Not your Father’s Wi-Fi

Not your Father’s Wi-Fi
By Tim Rout, CEO, AccessParks

At most RV industry conferences, there are roundtables where the topic is Wi-Fi. It is a subject that confounds many a park owner, usually sapping their operational energy and staff morale. It also robs them of precious star ratings on Google. In fact, 20% of hospitality reviews online mention Wi-Fi; it is the biggest hurdle to attracting guests of every demographic. The antiquated “DIY” state of telecom infrastructure in RV parks across the country has not changed since the Internet was invented in the mid-1990s. Experienced park owners have lots of scar tissue from snake oil salesmen offering failed solutions. And to make matters more challenging the last few years have seen a revolution in how the Internet is being used, making old systems unusable.

Today’s RV park guest brings with them an average of three Wi-Fi connected devices, including smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, Rokus and Firesticks. 70% of data usage is now streaming video. Another 20% involves sharing media about their experience on social media. Guests of every generation think of the Internet as a utility, like water and electricity, and nothing makes them more upset than when it doesn’t flow when they need it. Plugging Wi-Fi radios into DSL, cable modems or satellite might have worked in 2010, when guests were primarily browsing text on web pages. Those technologies are not commercial grade; they were designed to serve one residential home, not 200 devices streaming Netflix in HD. These ISPs typically assume a 25:1 “contention ratio”, where only one of 25 customer modems are actually passing traffic at any given time. What happens when 200 devices are streaming at the same time in your park? Gridlock from 6-9 pm when demand is highest; those …

Presidential Musings – August 2018

Accounting. The very word can strike fear in our hearts; many of us may do our own accounting or outsource it. Let’s face it – We as owners or managers are focused on day to day operations, marketing, making sure our guests are taken care of and enjoying a great camping experience, and rightly so. But at the end of the day, knowing and understanding the math is critical in making important decisions regarding your property. At our upcoming CalARVC 2018 Fall RV Park Day, Wednesday, September 26 at Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles, Lindsey Foos, Founder of Fireside Accounting, will be presenting a session on “Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important. ” Among the topics to be discussed:

• Why accurate and detailed accounting is critical
• What elements are important to track
• How to track your property’s performance
• Using financial data to make decisions

In a little more detail, further topics:

• Why accurate and detailed accounting is critical: Not only for your own tax preparation, but also if you intend to sell. Buyers will need accurate P&L’s with extensive line item detail. Don’t just lump your revenue from all site types into ‘Rental revenue’, break it out by site type.

• Track your revenue by site type for Y/Y comparisons: Tracking revenue by site type allows you to make adjustments as needed. For example if you note that Y/Y your Premium sites are dropping and Standard site revenue is increasing, are your premium sites overpriced? Do you need to do an email blast with a special price for the Premium sites to generate interest so they might see the value and book that site again in the future when they return? Conversely, if your Premium sites show an increase in occupancy and revenue, should you upgrade your standard sites to Premium? If you have extra land and a…

Lindsey Foos to Keynote CalARVC’s RV Park Day

Lindsey Foos, Founder, Fireside Accounting

Lindsey is a Certified Public Bookkeeper with over eight years of impeccable bookkeeping experience. Over the last couple of years, Lindsey and her team have provided complete accounting solutions for a variety of RV properties, including campgrounds, monthly parks, and busy transient resorts. Lindsey and her husband spent 2016-2017 full-time RVing across the country, allowing her to experience property operations from the ground up. By assisting her clients in person during that time period, she was able to gain first-hand knowledge of the accounting systems and procedures that help set a park up for success! Lindsey has developed an integrated accounting process that removes the burden of bookkeeping from clients and their staff using industry-tailored bookkeeping practices. Through this comprehensive approach, her clients receive detailed financial reporting to help them in their decision-making.

“Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important” will be part of the morning program for CalARVC’s 2018 Fall RV Park Day, Wednesday, September 26 at Wine Country RV Resort in Paso Robles.

