Campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are
reporting strong bookings heading into the summer camping season, with
most parks expecting to exceed last year’s business levels, according to
the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).
“We are fully booked for June and July and almost through the
second week of August,” said Doug Shearer, who owns the Parkview
Riverside RV Resort in Concan in the Texas Hill Country. He said his
strong summer business is being fueled in part by the recent rains,
which are ushering in the return of river tubers and kayakers.
But the surge is business also follows the best winter he’s ever had since he opened his 95-site park 10 years ago.
Across the state, Gwen Craig is also reporting strong business and
reservation levels at Rayford Crossing RV Resort at The Woodlands, north
of Houston. She said her business levels are being fueled in part by
new activities and special events taking place in the Woodlands area as
well as by business people and people who work in various construction
trades who want to stay at her park while they work various jobs in the
greater Houston area.
The jump in business levels at these parks isn’t unique. In fact,
TexasCampgrounds.com is seeing record growth in online bookings this
year. “Our website traffic is up about 20%, but we’ve seen a 100%
increase in the dollar value of our online reservations,” said Brian
Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO.
He cautioned, however, that private parks are going through a
transition period in their use of online reservations. So the increase
in online reservations is fueled not only by growing numbers of
consumers visiting TexasCampgrounds.com
and making their reservations online, but by existing Texas parks that
are making more of their inventory available online as well as other
campgrounds and RV parks that are beginning to market their campsites
online for the first time.
Schaeffer said that by next year the association should be able to
make fairly accurate assessments of the business levels of Texas parks
simply by measuring the year-over-year volume of their online
Private campground and RV park operators across Texas typically
book about 15 to 20 percent of their reservations online, though some
parks report higher figures, he said.
Chuck Church, the manager of Dallas Metro KOA in Arlington, said
his park’s year-over-year first quarter business was up 30%. “It feels
like the economy is turning a corner and there are some amazing events
in the DFW market place, particularly Arlington that is fueling our
surge in business.”
Robert Kennedy of Lubbock RV Park said online reservations only
account for about 15 percent of his business. But he can already tell by
looking at his online reservations that demand for campsites is on the
rise this year.
“I had a really good year last year,” he said, “and this year is looking to be even better than last year.”