b'We basically just took the hands of There were many parks that could because of the pandemic are gettingour members and said, Lets walk not open up fully, whether it was a outdoors. I think that ultimately isthroughthistogether.Andwe pool or a rec hall; any place that had whats driving it. learned together, and we had expert people congregating was question- I think that is driving the need foradvice from people that heretofore able for many of them. Many of them expansion. Owners are seeing a lotwereneverreallypeoplethatwe did not open those amenities to the morecampersoutthere. Theyareknew existed, but we brought them public. And yet, they still had a record thinking, now if I can add 20 moreintothefoldandhadthemshare draw, so maybe what that says is that sites to my park, or whatever it is, Itheir advice, whether it was legal or peoplereallywanttobeoutdoors can make even more money the nexthealthrelated.Ithinkthatreally more than anything else. Its always year because this demand is going tohelped us shape the guidelines that nice to have the pool for the kids and go up. Someone whos buying a newwe put out in May to again, help the those kinds of things but its not a re- RV is not going to be using it one sea-campgroundownersunderstand quirement.AndIthinkitsbeen son and not another because of thewhat they needed to do to remain proven. pandemic. Thats an investment thatCenters for Disease Control (CDC) Another valuable piece of informa- theyve got, and theyre going to con-compliant. tion coming out of COVID and the re- tinuetouseit.IforeseethatthisNot everybody used them, but a lot port is that the pandemic has really growth of campers is going to con-The GoCampingAmerica.com app puts info of them did use them. They were like not slowed expansion plans much. tinue for the next few years, at least.right in the palm of a campers hand. theBibletohelpthemunderstand Parks are still telling us that they not Even when we get beyond COVID.what they needed to do to remain CDC only have the ability for expansion, WCM: What is ARVC focused on inbers moving into the new year. compliant. I think with that safeguard but they have basically the same plan 2021?I think were seeing growth in the in place, the consuming public under- for expansion that they showed last Bambei: Were all still in the midst ofnon-partnering states as well, and a lot stood that a campground is a good year. Which is great for the industry thispandemic,obviously,andweof growth in our associated member- place to take their family and enjoy the because we have got more RVs com- learned a lot from the experience inships. People who are looking to get outdoors and know that they are going ing into the market and more people Q&A Conversationscontinued on page 30into this industry. We are seeing growth tobesafe. Thatswhyyousawthein both of those areas. I attribute a lot record crowds this spring and sum-of it to the value that they see in being mer. Ever since Memorial Day its justa member of an association like ARVC. been full to the brim.Not only the advocacy work that we WCM: Your2020Insightsandhave done through this pandemic to Trends Report was recently released,keep campgrounds open, but also just and it included some stats based off ofthe other many benefits that they have COVID-related questions. What stuckavailable to them. out to you the most in the report? WCM: YoujustrebuilttheGo- Bambei: From my standpoint, theCampingAmerica.com website and surprise that was revealed in that re-released a new app. Part of that in- port was that even though over 50%cludes a new partnership with Go of the campgrounds said that COVIDRVing. You continue to build rela- causedthemtohavebetteryearstionships with other associations in than last year, there were a fair num-the industry, including the RV Indus- berthatsaidtheopposite,thattry Association (RVIA), that seem to COVID negatively impacted them. havebenefitedmembersaswell.Right? Bambei: RVIAjustredevelopedtheir website too, so we have beenworking closely with them. We are init together in terms of creating thebestconsumerexperiencewecanpossibly create. And when I look backon 2020 it was a benchmark year interms of really taking what has justbeen words in the past, at least to me,when we spoke about the communityof the RV industry. Wealwaysdidthethingsthatneeded to be done to create a healthycommunity, but I think in the throesof the pandemic, it notched up ten-fold. We just came together. I dontknow if it was out of self-reliance orwhat, but we were talking constantlyand still are talking constantly withour connections over at the RVIA and Im thinking of states like Alaska,RV Dealers Association(RVDA), and which wasnt on the call with our stateeven broader than that, the Outdoor executives, but weve heard this yearRecreation Roundtable (ORR) and that they really had a rough year. Youthe 32 associations that belong to it.look at parts out in California that notYou just have this wonderful com- only had to deal with COVID, but theymunity that you can bounce ideas off, had to deal with the fires. When weget reactions from and so on. It was a make these broad statements that itgreat year from that aspect as well. was a great year, we always have toWCM: What are some of the chal- keep those comments in check andlenges that ARVC faced in 2020?understand that not everyone had aBambei: Well,themostobvious great year. Some of that was revealedchallenge was the unknown of where through the research.this pandemic was going to take us. Then theres always the CanadianNobody knew back in February and border issue. Campgrounds that areMarchwhatwasgoingtohappen. up along the border rely on the busi-And there were a lot of anxious calls ness that comes down in the sum-that we were having with the leader- mer.StateslikeMaine,andevenship of RVIA and RVDA, as well as our today, in the winter months, wherestate partners, just trying to figure it states in the Sunbelt are really justout. Thats when we took the lead to kickingoff.Theyrereportingthatreally put the webinars together that theyre having good advance registra-wereconductedthroughoutthe tionbusiness,buttheyrealsonotspring and summer, and we are still surewhatthatCanadianfactorisdoing some now.going to do to them.WOODALLSCM.com February 2021-29'