The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a renewed interest in camping over the last several years. According to Saskia Boogman, Director of Public Relations for Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), last year, 10.1 million households camped for the first time – a rate nearly five times that in 2019. She expects that 2021 will be another record-breaking year for camping.
Campgrounds all over the country have seen an increase in occupancy, regardless of their location or amenities. In a report, Boogman says that it is true that campgrounds near popular national destinations tend to book earlier and be more full.
She says, “The truth is that the more popular a location or place, the more it will be crowded more often.” It’s worth noting, however, that campgrounds in these areas are usually well-equipped to handle large crowds. RVers can still expect a relaxed stay even if there are neighbors.
KOA has 525 locations across North America. They are aware of the concerns about private and public campground availability and have been looking for ways to make it easier to help franchise owners expand their campgrounds. They offer free design services and royalty rebates. Additionally, they have a Campground of the Future grant program that provides funds for campground owners who are completing forward-thinking upgrades to their campgrounds.
In the report, Boogman says, “We are also witnessing an influx of campgrounds that will also provide relief.” Based on nearly 60 years of experience in the industry, we work closely with owners who want to build campgrounds.
Camping is a popular choice. However, it also presents challenges and solutions for both campground owners as well as RVers, the report added.
Boogman says that campers and RVers should book as soon as possible. Boogman says that even though summer is over, there are still openings in the KOA campground system. However, it may take some more searching, especially on weekends.
To make this searching easier, KOA has added the ability to search by location and dates to find open sites. RVers will now be able to search for campgrounds in multiple areas. If they search for “Nashville”, with their preferred dates, and some information about their rigs it will display all KOAs in the area.
Boogman suggests that RVers contact campgrounds if they can’t find anything online. They might be able to cancel reservations or workaround reservations in a different way than what is possible online. They may also be interested in campgrounds that are a little further from the main tourist areas. She says that a short drive can lead to lower rates, less crowding and easier-to-book reservations.
Flexibility is a big plus as more people explore RVing, particularly flexibility when it comes to travel dates.
KOA’s most successful fall ever was last year. Based on advance reservations, the campgrounds are likely to continue being busy well into the fall. She predicts that the campgrounds will be less busy than during peak summer months.
Boogman points out that campground rates have increased as more people discover the RV lifestyle. Although these aren’t huge increases, they might notice that their favorite campground has seen small increases.
She says that it’s all about supply and demand. RVers might need to shift their spontaneity mindset in order to have the best possible trip. Although it is possible to make “day-of” reservations, they should be aware that not all sites will be available or that they may have to visit several parks before finding the right spot., the report mentioned.
KOA is closely monitoring what happens at the Canadian border this winter. Canadian RVers love snowbirding. They expect to see a busy snowbird season if the U.S.-Canadian border opens by then.