80 Park Operators Attend CalARVC’s Fall RV Park Day

Nearly 80 private park operators gathered at Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles to attend CalARVC’s Fall RV Park Day education and networking event.

But roughly a dozen park operators arrived the day before the Sept. 26 event to attend a disaster planning workshop with Patrick Hardy, of Hytropy.com, one of the nation’s top disaster planning firms.

Meeting at The Vines RV Resort in Paso Robles, Hardy walked park operators through the process of how to develop their own disaster plan. He also focused on the details, such as coordinating with county emergency officials to find out where they want people to evacuate to.
Hardy said it’s important for park operators to gather the preferred contact information for all park guests and to develop a system for emergency communication with them in the event of an evacuation order. While emergency text messages, such as the emergency presidential alert text issued by the Trump Administration last week, are one way to communicate, not all guests have cellphones or ways of receiving text messages and require another method for emergency communications.

Each park should also have an “incident commander” who is responsible for making key decisions during a disaster, Hardy said, adding that park operators should make several copies of their disaster plans and make sure appropriate park personnel, even new hires, know how to implement these plans.

After completing their disaster planning session, park operators toured The Vines RV Resort, one of three Sun Communities resorts in the Paso Robles area that hosted CalARVC RV Park Day attendees.

The disaster planning workshop attendees then traveled a short distance down the road to attend a late afternoon grand opening celebration at Cava Robles RV Resort, the first Sun Communities RV resort built from the ground up.

The early arrivals for CalARVC’s RV Park Day event had dinner together at Wine Country RV Resort, another Sun Communities resort in Paso Robles.

The actual RV Park Day event on Sept. 26 attracted nearly 80 park operators, who gathered at Wine Country RV Resort. The day started with breakfast and a presentation by Brooke Burnham and Michael Wambolt of Visit SLO Cal, the tourism marketing agency for San Luis Obispo County.

Educational sessions took place throughout the morning and early afternoon and included:

  • “Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important,” by Lindsey Foos of Fireside Accounting in Castle Rock, Colo. Foos talked park operators through several strategies on ways to improve their accounting to better track their property’s performance.
  • “The State of the WiFi Industry,” by Kimberly Chung and Tami Tock of Austin, Texas-based TengoInternet, who presented the company’s 2018 State of the Industry Report. Chung noted that while growing numbers of parks are investing in WiFi improvements, fewer than one in five parks are currently meeting guest WiFi expectations, according to TengoInternet’s latest industry survey.
    Tock and Chung also discussed the importance of open and honest communication with park guests and noted that only a small fraction of park operators communicate the limitations of their WiFi systems with guests before they check in, a situation that can lead to unhappy campers and negative park reviews.

Expert roundtable discussions were also held in mid-afternoon with CalARVC’s seminar presenters as well as other vendors, including Cerrina Jensen of Sacramento, Calif.-based CoreMark Insurance; David Schenck and Damian Petty from Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance; and John Pentecost, an attorney from Santa Ana, Calif.-based Hart King.

Becca Sipe, CalARVC’s membership coordinator, also briefed park operators on CalARVC’s benefit programs, including the association’s legal services, which include free 15-minute consultations with CalARVC attorneys. While consultations are limited to 15 minutes, members can contact the attorneys many times throughout their membership year.

After the networking and education sessions, CalARVC President Randy Hendrickson unveiled the association’s newest award, the Susanne White Award, named in honor of the CalARVC staffer who died earlier this year after a short battle with cancer. The award will be given to a CalARVC staffer in White’s honor.

White, who joined CalARVC in 2010, developed the RV Park Day concept. She also managed the recent redesign of both CalARVC.org and Camp-California.com and launched CalARVC’s successful reservation software education day earlier this year with six vendors.

The daylong event included presentations of plaques honoring David Schenck, who is retiring from Sturgis, S.D.-based Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance. Schenck received plaques from Leavitt Recreation as well as CalARVC honoring his decades of service to the campground industry.

CalARVC Fall RV Park Day activities concluded with a park tour, a reception and dinner.  “It was a great event with unparalleled networking opportunities with industry and campground market professionals,” said Ben Harrison, marketing coordinator for Irvine, Calif.-based Highway West Vacations.

CalARVC’s Spring RV Park Day event will take place April 3 at 49er Village RV Resort, another Sun Communities property in the town of Plymouth, in the Sierra Nevada Gold Rush Country.

Pictures from the event can be found on Facebook.com/CalARVC.