America’s President Planning To Reopen Campgrounds & RV Parks

The desire for a return to normal life is a cry that can be heard around the world, especially for small businesses. A new federal plan to restart the country could be a breath of fresh air for RV parks and campground owners who depend on visitors to stay financially afloat in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s currently shattering lives and keeping the country on lockdown, while facing its worst economic devastation since the Great Depression.

We’re talking about the plan of “Opening Up America Again.” An ambitious guideline revealed by President Donald Trump last week that tells businesses, like gyms and restaurants, they can open their doors as early as May 1st (based on their local situation).

In a nutshell, the White House guidelines have three stages, each of them must be followed carefully and be preceded by specific criteria, measured on a case-by-case level that takes into account the spreading of COVID-19 in their communities and their hospital capacity.

Some of the criteria emphasized by the guidelines state that the decision of opening up for business again must be based on up-to-date data and readiness, including the ability to mitigate the risk of a resurgence and continuing to protect the most vulnerable. It can be implemented “state-wide” or county by county. Each governor would make that decision based on their health agencies or expert assessments on each situation.

While the guidance puts pressure on state and local governments to loosen up their restrictions on their lockdown measures, it also warns them to follow health expert’s advice, including those of the Centers for Prevention and Control of Diseases (CDC).

It includes following rigorous procedures to ensure all necessary measures are taken to identify circumstances that would jeopardize the process and to allow the safest return to work for thousands of employees.

The guidelines mention measures like the ability to set up efficient screening and testing sites for people with symptoms of the Coronavirus and tracing individual contacts, depending on test results.

State health authorities must be vigilant, and put in place surveillance sites for asymptomatic cases of the virus and ensure their sites can operate at locations with easy access for the elderly, lower-income families, racial minorities, and Native Americans (per the White House guidelines).

Once all this is over, happy campers everywhere (that feel safe and secure, with the perception that the Coronavirus cannot touch them while enjoying the beautiful outdoors) will be eager to come back to your campground or RV park!

Phase one

The first phase of the opening mentions that vulnerable people must continue to shelter, while those who live with them must be aware of it and keep up their hygiene and “social distance” at all times.

Guidelines also continue to recommend avoiding socializing in groups of more than 10 people. Campground and RV parks must ensure that their visitors follow this guidance and should remind their campers of this via email or social media. As stated in our guide to handling the Coronavirus Pandemic, campgrounds should manipulate booking flow to limit the number of campers staying at once.

A point of interest for campground owners and managers is that the guidelines still call for people in public places, like parks, recreation areas, etc. to respect social distancing as well.

“Social settings of more than 10 people, where appropriate distancing may not be practical, should be avoided unless precautionary measures are observed,” states the federal document. “Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines.”

While calling on employers to encourage working from home, it also suggests the returning of employees in phases, and accommodation for those workers considered as vulnerable.

Phases two & three

By the second phase, things get a little more relaxed, as places of worship, theaters, and bars will be able to open, always following stricter CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

By the third phase, every business should be able to open and regain their regular levels of normalcy, while keeping up to date with the current situation in their communities.

The “Opening Up America Again” guidelines don’t mention campgrounds and RV parks per se, but it’s clear that the rules of keeping clean facilities, enhancing hygiene measures and all the other requirements to keep the “invisible enemy” at bay also apply to ensure that campers are safe!

Now that we know what’s to come, sit back, relax, and take advantage of each and every one of the Coronavirus relief deals to help small businesses during this trying time.

Conclusion

It may be worth mentioning that while everyone under quarantine probably feels desperate for a puff of fresh campground air (at least anyone who’s reading this would), many still fear that relaxing the lockdown and the stay-at-home-measures would be, for the decision-makers, like choosing the lesser between two evils: either leave the US economy to fall to its knees or potentially threaten American lives…so owners, continue to stay empathetic and patient during all of this.

As we continue to work together as a society to move past this epidemic and finally get back to our normal lives, let’s continue to remain strong, vigilant, and compassionate, while following the guidance of scientists and our state officials. Before we know it, our camping industry will be booming again!

Financial Aid For Campground Business During Covid-19

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By now, we should all agree that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t only infecting humans, but also deeply harming the once robust economy of the United States, hitting small businesses, like campgrounds and RV parks, particularly hard. Owners and managers are in real need of financial aid with the hope of saving their businesses and families while asking themselves, “How the heck are we going to get through this? And who can we look to for help?”

Though the near future isn’t entirely certain, let’s keep calm and keep on finding practical and creative ways to keep our campgrounds and RV parks going strong and learn where and how to get assistance directed to small businesses at federal and state level.