Description of the session:  Handling the accounting for your property can be an overwhelming task. When an operator is being pulled in so many different directions, the books are often the last thing they want to worry about. However, as daunting as it may seem, accounting is no doubt one of the most crucial elements of your business. In this presentation, “Tips and Tricks for Tracking What’s Important,” learn the techniques to better tackle your property’s accounting. Discover ways to make sense of your reporting and find some solutions that you can work with to not only keep a pulse on your pro…

CalARVC’s 2017-2018 Year in Review

Summer 2018

Dear Members,

2017-18 continued to build on last year’s momentum for CalARVC! With your input, CalARVC is focused on the programs and benefits you said are important, saving you money, getting you the answers you need faster, and bringing more campers to your door.  Click here to read our 2017-18 Year in Review>

  • Relaunch of an image rich, mobile-friendly, park centric Camp-California.com along with 200,000 of the Camp-California! Guide.
  • Conducted a Reservation Software Comparative Session and Disaster Planning Day.
  • Made removal and eviction forms free. Each fillable form comes with instructions guiding you through the how and when to use.
  • Exclusive access to the best practices in guest management and regulatory information covering a wide range of topics on CalARVC.org.
  • Attorneys at your fingertips. Our Legal Hotline gets you the answers you need.
  • Award-winning lobby team focused this year on protecting parks from California’s state and regional water boards.
  • Access to your peers and experts with CalARVC’s Spring and Fall RV Park Days.

Every week we keep you up-to-date with relevant information delivered via our Coffee Talk Enews and monthly with our printed CalARVC News.

We are able to do all of this because of your commitment to the industry and to CalARVC. Thank you for your membership. I encourage you to reach out to other parks in California and share our efforts. Let them know that we are working hard to make all California parks more profitable.

The stronger we are; the stronger you are!

Though we did lose a key staff member and best friend, we are building a new, remarkable team to serve you for years to come. For those of you who may have missed the announcement, Susanne White passed from this world on May 7th after only 48 very short years. Bu…

Signatures are Going Bye-Bye and Chargebacks are Changing

By Art Lieberman

The word has gone out. Soon Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express will no longer require merchants to obtain signatures for credit and debit card transactions.

The reason for signatures at the point-of sale, were originally required to validate a match to the customers signature on the receipt. Now with the introduction of the EMV technology and the chip cards, signatures are no longer necessary, at least at point-of-sale. This new regulation went into effect for STAR debit cards this past April 1st.

Little by little, the requirements for signatures will be totally disappearing within the foreseeable future. This was expected because of the nature of the CHIP cards requiring only a PIN number. Transactions may still require signatures when chip cards are not recognized or the terminal is not totally re-programmed for PIN transactions, but not for much longer.

Here are some of the benefits that abolishing signature-based transactions have in favor of PIN transactions.
• This will shorten lines in checkout where signatures were once required.
• No signature comparison will be necessary (not that that ever happened).
• No signature need be supplied to prove disclosure of refunds.
• No Chargebacks can be exercised due to lack of signature.

These exclusions do not include “Card Not Present’ transactions. These transactions over the Web or by phone have never been intended to overcome the CHIP card problems, which have allowed counterfeiters and criminals to steal data from consumers. This theft reached a peak in 2015, when it was estimated that credit card and identity theft reached a peak of near $800 billion. For several years the Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) chip cards were used in Europe and gradually credit card theft declined.

S…

June 2018 CA Primary Election Report

Provided by Edelstein, Gilbert, Robson & Smith, June 8, 2018

Overview
The California June 5 primary election is over and the results are in…mostly. There are still approximately 2 million late and provisional ballots to be counted, including 500,000 in Los Angeles County. However, there are only a handful of races where the unprocessed ballots will decide the difference between the second and third place finisher and join the top vote-getter on the November ballot. This was a low-voter turnout election, once all ballots are counted it will be around 30 percent.

There were relatively few surprises and California’s unique top-two primary election only yielded a couple of races where two people from same party will face-off in November. Below are some election highlights and notable results with a slight preview of the November election. We will provide a more thorough General Election preview in the Fall.

Governor
As expected, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom was the top vote getter in the primary and will be favored in the General Election having garnered 33.4 percent of the total vote that was split between 27 total candidates. The surprise in this race is how strong the relatively unknown Republican John Cox ran to come in second and soundly push former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to third place by nearly doubling Villaraigosa with 26.1 percent of the vote and running ahead of his party’s voter registration.

