Before you go onto reading this blog piece, please know that this is our opinion and based on our experiences. We know that every RVers’, whether full-time, part-time or weekenders, have different needs or expectations. We‘re not expecting the Taj Mahal of RV Parks or Resorts however, when we spend our hard earned dollars, we expect hospitality and amenities.
So, if an RV park or resort builder were to seriously ask us ‘what would make RVers come to stay?’, this is what we’d (meaning us…Liberty Crew) tell them:
1) ACCESSIBILITY – Somewhat close and easy to get to from major highways and thoroughfares. Parks and Resorts don’t have to be ‘right off the interstate’ but we do appreciate not having to go through 50 miles of over the river and through the woods to get there. Roads and entrances into your establishment should be wide with very little curbing. We don’t want to rub and bruise our tires. We prefer wider turn radius and no sharp corners to turn. Oh and please, no speed bumps! Please post on your website “RV friendly directions” to your park or resort noting any low clearances, narrow passages, potential low hanging tree branches or impeding obstructions. Update your website if there are any recent road construction issues or detours.
2) BIG RIG FRIENDLY – Today, 36-38′ foot RVs aren’t really considered the big dogs of RVing anymore. Newer motorhomes, 5th wheels and travel trailers have lengthened to 45′ and tower upwards past 13 feet tall. As well, new(er) coaches have opposing deep slides (24″ deep and deeper) and some even have ‘slide in a slide’ making site widths even more of an issue and let’s not forget that some are now being designed with side decks and patios. Some may be towing a trailer with toys or mobile offices. We prefer 80′ or longer. Please don’t state that you’re ‘Big Rig Friendly’ when you only have 3 Big Rig sites out of 50 or you’ve fibbed a little on your site lengths. Be honest in your advertising, phone reception and website or when guests ask. Know each of your exact site lengths from roadway edge to end of the site without him-hawing just to make a buck from us. Likewise, save your ‘big rig’ sites for ‘only’ big rigs. Nothing raises the hair on the backs of our necks more than seeing a small camper in a big rig site while we try to cram ours into a site meant for them. Notably, we don’t want to be passing the Grey Poupon, hearing our neighbor’s commodes or listening to their deep dark secret conversations. We should be able to enjoy sitting out at the picnic table for meals or our chairs without having to trip over the neighbors sewer pipe or smelling it. Our awnings shouldn’t be able to touch the neighbor’s RV, period. I’m willing to bet that RVers would be willing to pay $1-2 more for their site knowing they aren’t going to have to turn their tv volumes up to drown out their neighbor’s.
3) OBSTACLES & PRUNED TREES – You don’t know how many times we would approach our site only to be faced with a tree, permanent grill or picnic table, light post or sign post that we must swing around; at the same time, trying to not hit something on the other side. Please appreciate that RV’s today need wider spaces. If you want to number your sites, please paint the site numbers on the site pad or make the posts easy to remove/replace; having an in-ground sleeve that the post sets in. Again, no curbing (read above in ACCESSIBILITY). We’re not asking to park in a flat parking lot nor do we wish to be fighting our way by avoiding obstacles . We just ask that your developer or planner take great consideration of RV needs and specifications in the layout of the park or resort. If your park or resort does have these obstructions or impedements, minimize them, replace them or make them movable.
Again, typical newer RV’s are now towering over 13 and a half feet tall. No RVer wants tree branches or low hanging cables/wires scraping roofs, air vents, awnings or the sides of coaches. Likewise, consider when it gets windy and those will swing, sway and bounce which could potentially poke a hole in the rubber roof membrane, scrape the awnings or puncture a slide or topper. Also noting that trees invite critters and creepy crawlies. We don’t want bugs or birds taking refuge in/on or soiling our coaches. If and when your grounds-keeping employees prune, instruct them to cut all the way to the joint leaving no sharp ends sticking out. Please keep an eye on insect infestations.
5) AMPLE PARKING – This goes for RV toad vehicles or trailers if we need to detach. Please don’t charge us extra for parking in a separate lot; especially if you don’t offer long sites to accomodate big rigs or towables.
6) LEVEL – Nothing is more frustrating than being told on the phone, on your website or resource that your sites are level only to pull in or back in and find our tow canted so much that it’s painful or even dangerous to disconnect or unhitch. We shouldn’t need to stock a lumber store full of leveling blocks.
