With many campgrounds across North America looking to expand and add amenities, the park model RV business is thriving, according to Dick Grymonprez, director of park model RV sales for Skyline Champion.
“We’re doing really well right now,” Grymonprez said “The campground business is doing really well right now. So that’s where our growth is, in the campground resort communities.”
Each Champion park model plant has “one or two or three dealers in a state, maybe,” he said. “But where the growth is – where the numbers are coming from – are the big communities, like Sun Communities, Cove, Equity LifeStyles. All the big community owners are growing their RV portfolios and putting in RV parks so they need rentals. And they’re buying park models for rentals.”
And while that’s where the biggest growth is, the entire industry is growing as well.
“Overall, park model RV business – even with retailers – is doing really well, though,” Grymonprez said. “The industry business was up like 15% this year for park models and RV business was down.”
Grymonprez thinks the growth is sustainable as campgrounds try to keep pace with the RV industry.
“If they keep selling half a million new RVs a year, the campgrounds have to keep growing,” he said. “I mean, I’m seeing RV campgrounds pop up everywhere and then as they want to grow their campground and make more money, they get into rentals. That’s where they make the real money and all of a sudden they need park models, so that’s where the growth keeps going and going.”
Even as the effects of the pandemic are beginning to wane, supply chain issues are still evident, but they are starting to wash out of the manufacturing environment.
“A lot of our factories have really big backlogs,” he said, “and now the backlogs have started to go away. Our plants build manufactured homes and park models, so as that business (manufactured housing) goes away we’re able to build more park models RVs because our park model RV business is not going away.”
The pace of manufacturing has limited innovation in this year’s models and while “there’s not anything that’s earthshaking new, we’re finding that customers are looking for more sleeping accommodations right now. So we’re building floor plans that have bunk rooms, plus a loft. We’re selling a lot more lofts than we used to and we’re also doing bigger porches with a lot of outdoor space.”
Wood-burning fireplaces on those porches are also very popular in the current lineup, he added.
Overall, Grymonprez’s outlook for the upcoming year is positive.
“You know, there are no signs yet that I’ve seen in the park model business that makes me feel any different because all of our park model plants – the ones that are building just park models – they still have pretty big backlogs. It’s our plants that only building manufactured homes and a few park models that are losing their backlogs. Park models are still strong. There’s more demand than there are people building them.”