In this post, we’re going to lay out the four most popular government aid programs available to small businesses. And with our campground’s interests at top of mind, we recommend applying as soon as possible before funding runs out.

The Paycheck Protection Program

The most important help right now would come in the form of the Paycheck Protection and Health Enhancement Program, a federal relief program intended to provide small businesses forgivable loans, providing their workers employment during the COVID-19 crisis.

Although the money for this program ran down pretty quickly, don’t panic. You still have time to get your hands on an up to $10 million loan for your business that you may not have to pay back! This is thanks to a new wave of a $300+ billion package approved last week by the US Senate to replenish the funds and help more small businesses, like campgrounds and RV parks.

It’s likely that all (or almost all) private RV parks and campgrounds would be eligible (If your business has less than 500 employees, you can get a one-time loan of up to $10 million). You’ll need to have a Taxpayer or Employer Identification Number (EIN/TIN) to apply.

The SBA Economic and Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

This is a federal loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would provide a loan of up $10,000 to small business, to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they’re experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees, including sole business owners, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals affected by the financial infection caused by the invisible enemy.

Veteran organizations and private non-profit organizations can also apply. The bad news is that at the moment, the SBA isn’t taking new applications, as this specific program ran out of funds. Nevertheless, we suggest to keep checking their websites so you can be among the first to apply when money is restocked!

SBA Express Bridge Loans

This is a loan you can apply for right now for a quick fund of up to $25,000 if you’re in a current financial relationship with one of the SBS Express Lenders. Like the other loans, this one provides vital help for small businesses like RV parks and campgrounds. A key benefit to this loan is that it’s available quickly and can be used as a ventilator for your business while you wait for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program to begin distribution of their brand new $300 billion package.

The SBA Debt Relief Program

We call this one the ‘breathe again’ program as it gives eligible small business owners relief of any outstanding debt contracted with this federal agency, under the umbrella of any current 7(a), 504, or microloans for a period of six months! The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of those current debts and those issued prior to September 27, 2020.

Just to clarify, the 7(a) is the standard loan program of the SBA to both, maintain or grow a small business. The 504 program is an economic development one directed at programs aimed at growth and job creation.

In addition to these federal programs, financial aid for campground, and Pandemic Relief funds, small private RV parks and campground business owners may want to take advantage of the similar versions offered at state levels, via each state’s small business administration (which eligibility and amount of loans may vary according to their own rules). We encourage you to also do some digging even beyond that since there are opportunities for loans, grants, and relief via private organizations.

Conclusion

As you can see, even though right now things are pretty tight, to say the least, RV parks and campgrounds can still catch a breath, stay afloat, or even thrive with the help of a financial ventilator, while you focus on keeping your families, friends, and campers safe.

For now, stay strong, stay optimistic, and be ready for when all those baby boomers and millennials currently quarantining in their urban homes are ready for new outdoor adventures in nature!

Download a PDF of the different programs you can apply to, along with links to their applications, tips for applying, and where to get some help!

How We Do Outdoor Movie Night? Successfull RV Movie Tips

Hosting a movie night at your RV Park is a fun opportunity to build a positive and memorable experience for your park’s visitors.

Hosting social events at your RV Park is a great way to create a positive experience for your campers, and it often translates to more return visitors and better online ratings and reviews. Besides being a great opportunity to promote your park, if done correctly, hosting social events (like movie nights) can be a fun opportunity to get to know your residents and differentiate your park from the others.

Movie nights are a hit because most campers love to enjoy some leisure time after exploring the outdoors or driving. The challenge: most RV parks also host movie nights, so it’s helpful to find creative ways to make yours unique.

To start, keep these two simple business goals in mind when hosting a movie night:

Your event will create such a positive experience for the campers that they will leave wanting to return soon.

Your event will offer a unique experience that your campers will want to tell their friends about it and recommend your park online.

The second one is especially important because now that we live in the internet age, customer reviews and referrals by word of mouth are key components to driving any business. Having great reviews on sites like Trip Advisor or RoverPass will attract RVers to your park!

Lastly, here are some key tips to hosting a successful movie night:

1) Pick an appropriate movie

Choose a movie based on the demographic of your campers. For example, if a lot of your campers are families, it wouldn’t be wise to screen an R-rated film replete with adult language and violence.

Speaking of relevance, show a movie that campers have heard of and they would like to see. If you have a young audience, don’t show a classic from the 1940s. It might be a great movie, but it’s just not relevant to your audience. The campers are more likely to attend your movie night if the movie is something they’ve heard of and fits the time and setting.

A great example is when Alamo Draft house screened Jaws at man-made lake in Texas Ski Ranch (featured below). They even had swimmers sneak up to the tubes and scare the movie viewers for a fun effect.