7) FREE WIFI, AMPLE AMMENITIES & FREEBIES – First, WiFi is extremely important as is electricity and water. For some of us, it’s our life-blood for communicating with family and friends. Some full-timers work on the road and young families may be home schooling. Advertising ‘Free Wifi’ yet not having simple access to check our email will entice bad reviews which will impede profitable business for your establishment. Spend the money to get a viable system that accommodates and supports the entire park and users. Monitor streaming abusers by shutting them down for 24 hours (this also goes under ‘rule enforcement’).
Please provide pet-friendly doggie park(s) or exercise areas for Fido and Fifi to play and relieve themselves and we ask that it be routinely cleaned and disinfected. Reading various RV forums and social media outlets, dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs is one of the top complaints and abuses. Nothing is worse than going out in our own site to sit or enjoy an outdoor meal and stepping/seeing/smelling dog doodoo. Please invest in dog waste recepticles with bags so dog owners can’t use the excuse, ‘well, I forgot my bag’.
Having two washers and driers for a park size of 50 sites isn’t really accommodating;; please look into having more and perhaps in different buildings throughout your park. Provide a separate washer/dryer for pet bed use only. Being frank, it sucks having our clothes come out of the washer loaded with pet hair and smell. Bath houses should be clean and safe with lockable doors. Oh yes, please put benches and chairs in each shower area…a shelf and plenty of hooks too!
If your park or resort is in a heavy storm or tornado area, it is imperative that there be a safe evacuation building.
Your park’s workout gym should be accessible for all hours of the day/night. We all have different schedules.
…and FREEBIES! Always offer BOGO deals, honor rewards programs like Passport America, Escapees, etc., restaurant discount coupons, free Taco Tuesday or Ice Cream Sundays, a free round of golf, etc. Offering military, veterans and first responders discounts is nice too.
8) ADULT AREAS – Some may disagree but designate ADULTS ONLY areas please. We love kids but there’s also a time and place. A lot of us work, exercise, go on long hikes or just had a long stressful day. We really enjoy using the jacuzzi but seriously, not when there are children present. Its our ‘down time’ to de-stress, want a therapeutic soak or simple adult time to talk and enjoy the quiet. Speaking honestly, children aren’t the most cleanliest in such settings. In otherwords, save the jacuzzi’s for “adults only”. Please post the rules and remind parents of children of these off limits areas upon registration. Don’t just list it in your sheet of rules; tell them.
9) RULES & ENFORCEMENT – You can have rules but come on, please don’t be overzealous with them. Make the print easily readable that don’t require microscopes or magnifying glasses to ‘read the small print’. On the other hand, there’s nothing more frustrating than guests not reading the rules or totally ignoring them. Upon registration, go over the most important rules or ones that may apply to your guests (ie. if you they list a dog, tell them where the dog park is…if they have children, tell them when quiet times are and to stay out of the jacuzzi)…and then, seeing no rule enforcement.
Please post speed limits and expect guests (AND EMPLOYEES) to adhere to them. There are walkers, hearing and sight impaired guests, and children. We ask to not allow golf carts, RZR’s, scooters and 4 wheelers to race up and down the park roadways. Please don’t look away if there is rule infringement. If you’re going to have rules; enforce them…for ALL.
10) KNOWLEDGABLE STAFF & VOLUNTEERS – Did you know that the reputation of your establishment is set upon the first 20 seconds of staff-guest interaction? Your first impressions are always lasting; whether it’s on the phone, social media, website or in person. Please be approachable, available, accommodating and friendly to your guests. Your first reaction to a question, comment or frustration could make your or break your establishment. Realize that social media is a powerful tool amongst your patrons. We share our experiences globally; albiet social media, phone apps, blogs and websites like RV Parky and RV Park Reviews. If we are in front of you at the desk, please finish with us before reaching for the phone. Know and honor the hospitality code of ethics. Show that you appreciate that WE CHOSE YOUR PARK or RESORT…money walks and talks.
BE TRUTHFUL on all venues (i.e. website, phone, etc.). It’s been said, “a picture says a thousand words”. That said, pictures could also be very deceptive. When posting photos on your website, please show what the sites look like with appropriate sized coaches actually in them with slides and awnings out. Show photos of your facilities and ammenities on a busy day or season. Show us the views we will see on the busiest days.
Again, we do not want to stay in ‘parking lots’. We do enjoy nice landscaping, green grass, pretty gardens, clean sites and grounds, and something nice to look at instead of a bunch of parked vehicles. We can do that at Walmart for free.
So, do you still want to build or manage an RV park or resort? OF COURSE you do because it’s a lucrative business now. RVers are getting younger in age which means they will be patrons longer.
As in the movie ‘Field of Dreams’, Ray Kinsella heard voices ‘build it and they will come’.