RVing has enjoyed steady growth in popularity for the past couple of decades. As often referred to by the “old-timers,” Glamping is attracting younger first-time recreational vehicle buyers. Longtime RVers complain about the increase in campers making it nearly impossible to enjoy the same freedom to pack up their rig for the weekend without making reservations.
In the midst of the pandemic of 2020, RV sales increases in double digits nearly every month — July saw an increase of 54 percent over the same month the year before. In 2020, nearly half of the new RV purchases were made by individuals are under 35.
The greater demand for beloved campsites benefited owners in numerous ways. It creates a need for reservations ensuring “sold” spaces at least a year in advance, sometimes longer depending on the location’s popularity. Tom G. of Wisconsin commented on RV Travel about jammed campgrounds on the weekends. He said this prompted some parks to offer discounts for campers willing to arrive Monday afternoon and depart Friday before noon.
When supply is lower than the demand, companies often employ shrinkflation to avoid losses. There are several ways to cut down on “typically free or included amenities” but not reduce rental rates.
In another attempt to provide space rentals without hiking up the fees, some campground designers create parks with maximum capacity and began reducing space sizes for recreational vehicles. Campers’ rigs with large slideouts might not fit.
A frequent complaint is the increased space fees. A woman posted a lengthy comment on RV Travel:
“My husband and I are full-time RVers, and the cost of camping has skyrocketed in the last five years. Where it was unheard of to book a $60-a-night campsite, I am finding sites up to $118 a night on the West Coast. Even a local, regional park has raised its rates from $35 a night to $50 a night for full hook up. And compared to the private campgrounds in the area, it is a bargain!”
Montgomery B, another commenter, wrote about the higher costs:
“Private RV parks are not as crowded, but the pricing model will ruin them if it continues. I bring my bathroom, sink, stove, and heat/cooling with me. So I don’t want to pay $90 a night for a spot. I want to pay $20-35 a night. It’s my money, and I choose to spend it my way. I don’t need your campground if you are too expensive. Value is in the eye of the user — not the beholder.”
Rate hikes and space shortages are not likely to decrease since, as Go RVing reports:
“Intense consumer interest and strong RV sales are buoying the RV industry. This forecast confirms what we have been seeing across the country as people turn to RVs as a way to have the freedom to travel and experience an active outdoor lifestyle while also controlling their environment. And the trend is likely to continue.”
With rental rates rising and demand causing overcrowding, campers are in the market for alternative ways to enjoy vacationing.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
RV Travel: Campground Crowding: Even the camp hosts are throwing in the towel! By Nanci Dixon
Go RVing: RV Industry Facts and Figures
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Pasi Hiltunen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Kent Wang’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License