2) Make the seating more than just comfortable

Most parks put the burden on the campers themselves to bring seating so preparing unique seating is actually a way to differentiate yourself from other best RV parks.

A great example of this is how Shooting Star RV Resort features 1960s classic cars as seats for their movies (featured above).

3) Create an elaborate or creative atmosphere

When you walk into a restaurant, you feel the atmosphere of the place before you even catch a glimpse of the food. If you’re not feeling the atmosphere, it’s very likely you’ll decide to leave before even looking at the menu.

If you and another RV park screen the same movie but the other park puts more effort into the setting, their movie night will be more memorable than yours.

Atmosphere is a combination of everything: seating, lighting, decorations, snacks, etc. The atmosphere you create will directly impact the experience of your campers. That experience is the deciding factor whether those campers will ever return to your park or recommend you to their friends.

4) Safety First

Nothing is more essential than safety. This includes checking the weather forecast, providing secure wiring for all of your electronic devices, having camp security monitor the area, and making sure all of your equipment is set up properly so nothing falls on to anyone.

5) Provide adequate screen size and sound effects

Ever watched a great movie on a tiny screen? We hope not because it’s not very fun. What you don’t want is a movie night that gets an amazing turnout only to hear complaints from your audience that your screen was too small.

The screen size you should choose depends on the size of your viewing area and the maximum number of campers you’re able to have at your park. Just to be safe, it always helps to go a little larger than what would you’d expect.

Additionally, make sure your speakers are powerful enough so that everyone in the audience, including the people in the back, will be able to hear the movie.

Tips And Strategies For Beginner's To Make Great RV Experience

RVing is more than just an outdoor activity – it’s a lifestyle.

In the U.S. alone, there are around 40 million people who take part in recreational vehicle activities every year. There are also roughly 9 million American families who own RVs. But with more than 16,000 campground and RV parks in the country – how do you make yours stand out?

If you’re a campground or RV park owner, here are 6 simple ways to create great experiences for RVers that will keep them coming back.

1. Make It Affordable

Some people purchase RVs either because they can’t afford to build or rent a house of their own or for those yearly camping adventures. It’s important to have simple, transparent fees and make sure you set prices which keep you on top of the competition. The average cost of a private RV park is around $38. While campgrounds are relatively cheaper, most of these campgrounds don’t allow campers to stay for more than 14 days. Give your campers a treat and offer affordability.

2. Location is Everything

Many people prefer RV camping or lifestyle because it gives them a chance to connect with nature. The first thing people look for in a park or campground is the location and the ambiance. Although campers differ greatly, the two most common reasons for RV parking are:

  • When people want peace and quiet in the middle of a scenic view.
  • When people want to socialize and do fun activities.

Take simple steps to show off the view or ambiance you offer online, and help travelers unwind with area for games or suggested sightseeing activities.

3. Offer Online Reservations

We know how amazing spur-of-the-moment RV trips feel like, but it can be a bummer to pack your bags, gas up the RV, and head to a beautiful RV park or campground, only to find out it’s fully booked. While many RV parks offer online reservations, a small percentage haven’t transitioned from traditional email or phone methods. Creating a rv park reservation software will also give campers a chance to find the information they’re looking for regarding your park.

4. Provide Amenities

Whether they’re roughing it up or RV glamping, let’s admit that having the convenience of basic amenities is essential. Here are some of the common amenities you can offer:

  • Hookups
  • Bathrooms
  • Hot showers
  • Common supplies
  • Propane service
  • Firewood for sale

Some “luxurious” amenities to consider include:

  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Laundry services
  • Game rooms
  • TV room
  • Picnic tables

5. Add Fun Activities

Your RV park can have its upper hand over other parks just by the number of fun activities you offer. Families traveling with children or sports enthusiasts will appreciate activities such as:

  • Guided tours
  • Horseback riding
  • Sports like badminton, tennis, baseball, Frisbee, football
  • Biking
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Swimming
  • Water volleyball
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Boating
  • Snorkeling
  • Stargazing
  • Night trekking

6. Make an Online Community

After your campers have departed from your park, do your services stop there as well? Of course not! You want your campers to keep coming back. That’s how you’ll know they had a great experience. In order to do this, create an online community where you nurture and value your relationship with your RV campers. Reaching out to them will add a personal touch to your owner-client relationship. In addition, having an online presence will also enable campers to express positive reviews, constructive criticism, and any other type of feedback they have about your park and services. This way, it will be easier for you to learn from their comments and do the necessary changes.

Managing a campground or RV park can be a fulfilling job. If you do things right, you can be responsible for making other people’s vacations memorable.

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