Mr. Cox welcomed late support from President Trump, which helped in energizing the Republican base of voters to turnout for him in June. But the President’s overall unpopularity in California may energize those who did not initially support Newsom in June to line up in support for him in November. To win the General Elec…

CA 2018 June Primary Pre-Election Report

Provided by Edelstein, Gilbert, Robson & Smith; CalARVC’s Lobbying Firm

Overview
The California June Primary Election is June 5. However, that date is somewhat misleading since approximately 60 percent of voters in California will vote early by absentee ballot.

An additional twist in California’s primary election is the “top-two” vote recipients in each race will advance to the November General Election, regardless of party affiliation. That means in certain races two Democrats or two Republicans will face off in the November election and there will be no third-party candidates on the November ballot for each race.

As of April 6, California had approximately 18 million registered voters which means approximately 75 percent of the eligible, voting age population is registered to vote. Approximately 45 percent of registered voters belong the Democratic Party. While the Republican Party’s decline in influence in California is evident by the fact that there are about an equal amount of registered Republicans as there are people who registered with No Party Preference, each at 25 percent.

Traditionally, less than 40 percent of registered voters actually vote in the June primary. It remains to be seen whether there is a mid-term Trump effect that encourages Democrats to go to the polls or if the race for Governor is energizing enough to get voters to turn in their ballots or show up to vote.

Below is a breakdown of some of the key races to watch for the June 5 primary.

Governor
The race for Governor features four prominent Democrats and two Republicans and the big question on election night will be whether a Democrat or Republican will join front-runner Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom on the November ballot. It is believed that if either Republican makes the No…

CalARVC Redesigns Camp-California.com!

Roll out the red carpet, we’re live! After a year of blood, sweat and tears on the part of CalARVC Staff, David Strait of Strait Answers and Jeff Beyer and the awesome team at Big Rig Media, the new Camp-California.com has launched! This picture-rich site entices campers with all that California has to offer. The site highlights four separate areas–Camping Destinations, Campground Search, Adventures, and Camping Styles. Containing nearly 1000 pages of California content, the newly designed site is the ultimate camping resource.

Explore Destinations represents California’s regions and all they have to offer. Viewers can explore each region’s attractions and easily plan a trip. All regions get equal exposure to effortlessly explore California!!

Campground Search functions to make booking a site accessible and simple. Geo-locating features ensure all parks get exposure and are easy to find. Reserving a site and planning a trip have never been easier! Each park has an individual beautifully designed landing page that includes photos, a park overview, links to your website and even a book now button.

The Adventures section includes appealing activities that are sure to excite the adventurer in everyone. This page has everything from fairs and festivals to wildlife and waterfalls and is sure to intrigue the traveler and attract tourists to explore California.

Camping-Styles leaves no camper behind. Whether the viewer is a tenter, RVer or a cabin style camper, California has something for all. Promote your park’s specialty features and attract campers of all ages!

Get-the-Guide online- With over 200,000 printed copies distributed, a digital edition and downloadable version it’s incredibly accessible. This page also features ea…

Crider’s Corner – Feb 2018

So here we are in February and I’m wondering what you have planned in terms of press releases and photos to promote your park this year?
Remember, there’s a big difference between a Facebook post about your park versus a story in print or broadcast media.

With a Facebook post, most of the audience is people who have already been to your park and liked your Facebook page. So they naturally want to support you and keep up with what’s happening.

But how many new people are finding out about your park this way?

This is where traditional news media can be much more powerful. Park operators often tell me they are happy if they have a couple of thousand followers on Facebook. But a single story in Trailer Life magazine has a circulation of 425,000.  And those print stories are eventually posted online. Editor Valerie Law tells me that TrailerLife.com had 4,971,030 page views and 2,098,824 unique visitors in 2017.  That’s just Trailer Life.com.

Now imagine Motor Home magazine, FMCA Magazine, the Good Sam news blog, Snowbirds & RV Travelers, etc., not to mention your local and regional newspapers and TV stations, all of which also share their stories online.

My point is that if you want to grow your customer base, you need to have a diversified media strategy that includes not just advertising and Facebook or Instagram posts, but news releases and photos that you send out to generate coverage from local, regional and national news media, including publications that target camping and RV enthusiasts.

So if you haven’t written a press release yet and don’t have any ideas, consider these questions and how you could address them with a press release:

— Have you made major improvements to your WiFi system? TengoInternet tells me they are seeing a lot more parks investing in upgrades to …