“People don’t go as far. I go from Chicago to Elkhart, vs. going from Chicago to Yellowstone. I’m time-restricted and possibly financially restricted. I want to get out, I enjoy the time with my family, I enjoy the outdoors, so I’m going to go spend more weekends closer to home. That leads to a change in what our campgrounds need to provide.
“In the ’60s and ’70s when Americans were cross-crossing the country, they’d check in and check out early the next morning. Now you arrive at 4 in the afternoon, you check in and want a wine tasting or a campfire experience,” he said. “We’ve become much more geared to entertainment and recreation and activity than an overnight campground experience.”
He’s also seeing a change that RV manufacturers saw: RV owners are taking their higher-end units and parking them at campgrounds for a season, or even around the year.
The campground owner will have a seasonal type of site, “but we also have a number of parks that store the unit,” which is convenient for people, Rogers said. “It helps minimize the need for a place close to your house, many neighborhoods have restrictions.”
He also sees growing popularity in cabins and KOA’s “deluxe cabins,” which are park-model trailers — essentially a cross between an RV and a motor home.
“Our growth, KOA’s growth, in terms of occupancy is going to be impacted dramatically by the park model, the deluxe cabin.” Those can serve as an entry point for people to get into camping, which results in exposure to RV models in use, he said. Campgrounds are a great location for dealers and even manufacturers to show their wares, and he hopes the upcoming breakfast gathering will help unify the three commercial parties to the overall RV/camping industry.