Nick DiBella

Sun RV Resorts continues to expand its footprint across the U.S., with 2018 seeing the launch of a new website and reservations continuing to climb, Nick DiBella, a divisional vice president, told Woodall’s Campground Management.

A division of Southfield, Mich.-based Sun Communities Inc., which owns more than 300 manufactured housing and RV communities throughout the U.S., Sun RV Resorts currently operates 129 resorts in 97 cities and focuses on providing high quality resorts, according to DiBella.

“There is strong demand for high quality resorts to take all these new RVs on the road and we have positioned ourselves to be the leader in this space,” he noted.

With a majority of their portfolio acquisitions of resorts that were already in existence, DiBella explained that Sun RV Resorts has begun to develop their own resorts. The first being Cava Robles RV & Cottages Resort in Paso Robles, Calif., which partially opened on May 1. The 330 RV site property also includes vacation cottage rentals for non-RVers, along with amenities including two swimming pools, the Fox Run Wellness Center with the SunFit Fitness Center and Oak Spa Massage, and the Farmhouse Bistro style restaurant and bar.

Officials at Sun RV Resorts announced in June that they were also going to be opening another ground up development, Carolina Pines, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2019. Carolina Pines “will offer several different amenities throughout the year, providing a one-of-a-kind getaway experience. At the resort, guests will be able to experience a waterpark, play a round of mini golf, cool off with a cold beer, and then revel in some down-home dining,” according to a press release.

DiBella said that the continued expansions were due to the “tremendous growth” in the overall RV industry.

“The interest in outdoor hospitality and reconnecting with the great outdoors continues to surge,” he noted.

Location is the number one factor that Sun RV Resorts looks at when they are looking for the right place for a new development or an acquisition, according to DiBella.

“We look for land and/or existing resorts in popular destination areas around the U.S. and Canada,” he explained. “Bottom line, our guests want high quality amenities and large, well-appointed RV sites including patios and upgraded fire rings, and outdoor furniture.”

DiBella said that there is not a one size fits all solution to what campers are looking for and that Sun RV Resorts really tries to embrace every level of the camping experience.

Sun RV Resorts’ Petoskey RV Resort in Petoskey, Mich.

“We understand there are many different styles of camping – ranging from tent camping to Class A motorhomes and park models,” he said. “We embrace rustic style camping all the way up to ‘Glamping’, depending on each resort. We understand that one size does not fit all in today’s camping world. Some of our highlights include safari ‘glamping’ tents right on the beach in Oregon, as well as rooftop park models overlooking Lake Erie in Ontario.

“All of our resorts have key common elements: Basic amenities, including free Wi-Fi, cleanliness and top notch customer service,” he continued. “We strive to always create a fun sense of community in our resorts and that can be done with activities and other on-site events, such as local bands and entertainers.  No matter the size and complexity of the resort we always try to bring our guests together.”

Officials at Sun RV Resorts also put a lot of thought into the type of amenities that are featured at each resort, something DiBella said helps ensure the resorts appeal to a wide range of guests.

“First off, no matter if it is a family resort or a 55-plus resort, we treat all guests with the golden rule: ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’,” he noted. “We also make sure to plan the right number and type of amenities that all ages can enjoy, plus full activity calendars at each resort that feature both kids and adult activities.”

Annually officials at Sun RV Resorts also look through the companies portfolio of properties and make sure their sites are meeting the demands of today’s RVs.

“We consistently look across our portfolio each year via a site audit process to determine where and how we can upgrade our RV sites, whether by making them larger or bringing in more amperage,” DiBella explained. “This is an ongoing process to ensure we are always meeting our guests’ expectations.”

DiBella said that he believes there are several factors driving the outdoor hospitality segment forward.

“People are looking to spend more quality, uninterrupted time with their families outdoors and looking to reconnect with nature,” he said. “They also enjoy the affordability and flexibility of owning an RV and people can bring along a pet, because RVing and pets go hand in hand.”

Sun RV Resorts continues planning for even more growth, as DiBella said the company looks forward to more acquisitions and ground up developments in the future.

“One key metric for Sun RV is our percentage of returning guests to our resorts,” he noted. “We try to create life long memories for our guests that span generations of families. Nothing is more important in the RV space than word of mouth referral business. We continually solicit feedback from our guests and are always looking for ways to improve and continually raise the bar in the industry, whether through new amenities and activities or overall operating efficiencies to make the guest experience the best it can be.”