sept. 4-9, the report takes a the pandemic representing the highest pro- potential RV renters, 29% would do so from a through the rest of the year. We had a big falllook at how behaviors and sentiments toward portion of new campers.traditional rental company and 32% from a and I think some of that is because peoplecamping have changed from the first report Over 80% of those were families, so its peer-to-peer service. There is a lot of interest have the flexibility to do so because theyrethis past Spring. just further introducing new generations to to buy RVs and very high numbers of people at home.We wanted to do more follow-up to see camping, which just really bodes well for the are renting RVs, noted ORourke. Our indus- Itisestimatedthat18%ofthenewto see what actually happened over the sum- future of this industry, noted ORourke.try provides a really great way for people to campers in 2020 will continue camping in themer and get a little more insight into camping Key information coming out of the report:have a vacation that doesnt involve getting future. Of these new campers, 44% of both RVgoing forward, Toby ORourke, president More than half of general leisure travel- on an airplane or staying in a hotel room. Its and tent new campers and 40% of new glam-and CEO of KOA, told Woodalls Campground ers (60%) are willing to travel to less popular been all these things colliding that have re- pers indicated they are likely to continueManagement(WCM).locations in order to avoid crowded areas. sulted in the numbers that were seeing on the camping into 2021.What we typically saw inThe results are pretty positive for the out- This sentiment is echoed by 68% of campers. shipment side as well as the rental side. our research prior to this is that theres adoor hospitality industry as the report con- Ive been reading that the most popular na- More than half of campers (56%) say that pretty good likelihood people will keep camp-firms that the sector attracted quite a few tional parks are still very, very busy, so I know the ability to work from home during the pan- ing once they get out there, ORourke noted.first-time campers in 2020.a lot of people are going to parks like Yellow- demic is allowing them to camp more often Theres a pretty good retention rate and peo-The report states that 21% of leisure trav- stone, for example, said ORourke. I do (and work simultaneously) through the re- ple enjoy it, and they recognize the benefitselers took a camping trip this summer once think that this has been a good opportunity for mainder of 2020.Because people are work- KOA Reportcontinued on page 3026 -December 2020Woodalls Campground Management'